In recent days there have been the first deaths in the UK linked to the coronavirus. If you're concerned about the outbreak, and whether you are protected in the worst-case scenario, read our complete guide to coronavirus and life insurance.
Since it emerged in China in late 2019, the coronavirus has resulted in more than 3,500 deaths including several cases in the UK. Many of the people who have passed away are older or those with underlying health conditions. There have been relatively few cases in children.
The World Health Organization’s director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has previously spoken about the mortality rate being 3.4%.
However, the UK's chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, believes that the mortality rate from the virus will be 1% or lower (meaning around 1 in 100 people who contract the virus will die).
Once in force, life insurance pays out for the vast majority of causes of death, and this will typically include anything related to complications from the coronavirus.
If your life insurance is in place, and your are diagnosed with Covid-19, your cover will remain in force. Just remember to keep up the premiums on your life insurance.
What if I am applying for life insurance?
If you are in the process of applying for life insurance, or you are considering applying for cover in the near future, you may have to answer questions about recent destinations you have travelled to.
This means that if you have recently travelled to China, Iran or the north of Italy, you will have to declare this on your application.
If you say have visited one of these destinations, there is a chance that the life insurer may postpone your application. This means the insurer effectively puts your policy on hold pending further underwriting or tests to show that you have not contracted the coronavirus.
In coming months, there may also be different locations where the disease is particularly prevalent, and countries for which the government issues official travel guidance. Declaring that you have visited these destinations might also result in your application being postponed.
Your application form will also ask you to detail whether you have experienced any recent medical problems, such as symptoms of the virus. You will also have to declare these and, if you do, the insurer may again postpone your application until more tests are carried out or you receive the all-clear.
If you do test positive for Covid-19, it is likely that you will need to make a full recovery before an insurer will agree any life insurance.
Advice and underwriting could change in coming weeks and months depending on the spread of the virus and on official travel information.
For example, you may have to answer some additional questions relating to the coronavirus when you take out cover.
Once your life insurance has been agreed, it is in force, and you begin to pay the premiums then you are protected. If you then were to pass away as a result of the coronavirus, your life cover would typically pay out, as long as you have been completely honest on your appliction form.