If you’re unable to work for longer than your deferred period as a result of the coronavirus, you’ll most likely be covered by an existing Income Protection policy providing you developed the virus after the policy went live.
This means that, after your deferral period, you’ll start to receive a monthly benefit equivalent to a proportion of your salary until you’re well enough to return to work or until your payment period is up (this will depend on your policy’s terms and conditions).
There don’t tend to be any exclusions for pandemics on most existing Income Protection policies, although with the situation evolving rapidly insurers may seek to add them as time goes on.
Providing you don’t already have the virus when you apply for the policy, i.e. it’s not a pre-existing condition, in many cases it can still be possible to get cover for coronavirus under a new policy.
However, insurers may look to impose more stringent underwriting restrictions on new applicants who are taking out policies during the outbreak.
In such circumstances, your ability to get cover for coronavirus will depend on your circumstances and the insurer’s stance at the time of your application.
For instance, if you’ve already developed the virus, have symptoms of it, or have been at major risk of contracting coronavirus, including travel to areas with high incidence of the virus, you may have your policy deferred until you’re well again or have passed what is believed to be the virus’ incubation period, where it can lie dormant without symptoms.
Some insurers may simply place a ‘cut off date’, after which no new policies will cover coronavirus. Others have moved to exclude coronavirus for all new policies taken out after a certain date with shorter deferral periods, i.e. less than 1 month.
It all depends on each individual insurer and if you’re concerned, you should discuss these worries with your adviser.
Unfortunately no, you wouldn’t be covered by Income Protection if you’re self-isolating due to coronavirus but don’t have any symptoms of the condition, even if it’s under government advice.
Income Protection will only pay out if you’re too ill to work; this doesn’t include a period of asymptomatic self-isolation with no positive test for coronavirus.
If you test positive for coronavirus during a period of self-isolation, then providing it’s an existing policy taken out before the outbreak began and any restrictions and exclusions were announced, your claim should typically be assessed as normal.
Note that the situation is fluid and unfolding rapidly and this information is correct as of March 17th, 2020.