Did you know?

Did you know?

You were healthy and young when you bought your health insurance and, therefore, didn’t think it was necessary to take a large cover. However, over the years, you contract diabetes and, worse, got hospitalized when your diabetic state got worse. You realized then that health insurance is not just about tax saving, but primarily for saving your life. Here’s when you decided to top up your health insurance cover by buying another policy. While the good news is that you have finally understood the importance of adequately insuring yourself, the bad news is the fresh cover will not really cover your expenses on account of diabetes.

Why does this happen

Even if you have a health insurance policy, when you approach an insurance company to buy a new policy, you are treated as a new customer. In other words, you will have to undergo the same grind that you went through when buying your first policy. Depending on your age or the sum insured you choose, the insurer will ask you to go for heath check-ups. In case of a pre-existing ailment, not only will your premium shoot up but also the pre-existing disease will not be covered. The pre-existing diseases, in this case, would not be the ailments that existed when you bought your first policy, but the ones that exist at the time you go for a fresh cover.

Short-term ailments such as food poisoning are, typically, not considered a pre-existing disease, but long-term ailments such as diabetes will be treated as pre-existing.

Since you contracted diabetes while you were insured, the first policy will cover you for eventuality on account of the ailment, but your second policy which you thought could be a top-up will exclude this ailment for the first four years.

Pre-existing ailments

Unless your policy documents have any of the pre-existing ailments as a permanent exclusion, the norm in the industry is that a pre-existing disease is covered after a waiting period of four years. However, in order to get your pre-existing ailments included, you will need to diligently renew your policy with the insurer. It is, therefore, advisable to buy sufficient health insurance at the outset itself. Do a need analysis before you buy a health insurance policy and discount any group covers that you may have with your employer. Those covers exist only as long as you work for that employer.

—Deepti Bhaskaran