ICYMI: As part of the COVID-19 relief package, you can defer your life and health insurance premiums (as well as loan repayments) for up to 6 months while maintaining your insurance coverage. Here’s a guide to help you do just that.
With the extended ‘circuit breaker’ due to COVID-19, the worry of recession and unemployment looms greater than ever. Those that no longer have a job, those whose businesses are suffering or those that have had their pay cut will need all the help they can get.
On 31 March 2020, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced that individuals with Life and Health insurance policies in effect can apply to their insurer to defer premium payments for up to 6 months. During these 6 months, policyholders will continue to receive their insurance coverage. This deferment of premium is available for all individual life and health insurance policies with a policy renewal or premium due date between 1 April and 30 September 2020.
Besides insurance premiums, you can also defer the repayment for loans such as renovation, education and car loans from 6 May 2020. Unlike deferring insurance premium payments, borrowers do not need to demonstrate the impact from COVID-19 to receive deferment for their loans. Credit scores will also not be affected. For the deferment of loans, you will have to reach out to your respective financial institutions to opt in for this relief.
When we talk about insurance payment costs, it is not as paltry as a few plates of chicken rice. They can really add up. In times like these, having a deferment option on loans and insurance could go a long way to help families ease their financial burdens.
Here’s how you can defer your insurance premium payments in Singapore.
Step #1: Find out what can be deferred
Not all insurance policies and not all policyholders will be eligible for this insurance premium deferment. Here are the overarching criteria for the insurance premium payments that can be deferred:
- Deferment of premium payment is only for individual life or health insurance policies
- Policy renewal or premium due date must be between 1 April and 30 September 2020
For general insurance policies, you can apply to your insurer to work out a flexible instalment plan that allows you to better manage your premium payments and maintain your insurance protection.
Step #2: Check your insurer’s eligibility criteria
For most insurance providers, this premium deferment is not automatic. You are required to apply via your insurer for the deferment and it will be subject to your insurer’s approval. Before you apply for the deferment, be sure to check the eligibility criteria of your insurer.
Step 3: Apply for the deferment online or through your insurance advisor
With the ‘circuit breaker’, unless you are an essential worker, your only reason to step out of the house should be for essential purposes such as buying groceries. Most insurance companies have introduced online forms which can be downloaded, filled and emailed to the insurer. Alternatively, you can check if your insurance advisor can help you out with the application.
Step 4: Prepare relevant documents to include in your application
When submitting your application, some insurance companies will also require you to provide documents that verify your retrenchment, pay cut or compulsory no-pay leave. This could be in the form of an official company letter or email announcement, or your CPF contribution statement. If you are a business owner or self-employed, you would be required to show evidence of a significant loss in income.
Step 5: Check the outcome of your application
It will take a few days for your application to be processed by the insurance company. Check on the outcome of your application after 3 to 7 working days. This could be in the form of an email or a physical letter.
If your application is approved, your insurance premium payments will be deferred and you will only be required to pay the outstanding premiums in full by the end of the deferment period.
Summary of insurance premium deferment for insurers in Singapore
|Insurance Company||How To Apply||Eligibility Criteria|
|AIA||Complete and submit the Extended Grace Period (EGP) application form on the AIA website. |
Details: AIA Extended Grace Period Support Programme FAQs
|AIA customers whose livelihoods were affected by Covid-19 (reduction/loss of income or loss of business) may apply for this support programme. Please be assured that each case is carefully reviewed to ensure that our customers get the help they need.|
|AXA||Complete and sign the application form and submit this form to firstname.lastname@example.org |
Details: AXA COVID-19 Premium Payment Support Program
|Policyholders must provide satisfactory evidence of the following:Unemployment due to retrenchment by employer affected by COVID-19 pandemicCompulsory unpaid leave imposed by employer affected by COVID-19 pandemicMonthly basic salary significantly reduced by employer affected by COVID-19 pandemicFor self-employed with businesses that suffered significant loss of income due to COVID-19, policyholder must show proof of ownership in the company and proof of significant loss of incomeFor others who are self-employed and suffered significant loss of income due to COVID-19, policyholder must show proof of significant loss of income|
|Singlife||Download and complete the “Singlife COVID-19 Premium Deferment Form” and email it to email@example.com with supporting documents via the registered email address you have with Singlife.|
Details: Singlife COVID-19 Premium Deferment Programme
|The eligibility criteria cover customers who: Lost their jobs due to COVID-19;Experience a sustained income drop of 30% or more for 3 consecutive months (such as for small business owners, private hire drivers, etc);Put on indefinite/extended no-pay leave (such as for airline staff, entertainment venue staff, etc); and/orAre hospitalised due to COVID-19 and/or are paying for COVID-19 related hospitalisation bills for immediate family members. This is provided the hospitalised patient has not travelled out of Singapore since 27 March 2020.|
|China Life Insurance||Fill in application form and mail it to China Life Insurance. You can also contact China Life’s customer care at CustomerCare@chinalife.com.sg|
Details: Premium Payment Deferment Support Programme
|You are eligible for premium payment deferment if:You are the policy owner or trustee or assignee of an Eligible Policy;Your Eligible Policy has not lapsed and is in-force;You do not have any outstanding premium(s) at the point of applying for the Programme; andYou are facing Financial Difficulties owing to the COVID-19 situation.|
“Financial Difficulties” refers to:Retrenchment due to COVID-19;Reduction of income due to COVID-19;Loss of income due to indefinite/extended compulsory unpaid leave due to COVID-19; orAny other circumstances as may be determined at Our sole discretion.
