Experts say getting term life insurance is just as easy as it was before the coronavirus - and just as cheap
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- Life insurance isn't changing, even in the wake of coronavirus, experts from three online life insurance agencies say.
- Life insurance is still available, and applications are the same as they've always been. Medical exams might be changing under certain circumstances, however.
- Experts also say prices for term insurance are holding steady, even among a rise in applications.
- Policygenius can help you compare life insurance policies to find the right coverage for you, at the right price »
The new coronavirus has uprooted much of daily life in the US. But when it comes to life insurance, experts don't see much changing.
The application process, premium prices, and underwriting will be the same as they've always been, say experts from three different online life insurance agencies. It's still possible to get life insurance policies, and for term life policies, prices are expected to hold steady.
Life insurance is still very much available, and three experts from three different life insurance agencies report an uptick in policy applications in March 2020.
Allison Kade, a marketing director at online life insurance agency Fabric, says its products aren't changing. "If you're a healthy young person and you're applying for life insurance, your rates shouldn't be changed due to this coronavirus," she said. "The underwriting process is the same if you were to apply today as if you were to apply two months ago."
None of the experts Business Insider spoke with expect to see changes in premium prices due to the coronavirus outbreak. All are still offering applications, and all say their applications are the same as they've always been.
In most cases, medical exams are still happening as planned
If the life insurance you're applying for requires a medical exam, chances are that it will still go on as planned, unless you're uncomfortable or are sick.
Generally, these medical exams are done by paramedical examiners, also called parameds. These professionals are different from the registered nurses working in hospitals and emergency rooms. Oftentimes, medical exams are conducted in your home or office, without a trip to a doctor's office or hospital.
"We have heard from some customers that they are a little hesitant about completing the medical exam right now," Haven Life's head of risk solutions Mark Sayre told Business Insider. The online insurance agency is planning to offer a 90-day extension on the medical exam portion of the application while offering immediate coverage up to $1 million.
Nicholas Mancuso, a life insurance expert and senior operations manager at insurance comparison site Policygenius, says his agency is prompting people who are uncomfortable to look into policies with no medical exam required.
Note that online life insurance agency Bestow, which offers term life insurance for two to 20 years at a time, does not require a medical exam for applicants.
Travel history shouldn't affect premiums, but it may affect the application process
Many life insurance applications ask about travel history or future travel plans, and experts say that this has been a standard practice long before coronavirus. While travel history shouldn't affect your premiums, it might affect other parts of the process, namely the medical exam.
Both Sayre and Mancuso say that applicants who have recently returned from a country with a heavy outbreak may need to wait to finish their application and complete a medical exam if necessary.
"We are tracking the State Department website and focused on any future travel plan to level three or four countries," Sayre says. "For applicants to are traveling to those countries, we may postpone their application until 30 days after they've returned from those countries." Since Business Insider spoke with Sayre, the US State Department has issued a level four travel advisory for every country in the world.
Mancuso says insurers working with Policygenius are determining medical exam eligibility on a case-by-case basis. "They're going to ask you travel questions about where you've gone to see if there's any reason to postpone [the medical exam], and maybe they're going to wait until you don't for sure have any symptoms."
Pricing for term life insurance policies shouldn't change
Life insurance companies make money by investing premiums and earning interest. With markets in a free-fall and interest rates lower than they have been in years, it would make sense that insurers would be feeling a squeeze to raise prices.
But, Sayre says that pricing for term life policies - the option most experts favor for affordability - shouldn't be affected at all. "I think where you may see price increases or price changes is more on the permanent insurance side where interest rates are a much bigger part of pricing," he says.
While permanent insurance policies, also called whole life insurance, may see prices increase, term life insurance prices should stay the same.
Policygenius can help you compare life insurance policies to find the right coverage for you, at the right price »
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