Income Protection Insurance & COVID-19
What you need to know.
Since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, more people have become aware of the importance income protection insurance can offer, as it can provide the financial support needed if you’re unable to work due to illness or an accident. For many its the right time to review the income protection cover you have in place – or to seek expert advice if you don’t yet have any.
While it’s certainly still possible to get income protection insurance, some insurers have adjusted their application processes and introduced new questions around COVID-19. Insurers will want to know if you have the virus or are experiencing symptoms of it. They may also want to know if you’ve recently been in contact with someone who has the virus or have been advised to self-isolate.
Income protection insurance policies are unlikely to cover people self-isolating as they probably won’t be off work longer than the waiting period and may not be too ill to work. Insurers will pay out under the terms of their contracts, but you should be clear on the terms of their coverage. S
elf-isolation is unlikely to be covered for income protection policyholders unless you have experienced loss of income if you are out of work because you are ill. For claims to be paid, you will be required to meet the definition of incapacity. Policies will vary and it is important to check with your professional financial adviser.
Self-isolation which is not medically advised is unlikely to be covered unless symptoms are severe and continue beyond the waiting period. You can still put in place income protection insurance. Insurers are trying to make decisions to support new clients as quickly and as fairly as possible.
In some cases, insurers may have to request medical evidence from a GP, consultant or an independent medical examiner before offering cover. With these cases, there could be a delay to the decision as some insurers have temporarily postponed new applications where medical evidence is needed to avoid putting further strain on the NHS.
Where appropriate, insurers are continuing to explore alternative approaches to these complex cases to avoid unnecessary delays to new applications. You can still claim on an income protection insurance policy if you’ve been furloughed. But it’s definitely worth checking your specific insurance policy wording, or contacting your professional financial adviser, because insurers are taking different approaches.
Insurers are also exploring other ways to accept applications that require medical evidence in this new environment.
To find out more about income protection cover, or if you need independent financial advice on any other topic, please get in touch with our Farnham-based Fish Saltus team – we’d be more than happy to help!