Corona Virus Update: How Buying Senior Life Insurance Has Changed

Lenny Robbins
Jul 28, 2020 3:45:21 PM

 

graphic of a group of people wearing masks

Life is different these days and you may be wondering if buying senior life insurance is different too. The pandemic has made many people think about life insurance and decide that now is the time to protect their family.

Can you buy burial insurance, a final expense policy or any other kind of coverage right now? The good news is yes, you can. Here's everything you need to know. 

What Changes Are We Seeing?


The best news is that many carriers have expanded the ages and face amounts of purchasing coverage without a medical exam. These are policies with over $25,000 of coverage. The insurance companies are offering more options than ever for this type of coverage.

While many carriers are limiting older people from buying policies, not all companies are doing that. The agents at LifeNet can still find you affordable coverage because we search through many insurance companies when we quote premiums. We know which companies are writing policies for older ages and which aren't.

Burial insurance carriers are making some changes as well. Many of them are reducing their maximum age temporarily, but not all. Some are not offering coverage over 70, or 74 or 80. There are several companies that will still write insurance for you up to age 89. 

What Does This Mean for You?


You can still purchase affordable burial insurance, final expense insurance or term or permanent coverage.

Depending on the type of insurance you want, there are many companies to choose from. If you have any interest in obtaining insurance, rest assured that we can find a policy to fit your needs.

Will My Current Policy Still Cover Me?


If you have a policy in force from before the pandemic, you are covered if you die from COVID-19.

All policies have a 2 year period where the insurance carrier has the right to contest the policy and investigate. If you were truthful on your application you have nothing to worry about. If not, and they discover fraudulent answer(s), they have the right to rescind your policy and return the premiums paid to your beneficiary. 

What if I Have or Have Had Corona Virus?


If you have had the virus, be completely truthful. Read the paragraph above again to see why it is important!

Every company we deal with is still willing to insure you. The question is when? 

If you currently have corona virus, you cannot get coverage until you have recovered. Depending on the severity of your case there will be different waiting periods.

If you were able to remain at home through your illness, many carriers will impose a 30 day waiting period from the date you recovered. 

If you were in the hospital you may have as much as a 60 day waiting period. Finally, if you were on a ventilator the wait may be as long as 90 days.

The length of the waiting period differs between insurance carriers and the severity of your illness. 

What if I get COVID-19 During the Application Process?


It's important to let your agent know right away. All insurance companies will postpone your application until you have healed completely. Based on the severity of your symptoms and your treatment (see above section), there will be a waiting period to reopen your file or reapply.

How has COVID-19 Changed the Application Process?


The process hasn't changed much. Every insurance company is responding differently.

  • More than 25% of U.S. insurance carriers have expanded their automated underwriting practices and 20% have postponed or waived paramedical requirements. (Per Catherine Theroux, director of public relations for LIMRA
  • All carriers have concerns about foreign travel. If you have recently traveled there is a chance you will have a waiting period imposed. If you are planning to travel, you may find the same. Carriers may order medical records as well. 
  • You may find your application postponed if a member of your household has traveled out of the country.
  • Most applicants are required to complete a statement of good health when they are accepting a new policy.
  • If you have certain medical conditions that may make you more susceptible to COVID-19 some insurance companies will decline to insure you at this time. Talk to an independent life agent who will have carriers available for your age and medical conditions.
  • For policies requiring a paramedic with blood and urine collection- there may be a longer wait to schedule an exam. The examiners are wearing personal protection items. Paramedic companies are taking all precautions to keep their staff and clients safe. Some areas are more affected by long waits than others. Right now we are not seeing any major delays in most markets.
  • If the insurance company wants medical records, this may delay your application as well. Although we are finding most medical records are being received in a timely manner, this is not always the case. If your doctor's office is closed, that will certainly have an impact on the time frame. Electronic records are easier to procure than paper.
  • If you are buying a burial policy or a final expense policy- there is minimal change to the application process. You must answer medical questions to complete the application- same as before. One or more carriers have introduced a required Covid-19 questionnaire, certifying you do not and have not had the illness. Coverage can be in force in a very short period of time. These policies range from $2,000 up to $50,000 of insurance and do not require any exams or medical records.
  • Most companies have made changes to the way they do business because of the pandemic. For example, Pacific Life will write up to $1,000,000 of coverage for ages 50-69 without a medical exam. (If you cannot qualify, then they would require the exam.) Other carriers are also expanding the ages for non-medical policies.

Should I Wait to Buy Coverage?


The short answer is no. We have safely been insuring clients since the start of the pandemic. 

Many of our clients have safely had exams, and several have gotten burial coverage (or final expense policies) easily. There is no reason to delay applying for life insurance.

Should I Buy a Policy without a Medical Exam Requirement?


You should buy the type of coverage that will meet your goals. You can safely buy both a non-medical policy and one that requires a paramedic exam with blood and urine. 

The more information the insurance company has, the less expensive the premium will be. If you can get coverage with an exam, it is likely to cost you less, although it will probably take longer to get in place.

If you feel like you need coverage right now, consider applying and getting a conditional receipt. The conditional receipt will cover you during the underwriting period if all of the conditions are met. 

Every company has slightly different requirements. You can't be over 70 for most companies. The conditional coverage is good for 60-90 days maximum. There are a few medical questions on most applications, such as have you been hospitalized in the last 2 months. You must pay the first premium and it cannot bounce. You must be approved at the rating you applied for.

Talk with your agent to see if coverage under a conditional receipt is right for you. This is only available on fully underwritten policies.

Talk to Your Agent

There are many factors to consider. Use the knowledge and expertise of your life insurance agent to help you navigate the application process during these uncertain times.