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Published in Mint on Oct 20 2016, Written by Abhishek Bondia

I wanted to buy a Rs10 lakh sum assured family health cover from a private insurer for myself, my wife and our 1-year-old son. But my father, who is about to retire next month, got to know that the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) facility offered along with his pension would not cover any of the hospitals in the town where he lives. So, I am now planning to take a plan where I can include him and my mother (55) too. What kind of a plan should I look for now?
—Ramesh Pushkar
Buy two separate plans for your nuclear family and your parents. Keeping the plans separate has several advantages. Plans for your parents are likely to have more stringent underwriting than the plans for yourself. Keeping the plans separate also ensures that the no-claim benefits in your plan are not impacted by a claim. Finally, insurance for older people comes with several restrictions such as co-pays and longer waiting periods. By buying a separate insurance, you will not be subjected to those restrictions.
Refer to Mint SecureNow Mediclaim Ratings ( for a detailed comparison of available health insurance plans.
Can I change my car insurer mid-year? I have around 5 months left for this year’s insurance to lapse.
—Atul Saxena
Yes, you can cancel your existing policy and take a new cover. But if you cancel the policy mid-term, the premium retained by the insurer will be on a short-period scale. For example, if the policy was utilised between 6 months and 7 months, then only 20% of the premium will be refunded. In case there was a claim, then there will be no refund.
I’m a non-resident Indian (NRI) based in Canada. I want to buy a family health insurance in India, that covers my parents, both senior citizens. Can an NRI buy insurance in India and pay for the policy premium?
—Keshav Sinha
Yes, an NRI can buy health insurance in India and pay while being overseas. You could pay via credit card, or SWIFT transfer through your foreign bank account. Cheque payments via your non-resident external (NRE), non-resident ordinary (NRO) or foreign currency non-residential (FCNR) account are also possible. Most Indian health insurance policies cover treatment only in India, where claims are either settled in rupees or cashless in network hospitals.
I am planning to buy a home insurance policy. My house is in a residential tower in Gurgaon and covers about 1,800 sq. ft. The current market value of my house is around Rs4 crore. At what value should I get it insured, as the market value fluctuates often.
—Nishant Arora
Standard home insurance policy covers physical damage to the building structure due to risks such as fire, flood, earthquake, lightning and malicious damage. Such physical damage can happen only to the structure and not the intrinsic value of the land. So, under standard home insurance, only the value of reconstructing the house is considered for sum assured.
In your case, assuming that the cost of reconstruction would be about Rs4,000 per sq. ft, you should insure the house for about Rs70-75 lakh. You may opt for 10% escalation. This will protect you against inflation in the cost of construction. You could further revise the sum assured when you renew the insurance. Do ask for the reinstatement value clause. This will ensure that there is no deduction for depreciation.
In a few insurances, the value of land is included in the sum assured. In such policies, if substantial damage occurs, the insurer may take over the property and pay for another of equivalent value. Generally, the prevailing circle rate is then considered for arriving at the sum assured.