Worried about COVID coverage? These health plans would come to your rescue

The Coronavirus pandemic is getting worse day by day as more and more individuals are being infected globally. In India, as of 10th July 2020, there are more than 7.9 lakh active cases of COVID infection (Source: Times of India) while globally, the cases have touched the 12 million mark (Source: Worldometers) and the numbers are still climbing. As more and more individuals are falling prey to the virus, the need to face the financial implication of the illness has become important. While health insurance plans cover the cost of hospitalisation due to COVID, the cost of PPE kits and consumables are excluded. In case of COVID hospitalisation, such excluded costs constitute a primary portion of your medical bills and result in considerable out of pocket expenses. As such, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) asked insurers to come up with a short-term COVID 19 health insurance plan.

An English proverb says “Necessity is the mother of invention” and the IRDA’s directive resulted in the birth of two COVID insurance plans – Corona Kavach Insurance and Corona Rakshak Insurance. Both these plans are short-term health insurance plans. Let’s understand what these plans are all about –

Corona Kavach Insurance Policy

The Corona Kavach insurance policy is an indemnity oriented health insurance plan which covers the costs incurred if you are hospitalised due to Coronavirus. The features of the policy are as follows –

  • Individuals aged between 18 years and 65 years can buy the policy on an individual or family floater basis. For dependent children, the entry age is 1 day to 25 years.
  • Under the family floater variant, self, spouse, dependent children, dependent parents and parents-in-law can be covered
  • The sum insured start from INR 50,000 and goes up to INR 5 lakhs in multiples of INR 50,000
  • There are three policy tenures to choose from – 3.5 months (105 days), 6.5 months (195 days)and 9.5 months (285 days)
  • Coverage is available after a waiting period of 15 days. Coverage is offered only for hospitalisation due to COVID.
  • The plan does not offer the benefits of lifelong renewals or portability
  • Pre-existing illnesses as well as co-morbidities are covered under the policy
  • A single premium is payable to buy the plan

Coverage under the COVID Kavach health insurance plan is offered for the following –

  • Room rent
  • Boarding and nursing expenses
  • ICU and ICCU room rent
  • Fees payable to surgeons, doctors, consultants, anaesthetists and medical practitioners
  • Cost of anaesthesia, oxygen, blood, ventilator, surgical appliances, medicines, diagnostics, PPE kits, masks, gloves and other consumables
  • Cost of ambulance up to INR 2000
  • Treatment taken at home for up to 14 days after being diagnosed COVID positive. In such cases, the cost of diagnostics, medicines, consultations, oximeter, nursing expenses, etc. would be covered
  • AYUSH treatments for COVID
  • Pre-hospitalisation expenses for 15 days
  • Post hospitalisation expenses for 30 days

Moreover, there is an add-on hospital cash benefit allowance which can be chosen at an additional premium. This benefit pays 0.5% of the sum insured for each day of hospitalisation for up to 15 days.

Corona Rakshak Health Insurance

Another standard COVID 19 health insurance plan is the Corona Rakshak health insurance plan. Contrary to Corona Kavach insurance, this plan is a fixed benefit health insurance plan. This means that the plan pays a lump sum benefit if you test positive for Coronavirus. The features of the plan are as follows –

  • The plan is available on an individual sum insured basis only
  • Claim is paid if you are tested positive for Coronavirus and you are hospitalised for at least 72 continuous hours
  • Spouse, dependent children, dependent parents and parents-in-law can be covered under the policy on an individual sum insured basis
  • The policy comes in three durations – 3.5 months (105 days), 6.5 months (195 days)and 9.5 months (285 days)
  • Sum insured is available from INR 50,000 to INR 2.5 lakhs in multiples of INR 50,000

Premium rates

Being short term, COVID specific health insurance plans, the premiums of both the policies are low and affordable. Here is a comparative chart showing the details of both Corona Kavach insurance premium and Corona Rakshak insurance premium charged by Future Generali at different parameters if the sum insured is chosen to be INR 2.5 lakhs under both the plans –

health insurance

Difference between the plans

Though both Corona Kavach insurance and Corona Rakshak plan are standard health plans offered solely for covering the medical costs incurred due to Coronavirus infection, both these plans are different. Here is a table showing the comparative difference between the two –

Points of difference

Corona Kavach insurance

Corona Rakshak insurance

Type of policy

Indemnity plan which covers actual medical costs 

Fixed benefit plan which pays a lump sum benefit 

Basis of coverage

Both individual and family floater coverage allowed

Only individual coverage allowed

Sum insured

INR 50,000 to INR 5 lakhs

INR 50,000 to INR 2.5 lakhs

Payment of claim

On hospitalisation due to COVID for at least 24 hours

On hospitalisation due to COVID for at least 72 hours

Which one should you buy?

Both these policies are suitable for your short term coverage needs against COVID infection. If you already have an existing indemnity health plan, remember that the plan would not cover the cost of consumables in case of COVID hospitalisation. Since the cost of consumables would be high, you can buy Corona Kavach insurance which covers all possible costs incurred if you are hospitalised due to COVID. In fact, the COVID Kavach insurance plan also covers home treatment expenses thereby allowing you coverage for home quarantine too. While your normal health plan might not provide coverage for home treatments, the Corona Kavach insurance policy would and it would cover all possible costs incurred in treating you. The premiums are also quite low making the plan all the more feasible.

