Does your life insurance or health cover remain valid if you move outside India?
An insurance policy is a necessity nowadays as events change pretty fast during the current times. For example, the recent COVID-19 pandemic is a good lesson for everyone to take care of one’s health and be prepared for tough times by having adequate insurance cover. Moreover, with countries opening for travel, it is expected that many people shall start traveling outside of India for personal, business, and leisure reasons. But does your health insurance policy or any other life insurance policy provide you with cover outside India? Read on to find more on this.
Sanjay Sharma, 32 years marketing professional, was working as a sales head for a major electronics brand. He was transferred to the USA for five years to work on an onsite project. Before leaving for the US, Sanjay had purchased an apartment on a home loan and brought his parents and younger brother to stay in the new home. To protect himself, he chose to buy health insurance for a sum assured of Rs.25 lakhs in addition to a term insurance policy for Rs 1 crore. His father a retired teacher was receiving a pension, but it wasn’t sufficient to finance his younger brother’s college fees. So, Sanjay was taking care of his brother’s education and home loan repayment after moving to the US.
In his 3rd year of stay in the US, Rajeev encountered a major road accident and was hospitalized for 15 days that involved multiple surgeries. The doctors had to remove his left arm despite all the efforts as it was severely injured in the accident. After 3 months of full recovery, he returned to India. Once back, Sanjay wanted to make sure his family, home loan repayment, and his brother’s education were not affected because of his situation. Since he had already purchased the term insurance plan with a disability rider, he received a lump sum amount of Rs. 25 lakhs. But his treatment costs incurred in the US couldn’t be covered by his existing health insurance as the incident happened outside India, and his policy does not support international coverage. Though Sanjay lost an arm in the accident, he initiated the insurance claim on time and ensured his family or their expenses were not affected.
Is your life insurance cover valid outside India?
There are situations where you may have to travel outside India for the short term or may plan to stay there for a few years. So, if you had purchased a life insurance policy in India and are currently living outside India, your life coverage would remain in force, as long as you are paying the premiums regularly. However, it is best to inform your insurance provider about your relocation to a foreign country.
Suppose the policyholder had taken a term plan in India but was residing in a foreign country at the time of his or her death. In that case, the nominee can file a claim for receiving a death benefit from the insurer. The only condition being prompt premium payments is to be paid, which is now possible at the click of a button.
Is your health insurance cover valid outside India?
The health insurance that you had availed in India may not be helpful outside India. It means you may have to buy separate medical insurance in the country where you are residing now. A health insurance policy taken in India shall cover the expenses for medical treatments that happen within India unless specified otherwise.
Not all health insurance plans available in India support international coverage. So it would be best if you exercised caution while shifting to a foreign country and enquired with your insurer about the validity of the policy. If it is not valid, you need to opt for a health insurance plan that supports international coverage OR buy a new policy from any health insurance company in that country after reading through their terms and conditions.
Things to do for your insurance policies before moving outside India
With the usage of the internet widespread, more Indians have started planning for overseas jobs, foreign travel, international business trips, etc. While some go for a few days, few others choose to settle there for years together. Whatever may be the duration, it is necessary to pay attention to your insurance policies as they help you stay protected at all times. Here are few essential pointers that will help you get started:
- Premium Payment: Check if the policy is in force or has expired due to non-payment of premium? If you had chosen yearly payment, there are high chances for you to forget the renewal dates. So, before you step out of India for a more extended period, make sure to pay the premiums of your life and health insurance policies.
- International coverage: Are you moving to a different country for a more extended period? Then contact your insurer and check if the policy is valid in that particular country. While most term insurance provides global coverage, health insurance policies do not offer that facility. In such cases, ask your insurer if they have plans with international coverage and buy it for an optimal sum insured. Few insurers also provide extensions that enable worldwide coverage on your existing health policy.
- Documentation: While informing your insurer about your foreign travel, you may be asked to submit a few documents to verify your travel. This may include your passport, identity/ address proofs, health report, copy of employment contract, contact details, etc. Make sure to provide them with the necessary information and complete the paperwork so that your policy is kept in an active state even when you are not in India.
Hence, it is imperative to carefully go through and understand the inclusions, terms, and guidelines under your life insurance and health insurance, to know whether the policies you have bought are valid outside India or not. So that when you need financial assistance the most, you get it on time, and your family can remain stress-free.