It was only when I missed my health insurance policy renewal date that I realized the importance of it. It all started one day when my mother had to admitted on an emergency into a hospital in our immediate vicinity. Relieved by the fact that my mother’s health was insured, I went on to file claims with the health insurance company, only to know that my health insurance policy had long lapsed as I had failed to renew it. As a result of my own goof up, I had to pay the hospital expenses from my own pocket and committed to myself to always keep a tab on my insurance policy renewal dates. Since then, I have never faltered on my insurance renewal dates, thereby keeping myself from embarrassing situations.
Lately I have realized that in India, renewing health insurance policy on time is as important as paying the premiums, filling up the claim forms and all the other details required to keep the health insurance policy going.
Very often, due to busy schedules and without anyone to remind, you forget the renewal deadline and the policy expires.
The importance of Renew health insurance can only be known when you miss one.
Here’s what you lose, if you don’t renew your Health Insurance.
Increase in Insurance Premium:
- If your existing policy lapses and you opt for a new policy, you will have to shell out an increased premium amount for the new policy.
- You have to be punctual on your health policy renewal if you have already made a claim on your policy. This is because, if you miss your renewal date, then for the new policy your previous claim will be considered as a pre-existing disease/illness and will not be covered.
Health Insurance Coverage
- If you have registered a pre-existing disease in your current health insurance policy, and you haven’t made any claim whatsoever, then you will be covered for that pre-existing disease in that particular health policy after claim-free four years from the date of commencement of the policy. But this would be possible if you keep renewing your policy on time each year. If the policy lapses, then the new policy that you buy will make you wait for another claim free four years before covering your pre-existing disease.
- For each claim free year (that is, the year during which you do not fall ill and don’t claim money) a bonus of ten per cent is added to the coverage amount subject to a limit of 50 percent. After four claim-free continuous renewals, that is at the time of the fifth renewal, you are entitled to a free medical check-up up to one percent of your sum insured. But if you miss to renew the policy, you will miss these benefits too.
So then how do you go about renewing your health policy?
Through the advisor:
One of the most easiest ways of getting your renewals on time is to take the help of your insurance advisor who has been your expert advisor when buying the policy, in claiming, and in everything pertaining to the health insurance policy. A good advisor will remind you of the renewal date, get the premium collected at the right time, and ensure you continue to enjoy the benefits of renewal. All you have to do is make a cheque or an online payment.
But what happens in the absence of your Health Insurance Advisor?
In case your advisor suddenly disappears either on a vacation or an assignment, leaving you in charge of everything pertaining to the policy including the trouble of remembering the renewal date. The insurance company is under no obligation to remind you of the policy renewal date. So here’s what you can do if you end up facing such a situation:
Keep Health Policy reminders for yourself
- Use your usual reminder tools, like your mobile, your planner. Set Health Insurance Policy Renewal Reminder Online.
- Mark a circle on the date in red ink on the calendar you use to mark important appointments. Make sure that this is the calendar that you most look at when you are at work.
- Tell your spouse, she will remind you at right time, and she for sure won’t let you forget it
- Keep a reminder for a month in advance of the due date. And one for 15 days in advance. This will keep you in the loop and you would also get enough time to prepare yourself for the payment at the right date.
- There are many online tools available, where you can enter the dates and forget about it. You will get set reminders of 30, 15 and 10 days before the policy. These tools may also help you renew the policy.
When your Health Policy lapses….
Now that you actually missed your renewal date, what do you do? As per standard procedures especially in India, in case of individual mediclaim, one has a maximum of seven days, including working and non-working days to pay the premium for renewal. But after the seventh day, the policy lapses and is treated as a lapsed policy.
Most individual health insurance policies are guaranteed to be renewed for the stated duration (e.g., until age 65) of the policy. In other words, the insurance company cannot refuse to renew your policy or cancel it as long as you continue to pay your premium on time.
Can your Health Insurance Renewal be denied?
Typically a health insurance policy is an annual contract, hence Insurance Companies took the liberty to deny ‘loss making’ renewals. This led to huge debates for years as to whether the insurance company could by itself choose whether or not to renew the policy. The consumer’s cause was upheld, when the Supreme Court in the Biman Krishna Bose v/s United India Insurance Co Ltd case, held that the mediclaim policy has to be renewed on the same terms and conditions as long as the insured pays the premium on time.
Insurance policy remains a paper in your file, till the time you need to make a claim. Renewing your health insurance policy diligently every year is like locking your car every day. A burglar doesn’t check all the cars, but may take chance and hence you play safe.
To say the least, we haven’t heard of anyone who has lost more on renewing his health insurance policy every year, than he claimed in his lifetime.
To enjoy the benefits accruing to you through your health insurance policy, it is pertinent that you remain alert and punctual at all times.