When it comes to Corona Rakshak health insurance plan, it gives you a lump sum benefit on hospitalisation for 72 hours or more. This benefit would help you meet the non-medical financial costs which you might suffer if you are tested positive for COVID. The plan, therefore, acts as a supplemental coverage which you can opt for if you have an existing indemnity policy. The lump sum benefit paid under the plan can be used to pay for the cost of consumables which are excluded from the claim of your normal health plan.

Both these policies are the need of the hour when COVID cases have become as common as the common flu. With more and more households falling victim to this dreaded illness, it is better to have complete coverage for the possible medical expenses that you would incur if you suffer from the infection. Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak are short-term plans which cost low but provide complete financial protection against the medical expenses of COVID. So, invest in these plans and secure your finances against this pandemic.

Is flight cancellation insurance cover really worth your money?

With the COVID pandemic playing a spoilsport on travel plans, air travel has become quite restricted. Tickets which had been booked in advance have been cancelled by the airline itself due to the lockdown or by you fearing the risk of infection. If the airlines are cancelling their flights, they are offering protection for your booking amount in the form of credit shells. You are allowed to book a flight using the credit shell within the next 12 months. However, if you are cancelling your flight voluntarily, you lose your booking amount. This is where a flight cancellation cover comes handy.

What is a flight cancellation cover?

Customer satisfaction is the name of the game and to provide the maximum satisfaction to customers, many online travel agents are offering flight cancellation covers when you book your flight tickets through them. The cover allows you a complete refund of your money if you cancel your flight due to any unforeseen reason before you travel. The premium is affordable and by parting with a few hundred bucks, you can secure your booking amount in case of cancellation.

The fine print

Though the flight cancellation cover looks simple and convenient in case possible cancellations, there’s always a fine print attached to it. Looking at and understanding the fine print is important so that you get your money’s worth and don’t get stuck in technicalities when it’s time to claim. The devil is in the details and you need to check the details to spot the pitfalls when buying the flight cancellation cover. Here are some of the finer details of the cover which you might overlook –

  1. The cover might not work in this current pandemic when many people are cancelling their bookings to avoid travelling. 

    Pro tip: Find out from the online booking agent if it would allow coverage for trip cancellations during the current pandemic before buying the cover.

  2. If you cancel and reschedule your flight, you would have to pay the fare difference if there is any
  3. The convenience fee and the cancellation cover premium that you pay would be non-refundable
  4. The premium might differ depending on your travel date
  5. The cover is usually available if you cancel your trip at least 24 hours before the scheduled departure time
  6. There might be a capping on the maximum refund that you can claim. If your booking amount is within this capping, you would get the full refund but in case of a higher booking amount, your refund would also be capped. 

    Pro tip: Check the capping limit on the refund available. It should cover your booking amount. If it is less, opt for another travel agent or a cover with a higher capping limit.

  7. You might get a cash refund or a credit shell. While the former gives you flexibility, the latter forces you to rebook with the agent within the validity date of the shell.

    Pro tip: Choose a cover which offers a cash refund. Credit shells are not suitable if you have put your travel plans on hold in the current situation.

  8. Flight cancellation cover does not cover loss of baggage, medical emergencies and other contingencies which you might face on the trip

Is the cover worth it?

If you are flying domestically and/or visiting family and/or relatives within India, flight cancellation cover can be effective in covering possible cancellations. The cost of the cover is low and affordable and you don’t lose on your flight bookings. However, you should check the above-mentioned fine print of the cover before buying it. Moreover, the cover has a limited scope. If you book an international flight, the coverage would not be ideal. You need coverage against medical emergencies and baggage loss which is available under travel insurance plans. Travel insurance plans provide a comprehensive scope of coverage and are better suited for international travel needs. 

Travelling plans are in a mess in this pandemic when the threat of infection and possible lockdown might prevent you to travel. In case of urgent travel needs, book your tickets after being sure that you would travel. If your travel is confirmed, flight cancellation cover would not make sense. However, if you still need financial security against cancellation, opt for travel insurance for a wider scope of coverage.

Information on long term health insurance and its benefits

Medical expenses have become unaffordable for the common man and given the rising trend of medical inflation, the costs are expected to increase in the coming time. Given the unaffordability of medical expenses, a health insurance policy becomes the most important part of your financial portfolio. The policy covers the medical expenses which are incurred if you or your family member is hospitalised giving you financial relief. These health insurance policies are offered as annual contracts which you need to renew every year for continued coverage. Moreover, with lifelong renewability available under all health insurance plans, if you renew the policies on time, you can enjoy coverage for as long as you live.

While health insurance plans come as an annual contract, there are long term health insurance policies too which provide you continued coverage for a specified duration. Do you know what these long term insurance plans are all about?

What is a long term health insurance policy?

A long term health insurance policy is nothing but a health insurance policy which is offered for two or three consecutive years at once. You are required to pay the aggregate premium for the duration of the coverage at once when you buy the plan and then the long term policy provides continuous coverage for the said duration without the need of annual renewals.

