Best life insurance plans in India
Life insurance is a policy which primarily covers premature loss of life. Under most life insurance policies, if you die during the selected term of the plan, the policy pays a death benefit to your family. This benefit helps substitute the financial loss that you family suffers in your absence. Life insurance policies are, therefore, a way through which you can transfer the risk of premature death to the insurance company. The insurance company promises to cover your risk of death while you pay a premium in return for the risk taken by the insurance company.
Life insurance policies play a very important role in your financial portfolio. The importance of life insurance plans can be stressed in the following points –
- Since these plans cover the risk of premature death, they provide a sense of financial security for your family. When you buy a life insurance plan you can be assured that even in your absence your family would not suffer financially.
- There are investment oriented life insurance plans too. These plans help in creating a corpus for your financial goals. You can choose from traditional life insurance plans which promise guaranteed returns or unit linked plans which invest in the market and give attractive returns.
- Child plans offered by life insurance companies are ideal to plan for your child’s secured financial future. These plans, due to their coverage benefits, promise that your child would be financially taken care of even when you are not around.
- There are retirement plans too which promise the payment of regular income after you retire so that you don’t feel any financial dilemma once your income stops.
These benefits make life insurance plans a must for every individual.
Types of life insurance policies
As is evident from the benefits of life insurance plans mentioned above, life insurance plans come in different variants. These variants include the following –
Each plan caters to a specific financial need and, therefore, can be included in your financial portfolio for different financial goals.
Let’s do a comparative analysis of the different types of life insurance plans available in the market –
|Type of Plan||Term Insurance Plan|
|Meaning||The plan covers the risk of death during the policy tenure. This is a pure protection plan which usually covers only death|
|Coverage tenure offered||10 years to up to 35 years or above|
|Benefits payable||Usually the sum assured is paid in case of death. There is no maturity benefit. However, under return of premium plans, the premiums paid are refunded on maturity|
|Type of Plan||Whole Life Insurance Plan|
|Meaning||The plan covers an individual for his/her whole life|
|Coverage tenure offered||Till the insured reaches 100 years of age|
|Benefits payable||Death benefit is paid whenever the insured dies before reaching 100 years of age|
|Type of Plan||Endowment Plan|
|Meaning||These are savings-oriented insurance plans which also provide insurance cover|
|Coverage tenure offered||Usually from 10 to 30 years|
|Benefits payable||If the insured dies during the chosen tenure, a death benefit is paid. If, on the other hand, the insured survives the policy tenure, a maturity benefit is paid|
|Type of Plan||Money Back Plan|
|Meaning||Traditional insurance plan which creates guaranteed savings and also promises liquidity through regular money backs during the policy tenure|
|Coverage tenure offered||Usually from 10 to 30 years|
|Benefits payable||Money back benefits are paid during the term of the plan. In case of death the sum assured and accrued bonuses are paid. If the plan matures, the remaining sum assured and accumulated bonuses are paid.|
|Type of Plan||Unit Linked Insurance Plan|
|Meaning||Market linked insurance plans which invest the premium in market-oriented funds and yield attractive returns|
|Coverage tenure offered||Usually from 5 to 30 years|
|Benefits payable||Higher of the fund value or sum assured is paid in case of death. On maturity, the fund value is paid|
|Type of Plan||Child Insurance Plan|
|Meaning||The plan creates a secured corpus for the child whether the parent is alive or not|
|Coverage tenure offered||Usually from 10 to 25 years|
|Benefits payable||Death benefit is paid immediately when the parent dies. The plan, however, continues till maturity. On maturity, a maturity benefit is paid again|
|Type of Plan||Annuity Plan|
|Meaning||Retirement oriented life insurance plans which create a steady stream of annuities|
|Coverage tenure offered||Deferred Annuity Plans – 5 years to up to 30 years Immediate Annuity Plans – depends on the annuity option selected|
|Type of Plan||Health Insurance Plans|
|Meaning||These policies cover specified illnesses and help individuals deal with the high medical costs associated with such illnesses|
|Coverage tenure offered||Usually from 5 to 10 years|
|Benefits payable||If the insured suffers from the covered illness, a lump sum benefit is paid. There is no maturity benefit under these plans|
Best life insurance plans in India
Among the different types of life insurance policies available in the market you must be wondering which policy would be the best. The choice of the best life insurance policy actually depends on your financial requirements. There are different life stages of an individual and for each stage there is an ideal life insurance policy. So, let’s understand which life insurance policy would be the best at different stages of your life –
