A health insurance policy is your protection against financial losses arising due to a medical emergency. Hence, it is advisable to choose your first insurance policy and insurer carefully. Assess your insurance needs, medical condition, dependents, and pick a policy that offers you maximum protection at a reasonable premium rate.However, sometimes, policyholders are dissatisfied with the services that they are receiving from their current insurers or with the benefits offered by the policy. To allow them to change their insurance policies or insurers, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India or IRDAI allowed the portability of health insurance policies.
However, changing an insurance provider is not a simple task and should not be taken lightly. A wrong decision could end up with you having a policy that fails to meet the healthcare requirements of your family in the future. Hence, you need to assess the reasons behind your decision carefully. Here are some situations when you should think about porting your policy.
1. Inadequate cover
This is one of the basic reasons why you should consider porting your health insurance policy. The core purpose of a health insurance policy is to provide adequate cover to your family during medical emergencies. Hence, if the cover is inadequate, then the purpose is defeated. Sometimes, the insurer has limitations to its underwriting capabilities and cannot offer a higher sum insured. In such cases, if you need a higher cover, then you will need to port your health insurance to another insurer.
2. Poor service from the insurer
Competition is healthy for consumers. While most insurance companies endeavour to provide the best services to policyholders, sometimes you might experience a lack in the quality of services offered by your insurer. Portability offers you the option to avail of better services from another insurer if you are unhappy with the services or claims experience.
3. Better option from competitors
Sometimes, insurance companies come up with offers like age relaxation for certain benefits, discounts on premiums, etc. Since the markets are competitive, such offers are common. If you find an offer that can help you get better health insurance for your family at a lower rate, then porting can be considered.
4. Hidden clauses in your existing policy
Insurance policies have a lot of terms and conditions and fine print. While the policyholder is expected to read through the documents thoroughly, there can be hidden clauses that can lead to a rejection of your claim. Many policyholders realize such hidden clauses only once their claims are rejected and look to port their policy to another insurer.
5. Simpler processes – technologically-friendly
In today’s times, most insurers leverage technology to offer policies with simpler processes. If you are stuck with an insurer with traditional offline processes, then you might want to consider moving to a more technology-friendly company. Look for companies like Tata AIG that allow you to buy health insurance online and service most requests using technology too.
Some aspects to consider before making a decision about porting your health insurance policy:
- Many insurers reject applications for porting of policies for individuals more than 45 years of age and having existing medical conditions like hypertension, diabetes, etc.
- Insurers can have different guidelines regarding waiting periods. Hence, you must ensure that porting your policy helps you benefit from having an existing policy and not put you through waiting periods again unless necessary.
- If you are looking to increase the sum insured, then ensure that it is in sync with your insurance requirements and the premium amount is manageable too.
- Policyholders who are more than 45 years old can find insurers reluctant to accept their porting request or high loading costs along with a co-payment clause. They must ensure that they check these aspects carefully.
- If you are porting your policy due to discounts on premium rates, then ensure that you calculate the effectiveness of the policy before applying. While you might save some costs on the annual premium, if the coverage is compromised to accommodate it, then it can be a counterproductive move.
- Ensure that you follow all guidelines and submit complete and correct information while applying for porting your health insurance policy.
Remember, while porting is an option, talk to your insurer to see if the issues faced by you can be taken care of. Sticking with the same insurer is usually cheaper and more beneficial to both parties. Assess your insurance requirements and research your options well before making a decision. A health insurance policy offers financial protection against medical exigencies in the future. Hence, always ensure that the coverage is optimum for your family and the claim settlement process is simple and efficient. Portability is an option that needs to be considered after considering all aspects of the decision. Choose carefully.