Health insurance premiums may increase with your age

Regulations do not allow a health insurer to charge individual premiums based on specific claims, or differently from the rest of the people in that age segment


Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Pradeep Gaur/Mint

My motor insurance policy expired three days ago. Will I get all the carry-on benefits of my old policy?

—Ankit Gupta

Once the motor insurance policy expires, a new one is generally offered by the insurer only after completion of satisfactory inspection. This involves a verifier inspecting your car, taking pictures and noting all the existing damages to it. All existing damages will be excluded from future claims. If this is not the case then after the new policy is renewed, it will work exactly as the previous one. Your no-claim bonus, if any, would also be carried forward to the new policy.

My car, which was insured, was stolen from a mall parking lot. What is the process of making a claim?

—Anthony Gomes

You should inform the insurance company immediately after the event occurs. In case there is a delay, you will need to justify it to the insurer. The surveyor will visit the place of incident and do her inspection, and send you a list of documents to submit. Once all documents are submitted, the surveyor takes 15-20 days to submit a report to the insurance company, based on which the insurer will settle your claim.

In theft claims, you need to be specifically careful about three things: a) timely information to the local police and lodging a first information report (FIR); b) a certificate issued by the court declaring the vehicle non-traceable; and c) both sets of original keys. In case the keys are not available, the insurer may reject the claim on grounds of carelessness.

I am a Singaporean citizen of Indian origin. I visit India often. Can I buy a local health insurance in India?

—P. Raghav

A few insurers will issue you health insurance if you have an overseas citizen of India (OCI) or a person of Indian origin (PIO) card. You have to buy the insurance when you are here. It will pay for treatment only in India and not when you travel overseas.

My health insurer has increased the premium this year by 70%. Can I complain to the insurance regulator?

—Qasim Haider

There are two reasons why the premium may have increased. First, you may have moved into a higher age bracket with higher premiums. Second, most insurers have re-priced their health insurance products this year to keep pace with medical inflation.

Regulations do not allow a health insurer to charge individual premiums based on specific claims, or differently from the rest of the people in that age segment. You may want to compare premiums with a few other insurers offering similar health insurance products. If your current insurer has prices broadly in line with others, then you are best off renewing with the current insurer.

If you decide to switch insurers, then be sure to port so that the benefits of reduced pre-existing period exclusion are not lost.

Queries and views at mintmoney@livemint.com

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