Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Some health insurance firms exclude coverage for adventure sports

Some insurers exclude coverage for adventure sports and specifically mountain climbing. Any medical expenses linked to mountain climbing would then not be covered

I had a corporate job, which I left to become a mountaineering guide. I have a health insurance policy, which was issued to me some five years ago. Should I declare the change in my work’s nature to the insurer? If I do so, what are the likely implications? Will my coverage be cancelled?

—Atulya Trivedi

Health insurers do not ask for occupation at the time of medical underwriting. As such, occupation is not currently used to rate health risks. So, you are not required to disclose change of occupation to the insurer. If you declare your occupation to the insurer, it would likely have no bearing on your coverage.

Some insurers exclude coverage for adventure sports and specifically mountain climbing. Any medical expenses linked to mountain climbing would then not be covered. You should check if your policy has such exclusions. If yes, then you can port your policy to an insurer without that exclusion, at the time of renewal.

I want to buy a health insurance cover for cancer. How do standalone cancer plans compare with riders? What factors should I keep in mind while selecting a policy? Is it worthwhile to buy a cancer policy considering the number of exclusions in such plans?

—Bilal

Standalone cancer plans are typically fixed benefit plans. These aim to provide a fixed payout in case the insured is diagnosed with cancer. Standalone critical illness plans also do the same. They would also cover other critical illnesses such as stroke and heart attack. Riders to cover cancer and other critical illnesses are offered as part of life insurance plans. The main difference across these three sets of plans is the number of illnesses covered. Otherwise, the modus operandi and exclusions are similar. Among the three types of plans, I recommend the standalone critical illness plan. At a marginally higher cost, it covers a comprehensive set of critical illnesses.

Claims in any of these three types of plans gets triggered only for cancer above a specific severity. Certain cancers such as non-invasive tumours are excluded. Most types of skin cancers are excluded as well. However, it is still worthwhile to have this coverage. In many cancer cases, the illness does get advanced to late stages, and affects different parts of the body simultaneously. The plans are meant to cover such exigencies.

These critical illness plans should be bought after you have a standard mediclaim that provides comprehensive cover. A standard medical insurance plan would cover cancer. Hospitalization expenses linked to treatment of cancer such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, gets covered. Coverage is provided for all types of cancer, irrespective of the level of advancement. Cancer treatments are expensive, so you should go for adequate sum assured.

An insurance agent recently told me about a health policy in which the no-claim bonus is 100%. Can that be true? I have read that most policies do not offer such high NCBs; the range is mostly 10-50%.

—Manasi Talwar

Most plans offer no-claim bonus in the range of 10-50%. However, over a period of time, this can be accumulated up to 100%. For example, a plan that allows 25% no-claim bonus for every claim-free year may allow to accumulate up to 100% for four consecutive claim-free years. Some plans offer add-ons to enhance the no-claim bonus benefit. In such plans, you could take cumulative bonus up to even 150%.

Abhishek Bondia is principal officer and managing director, SecureNow.in

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