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Published in Mint on, May 21 2013, Written By Kapil Mehta
I own a small convenience store in Mumbai. Please tell me what all are included in shopkeeper’s insurance. How important is it to have such a policy?
—Rajesh Shah

Shopkeeper’s insurance is a standard pre-packaged insurance policy which is relevant for convenience. Two key risks are always covered: damage to the shop structure and contents due to fire, earthquake, flooding or malicious damage; and burglary. Additionally, you can insure for theft of money, damage to your signboard, embezzlement by your staff or injury to third parties on your premises.
A sum assured of Rs.10 lakh will cost less than Rs.10,000 per annum and cover you for a large bouquet of risks. Many insurers, particularly the public sector general insurers, have proposal forms with standard rates on their websites. You can select the risks and sum assured most applicable to you and procure the insurance from the insurer’s branch. If the sum at risk in your store is more than Rs.20 lakh then you could consider approaching a broker.
An insurance agent told me that my personal accident policy (of Rs.4 lakh) is not enough and that I should opt for a comprehensive policy. Is he right? If so, what is the sum assured that I would require?

Personal accident policies can cover five risks—death due to accident, total and permanent disability, partial and permanent disability, temporary total disability and medical expenses. I suspect that your insurance covers just accidental death whereas the full value of a personal accident insurance is in procuring the entire set of covers. The approach to determining the sum assured is identical to that in term life insurance—it should be about 10 times your annual income. The sum assured for medical expenses is typically lower. A Rs.10 lakh cover will cost you less than Rs.5,000 per year.
I am likely to be hospitalized for surgery soon. What is the process for cashless payment? How can I ensure that I leave the hospital fast after the surgery and not wait for approvals?

Send an email or call the insurer’s customer care before getting admitted. When you go to the hospital make sure that you have the doctor’s notes prescribing surgery as well as your photo identification. Hand these documents to the third-party administrator (TPA) or insurance desk at the hospital and they will liaison with the insurer for approval.
In practice this process of approval can be quite laborious and you will need to regularly follow up with the TPA desk to determine the approval status. Call the insurer directly so things move faster. Quite often the insurer or hospital will encourage you to pay the bill and claim a reimbursement from the insurer later. Avoid that if possible.