Features of long term insurance plans

 Long term health plans have the following salient features –

  • The policy is issued for a period of two or three years as per your choice
  • The premium is usually payable at once when buying the policy. However, many companies are also allowing the facility of instalment premiums wherein you can avail long term insurance plans by paying premiums in instalments.
  • There is a premium discount when you choose a long term duration
  • The no-claim bonus is added on an annual basis even when you have a long term insurance plan

Long term v/s short term health insurance plans – the pros and cons

Long term insurance plans have both merits and demerits compared to short term health insurance plans. Let’s have a look at what they are –

Pros 

  1. No hassles of annual renewals

    Short term health insurance plans require you to renew them after the end of every year for continuous coverage. This might lead to a possible lapse of the coverage if you forget to renew within the due date. In long term insurance plans, however, there is no hassle of annual renewal. Once you buy the policy, you are secured of the coverage for a continuous tenure of two or three years. 

  2. Less probability of lapse

    Renewing yearly has a high risk of lapse because of the high frequency of renewing year on year. Compared to this, under long term health insurance plans, since the frequency of renewals is reduced, the probability of lapse is also reduced.

  3. Premium discounts

    There is a marked benefit in opting for long term insurance plans as you get a premium discount in choosing a multi-year policy. This discount ranges from 5% to 10% and lowers the effective premium payable for annual health insurance coverage. This discount is not available under short term health insurance plans making their premiums dearer.

Cons

  1. Loss in tax benefit

    When you buy a long term insurance policy and pay the premium at once, you are able to claim a deduction from your taxable income in the year in which you pay the premium. In the next year, since no premium is paid, the tax deduction is lost. So, while in the first year, you can save a higher tax, in the subsequent years, when the policy is running, you lose the tax saving benefit of buying a health insurance policy. Short term plans require annual premiums and therefore, provide annual tax savings on the premiums paid.

  2. Inability to port the policy

    After buying a long term policy, if you are dissatisfied with the plan or the insurance company, you would not be able to port the policy to another insurer for the coverage duration that you have already opted for. This limits portability and you are stuck with the insurance policy for the long term duration that you have selected. Since short term health insurance plans are annual plans, you can port to another policy on renewal if you are not satisfied with the plan that you have bought or the insurance company. 

  3. A higher pocket pinch

    Since you are required to pay the premium of a long term insurance plan upfront when buying the policy, you suffer a higher pocket pinch. Even though the effective annual premium comes out to be lower than the premium payable for a short term plan, the aggregate premium payable might prove to be unaffordable for some.

Benefits of buying long term insurance plans

While the above-mentioned pros and cons highlight the benefits and drawbacks of long term policies, here is a quick guide to the benefits of such health insurance plans –

  1. You are freed from the hassle of renewing the policy every year
  2. You are assured of a long term coverage without the possibility of lapse during the coverage tenure
  3. You can claim a higher tax deduction in the year you buy the long term insurance plan since you pay a higher premium upfront to buy the policy
  4. You can enjoy premium discounts of up to 10% when buying a long term health insurance policy

So, to avoid remembering to renew the policy every year, you can buy long term insurance plans. It would cut down your efforts of maintaining your health insurance coverage and would ensure that you afford the medical expenses suffered in a medical contingency.

How to choose the right long term insurance plan?

There are a variety of long term health insurance plans available in the market. As such, when buying a policy for yourself, you should be careful in the product that you choose. The following factors should be kept in mind when choosing the right long term insurance plan –

  • Choose an all-inclusive scope of coverage

    Different health insurance plans allow different coverage benefits and so you should choose a plan which has the most coverage benefits to cover all medical expenses. A plan with an inclusive scope of coverage would cover maximum medical expenses thereby reducing your out-of-pocket costs.

  • Avoid sub-limits

    Under some long term health insurance plans, there might be sub-limits on room rent. These sub-limits limit the coverage available and if you get admitted in a room with a higher rent, your entire claim amount would be reduced. Thus, opt for plans which have no sub-limits so that you can enjoy maximum coverage from your policy.

  • Check the premiums vis-à-vis coverage 

    It is foolish to compare apples to oranges. Therefore, when comparing health insurance plans, you should always compare the premiums vis-à-vis the coverage offered by the plan. Compare premiums of those plans which offer similar coverage benefits and then choose the policy which allows the lowest premium without compromising on the coverage.

  • Check the network hospital list

    If you want to avail the benefit of cashless treatments, you should be admitted to a hospital which is tied-up with the insurance company. In case of non-networked hospitals, claims are settled through reimbursement which causes an unnecessary financial strain on you. So, before buying a plan, check its list of networked hospitals. If the plan has tie-ups with the hospitals in your vicinity, choose them for availing easy claim settlements.

  • Maximize the discounts

    Long term insurance plans allow attractive premium discounts for choosing long term coverage period, for adding family members, for being healthy, etc. Look for these discounts offered by the different plans and choose a plan which offers the maximum possible discount. The higher the discount that you get the lower would be the premium charged.

    To ensure all these factors are considered, you should always compare and choose the most suitable long term insurance policy for your needs. Also ensure that all your family members are covered under the plan and opt for a sum insured which is sufficient enough to cover the expected medical costs.