|Life stage||Age bracket||Financial requirement||Best life insurance policy|
|Young adult||25-30 years||At this stage you are young and have just started earning. You have limited responsibilities. You are unmarried and your parents might or might not be financially dependent on you. You can, therefore, choose investment oriented life insurance plans to create funds for future liabilities. You can also invest in a term insurance plan because it is essential at every stage of life stage and when you buy young, you can save on the premium costs||
|Young married||30-35 years||At this stage you get married and start a family. Responsibilities increase and your parents might also start depending on you financially. A term insurance plan is a must along with investment oriented life insurance plans. You also need a health plan for covering against unforeseen medical contingencies.||
|Married with kids||35-40 years||When you have kids, your responsibilities multiply. You have to provide for your family and also start planning for your children’s secured financial future||
|Married with older kids||40-50 years||When your kids are adults or nearing maturity, you have to start thinking about retirement planning. You might also want to create assets like investing in a house or property to create a legacy for your children||
|Pre-retirement||50-60 years||This is the stage when you are in your late 40s or early 50s and retirement is looming on the horizon. Investment and retirement planning is your main focus at this life stage||
|Retirement||60-65 years||In this stage you are looking forward to retirement. Creating a steady source of income for your retired life is your primary financial goal||
|Post -Retirement||65 years onwards||When you are finally retired, you need a plan which would give you a steady source of income. You might also have to provide your spouse if you predecease them.||Immediate annuity plans. Joint life annuity option can be selected to provide for the spouse.|
So, you should choose a life insurance plan based on your life stage because each stage has a different requirement. When you choose a plan suitable to your life stage you can ensure that you get the best life insurance policy matching your financial needs.
Premiums of life insurance policies
As stated earlier, premium is the cost that you pay the insurance company for covering your risk of premature death and also for the different benefits that the company offers under its life insurance plans. The premiums for different individuals, however, are different. The premium charged from you might not be the same charged from your neighbour. Life insurance premiums are calculated individually for each policyholder depending on different factors.
Let’s understand what these factors are which determine the premium of a life insurance policy –
- Age – age is the primary factor which affects your life insurance premium. Since mortality risk increases with increasing age, premiums are higher at older ages
- Gender – premiums are different for males and females of the same age. Females are charged a lower rate of premium than males because they have a low mortality rate
- Medical history – your medical history determines your death risk. If you have some medical complications or if you had any conditions in the past, it increases the chances of death. That is why individuals with health issues are charged a higher premium than normal individuals
- Policy tenure – annual premiums are lower for policies which are taken for long term durations than those which have short term duration
- Sum assured – premium directly depends on the sum assured that you select. Higher the sum assured higher would be the premium
- Coverage benefits – if the plan offers better coverage benefits, the premiums would be higher
- Lifestyle habits – if you drink or smoke, the premiums would be higher because both drinking and smoking create health hazards which increase the chances of death
- Physical build – your height and weight also affect your premiums. If you are overweight or underweight it is bad for your health and might create health risks. That is why people with weight issues are charged higher premiums
- Occupation – there are some dangerous occupations under which there is a high mortality risk. For example, mining, aviation, adventure sports, politics, etc. are considered to be high risk occupations. Individuals engaged in these occupations are charged a higher premium
- Family history –if there is an adverse medical history in your family, it increases the chances of hereditary diseases. As such, premiums are higher for individuals having a family history of illnesses
- Riders – there are optional coverage benefits under life insurance plans which are called riders. Each rider, however, involves an additional premium. So, if you choose additional riders under the plan, your premiums would increase
- Discounts available – life insurance policies also allow premium discounts for different factors. If the discounts are applicable to your policy, your premiums would reduce
How to buy the best life insurance policy?
