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Coronavirus insurance review: 5 types of coverage for COVID-19

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6 mins

As the novel coronavirus spreads across the globe, people are doing all they can to avoid infection. Washing their hands more deliberately. Cleaning and disinfecting their homes and workspaces. Canceling travel plans.

But those efforts may not be enough. In fact, one expert says it’s possible that 70 percent of the world’s population will become infected before the virus runs its course.

As you stay on top of the latest developments and take the necessary precautions, now may be an ideal time to review your insurance. Specifically, you should review the types of insurance that may help if you contract the coronavirus.

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that often cause upper-respiratory tract illnesses. A novel coronavirus is a new one that has not been previously identified.

This was the case for a coronavirus first uncovered in December 2019 in China. It has subsequently been named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease, while 19 refers to the year 2019.

Since then, it has spread around the world, including the United States, bringing with it not only sickness but also concern and panic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 spreads through close contact with an infected person, especially if that individual sneezes or coughs. The CDC also said It may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

So far there is no vaccine for COVID-19. The CDC said the best protection is to avoid exposure to the virus. This means avoiding close contact with people who are sick. You should also avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

If your first line of defense fails, the next layer of protection from coronavirus may be having insurance.

Here are the types of insurance to consider as you prepare for the spread of COVID-19.

Health insurance

For the estimated 27 million Americans lacking health insurance, getting infected with the virus can be financially devastating. In response to COVID-19, many states have moved up their open enrollment windows. Stride Health makes it easy to check if you qualify.

But even those with health insurance may incur sizable bills if they catch coronavirus. If you suspect you have the virus, you need a specialized test to confirm it. While some places will do the test for free, there may be a cost to get tested. In fact, a Miami man received a bill for more than $3,000 for a coronavirus test.

If the virus makes you acutely ill, a hospital stay may be required. Then there is another test to ensure the patient is no longer infected before they can be released from isolation.

Before all that potentially happens, you should review your health plan’s deductible and out-of-pocket costs. Otherwise, you may suffer sticker shock at what you pay for testing and treatment.

You should also review which facilities are inside and outside of your carrier’s network. Getting tested at an out-of-network clinic can significantly raise your out-of-pocket costs.

Disability insurance

People infected with coronavirus need to be isolated in a hospital or at home depending on how sick they are.

The length of time can vary. The decision to release an infected patient from isolation is made on a case-by-case basis. Patients have to exhibit no symptoms and test negative for the virus before they’re released.

Unless you can work from home, you will miss work until you no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

If you’re fortunate, you’ll be released in days and only have to use paid time off. But what happens if you are unable to work for weeks or even longer? Can you afford the lost income?

You can if you have short term or long term disability insurance. This type of insurance replaces the income you lose if you can’t work due to an injury or illness, such as COVID-19.

Ready to protect your income? Get started right here with a free, personalized disability insurance quote.

Life insurance

The latest estimates show that between 1 percent and 3 percent of those who contract the virus will die from it.

On the one hand, those are small odds. On the other hand, the percentage of car passengers or construction workers who die in accidents is relatively small as well. Yet, it happens.

That’s why it’s always prudent to be covered by a term life insurance policy. If the unthinkable happens, your loved ones will be protected against the financial hardships caused by losing your income.

Business insurance

COVID-19 has started to cause major disruptions to day-to-day business. Supply chains have been interrupted. Business travel is being canceled. And widespread fear tends to stifle economic activity. The situation will only get worse as the outbreak grows.

If you’re a small business owner, you should review your coverage and talk to your agent about whether or not the negative impacts of the virus are covered.

For example, if you have to shut down your facility for an extended period, do you have business disruption insurance to cover your lost revenue? And if you have this type of policy, will it cover disruptions caused by coronavirus?

You should also review your liability coverage, especially if you operate a restaurant, daycare center, hotel, or other facilities where the virus can spread. If employees or customers contract coronavirus at your place of business, they may file a lawsuit for damages.

Travel insurance

COVID-19 is forcing airlines to cancel flights, event organizers to postpone or cancel events, and companies to limit business travel.

Travel insurance reimburses travelers in the event something goes wrong before or during a trip. This includes unforeseen illnesses or injuries that either force you to cancel your trip or suffering an injury while you’re traveling.

However, travel insurance may not reimburse you if your travel plans are affected by the virus. That’s because travel insurance only pays claims for “unforeseen events.” At this point, COVID-19 is a foreseen event. The only exception is for travel plans paid for before the virus became a global threat.

Jack Wolstenholm is the head of content at Breeze.

The information and content provided herein is for educational purposes only, and should not be considered legal, tax, investment, or financial advice, recommendation, or endorsement. Breeze does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, reliability or usefulness of any testimonials, opinions, advice, product or service offers, or other information provided here by third parties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

— Published March 21, 2020
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