Every day we learn more about the Coronavirus pandemic, but there is much we still don’t know. It has many people in a panic. Do you ever remember a time when you drove to 4 or 5 retailers and couldn’t find a single roll of toilet paper on the shelves? Or Clorox wipes? People are panicking, understandably. So are businesses, as you probably know. Since we specialize in final expense insurance, we will focus on the effects of Coronavirus on the burial insurance industry and what it means for you.
The Reaction of Burial Insurance Carriers to Coronavirus
Due to the complexity of the Covid-19 virus, Burial Insurance companies have had to (and continue to) make changes. Before this pandemic that is not yet completely understood or controlled, insurance companies knew the major illnesses that face many Americans well. But here we are… in a different time completely… and in such a short period of time.
Remember, insurance companies are by definition risk-averse. Once a person’s chance of dying increases, they must put conditions in place so that they are not overwhelmed with a flood of benefit payments. With something like Covid-19, that risk goes through the roof.
There are several new safeguards being put in place by some carriers…
Exclusion Riders for Corona Virus
Some burial insurance carriers are introducing Covid-19 exclusion riders for new policies. This means they issue the burial insurance contract, but they include wording that explicitly voids them of liability if the cause of death is related the coronavirus.
Freeze on new policies
In addition to the new riders, burial insurance companies are contemplating a practice of holding off on accepting new insurance applications. The corona virus is causing of a hopefully short-lived death which is much higher than rate significantly higher than the norm. By putting a freeze on new applications, the insurance companies would be able to stave off a large pool of business that could result in major losses.
Unfortunately, this would affect primarily seniors who have a pre-existing condition. We know this is the most vulnerable section of our population. Most of these folks are the people who are seeking burial insurance. The risk is just to high for the insurers, especially with so much that is still unknown.
This practice has not started yet, to our knowledge, so we encourage you to continue to be proactive and give us a call. If the insurers were to begin implementing a freeze on certain applicants, we would expect it to remain in place until a vaccine is available.
Can I Get New Burial Insurance Coverage If I Currently Have Covid-19?
Unfortunately, if you presently have the virus you cannot qualify for a new burial insurance policy with any carrier. That being said, you can qualify with a guaranteed acceptance policy, which has loose underwriting guidelines but does require a two-year waiting period. So, this type of policy won’t help you immediately should you pass in the near future from coronavirus, but please know it is available.
What If I Already Have Burial Insurance and Die From The Coronavirus? Will They Still Pay?
The answer is absolutely YES. If you have a policy in place and unfortunately contract the coronavirus and subsequentially die from it, it will have no effect on your policy.
Because you had your burial insurance policy before the pandemic broke out, in the event of your death, there will be no problems with the benefits entitled.
Can I Get Burial Insurance Coverage if I Had The Coronavirus But Have Since Recovered? ?
If you were infected with Covid-19 and had a full recovery (no symptoms/2 negative tests since), you shouldn’t have a problem getting a new burial insurance policy. The only caveat to this is if you were hospitalized for Coronavirus. This is a question that many insurers will inquire about and could result in you being declined.
Let’s Finish with Some Sound Heath Advice from an Infectious Disease M.D. Regarding Covid-19
We are constantly praying for everyone in the country and around the world, so we would like to finish this article with this advice, courtesy of Fares Masannat, M.D. on March 12:
- Please accept that your life will now change. Your habits will change. Most of your plans will be canceled but it’s all temporary so be patient.
- The number of people with this infection will continue to increase very quickly. In some countries, the number increased 7-times within one week only.
- The best way to prevent its spread is social distancing, which means you have to keep a distance from other people and avoid leaving your house unless needed.
- I cannot emphasize that enough. Don’t leave your house unless you have to. Cook at home, make your own coffee. Shop online. Don’t visit anyone at the hospital or nursing home these days.
- If you leave your house, think of 2 main things that can put you at risk: 1- people, 2- surfaces. PEOPLE: anyone within a 2-meter distance (6 feet) can transmit the infection. That’s why it’s better to avoid to crowded places. However if you’re in a class or a meeting where you’re sitting far away from others, your risk is lower than a crowded place. SURFACES : infected people can leave the virus on surfaces like tables and chairs and door knobs. So be aware of everything you touch outside the house and wash your hands or use a sanitizer right afterwards. If you end up touching those surfaces often and you can’t clean your hands right away, avoid touching your face as much as possible.
- You can still go out but remember people and surfaces. So if you’re going to a store try to go in off-peak hours when there are very few people. You can go for walks. The gym is more challenging- if it’s nearly empty and you can ensure people will be 2 meters away from you and you can sanitize your machine/weights, then go for it. But if you can hold off that’s better.
- If you’re about to meet someone, get into the habit of asking them if they have a cold, fever, or cough or recovering from one and cancel if they do. It’s safest to avoid weddings, gatherings, games, religious services…etc
- Avoid any travel that is non-essential by any method other than your own car.
- Even when the situation gets worse, basic food and clean water and supplies will still be available. Have a 5-day supply of food in case you yourself get sick and can’t leave the house for a while but there’s no need to hoard on items.
- Tell your parents or anyone you know who has a weak immune system to not leave their house. Volunteer to buy things for them because your risk is lower if you get infected.
- The death rate is between 1-2%, which is at least 10-20 times higher than influenza. But even if your risk is low, avoid getting infected because you can transmit it to people who aren’t as lucky. Also healthy young people have died from COVID. With all that said, you’re MUCH more likely to survive without problems if you get infected.
- Don’t expect a vaccine before at least one year from now. They’re producing them in labs but they may be totally ineffective in humans. Lower your expectations.
- There’s no effective treatment although a couple of drugs may turn out to be effective eventually. Studies are being conducted.
- Push your local and federal government to provide more testing. If you think COVID is uncommon in your area it’s probably because they’re not testing enough for it. There’s no way that no cases exist in Alabama.
- If you realize you were exposed to COVID yourself or if you get infected, there’s no need to panic. Most likely you’ll be fine. Just make sure you notify all the people you were in contact with recently so that they can get tested and quarantine themselves. That’s why testing helps in prevention. Once your symptoms resolve and your test turns negative (twice) you’re not contagious any longer.
- If you have an elective (non-urgent) surgery like a knee replacement or hernia repair, expect it to be delayed by several months unless it’s done shortly within a week or 2. Once the hospital is busy with Coronavirus they’ll start canceling non-essential procedures.
- When the community selflessly works together, the infection will recede. Don’t pay attention to those who like to disrupt. Remember that the majority want this nightmare to be over.
Get Your Questions Answered About Burial Insurance and Coronavirus
If you or a family member is dealing with Coronavirus or worried about it, we are here to help! It would be our honor to assist you. Please call us at 1-800-400-8319. If you would rather that we call you, just fill out the quote form on this page and a licensed agent will be in touch with you promptly.