Top long term health insurance plans in India

Here is a list of some of the best long term insurance plans available in the market –

Name of the plan

Sum insured 

Coverage tenure

Salient features 

Religare Care

INR 4 lakhs to INR 6 crores

1 year to 3 years

  • Automatic restoration of sum insured in case it gets exhausted on previous claims
  • Coverage for more than 540 day care treatments
  • Range of policy add-ons to enhance the coverage and customize your plan

Manipal Cigna ProHealth Plus 

INR 4.5 lakhs to INR 50 lakhs

1 year to 3 years

  • Provides worldwide coverage in case of emergencies
  • The sum insured is restored if it is used up in earlier claims
  • Coverage for OPD expenses is available through the Health Maintenance Benefit feature

Star Health Family Health Optima

INR 3 lakh to INR 25 lakhs

1 year

  • Air ambulance cover is available under the policy
  • New born baby is covered from the 16th day till the end of the policy term
  • Coverage is available for medical evacuation, compassionate visit and repatriation of remains

National Mediclaim Policy 

INR 50,000 to INR 5 lakhs

1 year

  • Non-allopathic treatments are covered till 20% of the sum insured
  • Pre-determined package rates are fixed for specific treatments thereby lowering the cost of such treatments

Aditya Birla Activ Health Platinum – Enhanced

INR 2 lakhs to INR 2 crores

1 year to 3 years

  • Up to 30% of the premiums can be earned as HealthReturns and you can use this earned premium to off-set the renewal premium
  • OPD coverage is available for chronic illnesses
  • The sum insured is restored if it is exhausted on any previous claim

HDFC Ergo Health Optima Restore

INR 3 lakhs to INR 50 lakhs

1 year or 2 years

  • A daily cash benefit is paid for choosing shared accommodation
  • 100% of the sum insured is restored if it is exhausted
  • 50% of the sum insured is increased after the first claim-free year

How to buy long term insurance plans?

You can buy long term health insurance plans online after comparing the available plans and then choosing the one which is the most suitable. Online policies can be bought at your convenience either from the company’s website or from the website of an insurance aggregator. Turtlemint is also a platform which allows you to buy a long term insurance policy online after comparison. Turtlemint is tied-up with leading health insurance companies giving you the option of some of the best long term health insurance plans available in the market. You can, then, compare the available plans on their coverage benefits and premium rates and then choose a suitable policy. After selecting the policy, you can also buy it online directly from Turtlemint by paying the premium digitally. Once bought, the policy would be issued and you would get the copy of the policy in your email. Turtlemint also helps you with your health insurance claims. In case of a claim you can simply contact Turtlemint and its claim team would help you get your claim settled at the earliest. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I switch insurers in a long term insurance plan?

    Switching insurers is called portability and this portability is allowed at the time of renewal when the duration of the policy comes to an end. Thus, in a long term insurance policy, you cannot switch insurance companies during the coverage duration. You would have to wait for the duration to complete after which such switching would be allowed.

  2. Will my no claim bonus be affected in a long term health insurance policy?

    No, there would be no affect in your no claim bonus in a long term insurance policy. The no claim bonus would be allowed after every claim-free year irrespective of whether you have bought a long term health insurance policy or a short term one.

  3. Can senior citizens buy a long term policy?

    Yes, many senior citizen health insurance plans allow long term coverage for senior citizens. You can, therefore, choose such plans to avail long term coverage.

  4. Can I add riders under a long term insurance policy?

    Yes, you can add riders to a long term insurance policy. These riders can be added either at the time of buying a policy or at the time of renewing the policy.

  5. Can a new member be added to the coverage in a long term insurance policy?

    Yes, a new family member can be added to the coverage mid-term in a long term insurance plan. This addition can be done by paying a proportionate additional premium to the insurance company along with a written request to add the member to the coverage.

  6. What happens to the pre-existing waiting period in long term health insurance policies?

    The pre-existing waiting period does not get affected in a long term health insurance plan. The waiting period gets reduced after the completion of each policy year whether you opt for a long term health plan or an annual policy.

Do you know about the extended date for life insurance premium payment?

The recent Coronavirus pandemic has brought about unprecedented changes in the economy. With the lockdown extending to prevent the spread of the virus and the emphasis on social distancing, businesses are finding out new ways of operating. Even the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has been issuing new guidelines for the insurance segment in the interests of the policyholders. All the guidelines are aimed to provide reliefs to the policyholders in their insurance policies. One such guideline issued by the IRDAI was the extension of grace period allowed in paying life insurance premiums. 

A relief, isn’t it? But do you know how long the extension is allowed for or what grace period is exactly?

Grace period is a technical term used in the context of insurance policies but it is actually quite simple to understand. So, given below is the meaning of grace period and the changes which IRDAI has proposed –

What is a grace period?

Grace period is an extension allowed under a life insurance policy to pay the premium beyond the premium payment date. During the grace period the coverage does not stop. If the policyholder pays the premium within the grace period, the policy continues without any lapse. If the premium is not paid even within the grace period the policy would lapse. 

Duration of grace period

In case of policies where premiums are paid annually, quarterly or half-yearly, the insurance company allows a period of 30 or 31 days (one month) as a grace period. For instance, suppose the premium payment date in a life insurance policy is 30th June. If premiums are paid annually, the policyholder would have until 30th July to pay the due premium. The period between 30th June and 30th July would be called a grace period wherein the coverage would continue. However, if premiums are not paid within 30th July, the policy would lapse on 31st July. 

However, in policies where premiums are paid monthly, the grace period allowed is 15 days. So, if in the above example, the premiums were paid monthly, the grace period would be allowed till 15th July. From 16th July, the policy would lapse.

