What is Insurance?

An insurance policy can be defined as a contract between an insurance provider and a policyholder. Under this contract, the policyholder makes regular payments to the insurance company in return for a hedge against sudden financial or health risks. Depending on the terms and conditions laid down in the policy, the insurance company pays out a lump sum amount as reimbursement to the insured in the event of a claim.

Various factors make up an insurance policy. A proper understanding of these can help you choose a policy better suited to your needs.

How Does Insurance Work?

Usually, insurance policies are in effect for a specific period of time. This is generally known as a policy term. You will be required to renew the current policy or purchase another insurance policy at the end of the policy term. Usually, insurance policies are in effect for a specific period of time. This is generally known as a policy term. You will be required to renew the current policy or purchase another insurance policy at the end of the policy term.

When you purchase an insurance policy, you are required to make payments to the insurance provider as premiums. Some insurance policies require monthly payments, such as health insurance. Others like home or vehicle insurance only require one or two premium payments a year.

Apart from premium payments, insurance policies also comprise a deductible. This is the amount you will be required to pay during a claim before the insurance company pays out its share.

For instance, if you have an Rs. 500 deductible included in your home insurance policy, and you file a claim of Rs. 3,000, you will be required to make a payment of Rs. 500. The insurance company will pay Rs. 2,500. You can also lower your insurance premium payments by opting for a higher deductible.

How Does It Reduce Financial Risk?

Imagine while driving you accidentally hit another car, and your vehicle got damaged. If you have the right vehicle insurance, the insurance provider will cover the car repair costs minus the deductible amount that has been agreed upon in the policy contract.

Now, imagine there is a water leak in the bathroom, and it ruins everything in that room and the adjoining bedroom. Usually, if you have home insurance, the insurance company will pay to cover all or part of the damages, given that you have paid your deductible.

It is important to know that insurance companies will only cover costs for the losses that have been detailed in the insurance policy. This is why it is advised to carefully read the offer document to know what all circumstances are covered.

Benefits of Buying Insurance

Purchasing an insurance policy has numerous benefits for the individual. It provides a cover against unforeseen financial losses and helps create a fund for life after superannuation. Given below are some of the other benefits of an insurance policy:

  • Cover Against Uncertainty: This is one of the main advantages of having the right insurance policy. Insurance policies protect the insured against any potential loss. Buying the right insurance policy is the best way to protect yourself from the uncertainties of life.
  • Cash Flow Management: Having to cover the losses out of one‘s own pocket can significantly impact cash flow management. However, the right insurance policy can help you tackle such problems. The insurance provider covers the cost of any unexpected financial losses, thereby ensuring peace of mind.
  • Investment Opportunities: Unit Linked Insurance Plans invest a portion of the premium payments into various market linked investment funds. This way, you can build an investment portfolio while also getting a proper investment cover.
  • Tax Benefits: Purchasing an insurance plan has various tax benefits. The premium payments you make for the insurance policy are exempt from income tax. Section 80C, 80D, and 10(10D) of the Income Tax Act detail all the tax benefits of an insurance policy.

What is Insurance Premium?

An insurance premium is the money that a policyholder has to pay to avail of its benefits. Such payments are paid for policies covering life insurance, health insurance, home insurance and vehicle insurance. An insurance premium can be regarded as a premium for the insurance company. Further, it can also be defined as a liability to the insurance provider, as the provider has to provide cover against the premium payments made.

What is Life Insurance?

In a life insurance policy, the insurance provider is responsible for paying an assured sum to the holder or any specified nominee in the event of the insured‘s demise. Depending on the insurance terms and conditions, in the event of death of the policyholder or maturity of the policy, the provider may pay out a lump sum amount either in one go or in instalments. You can avail several different life insurance policies to meet your requirements.

Types of Life Insurance Plans

Given below are some of the different types of life insurance policies:

  • Term Insurance

Term insurance is a complete life insurance policy. The policyholder receives the benefits for a set period of time in return for premium payments. In the case of any unfortunate event during this time period, the insurance company pays out a lump sum amount. The main feature of this policy is its affordability. You can get an insurance policy with reasonable coverage for affordable rates.

  • Term Insurance with Return of Premium (TROP)

In a term insurance plan, the insured is required to make premium payments for the insurance amount mentioned in their policy. The premium payments must be paid throughout the policy, which usually ranges from 5 to 25 years. The main difference between a term plan and TROP is that upon maturity, the insurance company pays back the entire premium amount paid during the policy term.

  • Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIP)

A ULIP is a lucrative combination of insurance and investment plan that enables the policyholder to diversify their investment portfolio with the promise of multiplied growth and insurance cover. If you invest in the right ULIP policy, you will benefit from a flexible approach to investment planning. Simultaneously, your investment and personal needs are covered by a financial safety cover in the form of the ULIP insurance cover.

