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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Getting life insurance in the time of Covid-19

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Charlene Ara Gonzaleshttp://charlenegonzales.com
Charlene Ara Gonzales is a senior financial consultant from one of the country's top insurance companies. She is an MDRT-aspirant and working alongside Manila's best insurance agents.

The Philippines is the new hotspot of the COVID-19 pandemic in the western pacific region. As of writing, there are over 290,000 recorded cases across the country, and thousands of individuals get infected every day. Even the death toll rises. Thousands of patients succumbed to the disease, and all that’s left are the heartfelt stories of the families they left behind.

The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the fact that illness and death can come at any time. It reminded us of our mortality, which got many people thinking about getting life insurance.

If you’re in the market for a life insurance policy (or if you are wondering whether your life insurance is enough to cover your expenses when diagnosed with COVID-19), continue reading this article. I may have answers to your questions and more.

How much life insurance do I need, and what benefits should I have?

The value of your life insurance must be 10-times your annual income.

Let’s say your monthly take-home pay is ₱28,000. Your annual income is ₱336,000. Multiply it by ten, and you will get ₱3,360,000.

When you talk to an insurance agent, ask for a quote with at least ₱3,360,000 death benefits.

Why 10-times your annual income? Because the life insurance benefits will replace your salary if you die. It would be nice if your life insurance would cover your family’s expenses for the next decade.

If you have children dependent on your salary, your life insurance will provide for them even if you’re no longer there.

Apart from the death benefit, look for a life insurance policy with comprehensive critical illness and hospitalization benefits. Some of my clients claimed hospitalization support ranging from ₱1,000 to ₱5,000 per day when they got confined due to COVID-19.

Already have a policy? That’s great! Check your plan and consider upgrading for better protection coverage.

Will insurance premiums increase because of the pandemic?

Not really. Neither the application process nor the underwriting criteria have changed substantially because of the pandemic. However, you need to apply for insurance when you are healthy and do not have COVID-19.

Based on experience, it is harder to apply for insurance after testing positive for COVID-19.

Insurance companies might ask the applicant to reapply after a month, submit at least two swab tests with negative results, and undergo a full medical exam to prove one’s recovery.

I can’t go out and meet an insurance agent. Can I still apply for insurance?

Yes, you can still get covered. The Insurance Commission mandated insurance agents to follow the physical distancing protocols in place. They worked with all insurance companies in the country and put out guidelines to still help applicants online. You can talk to an insurance agent over the phone, then schedule a Zoom or FaceTime conference later.

Can I apply online myself?

Yes, you can apply for insurance of your own, but it is best to speak with an agent so you can talk more about your coverage and your options. As an insurance agent, I need to know who I am working with before sending you a quote.

Also, my job doesn’t end after the sale — that’s when it starts.

I have a medical condition to declare. Do I have to get a medical exam?

It depends on the condition that you will declare and the underwriter’s judgment.

There are times when the applicant didn’t need to undergo a physical or medical exam. The underwriter is only required to take the applicant’s doctor’s statement regarding the declared medical condition.

When asked to undergo a medical examination, please take every precaution to ensure you won’t get exposed to the virus.

What if there is a limit to how much insurance I can get?

Getting started and having an active life insurance policy now is better than nothing!

If you can’t afford the premiums, consider starting at a more affordable plan. Today, most life insurance policies are upgradable, meaning you can improve your coverage when your cash flow improves.

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