IRDAI’s guideline on extension of grace period

The Coronavirus pandemic resulted in a lockdown imposed by the Government since 25th March 2020. This lockdown restricted free movement and closure of businesses. Thus, policyholders whose life insurance policies were up for renewal in March found it difficult to pay the premiums due to the lockdown. Thus, keeping in mind the interest of the policyholders, IRDAI allowed an extension of the grace period allowed for premium payments. As per IRDAI’s new guideline, policyholders whose premiums were due in March 2020 can pay their life insurance premiums by 31st May 2020 and the policy would not lapse. Thus, the grace period allowed to policyholders has been extended till 31st May 2020.

Reason for extending the grace period

The sole reason behind IRDAI’s guideline to increase the grace period is to allow policyholders to renew their policies with ease. This is aimed to reduce lapsation allowing policyholders to enjoy uninterrupted coverage in their life insurance policies. If the lockdown has caused a financial crunch for individuals, they can plan their finances during the extended grace period and then pay the premium to keep their life insurance policies in force. Moreover, the extension of grace period is also aimed to avoid policyholders visiting the insurance company’s offices to renew their policies during the lockdown. IRDAI has asked insurance companies to offer online modes of premium payments to allow their customers to renew their policies online from the comfort of their own homes.

How does the guideline impact policyholders?

The IRDAI’s guideline is a welcome relief for policyholders who were worried about paying their life insurance premiums during the lockdown. For those of you who forgot the premium payment during April 2020, you can pay the premiums within the extended grace period and continue enjoying the full benefit of your policy. For those of you who had a financial crunch due to the lockdown, you can arrange for sufficient funds during the extended tenure to pay the premium and continue your policy without lapse. Thus, from the policyholders’ point of view, this extension is beneficial as it allows them to avoid lapsations.

How does the guideline impact insurance companies?

Even the insurance companies have welcomed this extension of grace period as it means better persistence for them. Persistency is measured in terms of the policies which are in force at the end of the financial year compared to the total number of policies issued by the company. A higher persistency is favourable as it provides insurance companies with revenues in the form of premiums to meet their expenses and generate a profit. Since customers are allowed a longer grace period, the policies are less likely to lapse ensuring better premium collections for insurance companies. 

Here’s a quick look as to how the new guideline is beneficial for both policyholders and insurance companies –

life insurance premium

The IRDAI’s new guideline on extension of the grace period, therefore, is beneficial for both policyholders and insurance companies. The measure was needed during this uncertain time of nationwide lockdown and it is expected that it would benefit the insurance segment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does the extension of grace period apply for health insurance policies as well?

    No, this particular guideline is applicable only for life insurance policies. For health insurance policies, if the premium payment date fell between 25th March 2020 and 3rd May 2020, the grace period allowed is up to 15th May 2020. (Source: Economic times)

  2. What would happen if the insured dies during this extended grace period without paying the due premium?

    During the grace period, the coverage remains intact in a life insurance plan. Thus, if the insured dies during the extended grace period, the insurance company would pay the death benefit after deducting the premium amount which is due.

  3. If I pay the premium within the extended grace period, would I be charged an additional interest?

    No, payment of premium within the extended due date would not incur any additional interest payment. You would just have to pay the premium amount.

  4. What would happen if the policy matures during the extended grace period and the premium is unpaid?

    In case of maturity of the policy, the maturity benefit would be paid by the insurance company after deducting the premium which is due.

Information on medical tests for term insurance

A term insurance policy is the most basic form of insurance which covers the risk of premature death. The policy provides financial security to the family if the insured dies during the policy tenure. The policy allows the policyholder to afford a high sum assured because the premiums are low. This high sum assured, therefore, allows the policyholder to arrange for a financial corpus sufficient enough for his family in case of his premature demise. The plan, therefore, helps in income replacement in case of death of the bread-winner.

A term insurance policy, therefore, is an important cover which should not be missed. Moreover, when buying the policy, a high sum assured should be chosen to ensure optimal security for your family in your absence. However, when you opt for a high sum assured, there is a requirement of a medical test for term insurance before the policy is issued. 

The requirement of a medical test might discourage you from buying the term plan. However, such tests are beneficial both for you and the insurance company. Do you know when such a term insurance medical test is needed and why?

When is the term insurance medical test needed?

A medical test for term insurance coverage is needed in either or both of the following cases –

  • You are aged more than 35 years
  • You choose a sum assured of INR 10 lakhs and above

Some plans, however, do not require a medical test for term insurance for up to 40 or 45 years of age. Similarly, the sum assured limit is also relaxed for term insurance medical test requirements. Usually, coverage levels up to INR 20 or 25 lakhs are allowed without any medical tests if you are aged up to 45 years. 

Moreover, if you have pre-existing illnesses, an adverse medical history, family history of diseases or hereditary conditions, the insurance company would require a medical test for term insurance even when you are young and/or you are choosing a low amount of sum assured.

The requirement of term insurance medical tests varies from plan to plan and depends on the underwriting policies of the insurance company. You should, therefore, check the medical grid of the insurance company to find out the age and sum assured when term insurance medical test is needed.

term insurance medical tests

Why is a medical test for term insurance needed?

