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MWP Act – All You Need to Know About it

Aug 20, 2018 | 2 years ago | Read Time: 3 minutes | By iKnowledge Team

In India, women’s rights are a crucial issue. Given our social prejudices, when it comes to a woman’s assets, there is no proper protection that has been enforced. Keeping this in mind, the MWP Act was enacted in 1874. This act was a landmark movement towards protecting the property rights of women. Later, in 1923, this law was amended to include insurance policies, which further protected the rights of women.

So how what is this Act and how does its linkage to insurance policies work?

MWP Act - Aegon Life

What is the MWP Act?

Married Women’s Property Act was enacted in 1874. It was originally meant to state that the earnings of a married woman can be considered as her separate property. It was aimed at protecting the properties of women from their relatives, creditors and even their own husbands.

However, there was a life insurance amendment to this act which concluded that the proceeds from the life insurance policy under this act will not be in the control of the husband. Thus, implying that the proceeds of the policy will be treated as effective property of his beneficiaries and not his personal property.

Who can/should get it?

Any married man can avail a life insurance policy under the Married Women’s Property Act. This would include divorced persons as well as widowers. Please ensure that you take the policy on your name only. All varieties of policies are covered under this policy.

A married woman can also buy a policy under this act in her name, in which case her children will be the beneficiaries. However, if a woman gets a policy under the MWP Act, the husband will not gain anything from it and this will be considered as a separate asset.

Why is linking insurance with the MWP Act important?

Linking life insurance policies to the Married Women’s Property Act was an important step towards protecting the rights of women at the same time providing the much-needed protection to one’s family.

There are various benefits married women can derive from this amendment:

  • The final beneficiary of the policy is determined from the beginning. This would be the wife and children in the case where the husband takes the insurance policy. In the case where the wife takes the policy the beneficiaries are the children, where the husband does not receive anything.
  • If you live in a joint family, then you can protect the proceed from yours or your husband’s policy by naming the beneficiaries before-hand. This will help you in case there are multiple other claimants to yours or your husband’s assets.
  • You can take up life insurance policies outside of the MWP Act, where you can name your wife and children as nominees. However, outside the MWP Act, you can change the nominees in the duration of the policy in case of a divorce.

A policy taken under the MWP Act, cements your nominees from the beginning itself. This way you cannot change the nominees over the course of the policy. Thus, even if you get divorced, your wife and children will remain the beneficiaries of your policy.

Keeping in mind the following benefits that you can derive by linking an insurance policy with the MWP Act, let’s put things into perspective:

Consider this – Mr Sharma had purchased a life insurance policy under the premise of the MWP Act. While taking the policy he names his wife and two children as the beneficiaries. Mr Sharma suffered a fatal fall at his workplace and did not make it through. Having named his beneficiaries prior to the policy, his wife and children remained financially secure and protected under the MWP Act. They received the benefits of the insurance policy as routine. The Act also protected Mrs Sharma from her in-laws who wanted to leach onto her dead husband’s assets.

How do you link an insurance policy with the MWP Act?

If you wish to take up an insurance policy under the Married Woman’s Property Act, you will have to simply inform your insurance provider. At the time of taking the policy, tell your insurance provider that you would want to endorse it under the MWP Act. This benefit can only be obtained when you take the policy as you cannot make any changes thereafter.

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