The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) has directed all the medical insurance companies in the country to include medical cover for COVID-19 or Coronavirus irrespective of the type of policy.

In a circular dated 4th March 2020, the IRDA issued instructions to all health insurers to include the cover for deadly Coronavirus with immediate effect. Moreover, the insurance market regulator has also asked insurers to expeditiously settle hospitalization claims related to coronavirus disease under health policies.

Coronavirus insurance product
Bengaluru based company launches coronavirus insurance product

New insurance products to cover vector-borne diseases

Since the outbreak of Coronavirus took everyone off guard, the insurance agencies are now offering insurance products for various specific diseases, including vector-borne diseases. The circular read, "for the purpose of meeting health insurance requirements of various sections, insurers are advised to design products covering the costs of treatment for coronavirus."

IRDAI CIrcular
IRDAI CircularCredit: Twitter

Experts argued that in order to claim insurance an affected person should at least be hospitalized for at least 24 hours. In an updated statement, the head of SBI General health insurance said medical and treatment expenses incurred due to coronavirus infection will be covered under its insurance. 

"The current coronavirus is an unfortunate situation and now declared as global pandemic by WHO. The expenses against the treatment for the medical emergency and hospitalization occurring due to Coronavirus, will continue to be covered under SBI General's health insurance," Subramanyam Brahmajosyula Head - Underwriting & Reinsurance, SBI General Insurance Company Limited, told International Business Times, India. 

Basic protective measures against Coronavirus
Basic protective measures against Coronavirus.

However, if the coronavirus is declared as a pandemic by WHO or Indian government, then claims might not be payable as such claims are excluded under many health insurance policies,"

Amid rising cases of COVID-19, India on Wednesday has suspended all visas except a few categories such as diplomatic and employment till 15th April. Till the time of filing this story, the total Corovirus count in the country has already touched 73 including 56 Indian nationals and 17 foreigners.

Update: This article has been updated to include a statement from the head of SBI General Insurance Company Limited.