Online Term Insurance Plan
With the internet becoming a routine of our life, the number of net-savvy insurance buyers is gradually increasing. Non-life insurance products such as personal accident, health, motor and travel have fuelled the growth of online insurance products. Now, while a similar trend is yet to gain substantial momentum in life insurance, online term insurance plan have been in particular gaining popularity. As per the statistics, one online term plan is bought every 5 minutes in India! The online quote systems and price comparisons on portals like trucompare facilitate the insurance buyers to buy a term plan easily and as best suited to their needs.
Aegon Religare was the first insurance provider to introduce an online term insurance plan called ‘i-Term’. Today, almost every insurance company from LIC to MaxLife insurance offer online term plans.
Now, if you are wondering if you should buy an online term insurance plan, how safe it is compared to an offline version and what is the process, here is a complete guide to simplify your decision.
Reasons to Buy Term Insurance Plan
- Convenient and Quick: One click, anywhere and anytime buying – that’s what an online term insurance plan is about.
- You can do term plan comparison – browse, research and compare the quotes, features and benefits of the online term insurance plans instantly across the websites of different insurance providers.
- You really don’t have to contact or follow up with any insurance advisor(s) or fear misselling of any kind.
- You can scan and submit the KYC documents.
- You can pay premiums by choosing any of the multiple payment methods available – credit card, debit card, net banking and even IVR (Interactive Voice Response).
- The policy is processed and issued quickly, so your life cover does not get delayed much.
- You can renew the policy online as and when the premium due or if it lapses.
- Cheaper Cost: The premium of online term insurance plans is about 30 – 40% cheaper than the offline plans. There is a misconception pertaining to economical cost of online term plans, though. Most customers believe that lower the premium, the higher is the probability of a claim rejection or that there is some catch. Well, that’s not true. There are several reasons why online term plans are more affordable. First, there is no agent commission or channel sales cost involved in the pricing. Second, insurers consider an online customer a low-risk profile – he is educated, earns well and prefers to take a life cover. Third, since an online transaction is paperless, the processing and administration cost also comes down significantly for the insurer.
- Transparent Process: One of the major problems that an offline insurance buyer faces is transparency – right from meeting(s) with the advisor to filling up the form. You usually rely on the advisor’s advice to understand the key offerings of the plan. There are also chances that your personal details could be misspelled or mentioned incorrectly in the physical form. Whereas, in an online plan, you would be doing all the formalities on your own. You have all the information at hand to make a sound decision. There is a step-by-step procedure to guide you, so the error rate is considerably low.
- Lack of Human Touch: If you are someone who prefers the face-to-face support and advice for before (buying) and after (premium payment reminders, claim settlement, etc.) insurance, you may not be comfortable buying an online policy. However, you must also note that the most advisors do not stay for long with one single insurance company. So, if you think that the advisor who sold you policy will stay with you till the end of the policy term (unless he is someone who you know personally), you are mistaken! The good side is that you really don’t need an advisor’s help to buy an online term insurance plan for the reasons stated above. These days, insurance companies send automated text and email status updates / reminders for your policy. And to ensure that the claim settlement procedure is hassle free for the nominee(s), it is advisable to choose a reputed insurer with the best claim payout ratio.
- Insurance Lexicon: While applying for an online term plan, you may not understand the insurance wordings on the website. You may have to either dig up more information from the internet to comprehend their meaning or rely on the insurance provider’s customer support service.
Choosing the Right Online Term Plan
Now that you have decided to buy an online term insurance plan, the question is how to choose the right one. We have already written a detailed post on this earlier. Read here to know more.
The process of buying an online term plan differs from one insurance company to another. However, the submission of personal details and KYC documentation remain same. As far as medical tests are concerned, you may have to undergo the same if the insurance provider deems necessary.
We will take examples of two insurance companies – Max Life Insurance and HDFC Life to explain the process of online purchase of term policies.
Max Life Insurance: When you log on to the Max Life Insurance website, you would be requested to fill your basic personal details like name, mobile number, email id, nationality and status. You will be then directed to a premium calculator page. You will need to fill your gender,date of birth, smoking status, sum assured required and policy term to arrive at the premium amount. The next page will take you to an online application form to fill personal details, contact details, previous policy details, health details and nominee details. Then, you will have to make the payment and upload the scanned copies of your KYC documents and any other document if required as per your plan. You will get a payment acknowledgement, which will act as your reference till the policy is issued to you.
HDFC Life: When you log on to HDFC Life website, you would be first requested to choose sum assured, policy term and premium paying term followed by your personal details such as age, gender and smoking habit. After your premium is calculated, the next page will take you to an online application form, which would cover more or less same details as any other insurance provider. On successful completion of the transaction, you will get an acknowledgement and further procedure of issuance will be undertaken.
Buying online term insurance plans is reliable and safe as long as you chose the right insurer and the right plan. But, you should also keep a few important points in mind to ensure smooth processing of your application and effortless claim settlement process for the nominee(s).
- Understand the plan If required, consult your family, friends or an expert. You must also do term plan comparisons to make the right decision.
- If you are using a comparison site to seek information, you should verify the information for its relevance and freshness.
- Read all terms and conditions on the website carefully, especially the ones in the fine print.
- Do remember that most claim rejections result from non-disclosure, incorrect or misleading information. In order to ensure that the nominee(s) does not face any problem in the event of a claim, a precaution at your end while buying a plan is of the utmost importance. You must be honest about your disclosures. For example, you should mention your smoking or drinking habit. Or, if you have any previous life cover, that should be too declared. You may have to pay a higher premium, but it is worth your peace of mind.
- The browser page address line should show a secured connection. That is, it should start with ‘https’ instead of ‘http’.
- Before making a payment, ensure that the website has Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate so that your transactions are safe and secure.
- Save the acknowledgement or reference number of the transaction, whether it was successful or unsuccessful. Ideally, keep a screenshot of the transaction page. This will act as a record till you receive the policy document by courier.
Post – Buying Tips
Your responsibility does not end after buying an online term plan. You have to consider following factors too.
- As soon as you receive the policy document, read it thoroughly to verify that your personal and policy details (sum assured, term, premium amount, etc.) are correct. You must also read the terms and conditions as well as exclusions.
- You have a right to return the policy to the insurer in the following circumstances.
- There is any mistake in your personal or policy details. The insurer will rectify and send a new policy document to you.
- There is a freelook period of 15 days from the date of receipt of the policy document. In case you are unsatisfied with the plan, you can return the policy document within this period and claim a refund of your initial premium.
- If the policy document is in order, show it to your spouse, parents, any other responsible family member or the nominee(s). Explain them the reason why you have bought a term plan and educate them on the features of the policy. You should also describe how a claim settlement process works and where and how to contact the insurer as and when such an unfortunate situation arises.
- Keep the policy document in a safe and a secure place. At the same time, it is also necessary that your family members or the nominee(s) know where it is kept and how to access it.
- Don’t forget to pay premiums on time! What’s the use of a term insurance policy if it lapses and can’t serve the benefits it was taken for? You have an option to renew the policy, however, the insurer may ask you to undergo a medical test. And, if the medical test reveals an unfavourable health condition, you may have to pay a higher premium or your policy may not get renewed. These are the reasons why timely payment of premiums is necessary.
Remember, that you are buying a term insurance plan for the financial security of your family. Online term plans are convenient and cheaper to buy. But, these alone should not be the decisive criteria. Choose an online term plan which meets your financial goals and gives you peace of mind.