When you opt for a high sum assured and/or if you are in the older age bracket, the insurance company undertakes a high risk in insuring you. In case of a claim a considerable amount would have to be paid which would put a dent in the company’s financial position. If the probability of claim is high, the company would make a loss as the sum assured would have to be paid in the early years of the policy itself. The company, therefore, wants to assess your health status to check whether you have any health condition which might increase the probability of claim. Through a term insurance medical test the company, therefore, checks your health condition. If you have any ailment which increases your chances of death, the company might increase the premium, restrict the sum assured or even reject the proposal for insurance. If, on the other hand, you have a normal health, the company would offer you the coverage without any added terms and conditions. 

you the coverage without any added terms and conditions

What medical tests are required for term insurance?

The medical tests to be done depend on the medical grid used by insurance companies. The range of tests required increases with age and sum assured opted. The first level of medical check-up is a routine medical exam which includes checking the following –

  • Blood pressure
  • Weight and height
  • Routine Urine Analysis
  • Complete Blood Count
  • Lipid Profile
  • Differential blood count
  • Haemoglobin levels
  • Fasting and Post Prandial blood sugar levels
  • Electrocardiogram

Thereafter, as the age and/or the sum assured increases, the requirement of medical tests also increases. For higher ages and higher levels of sum assured, there are additional medical tests required besides the above-mentioned ones. These tests include treadmill test, EEG, etc. as specified in the insurance company’s medical grid.

Benefits of term insurance medical test

Though many individuals fear the pre-entrance medical check-ups needed before buying a term insurance policy, in reality, these medical tests are beneficial. Here are some reasons why –

  • By undergoing a term insurance medical test, you can find out your health status yourself. You can, then, take preventive measures to maintain your health
  • By choosing to undertake medical test for term insurance you can avail high coverage levels which would help provide optimal financial security to your family
  • In case of a claim, if the death happens due to any medical reason, the insurance company would not be able to dispute the claim if medical tests were done before issuance of the policy. Term insurance medical tests, therefore, increase the chances of easy claim settlements.
  • If your health is found to be normal in the medical tests, you would not have to pay hefty premiums to buy a term plan with a high sum assured.

Thus, medical tests are an important part of buying a high value term insurance plan and should be undertaken for best coverage.

How to buy the best term insurance policy?

If you are looking to buy the best term insurance policy, with or without medical tests, you can visit Turtlemint and compare between the available policies. Turtlemint is an online platform which is tied-up with leading life insurance companies offering some of the best term insurance plans. You can visit www.turtlemint.com and compare these policies on their coverage benefits, sum assured allowed and the premium charged. Thereafter, you can choose a policy which best fits your coverage needs, offers the most comprehensive scope of coverage and has the most reasonable premium rate. Once you shortlist the plan, you can buy it straight from Turtlemint’s website. The requirement of medical tests for term insurance would be arranged and communicated to you. Once the medical tests are done, the policy would be issued and you would be able to enjoy the coverage at the earliest. So, buy the best term plan online through Turtlemint’s website in some simple steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who bears the cost of term insurance medical tests?

    Usually, the insurance company bears the cost of medical tests for term insurance plans. The company has a list of tied-up clinics wherein you can get yourself tested free of cost. However, if you undertake the medical tests in another clinic, you would have to bear the cost of such tests yourself.

  2. If I have an unfavourable medical condition, would the policy be issued?

    In case of unfavourable findings in the medical report, the issuance of the policy depends on the insurance company. If the finding is not very severe, for instance you have a slightly high blood sugar level or hypertension, the policy can be issued after loading the premium. In other cases, the insurance company might limit the amount of sum assured that you might avail. However, if the medical reports are severely adverse, the policy would not be issued and would be rejected.

  3. Do I get the medical reports after I undergo pre-entrance medical tests for term insurance?

    Usually, the clinic sends the medical reports directly to the insurance company based on which the insurance company issues the policy. If you want you can request the insurance company to issue you a duplicate of the medical report for your knowledge and the company would do that.

  4. When does the medical test occur – before or after paying the premium?

    A medical test is done after you fill up the proposal form and pay the premium for the policy. The company would, then, issue the policy only if the medical reports are satisfactory. 

  5. What happens to the premiums paid in advance if the proposal is rejected after medical tests?

    If the insurance company rejects your proposal for insurance after the medical tests, the advance premium paid is refunded.

Know all about eKYC for buying your Insurance policy during Lockdown

Ramesh was looking to buy insurance but with the lockdown, he was unable to meet his agent and buy the policy. Then he found out about online insurance plans and was delighted to know that he can easily buy an insurance policy with eKYC. You can too because now insurance plans are issued through eKYC. Let’s explore how!

