Mistakes to avoid when renewing your health insurance contract

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NEW DELHI : The punctual renewal of your health insurance policy helps you to keep all the benefits intact without derogating from any of the provisions. Forgetting to renew your health insurance on time should be avoided at all costs as it can lead to several complexities. For example, you might lose accrued benefits such as no-claims bonus or waiting period benefits, and will have to buy the health insurance policy again when the renewal expires. Let’s look at a few aspects that require attention in setting up and maintaining a health policy:

# Not reviewing your existing policy

Nowadays, there are hundreds of different health insurance plans available in the insurance market. Insurance agents lure you in by showing the features of many different policies and insist that you buy a new policy knowing that you already have an existing health policy.

“At renewal, you should compare the health options available with your existing plan. If you find a plan with more extensive coverage, you can change it using the portability option without compromising your continuity benefits. You can also upgrade your coverage for a higher sum insured,” said Amit Chhabra, Head of Health Insurance, Policybazaar.com.

Additionally, Sudha Reddy, Head of Health and Travel at Digit Insurance, said: “When renewing your policy, it’s good to see if the insurer offers any useful additions like a zone upgrade or outpatient service. (OPD) or daily cash benefit to name a few, it was not part of your basic policy before.”

# Check the adequacy of health coverage

In order to calculate the amount of insurance coverage you need, it is best to review your past claims and your current medical condition.

Sheenu Sehgal, vice president and national head of general insurance, Bajaj Capital Insurance Broking, said treatment costs are skyrocketing. It is therefore difficult for a middle-class person to afford them easily. Thus, one should try to increase their level of sum assured if they feel that the current level is not sufficient at the time of renewals. “When you bought the policy, then maybe the existing health cover (sum insured) was enough, but with covid and creeping medical inflation in the equation, it might be insufficient now. So you can increase coverage by increasing the sum insured in the existing health plan when renewing your policy,” Sehgal added.

“Looking at the current scenario, it is important to have at least Rs10-15 lakh health coverage per person,” Chhabra said.

# Non-disclosure of any new health conditions

It is very important to disclose all crucial information at the time of policy renewal as it facilitates processing and also avoids any hassle when a claim might be made in the future. It is therefore important to inform your insurer of any newly diagnosed condition. The insurance company has the right to refuse the claim resulting from an undesirable situation. Therefore, being transparent will only be beneficial as it will help you with a better insurance plan that suits your needs.

# Non-renewal during the grace period

If you do not apply during a policy year, you become eligible for a cumulative bonus at the time of renewal. So, if you have not filed a claim, check whether the cumulative bonus is reflected in your new policy premium or not. However, you do not receive such a benefit if the policy is not renewed within 30 days of the renewal due date.

Reddy said it’s very important to renew the policy early, at least within the 30-day grace period. “If your policy has expired and you renew after that, the period of time from expiration, after the grace period and when your new policy is activated may leave you unprotected and you will have to bear all periods again waiting from scratch. If you have a medical emergency during that time, your insurer won’t be able to cover you,” Reddy said.

Therefore, you should know that simply buying a health insurance policy is not enough; its rapid renewal is just as important.

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