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Coronavirus: You can now buy medical insurance that covers COVID-19

The cover is valid until July 1 and will offer sum insured between Rs 25,000-2 lakh. However, conditions apply.

March 03, 2020 / 09:48 PM IST

With fresh cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) steadily on the rise in India, non-life player Digit Insurance has launched the first product that provides a cover for the disease.

The sum insured would range from Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh with a base premium of Rs 299. This premium is applicable for a 30-year-old for a cover of Rs 25,000. The product will be available for purchase till July 1. The validity of the cover is one year.

Also Read: Indians look to insure themselves against COVID-19

This cover has been built under their health insurance product Digit Health Care Plus and filed under IRDAI’s sandbox regulations where products can be tested on a pilot basis for six months. So it will be valid for sale from February 1 to July 1, 2020. Those individuals buying the product during this period will be able to claim during the 12 months of the policy period.

What does it cover?


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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If the test for Coronavirus disease is found positive from any of the authorised centres of ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune, Digit will give 100 percent of the claim amount. A policyholder needs to wait for the completion of treatment.

If only quarantine is advised in a government or army/military hospital for a consecutive period of 14 days then 50 percent lumpsum of the claim amount will be given. This is applicable even if someone tests negative for COVID-19 at a later stage.

What are the benefits?

This will be a fixed benefit cover, which means unlike other claims there is no requirement to produce hospitalisation bills.

For claims, the insured just needs to submit a certificate from a government medical officer to start the treatment for COVID-19 or a positive virology report from ICMR-National Institute of Virology – Pune, India.

Kamesh Goyal, Chairman, Digit Insurance, said, “It is unfortunate to contract an infection for which treatments are still in the trial phases. Therefore, we are offering this as a flat benefit cushion cover, for both positive & quarantined cases. While for positive cases we pay 100 percent, a total of 50 percent of the sum insured is paid for quarantined cases so that even in the smallest way possible, it compensates for the loss of income during this period.”

This cover will be exhausted after payment of 100 percent sum insured. It is applicable for Indian residents only, aged below 75 years and has an initial waiting period of 15 days.

What are the exclusions?

For being eligible for this policy, the insured should not have been in contact with someone with a suspected history of COVID-19 until the policy ends.

The insured or their immediate family members should not have travelled to China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau, Italy, Iran, Bahrain, Kuwait, Taiwan since December 1, 2019.

Further, an insured should also not be suffering from symptoms like cough with or without sputum, cold/nasal block, fever with body pain or shortness of breath for the last six weeks as that may be an indication of the disease already being contracted.

With more than 1,600 recorded deaths, the number of fatalities from this new coronavirus has surpassed the toll of the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019. The outbreak now constitutes a global health emergency, according to the World Health Organisation.
M Saraswathy
first published: Mar 3, 2020 08:15 pm
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