The world has gone digital and online transactions are ruling the roost. Even when it comes to financial transactions, the markets have gone digital as you are allowed to buy mutual funds or open a bank account in a paperless format using eKYC norms. Under the eKYC norms, your identity is verified through an Aadhaar based process wherein you can provide your eAadhaar details and complete the transaction. While the concept of eKYC was acceptable in banking and mutual fund transactions, now the insurance segment has also embraced this concept making insurance policies completely paperless.

eKYC in insurance

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has allowed online, paperless, Aadhaar based verification process for buying insurance policies online. This would eliminate the need of visiting the branch of the insurance company or meeting with an insurance agent to buy the insurance policy and submit your documents. You can simply buy the policy online and verify your credential through the eKYC norm. This would benefit both customers and insurance companies as –

  • The purchase process would become simple
  • No lengthy documentation would be needed to be physically submitted
  • It would promote the Digital India initiative taken by the Government and would make customers more self-reliant

The move for eKYC norm is also relevant in recent times when Coronavirus pandemic has forced individuals to stay at home and practice social distancing. Since insurance policies would become paperless, individuals would be able to invest in a suitable insurance policy right from the comforts of their homes without having to step out to complete the documentation. Moreover, since documents would not be needed to be submitted at the insurer’s office or with the insurance agent, social distancing norms can be easily followed and policies can be bought even in the lockdown. However, if income proofs are needed or when there is a need for medical reports of pre-entrance medical check-ups, these documents would still have to be submitted physically.

Currently, selective insurance companies, both in the life and non-life segment, have accepted the eKYC format for selling insurance policies. Let’s have a look which companies are these –

Life insurance companies 

  1. Bharti AXA Life Insurance Company Limited 
  2. Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company Limited
  3. HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited
  4. Exide Life Insurance Company Limited
  5. IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company Limited
  6. ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited
  7. PNB MetLife Life Insurance Company Limited
  8. Max Life Insurance Company Limited
  9. Future Generali India Life Insurance Company Limited
  10. SBI Life Insurance Company Limited
  11. Aegon Life Insurance Company Limited
  12. Reliance Nippon Life Insurance Company Limited
  13. Aditya Birla Life Insurance Company Limited
  14. Shriram Life Insurance Company Limited
  15. Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance Company Limited
  16. Pramerica Life Insurance Company Limited
  17. IDBI Federal Life Insurance Company Limited
  18. Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company Limited
  19. Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance Company Limited
  20. Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance Company Limited

General insurance companies

  1. Acko General Insurance Company Limited 
  2. Kotak Mahindra General Insurance Company Limited
  3. Religare Health Insurance Company Limited
  4. Future Generali India Insurance Company Limited
  5. Manipal Cigna Health Insurance Company Limited
  6. Royal Sundaram General Insurance Company Limited
  7. HDFC Ergo Health Insurance Limited
  8. SBI General Insurance Company Limited
  9. HDFC Ergo General Insurance Company Limited

So, the next time you want to buy insurance policies from any of the above-mentioned companies, opt for the eKYC norm of verification and buy the policy online in a contactless manner.

Now you don’t have to pay a huge premium for long term comprehensive motor insurance plans

Rohan bought a new car last month but he was concerned about the high premium which was being asked for a long term comprehensive car insurance policy. The premium was straining his budget and he did not know what to do. This is when he found that long term comprehensive policies have been discontinued by the IRDAI. He was relieved to find a considerable reduction in his premium. Do you know the changes IRDAI has made in long term comprehensive motor insurance plans?

The insurance segment is dynamic and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) periodically makes changes in the structure and benefits of insurance policies. One such change was made in the year 2018 when IRDAI introduced compulsory long term motor insurance policies for cars and bikes. According to the IRDAI mandate, cars and bikes bought on or after 1st September 2018 had to carry a compulsory 3 year and 5-year third party coverage respectively. Own damage cover, however, was allowed to be offered either for 3/5 years with the third party cover or for one year in a bundled policy.

However, recently, IRDAI has withdrawn this mandate of having a long term own damage cover on cars and bikes. As per the latest changes made by IRDAI, third party coverage would be offered for 3 and 5 years for cars and bikes respectively. However, the own damage cover would be available only for one year. Thus, insurance companies would now have to sell the bundled car and bike insurance policies with long term third party cover and annual own damage cover.

Why the need for change?

In its circular where IRDAI withdrew the concept of long term own damage cover, various reasons were cited for the withdrawal. These reasons included the following –

  • The concept of long term comprehensive cover was not very feasible for policyholders who had to shell out considerably large amounts of premium when buying the policy
  • The long term comprehensive plans were not very much in demand as policyholders usually opted for bundled policies to reduce their premium outgo
  • In many cases where policyholders were unaware of the availability of bundled plans, long term comprehensive plans were miss-sold to them by insurance agents and distributors which was unethical
  • In a long term comprehensive plan, policyholders were tied up with one insurance company for the given tenure without having the flexibility of changing insurers
  • The no-claim bonus offered under long term comprehensive plans were not uniform across insurance companies. The bonus was allowed once at the time of renewal after the long term period was over. This resulted in a low bonus for policyholders who can otherwise claim no claim bonus every year on renewals. Since the bonus was low, policyholders lost on the discount available to them making long term plans unfavourably for them

What does the change mean for you?

If you have bought a new car or bike on or after 1st September 2018, you don’t have to buy a long term comprehensive policy on your vehicle. You would have to buy a bundled policy where the own damage cover would be allowed on an annual basis while the third party cover would continue long term. You can benefit from this move in the following ways –

  • Your upfront premium outgo would reduce
  • You can claim a higher no claim bonus as you renew the own damage cover every year
  • You can easily switch insurance companies if you are unsatisfied with your present insurer or if you find lower premium rates with another

So, your vehicle insurance policies would cost less and you would be able to compare and buy a standalone own damage cover for your vehicle from any insurer. This move would help you afford a motor insurance policy easily making the coverage more popular. Rohan knew that he can easily afford a bundled policy and you can too. So, the next time your motor insurance plan is up for renewal, your premium outgo would be much lower thanks to the new IRDAI regulation.

