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How can I increase my health cover?

I have held a health insurance policy worth 5 lakh for the past decade. However, I now believe that this coverage is inadequate, and I wish to enhance it to 50 lakh. Additionally, I had previously made a claim of approximately 4 lakh under my current policy four years ago. How do I increase the cover? Will I be eligible to do so with the same insurance company or will I need to look for other insurers?

—Name withheld on request

You have three options here. You can buy a new policy with a cover of 50 lakh and discontinue this old policy. But if you made this claim because of some serious illness with lasting impact, your health condition might have worsened. Your new policy will have initial waiting periods on specific illnesses and pre-existing diseases. Also, as you have already made a claim in the existing policy, a new insurer might be reluctant to give you a new policy with such high cover amount. You will also lose out on cumulative bonus if you have any. Hence, it is not recommended to discontinue your existing policy.

Alternatively, you can continue your existing policy and ask your insurer to upgrade your sum insured to 50 lakh in the next renewal. This will ensure that you get all continuity benefits on your initial sum insured of 5 lakh. But it will be at the discretion of your insurer to increase your cover amount depending on your current health conditions and insurer’s underwriting practices. If your insurer considers it to be a big risk, it might decline your upgrade request but your existing policy with initial cover amount will continue.

In that case, you can continue the existing policy with your current insurer and look for a top-up plan with cover of 50 lakh and a deductible of 5 lakh. You can get this top-up plan either from your existing insurer or any other insurer of your choice. But here too, the insurer will carry out underwriting for the top-up cover and final decision of proving you the cover will depend on the insurer. But this method is recommended as this does not impact your existing policy and also gives you flexibility in choosing top-up cover.

Nidhi Verma is founder and chief executive officer at Algates Insurance.

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Updated: 11 Sep 2023, 10:58 PM IST

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