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Several factors can affect your ability to qualify for life insurance and your premium, including your age, health history and if you work in a high-risk occupation.
But as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, and as vaccines become more widely available, new questions have emerged about the COVID vaccine and life insurance. Many people are wondering if getting vaccinated will affect their life insurance coverage or eligibility.
Unfortunately, misinformation about this is rampant, so here's some information about the COVID vaccine and life insurance coverage.
Does the COVID Vaccine Void Life Insurance?
First, it's important to note that after clinical trials involving thousands of participants and extensive clinical and research data, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three COVID vaccines. Two are approved for emergency use due to the pandemic, and one has received full FDA approval. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all three vaccines are safe and effective.
Still, confusion has emerged among some segments of the public because of misinformation stating that the vaccines are experimental, and that if you're vaccinated, this could void an existing life insurance policy or make it more difficult to get coverage. Many states and insurance industry groups have released statements to clarify that this is untrue.
The New York State Department of Financial Services has issued guidance reminding residents that insurers are prohibited by state law from refusing to pay out a death benefit if someone has received a COVID-19 vaccine. The Texas Department of Insurance also has issued a statement saying the vaccine doesn't affect death benefits, and the president of the Texas Association of Life and Health Insurers — a major trade association for life and health insurers in the state — says the COVID-19 vaccine is not one of the causes stipulated in a life insurance contract that could lead to a benefit denial. Several other states have issued similar statements, including Alaska, Maryland, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.
Clarifications have come not only from states but also from the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), whose membership consists of 280 life insurance companies, including four of the country's largest life insurers. The ACLI says: "The fact is that life insurers do not consider whether or not a policyholder has received a COVID vaccine when deciding whether to pay a claim. Life insurance policy contracts are very clear on how policies work, and what cause, if any, might lead to the denial of a benefit. A vaccine for COVID-19 is not one of them."
Could the Vaccine Actually Have a Positive Effect on Life Insurance?
Getting the vaccine won't negatively affect your life insurance coverage. In fact, some experts say it could even help limit any premium increases related to COVID-19.
As of August 2021, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the country. Life insurers often look at an applicant's health history and weigh their mortality risks when setting premiums. Vaccination can reduce the risks of long-haul symptoms — such as anxiety, depression, permanent lung damage or ongoing cardiac issues — and prevent you from getting seriously ill if you do end up with a breakthrough infection after being vaccinated.
COVID Vaccines & Life Insurance: Learn the Facts
If you've heard or seen information about COVID vaccines and life insurance and are still wondering whether the COVID vaccine will void your life insurance, it's best to reach out to your life insurance company. This way, you can get direct answers and additional insight into the chances of a vaccination leading to benefit denials. If you're currently shopping around for a policy, you can call the life insurance carriers you're considering, ask about this issue and review each of their policies thoroughly before you sign up for coverage. Your financial representative can also respond to any questions or concerns.
There can be a lot of confusion and misinformation in the media. Educating yourself and learning the facts could help put your concerns at ease and ensure that you don't delay getting life insurance coverage to help financially protect your family.