You recharge your mobile pack regularly because you don’t want the services to stop, don’t you? In the same way, you need to renew your health insurance policy periodically to keep it active. Not renewing your health insurance within the grace period could lead to a lapse. And once it lapses, you will have to go through all the hassles of buying a policy again, which can be a cumbersome process. Hence, it is important to renew your health insurance on time and, while you’re at it, there’s a list of things you should evaluate.
Upgrade the sum insured
Every renewal is an opportunity to review your coverage. Basically, you should look at health insurance renewal like an annual health check-up. Every year, you visit the doctor and get a status update on your health status. Similarly, you should review your health insurance and evaluate the coverage, benefits, features, etc. that you currently have under the plan before the policy renewal date.
There could be a possibility that your current health insurance coverage is not enough to take care of all your healthcare needs. Or perhaps it is not in line with the rapidly rising costs of healthcare.
Always discuss this with your financial advisor and update the coverage where required. If not, you may have to dip into your savings in the case of a major hospitalisation. Enhancing your sum insured regularly will ensure you have sufficient health insurance coverage for the foreseeable future.
Opt for riders/add-ons
While reviewing the coverage, you must also evaluate if the existing riders/add-ons meet your present and future needs. If you think they do not, opt for them at the time of renewing your policy.
For instance, many insurers have now introduced an add-on that covers non-medical expenses in the plan. There are other plans that waive the room rent limit. You can check for such new add-ons and discuss with your financial advisor whether you must subscribe to them.
Please note that you can only opt for riders that are available with the product you’ve already purchased. In case you want to opt for or add a specific benefit that isn't available with the policy you currently have, not even as a rider, you will have to port to a different policy that offers that benefit.
Check for changes in policy terms
As per Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) guidelines, insurers can change policy terms and conditions after taking IRDAI’s prior approval. Moreover, they need to inform you about any change 90 days before the renewal. Even then, we recommend you keep your eyes open. We suggest that before you renew your policy, it is best to go through your policy with your advisor and check for any changes in the terms and conditions. If the insurance company has revised the terms and you are not happy with the changes, you could consider porting your policy.
Port your policy
If you’re not satisfied with the benefits or features of your existing policy, or the quality of service you are getting from your current insurer, you can look at a renewal as an opportunity to port your policy. This means you can transfer your current policy to a different insurance company of your choice while retaining the continuity benefits you have earned so far. Keep in mind that portability can be done only at the time of renewal—you will have to inform your current insurance company 45 days before your policy renewal date.
You can also add or remove family members from your health insurance policy at the time of renewal. If you recently got married or had a child, and wish to add your spouse or child to the health plan, you can do so at the time of renewal. Or in case a family member has passed away, you can remove them from the policy while renewing it.
Not evaluating these things may end up costing you your savings as well as your peace of mind later if there is need of hospitalisation. Hence, do your due diligence when renewing your health insurance so that you don’t have to face any issues in the future.(The author is the Founder and CEO of Beshak.org)