|Etiqa||Send an email with the subject title in this format: <Application for DPPA: Policy No. XXXXXX> to firstname.lastname@example.org. You are encouraged to use the email address that you have registered with Etiqa. You are also required to attach proof of document such as: Employer’s Letter of Salary Reduction/Termination Letter, orLetter of Closure of non-essential businesses by Business Owners, orOther relevant proof or documents, if any|
Details: COVID-19 Deferred Premium Payment Arrangement (“DPPA”) for Life Insurance
|Etiqa life insurance policyholders whose policy is still active/ in-force who are financially affected by COVID-19 may apply. This includes policyholders who have suffered loss of job or loss of income from work or business.|
|FWD||For more information or to apply for the insurance payment deferment, you will have to call FWD at 6820 8888 or email email@example.com.|
Details: Support for eligible FWD customers
|Great Eastern||Complete the registration form and email the completed form to DPPfirstname.lastname@example.org.|
Details: Great Eastern COVID-19: Deferment of Premium Payment Programme (“DPP Programme”)
|To be eligible for the DPP Programme, the following criteria apply:Policyholder’s monthly income has been reduced or loss of job due to COVID-19.Individual policy with premium due date or policy renewal date falls on any date between 1 April and 30 September 2020 inclusive. Policyholder has a history of good payment, that is policy premiums have been paid up-to-date and there is no outstanding premium as of application date.|
|HSBC Insurance||You can either call +65 6225 6111 or email HSBC Insurance at email@example.com to submit your request. No application form or supporting documents are required. |
Details: HSBC Life FAQs
|If you have a qualifying policy with premium due between 1 April and 30 September 2020, you can apply to defer your premium payments for up to 6 months.|
|NTUC Income||Apply for the Income Support Scheme and select Scheme 5: Six-months Premium Deferment Program. You also have to submit relevant documentary evidence for Income’s review/consideration, to firstname.lastname@example.org.|
Details: Income Support Schemes
|This is eligible for individual customers from Affected Industries who are facing adverse financial difficulties triggered by the Covered Events resulting directly from the Covid-19 pandemic.|
Covered Events:RetrenchmentForced no-pay-leavePay cut or suffer loss of income by at least 25%Involuntary business closure due to new regulation
|Prudential||If you have an insurance plan with Prudential, this deferment of insurance premium payment is an automatic feature and you do not have to apply for it. When cash payment is not received, or when GIRO/ Credit Card deduction is unsuccessful, the original grace period will automatically be extended to 180 days. |
Details: FAQs – Extension of Premium Payment Grace Period
|This extended grace period will apply to all policyholders who have policies with premiums due between 1 April to 30 September 2020 (both dates inclusive). |
|Tokio Marine||Complete the application form and email the completed form to email@example.com.|
Details: #goCare Deferred Premium Scheme
|Eligibility to apply: Policyholder’s loss of job or income reduced due to COVID-19*Policies must be in-force as at 31 March 2020Applicable to all individual traditional life policies & investment-linked plans|
(Excludes Group Insurance, Care & Health Plan)*Retrenched, Involuntary no-pay leave, Reduction in pay/income, Business downturn (self-employed)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about insurance premium deferment
Q. Is there a deadline for the application?
You can apply between 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020. You should also apply within 30 days of your policy’s next premium due date. For example, if your premium due date is 1 June 2020, your request should be received by your insurer before 30 June 2020.
Q. What happens at the end of the deferment period?
You have to pay your outstanding premiums in full by the end of the deferment period. Failure to do so will result in policy and coverage lapse.
Q. What is the estimated approval time?
This differs from insurer to insurer. For example, Great Eastern has stated that applications will be responded to within three working days, while AIA will inform applicants of the outcome within 5 working days and HSBC Insurance will send a letter of confirmation within 7 working days.
Q. Will I still be covered during this period of payment deferment?
Yes, you will still be covered by your insurance policy during this period. You will also still be able to make claims should the need arise.
Q. Will there be interest charged on the premiums?
No, there will not be interest charged on the deferred premiums. You should pay your outstanding premiums in full by the end of the deferment period to avoid any additional charges or your policy lapsing.
Q. Does this deferment apply to general insurance?
This deferment of insurance premium payments announced by MAS applies to life and health insurance policies. However, general insurance policyholders can apply to insurers to work out a flexible instalment plan while maintaining your insurance protection.
Q. If I want to defer the payment of premiums for more than one insurance policy, do I need to make multiple applications?
This depends if these policies are from the same insurance provider. If the policies are from the same insurance provider, it is possible to list the different policy numbers in a single application form. However, if you are applying for deferment of insurance premiums from different insurers, you will have to follow the application process for each individual insurance company.
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By Ching Sue Mae
A flat white, an adventure-filled travel and a good workout is her fuel. This Manchester United fan enjoys sharing knowledge on personal finance while chasing the dream of financial independence.