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Tune in on 17th July for the Small Business Virtual Summit with Cisco. Register now!
Last Updated : Feb 25, 2016 06:23 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Budget 2016: More tax incentives for health and home insurance a must

Home insurance premium should get some tax exemption. Extant tax benefit on health insurance must be hiked.

Yashish Dahiya
PolicyBazaar.com

Last year’s Union Budget saw reforms made within health insurance, personal accident and pension benefit schemes, amongst others. With the Union Budget 2016 being just around the corner, the entire nation looks towards policymakers in an attempt to decipher what they would have in store for people at large.
With private sector investment indicating signs of stagnation in India, the government must take due steps to promote higher savings amongst the masses. The insurance industry remains pivotal in pushing up both public and private investments and thereby contributes towards putting our economy back on a high growth trajectory.

My wish list for the Union Budget 2016:

1. Uniformity in KYC and e-claims. Those opting to buy insurance in the offline mode go through the hassle of endless paperwork as per KYC norms. Also, you will have to submit separate KYC for each insurance policy that you purchase offline. This explains why people tend to shy away from buying insurance. It is up to the government to simplify this process by introducing uniformity in KYC and e-claims process, irrespective of whether (or not) the policy is bought online. This move would not only make the process hassle- free but also induce more people to buy insurance.

2. Increase in income tax exemption limit in health insurance. As per Section 80D of the income tax act, you can claim tax deductions of up to Rs.25000 (Rs.30000, in case of senior citizens) on health insurance premium. Now, this existing limit would not suffice in future owing to spiraling healthcare costs. For instance, a 50 year old will have to pay around Rs.26000 for a family floater plan of Rs.7lacs sum insured. While this may seem sufficient today, it wouldn’t be so after few years. He may have to opt for a higher plan that would entail higher premium. The government must consider increasing tax exemption limit on health insurance. It would encourage more people to opt for higher health insurance coverage.

3. Introduce tax exemptions on house insurance premiums. The wanton destruction caused by nature such as the floods in Uttarakhand and Chennai, and the earthquake in Nepal made people question the safety of their home and property. Unfortunately, this was restricted to mere thoughts alone and as a result, we didn’t see many people come forward to buy home insurance plan. Introducing tax exemptions on premium paid towards home insurance would encourage people to buy home insurance plan.

4. Create separate limits for long-term savings instruments. At present, investments in saving instruments such as mutual funds, PPF, pension plans, bank deposits, etc. qualify for a deduction of Rs. 1.5 lacs under Section 80C. However, the government should not club long-term savings instruments such as life insurance and pension plans within the same bracket; rather, it must create a separate limit for life insurance premiums and other investment avenues. This will pave the way for efficient and consistent long term savings, which currently, is an important requirement.

To sum up, the FM should increase tax benefits in Life and Health insurance as well as provide tax exemption in non-life insurance so as to encourage people to buy an insurance plan. In so doing, the insurance sector will be able raise resources to support governmental schemes.
First Published on Feb 25, 2016 06:23 pm
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