Does monkeypox affect life insurance?


Right when we thought we were finally seeing the end of COVID-19, the monkeypox virus re-emerged. While the situation is still developing, it could have an impact on your life insurance application and some other insurance products.

By Vanessa Smith
Insurance Advisor, LLQP
8 min read

On the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, another virus has re-emerged, sparking concern over the health and well-being of people worldwide. Monkeypox, a virus closely related to smallpox, has become a major health emergency. It has gained endemic status in multiple countries and is being closely monitored by public health authorities.

As we saw with COVID, the re-emergence of monkeypox has brought up questions about life insurance coverage and how current and future policies will be impacted. In this article, we’ll take a look at what you can expect.

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What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox (now also known as mpox) is caused by the monkeypox virus, a virus closely related to smallpox. Monkeypox disease was first observed in monkeys in 1958, and the first recorded case of the disease in humans was recorded in 1970. While this is not the first time we’ve seen a monkeypox outbreak, heightened concern due to COVID has increased awareness and worry regarding transmission and possible infection.

Monkeypox can cause flu-like symptoms, but also:

  • A blistering, infectious rash
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches

Typically, symptoms last 2-4 weeks, with the onset of symptoms presenting 5-21 days after initial exposure. This can make it difficult to trace if symptoms are mild. But the disease is rarely fatal.

Is monkeypox a communicable disease?

Yes, monkeypox is indeed a communicable disease. A communicable disease is any disease that can be transmitted from a person or animal to another person or animal. For example, cancer is not a communicable disease but COVID-19 is.

Monkeypox can spread through direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids, such as saliva, blood, and semen. It can also spread through direct skin contact with lesions of scabs found on areas such as the eyes, throat, and mouth. In the current outbreak, most cases have been transmitted through close contact with people during sexual activities.

You can still get life insurance, critical illness insurance, and disability insurance if you've had monkeypox.

How common is monkeypox?

Despite a lot of media coverage, monkeypox is not as common as we might assume. And, thankfully, the spread of monkeypox has slowed down to a great extent.

As of November 3, 2022, the CDC has reported 77, 573 global cases. At present, data suggests that men who engage in sexual activity with other men make up the majority of the cases. However, anyone, regardless of sexual preference, can contract monkey pox.

Can monkeypox be cured?

Since monkeypox is rarely fatal, there are no specific treatments to cure it. Although, medications like antiviral drugs can provide relief for some of the symptoms. But the disease will often clear up on its own within 2-4 weeks from the time symptoms start.

However, since monkeypox is closely related to smallpox, it can be similarly prevented with a vaccine. As of October 2022, Health Canada has approved certain vaccines for monkeypox. But public health officials have advised that people who received the smallpox vaccine might not necessarily need a monkeypox vaccine too.

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Can I get life insurance if I had monkeypox?

The good news is that if you have suffered from mpox, you can still be eligible for life insurance. Many of us will contract a variety of diseases and viruses throughout our lifetime, and that doesn’t mean we can’t benefit from a life insurance policy. Since mpox is uncommon, and you aren’t likely to die from it — thankfully — it’s unlikely that you will be denied coverage if you had the virus.

During the underwriting process, you may be asked if you have been diagnosed with a viral infection, like monkeypox or COVID-19, in the past. If so, it is important that you answer as truthfully as possible. This will determine your premiums, deductibles, and amount of coverage. And, if you are found to be dishonest during underwriting, your policy may become void, leaving your loved ones without a death benefit.

If you’re still concerned about getting coverage, you could also consider no medical life insurance such as simplified issue or guaranteed acceptance. These types of life insurance do not ask medical questionnaires, so they’re a good option for people with health concerns or pre-existing medical conditions.

But it would be best to speak with a licensed advisor, such as the ones at PolicyAdvisor, for guidance on your best insurance options.

Will monkeypox affect my existing life insurance?

No, monkeypox will not have a major impact if you already have a life insurance policy. Remember, life insurance gives a death benefit — your surviving loved ones would receive a payout if you, unfortunately, pass away. This is the case even in the rare circumstance if a policyholder were to die due to monkeypox.

So, you can rest assured your existing life insurance policy will remain intact even for future outbreaks! (Although we sincerely hope that never happens again.)

Can I get other types of insurance if I have had monkeypox?

Yes, just as with life insurance, you can still apply for other forms of insurance even if you’ve had monkey pox. For example, if you also want to consider purchasing critical illness insurance or disability insurance coverage. These types of coverage are often purchased alongside a life insurance policy or added onto one as a life insurance rider.

If your mpox happened to cause other health conditions, although it’s unlikely, those other conditions may affect your insurance coverage — particularly for critical illness. But, as we’ve noted, most cases of monkeypox are not that severe.

You can always check in with our expert advisors to find out the details of your coverage. Or, if you’re concerned about contracting monkeypox and want to make sure you’d be protected, we can go over your best insurance options.

Does travel insurance cover monkeypox?

Travel insurance can cover medical care you may require if you contract monkeypox, as well as the cost of changed or cancelled travel due to quarantine or illness. However, you will want to confirm with your insurance provider before assuming you’re covered. Cancellation coverage may also depend on whether you cancelled a trip due to a diagnosis or a concern over catching the virus.

Read more about the difference between travel medical insurance vs. trip interruption insurance

Before booking any sort of international travel especially, it is wise to do some research on your destination and see if the Government of Canada has released a travel health notice relating to monkeypox. This can affect your travel insurance coverage, so it’s good to know before you get on the plane.

If you are travelling somewhere where you are concerned about monkeypox, be sure to confirm that your travel insurance policy provides coverage for that destination in case you contract the disease. One of the last things you’d want to worry about when travelling abroad is getting sick and stuck in another country with a large and unexpected hotel or hospital bill.

Does credit card travel insurance cover monkeypox?

Credit card travel insurance can be tricky — coverage varies and medical emergencies can have exclusions. While many credit cards provide travel insurance, this might only cover the cost of cancelling trips booked on that specific card. Further, some credit card travel policies might not cover medical treatment at all.

If you are looking for comprehensive travel insurance that includes monkeypox coverage, we recommend purchasing a policy from a travel insurance provider or through a brokerage like PolicyAdvisor.

What do I need to know about monkeypox and insurance?

You can breathe a sigh of relief — monkeypox is not expected to significantly impact life insurance. It’s a mostly preventable disease when those at risk are vaccinated and those who are infected are appropriately quarantined. In addition, it is a rare disease that seldomly results in morbidity or mortality.

However, as the current situation with monkeypox develops, it’s important to keep up with how it could impact your life and/or travel insurance policies. Especially if you are concerned about the disease or if you are travelling somewhere where there is a higher occurrence of the virus.

While monkeypox may impact travel insurance coverage for affected regions, you can likely still find coverage that will leave you feeling safe and comfortable.

If you’re not sure whether your life insurance is impacted by monkeypox, or if you want to learn more about a life insurance policy that fits your needs, reach out to our licensed advisors. We’d be happy to help you out!

Need help?
Call us at 1-888-601-9980 or book time with our licensed experts.

  • Monkeypox is not expected to have a huge impact on your life insurance
  • You can still get insurance if you’ve had monkeypox
  • Some travel insurance policies may be affected by monkeypox

By Vanessa Smith
Insurance Advisor, LLQP
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