Home / Money / Personal-finance /  Nominee’s claim can’t be refused in absence of legal heir certificate

My sister and her husband died in an accident. I am the nominee in their insurance policy. When I lodged a claim, the insurer asked for a legal heir certificate. Please advise.

—Namit Khanna

If you are declared as a nominee in the insurance policy, then the insurer is obliged to pay the claim amount to you. The onus of disbursing the policy amount to the legal heirs is the nominee’s. Often, insurers ask for a legal heir certificate to avoid future disputes. However, they cannot withhold the claim on this condition.

My sister was recently hospitalised and has been bedridden since then. Doctors say it will take her at least a year to recover. Due to the crisis, we missed paying the premiums for her life insurance for the last two months. What is the grace period to repay the premiums? Can the insurer deny taking the premiums?

—Nazia Rehman

Insurers frequently see policies not renewed on time. That is why they have laid down processes to revive such policies after a premium has been missed.

The typical grace period for a life insurance policy renewable on annual payment mode is 30 days. After that the policy is considered lapsed. A lapsed policy can be revived by paying unpaid premiums with interest. Revival of a policy within the first six months of due date is considered an ordinary revival. Generally, insurers do not ask for a medical declaration in case of an ordinary revival.

While it is within the rights of the insurer to deny revival of a lapsed policy, they generally do not deny ordinary revival.

I was diagnosed with tuberculosis about a year ago. A specialist health insurance company had refused to issue a health insurance policy to me then. However, I learnt later that the diagnosis was wrong. Will the insurer issue a policy now?

—Ketaki Patel

You have a fair case for reconsideration. You should re-submit your application. Along with your application, submit the tests and doctor’s prescription that confirms the subsequent diagnosis. It is likely that the insurer will ask you to go through a fresh set of medical tests. If your medical reports are fine, they will issue you a policy at normal rates.

Abhishek Bondia is principal officer and managing director, Queries and views at

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