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What you need to know about the Novel Coronavirus policies on offer

Currently, the insurers are offering the Coronavirus health policy either as an indemnity or benefit cover.

With the threat of Coronavirus looming large, some insurers have launched health policies that exclusively provide cover against the risk of contracting the COVID-19 disease. They can be bought online from the comfort of your home, without the need for prior medical tests.

There are certain things you need to know before you buy them. In the case of COVID-19 policies, expenses relating to its treatment can be claimed in case of being quarantined in a hospital. In this regard, cases of self-quarantine or quarantine at home are usually not considered. 

Existing policyholders need not buy

Moreover, if you already own a health policy, you need not buy a separate COVID-19 cover. This is because the treatment of COVID-19 disease is already covered under the regular health insurance policy. If you have an outpatient treatment cover, expenses on medicine, diagnostic tests including those on COVID-19 vaccination will be reimbursed. Some insurers, in addition, also cover post-hospitalization expenses up to 90 days. 

Distinct Covers 

Currently, the insurers are offering the Coronavirus health policy either as an indemnity or benefit cover. In case of the former, hospitalization expenses (actual) up to the value of the sum assured are reimbursed on contracting the disease. Some also cover pre-hospitalization and post-hospitalization expenses up to 30 and 60 days respectively relating to the treatment of the virus. 

In contrast, benefit policies pay a lump sum amount (equal to the sum assured) once on being positively diagnosed with the virus. Some insurers might additionally require the patient to be hospitalized. And once the claim is made, the policy ceases to exist.

Whether you are buying an indemnity or a benefit cover, ensure its sum assured is large enough. Treatment for a Coronavirus patient in a private hospital (for a span of 15-20 days) could cost anywhere from Rs 2-5 lakh. Ensure your Coronavirus cover is adequate enough to take care of such exigencies.

While these policies are usually issued on an individual basis, some might also cover dependent children along with a parent. Coronavirus cover is valid for a year. Since many insurers have launched these policies on a pilot basis, renewal options are not currently available. 

Specifics

These policies are available for those in the age bracket of 18-75 years. However, some don’t issue policies to senior citizens (60 and above years of age). With elderly people remaining more vulnerable to virus infection, you need to check with the insurer for the specifics. 

While these policies are usually issued on an individual basis, some might also cover dependent children along with a parent. Coronavirus cover is valid for a year. Since many insurers have launched these policies on a pilot basis, renewal options are not currently available. 

Domestic bound

These policies provide a domestic cover and therefore don’t reimburse treatment costs in foreign hospitals. Before issuing the policy, insurers also ensure you haven’t travelled abroad recently (say in the last 30 days). Also, the policy usually cease to operate once you travel abroad to any of the affected areas – say China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan or Italy - during the tenure of the policy. 

Many insurers also have a waiting period of 15-16 days from the date of buying the policy to encourage claims related to the virus.

Don’t ignore claim settlement

Also, you need to go beyond just the premium to look into features of Coronavirus focused policies and understands its terms and conditions. One critical statistic which is often neglected in the choice-making process is the Claim Settlement Ratio (CSR) of the insurer. It is the ratio of claims (approved and) paid by an insurer during a financial year as a percentage of the total number of claims received. So, a CSR of 95 per cent means that out of 100 claims, 95 of them were paid. The rest were rejected, written back or is pending approval. 

Higher the CSR, better it is for the buyer. As it indicates that the insurer is more likely to honour their commitments. 

Best Policy

Novel Coronavirus policies offer a fast solution to those who don’t have a health cover and would like to protect against the financial risk of contracting virus. However, existing health policies already cover the disease. Whatever policy you shortlist, ensure you are protected adequately.

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