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What you should know about coronavirus and income protection

What you should know about coronavirus and income protection

Mar 10, 2020

As supermarkets begin rationing some items the spread of the virus has resulted in major quarantine policies in Italy, as well as some supermarket rationing in the UK.

The government has also said that up to a fifth of the UK workforce could be off sick during the potential peak of the Covid-19 outbreak.

While the Prime Minister has already announced that statutory sick pay will begin on day one (rather than on day four) to avoid people who are self-isolating from being “penalised for doing the right thing”, there has also been a spike in the number of people looking to take out income protection.

According to a leading online quote service, the last week of February saw a 15% rise in people looking to take out income protection thanks to fears relating to Covid-19.

Will my Income Protection cover me if I contract coronavirus?

Income protection is designed to pay out a weekly or monthly sum to replace your income if you are off work due to illness or injury.

So, if you do have income protection and you are off work because you contract the coronavirus, your policy will typically cover you.

Insurance expert Rod Jones says: “It is the same as if you were signed off by a doctor for any other illness. If you have the illness or have to self-quarantine, then make sure you have a doctor’s sick note to activate your income protection policy, as per your policy terms and conditions.”

Bear in mind that you may have an excess or deferred period on your income protection policy.

When you took out your policy you may have chosen a 2, 4 or even 8 week deferred period on your policy. In this case, you payments would only begin if you were still off work at the end of the deferred period.

Claiming on your Income Protection policy if you contract coronavirus

When you make a claim on an income protection policy your insurer will normally require a ‘sick note’ or similar provided by the doctor. However, due to the policy of ‘self-isolation’, people are being encouraged to stay away from their GP and so obtaining such a note may be difficult.

David Macgregor, commercial director of income protection specialist Cirencester Friendly, says: “Our current stance in relation to the coronavirus outbreak is that if the member is suffering with symptoms or has been told by 111 or Public Health to self-isolate, then a claim will be considered.

“We appreciate that currently providing a medical certificate from a GP for coronavirus is very difficult and therefore we will be requesting alternative documentary evidence, which might include asking if the virus was contracted abroad.”


Taking out a new Income Protection policy

If you are considering taking out a new income protection policy then it is likely that you will have to answer some new underwriting questions based on the coronavirus outbreak. These may include:

  • Whether you have travelled to any of the locations that have been affected by the disease, such as China or northern Italy
  • Whether you have any of the symptoms of the disease

If you answer ‘yes’ to these or similar questions, the insurer may postpone your cover until you have undergone more tests, or you have received the all-clear.


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