Life insurance plan is a safe and secured way to protect your dependent family members after your demise. When you decide to buy a life insurance policy in India, you enter into an agreement with the insurance company that assures to provide a certain sum to your family in case of your sudden death. The insurance company offers financial protection or coverage to your family so that they can continue to lead a stable life even in your absence. In return, you make periodic payments to the life insurance company, called premium. Here, your life cover premium depends upon various factors such as age, gender and health condition.
Besides offering financial protection to your family, life insurance policies offer the following benefits:-
Certainty: Once a goal has been set, life insurance policy is the best means to fund that goal. This is because it gives a peace of mind that in case of any unfortunate event such as death and critical illness; the sum assured paid by the life insurer will be sufficient to meet future goals of the policyholder or family. This is the primary advantage of life insurance as it helps tide over difficult times with ease. People can worry less about what will happen to their families and loved ones in case something unfortunate or unexpected happens to them with an adequate life insurance cover.
Tax benefits: The maturity benefits offered by life insurance policies are eligible for tax benefits under Section 10(10D) of the Income Tax Act in India. Also, premiums paid on life insurance policy get tax deductions under Section 80C of the Act. This advantage is regularly used by tax payers across the country to plan their taxes and their finances. These tax benefits also indirectly help increase the savings in the country and this in turn helps the financial market, the stock market and the overall economy – a fact often ignored as it does not directly affect the tax payer. Planning your life insurance cover the best way possible may even mean that that your tax slabs will be different and you may be able to plan your income to fall under a lower slab than a higher one.
Encourages contribution: Most often, life insurance policy is taken for a specified goal, such as child’s education and marriage. In this way, it discourages the person from utilizing those funds for any other motive. It is the best way to accomplish your goals. You pay the life insurance premium when due and the life insurance company allocates it against your name. Slowly and steadily, your life insurance policy helps you to increase your corpus and allows you to realize your best dreams without too much effort. The only effort required from you is to pay the life insurance premium on time. This is achieved in the best manner for you as it does not hit your pocket and also brings in the financial discipline required to grow your savings and build your wealth, while at the same time proving you with a life insurance cover.
Plan for retirement: Planning for retirement is the biggest advantage of life insurance plans. Most of the country’s working population are not covered under retirement plans. The EPF, PPF and other pension plans only cover a small portion of the population. And in many cases, these plans are encashed when the person changes a job and goes to a different organisation. The only way out seem to be life insurance as the life insurance policy helps build up a corpus for retirement and also provides life insurance cover against a myriad of life’s problems at the same time. What’s more, systematic investments in the policy help to easily build up a corpus within a few years. The best life insurance companies offer a range of payout options. These include lump sum payment, annuities, and monthly payments. You can choose the life insurance plans that give you the necessary life insurance cover and yet help you build up a significant amount for your retirement. Some life insurance plans in India like retirement insurance policies or unit linked insurance plans provide the best option for a life insurance policy that can help build up a significant corpus.
Provide life insurance cover for life’s unfortunate problems: A life insurance policy safeguards against various small or big problems that life may throw at you. Whether it’s providing life insurance cover against hospitalisation, day care, post surgical treatment, or simply helping you build up your wealth in a safe secure manner, a life insurance policy does all this and more. Moreover, the Indian life insurance companies offer a range of policies that help the individuals to buy policies for themselves or their families for a variety of end purposes. In addition, a life insurance cover guards against any unfortunate or unforeseen events such as critical illnesses and even death.
The minute you have people dependent on you, you should buy an insurance cover. The younger the age, lower will be the premium. Anyone who is married and has a family to support should think of purchasing the best life insurance policy. Even single persons can choose the best life insurance plans to get tax benefits. Further, after marriage, they can add their spouse and children as beneficiary in the insurance contract.
There is no age limit to start buying life insurance cover. You should buy the best life insurance policy as soon as the requirement arises. In fact, life insurance cover should start from childhood to insure against illnesses and sudden hospitalisations from fever or stomach aches, and should also be present for the elderly to cover against age-related illnesses, regular check-ups, hospitalisation, etc.
Your life insurance needs depend on a various factors such as your marital status, age and gender. For instance, when you are young, you may not need a life insurance but as you grow old and your financial responsibilities get increased, you may need the best life insurance policy of high sum assured.
At the most basic level, the amount of life insurance that you need corresponds to your answers of the following questions:-
1. What are the immediate financial expenses that your family may require upon your immediate death?
2. How much of your salary goes towards meeting present expenses and future needs?
3. How long would your dependents need support in case of your sudden demise?
4. How much money would you like to save for your child’s education and marriage?
Let’s take these questions one at a time in detail to best understand their implications.
1. What are the immediate financial expenses that your family may require upon your immediate death?
Though this is not a question people like to think about, it is a question that lies at the foundation of life. Death like birth is inevitable and causes havoc wherever it touches people’s lives. The after effects are numbing for the rest of the family members and people take months, if not years, to come out of their grief. It is essential that people realise what their loss may mean to their families and take steps to at least remedy these circumstances by not letting the family members worry about any financial expenses including the immediate expenses.
Life insurance companies in India provide some of the best insurance covers for the Indian citizens. These covers not only take a long term view and look after future expenses, they also help the family to meet the immediate expenses like repatriation costs, funeral expenses, etc. This may seem like a minor thing to think about against the backdrop of such a major life changing event, but the performance of the rites and rituals cost money and some funds to take care of these expenses always help.
