Sit back and fasten your seatbelt. You are travelling back in time to the India of the 1980s. Liberalisation is still a decade away. This is a different world than the one you live in today.
Once there, you chance upon Amit at a roadside tea stall. The two of you get talking. The 33-year-old father of two is looking to buy life insurance. His wife is a homemaker, and his dependent parents are ageing. So, yes, the security from the insurance will come in handy.
But applying for life insurance is proving to be a task. For starters, the insurance agent is hard to catch a hold of. Amit managed to meet him and explained his financial situation. The agent listened but did not offer any guidance. He offered to pick a policy for Amit himself.
Will this be the right fit? There is no way of knowing. After all, there are barely any insurance options and not much information available. (No internet back then, you know!)
This is the 80s, and the process of getting insurance is far from easy.
A change for the better
Now, zip back to the present. India has transformed completely post-liberalisation. The insurance horizon is very different today. Global insurance companies are queuing up to make an entry in India. You have far more choices now than 20 years back.
Meanwhile, the government is putting a major thrust on insuring crops for the farm sector. Home-grown banks and financial institutions have entered the fray too. More and more insurance products have cropped up. And more importantly, the regulation has improved to ensure these insurance products actually work for the customers.
Yet, less than 4% of the population in India has insurance. But this is not a problem. For a country with a population of 1.31 billion, this presents a huge growth opportunity for insurers. Especially since…
Buying insurance is easy now
Unlike Amit, a customer today does not need an insurance agent. Looking for information about policies? The different insurer websites can help. There are so many insurance products that you will be spoilt for choice.
Besides, the online option has made buying insurance easier than ever before. All you need to do is follow these 5 easy steps:
1. Compare the policies available online
Navigate to the websites of different insurance companies. Look for the policies you would like to buy. Compare the different policies well. Then shortlist the ones giving you the best coverage. Shop online, if you can. Many insurers offer big discounts for buying policies online.
2. Calculate the premium
You will find online premium calculators on the websites of most insurers. Key in the details asked for. These include your date of birth, the tenure of the policy, and so on. The calculator will derive your insurance premium.
3. Fill up a form online
You need to fill in various sections on the application form. The criteria may differ for adults and minors. Ensure there are no mistakes in your form. Remember, the insurer will store your information in the company database.
4. Review the terms
Check the terms and conditions. Are there any situations under which the insurer will not pay the death benefit? Say, you take an investment-linked insurance plan. What is the maturity benefit like? When can you avail it? Suppose you need to surrender your policy early. Are there any steep penalties you should know about?
5. Select your payment schedule
Choose how often you wish to pay the premium. Can you manage annual premiums? Or would you prefer to pay every quarter or month? Once you have filled in all the details on the form, hit the ‘submit’ button. You can make the first premium payment right away. That’s it. You will get an acknowledgement receipt email from the insurer. The policy PDF may come as an attachment.
Everything about getting insurance has changed for the better. Buying a policy today is quick and easy. And you have so much to choose from. Best of all, you are not at the mercy of the insurance agent anymore. Unlike Amit from the 1980s, you now get to choose the policy you want.