How Does Coronavirus Impact Your Insurance?

By | February 17, 2020

The novel Coronavirus that originated in Wuhan has now spread around the world and killed more than 2,000 people. Will your insurance cover this pandemic? Let’s find out. 

How Does Coronavirus Impact Your Insurance

The novel Coronavirus that emerged in central China last year is now spreading rapidly to other parts of the world. According to latest figures, COVID-19 has claimed more than 2,000 lives. With Iran, South Korea and even Italy reporting cases of Coronavirus now, the WHO has termed it a “global emergency”. Outside mainland China, there have been about 780 infections reported in nearly 30 locations including France. In India, those who’ve caught the virus have been declared to be out of the woods, thankfully. However, the question that is on everyone’s minds now is if they do actually catch this virus, will their Insurance cover it?

Will Your Insurance Cover Coronavirus?

You can rest easy knowing that if your insurance policy is not disease-specific, it will cover hospitalisation and OPD-related expenses regardless of the disease you’re being diagnosed for. Most Health Insurance policies cover all kinds of infections even if it’s the novel Coronavirus. Also, since you possibly can’t have a history of contracting the novel Coronavirus, this will not fall under the category of pre-existing illnesses and thereby be exempted from insurance coverage. So if your Health Insurance covers everything ranging from in-patient treatment, pre-hospitalisation, post-hospitalisation, OPD and ambulance cover, these will remain applicable even in the case of a Coronavirus infection.

Additional Reading: All You Need To Know About Insurance Coverage Offered By Ola And IRCTC

How To Make A Claim?

You can make a Health Insurance claim in two ways: reimbursement or cashless method (bills are settled directly by the insurer to the hospital). Most insurers offer cashless facility these days where they settle the bills directly with the hospital if it is in the list of network hospitals. The insured will have to bear charges for items like non-medical expenses like gauze bandage, soap, shampoo, doctor and admission charges.

There maybe situations where insurance companies will not be able to provide cashless facility to the insured. This happens the hospital is not in the list of networked hospitals of the insurer or the insurer does not offer cover for cashless settlement of expenses like OPD bills etc. In cases such as these, you will have to pay the bills yourself first, and then claim reimbursement from your insurer.

Additional Reading: How Does A Restoration Benefit Work For You?

How Does Coronovirus Impact Travel Insurance?

Most Travel Insurance plans don’t offer coverage for pandemics like the Coronavirus. However, there are exceptions to this. Let’s understand this with the help of three scenarios that can emerge in this context:

a) When you don’t want to travel to your intended destination for fear of contracting the virus: In this scenario, only one kind of insurance will cover you-a ‘cancel for any reason’ policy. However, you may not always get all of your money back. Some policies reimburse between 50-75% of your trip’s cost.

b) As a standard, Travel Insurance plans offer coverage for “named perils”. This list doesn’t include epidemics and pandemics. But they will cover you if you fall sick on your trip.

c) If you have not booked your vacation yet and are still working out the details, you can either change the destination to avoid Asia altogether or buy an Insurance plan that will cover you.

d) Travel Insurance will cover you only if your policy includes pandemic coverage, otherwise not.

Given the pace and intensity with which the virus is spreading, it would be a good idea to keep all your overseas travel on hold unless it’s absolutely essential. Better safe than sorry.

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