  • Endowment Plans

Endowment plans offer the features of an insurance policy and a savings account. It aids in saving better over a set period of time, enabling you to get a lump sum amount upon maturity. The maturity date is decided according to the terms and conditions stated in the insurance policy. Further, it is also extremely useful for securing your family‘s financial safety after your retirement. This can be very useful in making crucial decisions in your life, like funding your children‘s education, marriage or homebuying.

  • Money Back Policy

In a standard life insurance policy, a lump sum amount is paid out to the nominee in the case of the insured‘s death. This is referred to as the death benefit component of a life insurance policy. Alternatively, in a Money Back Policy, the insured gets a part of the insured amount at regular intervals instead of a lump sum amount upon maturity. A money back policy is an endowment policy with increased liquidity.

  • Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance is the general life insurance policy that provides complete coverage throughout the insured‘s life. Apart from paying out a lump sum amount upon death of the insured, these policies also have a savings provision in which cash value accumulates. The amount of money in the savings component earns interest at a fixed rate. It is important to know that a whole life insurance policy is not the same as permanent life insurance, as the latter further diversifies in various categories.

  • Group Life Insurance

Group life insurance is a type of insurance in which an entire group of people is covered under one insurance policy. Usually, the policyholder is an employer or organisation, and the policy provides cover to their employees. This is usually a more affordable option than what the employees would pay to get an insurance policy with similar benefits.

  • Child Insurance Plans

A child insurance plan gives you the best of insurance and a lucrative investment plan that can aid in securing your children‘s future. This insurance pays a lump sum amount upon maturity with respect to life cover. Further, with this policy, you can also opt for flexible payout options to sync with the important milestones of your child‘s education. While no one wants to think about illness or harm, it is important to provide your children with adequate cover from such risks.

  • Retirement Plans

Retirement plans are also otherwise referred to as Pension Plans. In this insurance policy, you are required to pay a part of your income into the dedicated plan. The main function of such policies is that the holder continues to receive regular income after retirement. Because of the ever-increasing inflation and rising prices, investing in this insurance plan is a good idea. The right retirement plan will help you maintain your regular lifestyle even after retirement.

What is General Insurance?

General insurance policies are non-life insurance policies like vehicle insurance and home insurance that pay an amount in the case of any financial loss due to any vehicular or realty issues. It can be broadly defined into various categories, some of which are detailed below.

Types of General Insurance Plans

Given below are the different types of general insurance plans:

  • Motor Insurance

This type of insurance policy provides cover against any potential risk for your vehicle. Proper vehicle insurance can also provide adequate protection against theft and incidents other than traffic collisions, such as vandalism or natural disasters. The events you are covered for depending on the terms and conditions of your insurance policy.

  • Health Insurance

Health insurance is a policy that requires the insurance provider to cover some or all of the insured‘s healthcare expenses in return for premium payments. Usually, health insurance covers medical, surgical, prescription medicine and sometimes dental treatment expenses. This policy can either pay the insured or directly settle the amount with the concerned healthcare provider.

  • Home Insurance

Home insurance or property insurance covers the holder against any unforeseen financial losses to their residential property. This policy protects the physical structure as well as its contents. Some home insurance policies also provide cover against 'Acts of God'. These are any naturally occurring instances that could not have been avoided, such as natural disasters.

  • Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is one of the most important prerequisites before you start planning a trip or vacation. Travel insurance policies provide financial cover against several travel-related risks and any medical costs that may arise as a result of complications during travel. Further, it also covers any personal liability and changes to the trip itinerary.

  • Rural Insurance

This insurance policy has been created for the general rural public to protect their businesses, such as cattle, poultry, farms, etc. Policyholders can file a claim for losses arising out of the death of cattle, losses in farming and other such circumstances. Farmers are the backbone of the economy, which is why it makes sense for them to get coverage according to their needs.

  • Commercial Insurance

At the grassroots level, commercial insurance policies are designed to provide businesses with cover against any events that may be a threat to their success. Depending on the terms and conditions of your cover plan, it may be directed towards covering the reputation, financial situation and wellbeing of the organisation. Further, commercial insurance also covers various business entities like physical assets and employees.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What factors affect a life insurance premium?

Some of the major factors affecting your life insurance premiums are health condition, age, gender, lifestyle, income and profession. Also, a few years of not filing a claim might lower future premium amounts.

Is there any waiting period for insurance policies?

Waiting period in this context refers to a specified period of time wherein the policyholder is required to wait before the insurance comes into effect. This waiting period varies from provider to provider.

Why is it important to renew an insurance policy?

Upon maturity, the policyholder is required to renew the contract to continue enjoying its benefits. These policies can be renewed within the grace period specified in your initial insurance agreement. Further, the insurance provider is not obligated to cover the period no premium payments have been made.

How many claims can be filed under an insurance policy?

You are entitled to make claims based on the terms and conditions stated in your insurance agreement. Further, in health or motor insurances, you can also get discounts for not filing claims in a set amount of time.

Are there any cashless benefits related to insurance policies?

Yes, there are cashless facilities with certain insurance policies like a car or health insurance. Insurance companies settle medical expenses directly with the healthcare provider in this feature.

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