A medical emergency is not only heavy on the pocket, but it can also derail your long-term financial plans. You can prepare for a rainy day by getting your health insured.

Getting health insurance is a smart step towards leading a truly healthy life. So this year, perhaps you should modify your resolution to ensuring that your health is covered.

Some people are provided health insurance by their respective employers. If you are one of them, you should add another insurance cover, to ensure that in case you change your job, or decide to freelance, your health is still insured irrespective of income.

This weekend, sit down with your computer and put your research hat on. Compare the different policies available in the country and be mindful of the following factors, while choosing the right one:

#1. Family and dependents: Look for a mediclaim that suits the requirements of your dependents, the elderly, the children and the able-bodied young earners.

#2. Cashless (and Network) hospitals: A crucial factor while picking a policy is the network hospitals, which should ideally be in close proximity to your residence and which also allow for cashless payments during emergencies.

#3. The sum insured: The policy you select should provide an adequate cover, considering the medical history of each one in the family, the cost of surgery in the network hospitals, diagnostic expenses.

#4. Co-Pay: When you take a policy, the insurer asks you to share a certain percentage of sum insured. Be very mindful of how much you would be expected to pay off the total sum assured.

Co-pay can be used to pay a lesser annual premium, and also to keep yourself from choosing exorbitant procedures, which may not be required. Use this option wisely and know your exact cover as opposed to stated cover.

#5. Retirement: You must opt for a lifelong policy, which covers you till the age of 80, as post-retirement (60-65 years), is when you are more likely to require medical treatment, and it may not be easy to get a new health insurance policy at this age.

The insurance premium for a standard health insurance policy is generally between Rs. 5,000 – Rs. 15,000, depending on your age and the features of the particular policy.

There are several calculators available online to help you understand how much should you be insured for, depending on your annual income, your age, and the number of family member insured.

Along with getting a safety net for unplanned emergency situations, buying health insurance provides you with tax benefits too.

Stay insured and start this year on a safe note.

#TakeCharge series

This 15 part series helps you identify and complete a single task every day for 15 days to take charge of your financial life. Over these 15 tasks, you will know more about your money and how to make it work harder while having to do less work and also worry less.