The impact of COVID-19 on your protection policy – Your questions answered
Bank of Ireland Life would like to reassure its customers that the COVID-19 pandemic does not adversely impact the rights customers already have under existing policies. We are receiving lots of enquiries and we thought it would be helpful to set out the position on some of the most common questions arising. We fully appreciate these are challenging times and you can be assured we will be supporting you through them to the very best of our ability.
COVID-19 and My Protection Policy
- 1. Does my existing policy cover COVID-19 or does COVID-19 impact my ability to claim under my existing policy?
The cover you had before COVID-19 won’t change as a result of COVID-19. The cover you have depends on the type of policy you have and the benefits you selected when you took the policy out. Here’s an overview of types of cover and the impact of COVID-19:
If you have cover for death on your policy and death occurs as a result of COVID-19, the death benefit will still be paid assuming any other conditions for payment of a death benefit are met. There is no exclusion in our policies for death arising from a disease such as COVID-19.
Specified/critical/serious illness cover
While it depends on the terms of the policy you hold (and we will be happy to check in any case), in general COVID-19 is not one of the serious illnesses covered by our policies which would result in a serious illness benefit being paid. What serious illnesses are covered will be clearly set out in your policy conditions and in some cases the severity level required before an amount is paid. While COVID-19 itself may not be covered, COVID-19 does not impact your ability to claim for serious illness benefit if you meet the definition of one or more of the serious illnesses that are covered by the policy.
Hospital cash benefits
If you have cover under your policy to protect you in the event you are hospitalised, then hospitalisation as a result of COVID-19 won’t prevent you from relying on that cover. Please do however refer to your policy conditions to understand what hospitals are covered.
If you have income protection benefit under your policy, COVID-19 won’t adversely impact that benefit. If you meet the definition of disability as set out in your policy conditions then your income protection benefit will be paid after any deferred period that applies. No new conditions will be imposed and payment will be made where a valid claim arises under the existing terms.
- 2. I am currently in the process of taking out a new policy. Do I need to declare if I have had COVID-19 symptoms, if I’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or if I am awaiting test results for COVID-19?
Yes. You need to answer the questions asked on the application form fully to enable us assess your application. The application form includes questions that require you to tell us about any medical conditions you have been diagnosed with, including COVID-19, and asks you to tell us if you have been referred for any tests or are awaiting the results of any tests, including tests for COVID-19.
You also need to tell us if you were referred for any tests, are awaiting any test results or were diagnosed after you submitted an application but before the policy has commenced, The application form also includes a question on recent medical history; you will need to tell us in this question if you’ve had any symptom or symptoms of Covid-19 in the last 3 months.
You do not need to tell us if your policy was already in force before you had COVID-19 symptoms, before you were referred for a COVID-19 test or before you received a COVID-19 test result.
- 3. If I have experienced COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 does this mean I cannot get cover?
If you are applying to take out a policy and have tested positive for COVID-19,are awaiting test results for COVID-19 or have been referred for a test for COVID-19, a final decision on an application for cover will be postponed until you have either fully recovered and are back to normal activities for a period of time. If you are applying to take out a policy and are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms then a final decision on your application for cover will be made once you have been symptom free for at least 1 month. When we assess an application for cover we of course take all medical details provided into account and not just any disclosures about COVID-19.
- 4. Are there any restrictions on travel to COVID-19 infected areas under my existing policy conditions?
While there are no restrictions enforced specifically for COVID-19, there may be some restrictions on the countries that cover will be extended to. This depends on the terms of the policy you have and New Ireland won’t be changing the terms of your existing policy. If travel restrictions don’t currently apply, that will continue to be the case. It is however important to check your policy to see if cover applies to certain countries only. These countries are often referred to as ‘approved territories’ in your policy conditions but this will depend on the policy conditions you have.
- 5. Have you now changed the types of questions being in your application forms?
We have now made a change to the questions we ask in our application forms which requires you to tell us about any COVID-19 symptoms you have had in the last 3 months. If you inform us that you have been experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, we will defer your application for insurance cover until you are symptom free for 1 month. A decision on your application for insurance cover may also be postponed if you fall into an at risk group such as those as outlined by the HSE.