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Published in Mint on 29 September, 2015, Written by Abhishek Bondia

I have a Rs.7-lakh health insurance cover from a private sector insurer and want to increase my cover to at least Rs.10 lakh. Is it better to stay with the same company or should I look for a new insurer?
—Leela Varghese

You are better off enhancing the coverage with the existing insurer rather than taking a new policy with another insurer. It would be more expensive to buy a regular health insurance policy from another insurer, compared with enhancing your coverage with the current insurer. You could buy a top-up health plan with another insurer. However, most policies will offer a higher coverage of more than Rs.3 lakh.
In terms of claim settlement, it is better to stay with one insurer, assuming that the terms and conditions are similar. Depending on your age, a new association with another insurer will mean you may have to go through a fresh round of medical underwriting. Several insurers allow upgrades to their existing clients without any medical declaration or underwriting. Thus, the latter becomes an easier process to enhance coverage.

As epidemics such as dengue and swine flu have almost become a regular feature, is there a health policy I can take for myself and my family to protect against these diseases?
—Roshni Verma

It is highly recommended that you take a regular health insurance plan. All health insurance plans cover hospitalisation due to infections.
Most plans also have a pre- and post-hospitalisation cover, wherein out-patient expenses incurred 30 days before hospitalisation and 60 days post hospitalisation are covered. The pre- and post-periods may vary across insurers. This ensures that any diagnostic tests and doctor consultations done in the run-up to hospitalisation get paid by the policy.
Do note that if there is no hospitalisation, nothing becomes payable in the policy.
There are a few plans that cover stand-alone out-patient expenses as well. These plans tend to be more expensive and the limit on out-patient expenses is fairly low. The higher cost generally does not justify the extra coverage for out-patient benefits. So, I usually do not recommend them.
I had a car in the name of my company that was carrying a no-claim bonus (NCB) of 30%. I have left the company and retained the car. Can I carry on with the NCB?
—Mihir Dutta

Yes, you can carry on with the NCB from the company to yourself. The NCB for a particular car is linked to the owner or the driver.
Therefore, if your company gives a declaration that the car was dedicated to you, the insurer will allow the transfer of the no-claim bonus. Some insurance companies may require a more detailed explanation and may ask for added documentation to support the transfer.