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I am covered with an individual health insurance policy. Can I buy two health insurance policies from two different insurance companies? How can I avail myself of a claim in such a scenario?

-Name withheld on request

Yes, you can buy more than one health insurance policy based on your need and premium paying capacity. It is recommended that you opt for a base insurance policy, for additional needs, seek a higher deductible health insurance cover, which is commonly available as a top-up cover. You can avail of a deductible equivalent to your base insurance policy and take a high sum insured under the new policy. The premium for such a top-up policy is very low, and you get high coverage and better benefits. Please remember that the top-up policy will pay only for the expenses over the deductible amount. It will be subject to waiting periods, pre-existing diseases, and other conditions.

If the claim is within one of the policy's sum insured, you can fully claim it under that. If the sum insured of one policy is insufficient, you can avail the claim under one and the balance under the other policy. You need to present the original bills and documents; you can claim any health insurance policies. You are required to get the certified documents and stamped duplicate copies of bills from the insurance company that you have claimed from and submit the remaining documents for claims to the second insurance company.

I have a health insurance policy. If I claim in the current year, what happens to the renewal premium? And what if I do not make a claim?

-Name withheld on request

With any claim in the policy, generally, your premium will remain unchanged, save for changes that may happen due to age-bracket movement or other factors. However, if it has been a claim-free year, the sum insured is increased by 5%. This is also called "Cumulative Bonus". This increase can continue for every "claim-free year" till the sum insured increment reaches 100% of the total sum insured. Almost all health insurance policies offer this Cumulative Bonus. It is important to refer to your policy terms for details on the rate of increase and cap on bonus percentage.

- Atul Deshpande is head - Claims, Digital & Projects at SBI General Insurance 

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