Nurse Stephanie King got Covid and long Covid in the first wave of coronavirus, leaving her severely ill and unable to work. But her insurer agreed to pay her £1,600 a month
Image: Stephanie King)
A nurse who got long Covid and couldn’t work for a year says she got a “heaven-sent” £17,600 payout from her insurer.
Stephanie King, 58, lives near Swansea in South Wales and worked as an agency nurse after years with the NHS.
Back in 2018 she hurt her leg, and said it got her thinking about what would happen to her finances if she had broken it and was unable to work.
She started investigating income protection insurance, which – as the name suggests – pays out if you can’t work or your normal earnings are disrupted, in exchange for a monthly premium.
In the same year she took out a policy with insurer British Friendly.
Has insurance helped you with long Covid – or not paid out at all? Message firstname.lastname@example.org
Then in March 2020 King tested positive for Covid as the first wave swept the country.
After suffering from Covid itself, King then developed long Covid – long-lasting symptoms that come on once the initial illness has subsided.
Long Covid is still not well understood, but around 1million Brits report they suffer from the condition.
Unfortunately King had long Covid so badly she was unable to work for almost a year.
“One of my main problems was a long-term neurological one,” she said. “I had long-term dizziness, very high blood pressure, tinnitus and severe fatigue.
“I couldn’t pick anything up off the floor, and if I tried I’d be feeling nauseous and like I was about to pass out.”
Overall she was ill from March 2020 until February 2021.
In April 2020 she claimed on her British Friendly policy, which doesn’t allow claims for the first month of illness – after getting a diagnosis from her GP.
But from there it paid out around £1,600 a month, which went towards King’s living costs. In total she got around £17,600 from the insurer, which also allowed her a phased return to work when she started to feel better.
King says the policy was “heaven-sent”, and that without it she could have really struggled to get by.
“One of my friends maxed out her credit card when she got ill, just trying to live,” King added.
“I was overwhelmed with the support I had. It wasn’t just financial, I had a dedicated person who would call me and check in – even when she didn’t have to, it really was second to none.
“A lot of people hadn’t thought of this cover for themselves. It sounds silly but as a nurse you honestly don’t think you will be affected by long illness.
“So I want to bust the myth that it’s a con, that these insurers never pay you out.”
The policy costs £58 a month, which King said she budgets for. Helpfully she doesn’t smoke or drink, but does have controllable asthma.
The policy runs until she is 70 years old, but the small print is that it does cost £58 a month.
Insurers have been very cautious about Covid claims, with many refusing to pay out for these.
Normally this is because events like a pandemic can cause a huge volume of claims in a short time and bankrupt insurers – leaving all their policyholders adrift.
In January this year the Supreme Court ordered insurers to pay out £1.2billion in business interruption claims related to the pandemic.
Likewise, around half of travel insurers stopped taking new policies during the early days of the outbreak.
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