Who do you go to when something is wrong with your car? - The Mechanic. Who do you go to when you don’t feel well? - The Doctor, of course. Do you depend on your own skills and intuition to deal with the situation? -Mostly, no. And do you trust just any other mechanic or doctor to solve your problem? -No. You go to someone who is trustworthy and who knows what he or she is doing).
These responses answer why you need to find a good health insurance advisor. You can’t buy a health insurance policy just by yourself (there are so many products and a great deal of fine print to understand); similarly you cannot trust just any other advisor while buying a policy (it is after all your health and money!).
Here are some tips to help you choose a Good Health Insurance Advisor:
Go to a Health insurance Broker- The first step in finding a good health insurance advisor would be- knowing where to look. We advise you to opt for health insurance brokers for your health insurance advice than health insurance agents; here is why -
They sell products from different companies: Health insurance brokers can sell you a wide range of products from different companies while health insurance agents can only sell products from one company. The brokers would therefore give you completely unbiased advice.
They are Loyal to the customer not the company: Brokers represent you and facilitate your buying health insurance from any health insurance company that you may finally choose. An agent, on the other hand, represents her/his health insurance company. Therefore, while the primary loyalty of the broker would be towards you, that of the agent would be towards her/his health insurance company.
They have more knowledge: Since agents represent only one health insurance company, their exposure in terms of product knowledge and processes may not include those of other insurance companies. Brokers deal with best health insurance companies and therefore provide you with more robust insights on the products and processes of all insurance companies.
They are organizations with more resources: Even at the highest level of efficiency, an agent is an individual, with limited resources and capabilities. Brokers are organizations with larger wherewithal, making it possible for them to invest in people and processes to serve you better. You know, whilst the agent doesn’t have to commit any financial capability while obtaining agency license, a broker has to invest a minimum of Rs.50 Lacs towards share capital to be eligible for broking license.
They have Medical knowledge: A good health insurance broker will have a team of experts not alone from health insurance domain but also from the medical services domain. Such a broker can therefore help you even with your hospitalization related needs. An agent cannot be expected to have such multidimensional expertise and can, at best, provide advice and help only on matters relating to insurance.
Research- Do a research on the internet about good health insurance advisors in your city or locality. You can get the names of a few health insurance brokerage firms as well local agents.
Make enquiries- Once you get the names of agents and brokers, the next step is making an enquiry. You can do this by either mailing them or calling them up and asking them about a product to suit your basic requirement. One way of knowing if the broker or agent is a good one is if he or she is prompt in his/her reply.
How to know if he or she or the firm is a good health insurance advisor?
Once you have narrowed it down to a good broking firm or a good agent, you still need to check if he is as good as he seems.
Step 1: To ascertain if your broker is a good one, you need to find answers to a few questions-
- How long has he been in health insurance business?
- Does he sell any other insurance product (Life, motor, marine insurance?). An advisor who focuses only on health would be a better choice than one who sells all.
- How does he manage claims? Does he have experience in managing claims? Who manages claims?
Also tell him to give you a list of 10 of his customers, you could call one of them and ask about the broker’s service. Any good broker will not hesitate to share his list of customers.
Step 2: His behavior also reflects if he is really a good advisor.
- Listens: If you find that your broker pays attention to your needs, listens when you are talking without rushing you or interrupting you, he is likely to be a good advisor.
- Asks: A good advisor will first ask you questions about what you need, about your budget and other requirements than directly selling a product. If your broker doesn’t seem to do that, he isn’t really a good advisor because without knowing about your needs, how could he advise you to go for a suitable product?
- Answers: Once he/she gives you one or two products to choose from, feel free to ask him/her questions about these products; if you don’t understand any condition or are not clear about any insurance terms ask him or her. If he or she isn’t able to answer your question effectively, he/she may not be knowledgeable and thus may not be a good health insurance advisor.
- Is Accessible: Finally, make sure your advisor is accessible by mail and phones. If you always find him/her attentive when you call, he/she is likely to be available to you during the claims procedure too.
And if you have a bad health insurance agent you can even Change your Health Insurance Agent.
Step 3: His advice is the final key to decipher if your health insurance advisor is a good one.
The most important thing for you is to buy a health insurance plan that suits your requirements and takes consideration of your budget. So rather than focusing on getting an inexpensive product, it would be advisable to opt for a plan that is beneficial in the long run. Only this will actually be a proper way of budgeting the outgo.
Analysis: Your health insurance advisor should give you a number of suitable products to choose from. He should provide detailed analysis to help you make a choice. It should be you who makes the final call while he gives you information that will help you make that call. If he pushes for one particular product without a good reason, think again about using his services!
Policy wordings: Just before you issue the cheque, it would be a good idea to ask him to give you the policy wordings. Read these carefully, as these are the actual terms and conditions of the products, that may not always be mentioned in detail on the brochure. Once you read through the fine print and conditions and are happy with the product, buy the policy.