Many of us choose to take out insurance policies such as critical illness cover, income protection and life assurance to give us peace of mind in uncertainty.
And since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, it’s hard to think of a time more uncertain than 2020.
The recent outbreak is having a huge impact on all of our lives and, it goes without saying, that it must be a very unsettling time for everyone.
Unsurprisingly, we’ve received a number of enquiries from our clients in relation to protection cover and claims over the last few weeks.
With this in mind, we wanted to take the time to listen to your concerns and answer your most frequently asked questions in detail.
We hope you find the below Q&A helpful, and if we’ve missed something you’d like to know the answer to, please do get in touch. Call us on 0161 443 4830 or email [email protected] – we’re here to help.
Providing you have paid your monthly premiums with your insurer, the cover we arranged remains in place and the terms of it are unaffected by the Coronavirus outbreak.
If you have missed any recent payments, give us a call and we’ll do what we can to get you protected again.
If you have cancelled your policy in recent weeks, it may be possible to have the policy reinstated.
The exact terms for reinstatement vary by insurer, so please get in touch and we’ll explore what is possible.
Although lenders are offering mortgage holidays, at the moment, insurers are not offering the same option. You will still have to keep up with your premium payments to ensure you are covered.
However, we are a member of the Openwork advisory network and they are currently in discussion with the major insurers on the issue.
So, it is possible that the position may change, but there is no guarantee that it will.
If you are worried about being able to afford your premiums, then please get in touch with us as soon as you can. We can explore your options and find a solution that’s right for you at this difficult time.
I cannot, however, stress enough that whatever you do, you should keep your existing plan(s) in place and take advice before taking any further steps!
For obvious reasons, now is NOT the right time to be without cover.
Cancelling your policy, with the expectation of reinstating it in a few months’ time when your income position is more stable, not only leaves you without cover at this critical time but would also mean you need to go through medical underwriting all over again.
It is possible that insurer terms and conditions will also be tightened up in the future, so you could also end up with an inferior policy to the one you currently have.
Thankfully, the vast majority of people who catch this virus go on to make a full recovery. If the worst-case scenario were to happen, and you did unfortunately die, your insurer would payout.
This is assuming the medical information you provided at the inception of your policy was correct. Your insurer would, however, need to go through their normal claims process to confirm the claim is valid.
Coronavirus is not a specified illness on Critical Illness policies. The view from most insurers is that the virus is unlikely to produce the permanent symptoms or impact on lung function required to meet the definitions evident on policies.
As stated above, evidence from around the world shows that the vast majority of people will make a full recovery from the virus; this means it would not be classified as an ongoing critical illness.
If you were unfortunate enough to die, then you would be covered. Insurers will, however, assess individual cases on their merit and will always seek to be fair in their assessment.
If the definition of disability is met as a consequence of the Coronavirus, or its impact on existing or underlying conditions, then we would expect the income protection to be paid.
Most policies do have deferred periods (i.e. a period, usually 1, 3 or 6 months) before which a payment is made.
We would expect that any claims for unemployment will be paid for existing customers.
However, temporary or voluntary redundancy or reduction in working hours by your current employer is unlikely to be covered.
If you’re looking to take out cover or increase your cover levels, please do get in touch with us.
Many insurers are tightening their medical underwriting to reflect the additional risk associated with the Coronavirus. However, all the insurers we deal with are still accepting new life, critical illness and income protection.
It’s also worth noting that many existing policies will you to increase your cover levels without the need for additional underwriting.
Here at Edward Mellor, we have carefully handpicked insurers we recommend and believe are the very best in the UK market.
Included in our assessment is the proportion of claim they payout every year – which for all the insurers we recommend, is very high.
With our selection of high-quality insurers, you can be confident that they will deal with all cases fairly and pay all valid claims.
We’d like to remind you of the Support Services available on many protection policies, including in many cases, remote access to GP services.
Please refer to your policy booklet to check exactly what services you have and how to access them.
We hope our Q&A helped address some of your main concerns and put your mind slightly more at ease during this difficult time.
Of course, if you have any further questions or you’d like to have a chat, please do get in touch.
Call us on 0161 443 4830 or email [email protected] – we’re here to help.