How Has the Coronavirus Pandemic Changed Life Insurance?

The coronavirus pandemic has changed life in many ways and everyone has had to make adjustments. So, how has the pandemic changed life insurance? More people are applying for policies and the process of applying for a policy has changed as a result.
By Nate W.
Updated Dec 9, 2020
coronavirus changed life insurance
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In the months since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic in late 2019 and early 2020, many questions about the future of "normal human life" have continued to go unanswered. This is mainly because it's hard to predict what the coming months will be like when we can't even know what the coming days and weeks will look like. The same goes for our current reality in the present. With shutdowns, social distancing guidelines, mask mandates, and other COVID-19 safety precautions completely redefining our day-to-day, it can be difficult to even think about the future at all.

But, as many of us have started to realize, the world keeps on moving forward even if we're struggling to keep up with it. Ultimately, this means that — even when it's tough to do so — it's important for us to keep our eyes trained on the horizon and not lose sight of things like our healthcare, our future retirement, and, of course, life insurance. This can be a tough subject even in a normal year, let alone a year that feels especially hard and particularly uncertain for everyone, but big events often lead to big wake-up calls.

Thankfully, life insurance doesn't have to be scary. It's an important thing to have, and it's a hugely important thing to talk about. Times such as these have families all across the country thinking about how to be more safe, how to be more secure, and how to be more prepared for the future. Life insurance can do all this and more. However, before we can talk about it seriously, we first need to break down some of the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and life insurance.

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Have Life Insurance Policy Applications Gone up Since the Start of the Pandemic?

While the novel coronavirus was first discovered overseas in December of 2019, it wasn't until March of 2020 that the United States truly started to take COVID-19 seriously. Because of this, the first quarter of the year and the second quarter of the year were like day and night — When looking at January, February, and March and comparing these months to April, May, and June, it's practically like looking at polar opposite ends of a spectrum. All of this is to say that the life insurance data available to us today cuts off at June (just three months into the pandemic), so we should take it with a grain of salt.

According to the most up-to-date data available to us today, life insurance applications went up at an average rate of 1.5% compared to the first half of 2019. Looking at the numbers even closely, we see an interesting development: Applications from Americans under 44 went up by 3.4%, while applications from Americans between 45 and 59 only went up by 0.5%. Regardless of how much these applications went up, though, one thing is absolutely certain: life insurance applications have definitely gone up since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because the year still has a couple months left in it, we won't know if the life insurance application trends seen in the first half of the year will go up, down, or plateau in the second half. With that being said, we can definitely make an educated guess that life insurance applications will only continue to go up exponentially between July and December.

Is Now a Good Time to Buy Life Insurance?

You might be thinking that, because of the terrible circumstances surrounding the rise and spread of the coronavirus and the uncertainty about the future of the virus, now might not be a good time to buy life insurance. The truth is that — while COVID-19 has definitely complicated the process of buying life insurance — it's truly never a bad time to sign up for a policy. As a matter of fact, it might be a good idea to invest in life insurance now before any future price hikes might come about.

Additionally, many life insurance policies would normally require the future policyholder to get medically examined before they could be granted a policy. With COVID-19 restrictions changing the way we make and attend doctor's office appointments, some life insurance providers might not require you to do this part. It's been said that, even before the onset of the coronavirus, many life insurance companies were looking to do away with this part of the application process anyway — Because COVID-19 has complicated the whole process, some may take this opportunity to drop it from their requirements entirely. (On the other hand, it's also possible that you might be asked to get an exam once it's safe to do so again. Either way, it's quite possible this will be avoided entirely for now — a great opportunity to speed things along, to be sure.)

Learn more about the cost and coverage of life insurance.

Have There Been Any Changes to the Life Insurancer Application Process Since the Coronavirus Pandemic Began?

To cut to the chase, there have absolutely been changes to the life insurance application process since COVID-19 hit. This is pretty much a given at this point, especially considering how much has changed in the world at large. We touched on this a little bit in the previous section when discussing the medical exam requirement, but the full extent of the changes goes far beyond just the surface level.

For starters, those who are applying for life insurance after the onset of the virus need not worry if any COVID-related health problems will be covered. Reputable health insurance companies have all made alterations to cover the coronavirus in their life insurance policies, which means that — if the worst happens — your policy will still be paid out despite the newness of this virus.

Another new change to the application process has to do with any recent traveling you might have done. Because the United States had so much trouble with the coronavirus running rampant through airports, cruise ships, and other forms of transportation, life insurance providers made a point of postponing the life insurance application of anyone who's traveled in the last 30 days.

It's also important to note that many older Americans might run into an influx of hurdles when applying for life insurance in the midst of the pandemic. Several of the biggest life insurance providers hit pause on applications for those above the ages of 60, 70, and 80 during the early months of the pandemic and are expected to continue this strictness in the months to come simply because this age group is the most at-risk of contracting coronavirus.

Has the Coronavirus Pandemic Had an Effect on Premiums?

There are all sorts of uncertainties right now — this much is abundantly clear. As such, there are also uncertainties when it comes to today's life insurance premiums. While there's no definitive yes or no answer here, you should know that applying for life insurance during the coronavirus pandemic could very well result in you paying higher premiums. In the end, it all depends on the life insurance provider and what they've decided to do in the wake of this virus's global spread.

On the plus side, though, as soon as you have purchased your policy and have begun making regular payments on it, it's not legal for the insurance policy provider to change your interest, your rate, or your benefits. This means that — no matter what happens with the coronavirus pandemic going forward — the minute you're locked into your new insurance policy, it doesn't matter what happens to premiums from that point forward.

The Bottom Line

These are incredibly troubling times, but there is always hope for the future. Securing a life insurance policy for yourself and ensuring that your family and loved ones will be taken care of in case of an emergency is one way to guarantee that hope. With the nation's top scientists working day and night to develop a vaccine, it seems that the end of the coronavirus pandemic is much more visible now than it was back in March. Still, that's no excuse to dismiss the incredibly substantial benefits of a strong life insurance policy.

Regardless of what the coronavirus pandemic looks like in your state or where COVID-19 goes from this point forward, investing in a life insurance policy is always a good thing to consider. If you're unsure of how to go about applying for a policy, are confused about what insurance provider to go with, wondering what kind of coverage to invest in, or are simply looking for some guidance, consider reaching out to PolicyScout and talking with one of our insurance experts. PolicyScout can help you find the very best life insurance provider for your specific needs, and they can even help you get set up with other essential types of insurance beyond just life insurance.

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