With the rollout of various vaccines for COVID-19, many people are wondering if it will affect their life insurance policy or their ability to get life insurance coverage. To further complicate matters, there is information being shared on social media saying that if you die from a COVID vaccine, life insurance companies will not pay out a claim because the vaccines are considered “experimental”. Like many issues surrounding COVID vaccinations, there is a lot of misinformation floating around and being shared on social media and it is creating a lot of confusion. While we are not experts on COVID or COVID vaccinations, we can clarify how getting a COVID vaccine relates to life insurance. In short, a vaccine will not affect your life insurance policy, the ability to file a claim on your policy, or your ability to receive life insurance coverage (at least at this point).
Will a Vaccine Stop you from Filing a Claim?
This is a question many people are very concerned about. What if you die directly from receiving a vaccine? Does that affect your ability to file a claim? Many people are posting about this on social media channels and most are saying that you can not file a claim if you die from a COVID-19 vaccine. This is not true. You can absolutely file a life insurance claim if you have received a vaccine.
The information being shared on social media sounds logical enough. Many posts are saying things like “just so you are aware many have died from the covid vaccine, and if you have life insurance you cannot collect it, because the vaccine is deemed experimental, therefore you are not covered if you die from the vaccine”.
This is patently false. Life insurance companies must pay if you die from receiving a vaccine, or die from a permitted cause after receiving the vaccine. In fact, it is illegal for a life insurance company to deny a claim on this basis. Many states, such as New York, are posting about the issue to clarify that claims must be paid. Texas has also posted the same information.
But, if the vaccines are experimental, why would life insurance companies pay a claim if you die from receiving one? Well, the vaccines are not experimental. They have been given emergency use authorization from the FDA, which is an actual approval of the drug. Life insurance companies can not deny a claim because someone is taking a prescription drug or approved vaccine.
There are unapproved vaccines or fake/unstudied COVID treatments and preventative medications being sold that are not FDA-approved to treat COVID. Someone taking these may not be getting protection from COVID-19, but even these will likely not invalidate a life insurance claim. Just like a recreational drug user who started using after buying life insurance can not be denied a claim unless overdose is specifically excluded in the contract. Always read the fine print of the life insurance contract to understand instances of when the life insurance company can deny a claim.
Even large numbers of people who were vaccinated suffer long-term complications as a result of the vaccine, life insurance companies can not change their minds and start denying claims. The only risk to consumers would be that somehow so many people die that life insurance companies go out of business. Given the billions of dollars in reserves that life insurance companies hold, this is extraordinarily unlikely.
Even if you Die Directly as a Result of taking the Vaccine?
The CDC has said that they are getting reports of extremely few serious adverse events, and no deaths that can be attributed directly to receiving a COVID vaccine. So a death being caused directly by receiving a COVID-19 vaccine has almost no chance of happening. But inevitably with enough people receiving shots it will occur. The good news is that a life insurance company can not deny a claim for a death caused directly or indirectly by receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.
Does Being COVID-19 Vaccinated Affect your Ability to Buy Life Insurance
At this point, life insurance companies do not require you to have a vaccine in order to buy life insurance, but they possibly could in the future. Being vaccinated does not cause a life insurance company to rate your health differently than a non-vaccinated person. A life insurance company can not discriminate against people who have received the vaccine by charging them a higher rate or denying them coverage. In the future, things could change if large numbers of people are determined to have suffered side effects of the vaccine, or if life insurance companies decide that they want to require vaccination in order to issue a policy or issue a policy with a top health rating.
Similarly, if your life insurance policy has certain riders to purchase more life insurance such as the GI (guarantee
Recovering from COVID-19 and Applying for Life Insurance
Right now, life insurance companies have no standard way of dealing with people who have recovered from COVID-19. In Europe, many people are being denied coverage if they once had COVID and have since recovered. In the United States, some life insurance companies are imposing waiting periods after a recovery such as Prudential, who is requiring 30 days waiting period after a negative test before issuing a policy to a recovered SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) patient.
These issues and inconsistent ways of dealing with recovered or active COVID infections by life insurance companies may be an incentive for people to become vaccinated. In other words, it may be looked better upon by life insurance companies to have had the vaccine, than to not, or better to have had the vaccine than to have gone through a COVID infection. Ultimately so many people have had COVID, that life insurance companies will struggle to test and price life insurance differently for those who have. It is more likely that they will want to see someone vaccinated against future infections than not. The bottom line, you should not let life insurance dissuade you from getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Will does not Affect Life Insurance Negatively
In summary, life insurance companies can not deny claims that arise from the result of a COVID vaccine and do not deny coverage or price policies more highly to people who have been vaccinated. People should follow their doctor and CDC recommendations around getting vaccinated.