There are two ways to buy life insurance plans. These are as follows –
- Offline – buying a policy offline means buying it from a life insurance agent or from a life insurance company. You can meet with an agent and buy the policy from him/her or you can visit the company’s branch and buy a policy from the company itself.
- Online – nowadays life insurance companies allow you to buy a life insurance policy directly from their websites. You can visit the website of the insurance company and choose the policy that you want to buy. Then you can provide your details and pay the premiums online and the policy would be issued easily.
When talking about buying the policy online, you can also choose to buy the policy through Turtlemint. Turtlemint is an online platform which gives you various benefits of buying a life insurance policy. These benefits are as follows –
- You can compare before buying. Comparing allows you to check the plans offered by different companies and their comparative advantages. By comparing you can ensure that you buy the policy which has the maximum coverage benefits at the minimum premiums
- Turtlemint is tied up with all the leading life insurance companies in India. You can, therefore, be assured that you would get the list of best life insurance plans to compare and choose from
- Turtlemint allows you to get your insurance queries solved before buying the plan. If you have difficulty understanding the plans and their benefits Turtlemint’s expert executive’s guide you and help you understand all the technical aspects of the plan you are considering. You can get your queries solved and then buy the plan after understanding all its features in detail
- Turtlemint also helps you at the time of claims. You can contact Turtlemint’s team when you suffer a claim and the team would coordinate with the life insurance company to get speedy settlements of your claim.
Thus, buying through Turtlemint has its advantages. To buy, here are the simple steps that you should follow –
- Visit Turtlemint at www.turtlemint.com
- Choose ‘Life’
- Depending on your life stage and financial requirements, choose the type of policy that you want to buy
- Provide your details like age, gender, income, smoking habits, location, etc.
- Provide your contact details if you want assistance in buying the policy
- You can then check the different insurance plans on Turtlemint’s website along with their coverage benefits and premium rates
- You can compare the available policies and choose the best as per your suitability
- Pay the premiums and the policy would be issued at the earliest
Documents required to buy life insurance plans
When buying life insurance plans, you have to submit some documents which are required by the insurance company to verify your personal details. The documents which would be required to be submitted include the following –
- Copy of a valid age proof like your driving license, passport, Aadhar card, Voter’s ID card, birth certificate, etc.
- Copy of your residential address proof like utility bills of the last three months, Aadhar card, passport, lease agreement, property documents, etc.
- Copy of a valid identity proof like your Aadhar card, driving license, PAN Card, passport, etc.
- Recent coloured photographs
- Income proof like your IT returns of the last three years if the premium is high
- Medical examination report, if required under the policy
- Any other questionnaire is required by the insurance company
These documents should be submitted with the proposal form so that the proposal can be underwritten and the policy can be issued at the earliest.
Claims under life insurance policies
Claims under life insurance policies happen under two main circumstances – if the insured dies during the term of the plan or if the plan tenure comes to an end. While in the former instance a death benefit is paid, in case of the latter, maturity benefit is paid.
Death claims are paid to the nominee who has been nominated by the insured to receive the policy proceeds on his/her death. Maturity claims, on the other hand, are paid to the policyholder himself/herself.
You would have to intimate the insurance company about death claims to get the claim settled quickly. In case of maturity claims, though, the company processes the claims itself for policies approaching maturity. Once the policy matures, the insurance company pays the maturity claim automatically.
Claim settlement ratio of life insurance companies
A life insurance company can be judged by its claim settlement ratio. The ratio measures the percentage of claims settled by the life insurance company against the total claims made upon it in a financial year. The higher the ratio the better the company is considered to be. The claim settlement ratio of life insurers is prepared and published by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) after every financial year.
When comparing life insurance companies, you can, therefore, compare the claim settlement ratios of different insurance companies and then choose the best life insurance company. A higher ratio would ensure that your life insurance claims would be settled by the insurer.
So, before buying a life insurance policy, understand the different types of policies available. Then find out which policies would suit your life stage. Once you have shortlisted the policies which you need for your financial goals, compare the available plans. Choose a plan which gives you the best coverage benefits at lowest premiums and get yourself insured.