Covid health, life insurance: Recovered from the coronavirus? You might find it difficult to get health, life insurance instantly–economic times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/insure/recovered-from-the-coronavirus-you-might-find-it-difficult-to-get-health-life-insurance-instantly/articleshow/82210586.cmsSynopsis

There are many comorbidities which are becoming critical in case of covid infections and insurers have also increased their testing to identify such diseases while issuing new policies.

It has become rather difficult to buy life or health insurance policies instantly for those who have recovered from the novel coronavirus. That is because many insurance companies require a cooling off or waiting period of one to three months if a covid survivor is applying for a health or life insurance policy. Further, you may have to go for additional medical tests as well.

“Both in case of life and health insurance policy, insurers are asking for additional tests in order to identify and analyse the risk category of the applicants. If the covid survivor tests Covid Negative after three months of the cooling period, it reduces the chances of relapse and helps in avoiding further challenges in the claims,” says Indraneel Chatterjee, Co-Founder and Principle Officer, RenewBuy.

Read on to find out how you will be affected if you are planning to buy new life or health plan after recovering from Covid 19, and what will happen in case of concealment.

Delay in issuance of life insurance policy
There have been many instances of people having developed medication complications after recovering from Covid-19, some of which can be life threatening as well.

The quantum of compensation in a life insurance policy is usually a significant amount. If the insurance company accepts too many such risky policies, it may become challenging for it to honor the claims later if a large number of people gets affected due to post-covid medical complications.

This has resulted in insurers raising their guard before accepting new policy applications. “In case of life insurance, the covid survivor will get a waiting period ranging of one-three months or more, depending on the criticality of the infection, prevalence of underwriting checks as required,” says Chatterjee.

If you are a recent victim of Covid-19 the wait will be longer. “A Covid negative test, for a Covid survivor is a must now; and the waiting period starts from the date of the Covid negative test result date. This is primarily to mitigate the risk of post covid after affects,” says Chatterjee. So, if you recovered much earlier, then your application may get accepted faster.

Health insurers have also become cautious
The requirement for a medical test while buying a health insurance policy is not new especially when it comes to high-risk cases. However, insurers have become extra cautious and testing more widely and thoroughly. “It completely depends on the insurance companies, however if someone is buying the policy for the first time, they will need to undergo medical tests. Even for Corona survivor, some of the health insurance players are asking for additional tests,” says Rakesh Goyal, Director, Probus Insurance, InsurTech broking company.

When it comes to claim amount per insurance cover, health insurers face lesser risk than life insurers however, in a pandemic situation, health insurers have also become cautious in accepting new polices. “Some insurers like ManipalCigna, HDFC ERGO,ICICI Lombardand Max Bupa, have introduced a ‘cooling-off’ or waiting period for three months, to buy a health plan for people who have suffered from Covid-19,” says Chatterjee.

Many others health insurers are also following a similar mandate. “In non-life insurance industry, waiting period differs from one company to another—it can be between 15 days to 90 days,” says Goyal.

However, a three-month waiting period may not be sufficient in some cases as this waiting period can further be extended. “If a customer is suffering from any illness at the time of purchase, the application would be underwritten as per the company’s underwriting policy. In case of any acute infection, the acceptance is deferred till the condition is resolved, this applies to COVID also,” says Parag Ved, Executive Vice President & Head – Consumer Lines at Tata AIG General Insurance.

Any concealment may result in claim rejection later
All insurance policies are issued in good faith by the insurers where they believe the information provided by the policy holder to be true. However, if anyone tries to conceal the covid history knowingly then it may result in rejection of the claim.

“Applicants for life and health insurance are required to disclose all material facts in the proposal form, including pre-existing medical conditions. As per medical guidelines, diabetes, lung diseases and other chronic lifestyle disease are considered more critical at the moment,” says Chatterjee.

There are many comorbidities which are becoming critical in case of covid infections and insurers have also increased their testing to identify such diseases while issuing new policies.

“There might be some insurers who might have increased the scrutiny for pre-existing diseases such as lung and chronic diseases or even diabetes. It is always advisable to provide correct information to the insurance companies, so that there are low chances of claim rejection going forward,” advises Goyal.

The new normal
Many of the people who have survived the coronavirus might not have an insurance policy or have inadequate insurance. These people many now want to buy a new insurance cover and will have to be prepared for the new norms. Till the time herd immunity is developed against the coronavirus, the increased scrutiny and waiting period is likely to be the norm with insurers. So, when you are buying a new insurance cover, be prepared for this eventuality.

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