IRDAI’s New Guidelines for Claims Reported Under Coronavirus

The Coronavirus pandemic is spreading despite the various efforts taken by the Government and the health department. More and more individuals are getting infected even as the lockdown curbs are easing in many parts of the country. If you read the newspapers or watch the news, you would know that the numbers have crossed 3.5 million and they are rising everyday!!

The infection is resulting in hospitalisation and, in certain cases, even death. In case of hospitalisation in a Government hospital, the charges are minimal or even nil. But if you seek hospitalisation in a private hospital, be prepared to face huge costs. Private hospitalisation is expensive and the costs are considerably high making it difficult for an average man to bear. This is where you can call on your health insurance plans. The plans cover the hospitalisation expenses incurred due to COVID infection thereby helping you financially. Moreover, in case of death of an individual, life insurance plans provide the much needed financial assistance to the deceased’s family. 

Because insurance can play an important role in tackling the financial implication of this pandemic, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has issued various guidelines for health insurance companies. These guidelines have been issued in the interests of policyholders so that their health insurance plans can come to their rescue in case of COVID related claims. Here’s what the guidelines say –

For health insurance claims which cover hospitalisation expenses –

  • If the health insurance policy covers hospitalisation, insurance companies should settle COVID-related claims of hospitalisation quickly
  • The medical costs incurred by policyholders during hospitalisation due to the virus and also during the quarantine period should be settled as per the terms and conditions of the policy. Moreover, the settlement should be in compliance with the regulatory framework. In case of home quarantine however, claims would not be admissible.
  • If a claim is being rejected or repudiated, the claim should be thoroughly reviewed by the claim review committee of the insurance company before such rejection or repudiation

Health insurance companies are also encouraged to offer COVID specific health insurance policies which would cover the treatment costs of the virus effectively.

The guidelines were issued by the IRDAI on 4th March 2020 under the provisions of Section 14(2)(e) of the IRDA Act, 1999 and they came into force immediately.

Though there were no specific guidelines for life insurance companies, they were urged by IRDAI to handle their death claims in an expeditious manner so that the family of the policyholders can get claim settlements as quickly as possible. 

These guidelines are proving beneficial for policyholders who are facing the threat of COVID infection. They are being able to make claims in their policies easily. You should also know these guidelines so that you know what to expect from your health insurance plans and how to handle your claims in case of an emergency.

IRDAI asks insurers to Include Telemedicine as Part of Claim Settlement of Policy

Did you know India is the second largest online market in the world with more than 560 million users?

Internet penetration has increased considerably in the past decade and today individuals living even in the remotest part of the country have access to the internet and/or Smartphones. This has allowed individuals to access online services easily without any hassles. So, if you want to buy that trendy mobile phone or groceries, everything is available online. Even in the case of healthcare, consultations through phones and video calls as well as online consultations are steadily becoming popular. Why visit the doctor when the doctor can come to you through your computer or Smartphone? This type of medical assistance is called telemedicine which eliminates the need to physically visit a doctor for medical check-ups.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic became a cause of concern, telemedicine was in its development stage in India with few people actually making use of it. However, with the Government imposed lockdown and the threat of contagion, telemedicine is becoming popular. Understanding the feasibility and benefits of telemedicine, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has advised health and general insurance companies to allow coverage for telemedicine in their policies. Thus, plans covering medical costs, viz. health insurance plans, would now pay claims for costs incurred on treatments and consultations through telemedicine.

Introduction of the telemedicine guideline

The concept of telemedicine is relatively new and so if you have not heard about it, it’s understandable. On 25th March 2020, the Medical Council of India (MCI) issued Telemedicine Practice Guidelines which allowed registered medical practitioners to offer healthcare services through telemedicine. This was done to prevent spreading of Coronavirus through contact. The council reasoned that as healthcare workers and their patients avoid physical contact through the availability of telemedicine, the spread of the virus would be contained. The Board of Governors appointed by the MCI stated different types of technologies available under telemedicine which would allow patients to get medical attention without physical contact. This can prevent the spread of the virus keeping both doctors and patients safe from the illness.

IRDAI’s regulation on telemedicine

Taking the telemedicine guideline forward, the IRDAI directed health and general insurance companies to cover telemedicine as a part of their claim settlement. Given this pandemic, this is a welcome move by the regulator. 

Here’s what IRDAI guidelines stated –

  • Telemedicine would be a part of the insurance claim in health insurance policies if medical consultations are covered under the plan
  • A separate claim is not required to be filed for claiming the cost of telemedicine
  • Any limits or sub-limits applicable to the coverage benefits would continue to apply without any changes

Impact of the regulation

The inclusion of telemedicine in claim settlement is a beneficial move for policyholders. You can now avail telemedicine facilities for your medical issues and get covered under your health insurance plan for the costs incurred. This would help keep you safe from contracting the virus as you can avoid visiting doctors and medical practitioners for consultations.

The pandemic has brought about many changes in people’s lifestyles and you have to adapt to these changes as the disease would take some time to get under control. This measure by the IRDAI is a relief for policyholders as it gives them the freedom to get medical attention without the risk of contagion.