Life Insurance and the COVID-19 Vaccine

The Department is aware of information circulating on social media sites suggesting that receiving a COVID-19 vaccination would result in the death benefit not being paid on existing life insurance policies or would result in an individual not being able to obtain new life insurance. Other information suggested that life insurance policies do not cover death due to COVID-19. This information is false.

The Department provides the following answers to frequently asked questions to correct this misinformation:

Can a life insurance company refuse to pay the death benefit on my existing life insurance policy if I receive a COVID-19 vaccination?

No. New York Law does not permit life insurance exclusions based on the insured person having received a vaccination.

Has the Department of Financial Services seen life insurance companies attempt to deny death benefits covering an insured person who has received a COVID-19 vaccination?

No. The Life Insurance Council of New York (LICONY), a trade association representing life insurance companies doing business in New York, and the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), a trade association representing the life insurance industry nationally, have each confirmed that life insurance companies do not use the fact that a policyholder has received a COVID-19 vaccination as a reason for refusing to pay death benefits. In a March 15, 2021 statement, ACLI indicated the following: 

“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.”

Will receiving a COVID-19 vaccination prevent me from getting life insurance?

No. In a March 15, 2021 statement, the Life Insurance Council of New York (LICONY), a trade association representing life insurance companies doing business in New York, indicated that

“receiving a COVID-19 vaccination has absolutely no bearing on a life insurer’s decision to pay a claim or issue new coverage”.

Can a life insurance company refuse to pay the death benefit on my existing life insurance policy if my death is due to COVID-19?

No. New York Law does not permit life insurance exclusions based on death due to disease or illness.

Note that, unlike Life Insurance, Accidental Death Insurance, which typically only covers death resulting from an accidental bodily injury, does not typically cover death resulting from a disease or illness such as COVID-19.

Can a life insurance company change terms and conditions of an existing life insurance policy to avoid paying the death benefit if death is due to COVID-19?

No. New York Law does not permit life insurance exclusions based on death due to disease or illness.