Buying a life insurance policy that takes care of these immediate expenses ensure that the insured has taken care of his or her family in the best manner possible.
2. How much of your salary goes towards meeting present expenses and future needs?
To get to the best insurance plans for yourself in India, you will need to understand how much of your salary goes into meeting your present expenses and saving for your future needs. Understanding the current and future expenses and needs help the individual to select the best life insurance cover for themselves and their families. However, undertaking this process is not easy and may require some hours or even days of planning. Here are a few things to keep in mind while calculating these expenses.
How to find present expenses to get the best life insurance plans
Finding the present cost of living requires breaking up of all the current expenses into their respective categories or expense heads. You can do it the old fashioned way using a notepad and a pen or pencil or the new way of using a financial website or an app. Whatever option works for you, the start would be to bifurcate these costs into two categories – necessary and avoidable. Though, it may be difficult to go through all and put them under these two categories, you can use a third category for those costs that are not necessary for living but make life easier. Let’s plan the normal expenses under these categories:
Loans and amounts owed: These are the most important expenses that your life insurance policies must cover. Whatever happens to you, banks in India will ask you or your family members to pay off the loan or credit card. You cannot escape from this liability and will have to repay the bank, no matter what. Your life insurance policy payout must be able to pay off these loans and credit card bills. This is a necessary expense and must be considered first before all expenses.
Rent: If you live in a rented accommodation, then the life insurance policy must cover for the rent until at least your children are all grown up and working. Since all the rent does not accrue at the same time, you can plan a specific amount to come in every month to pay off the rent and also have an idea of the future expenses from rent. To understand how much you need, take your current rent and multiply it by 12 to get the annual figure. Since your family can park your insurance cover in a bank’s savings account or fixed deposit, plan for the rent of some years, say 10 or so. This will ensure that even if they get the life insurance cover amount in a lump sum, they can use the interest of the amount thus received to pay off the rent and if possible, also take care of other expenses. This is another necessary expense as it is a living expense.
Groceries and food expenses: Take into account all your living expenses for food for the month to understand how much you need. Then arrive at the annual figure to get the life insurance annuity amount you need. It’s even better if you opt for a monthly payout as this will ensure better planning for these small expenses on a month-to-month basis. This is yet another living expense. Try not to include money for eating out as it is more of an avoidable cost and should be included in sparse amounts while arriving at your present expenses.
Clothes: If you have kids, you will have to factor in a larger amount as they will outgrow their clothes every few months. On the other hand, if you only have a spouse and dependent parents, then the outgo on clothing will be less. This is a necessary expense but should not amount to much. On a lighter note, try not to include designer labels in your calculation to get the best life insurance policy cover.
School, college and tuition fees: If you have children, then this is an important item you must account for in your calculations to get the best life insurance policy cover in India. These necessary expenses will help you to get the approximate present cost of your children’s education. While calculating this, also consider any costs that are charged on a periodic basis for school or college trips, school charity donations, etc. as these may add up to a significant amount.
Taxes and Other Fees: As the cliché goes, there is nothing more certain than tax and you should ensure that these are properly taken care of. These may accrue because you own a house, become of some income that your family may earn and which may add to the overall earnings, municipality or revenue taxes or any other charges that need to be paid. If you are liable to pay them, then you have to include them in your calculations. Also, include the fees you have to pay the society for colony upkeep, etc. These are necessary items as you or your family are likely to pay them.
Entertainment expenses: A person must keep himself or herself happy to be able to live a full life. The best way to do this is through watching movies, television, plays, eating out, etc. Though these are not necessary expenses, they are also not entirely avoidable. Approximate the expenses you incur for this head and then arrive at a judicious figure to add to the current expenses and also to arrive at the future expenses to get the best life insurance policy cover for yourself.
Holidays: These are somewhat avoidable expenses though you must make allowance for some holidays for you and the family. It may be due to family events, a holiday necessitated by the children’s desire to go somewhere, or just for a change of scenery. Out of town travel opens the mind and you can make some allowance, if you prefer for these expenses to arrive at your present expenses. These will help you to better understand how much life insurance you need.
Fees for Helpers: Take into account the fees and other charges that have to be paid to the domestic help, the gardener, the cook, the dhobi and even the driver to get an estimate of how much you spend. Depending on your lifestyle, you may choose to consider all their expenses or trim your staff number to get to the figure. These are necessary items as you would need their help more if you are incapacitated for any reason or have elderly people in your family. Take them into account while calculating your life insurance plans.
Electricity, water, telephone and internet bills: The utility bills and those for the internet and the phone in India accrue every month and will have to be paid and thus accounted for in the life insurance policy planning. These are necessary expenses.
Travel expenses: If you are living in any large city in India, you will have to consider the travel related costs for yourself or your family members. Consider your fuel bills, the toll and parking charges to get to an approximate figure for your life insurance. These expenses fall somewhere between necessary and avoidable expenses, and it may seem sensible to discount this amount if you are the only one driving the car in your family while the others use it only for the weekend.
How to find future expenses to get the best life insurance plans
For most of the expenses listed under the current expenses, you can arrive at the yearly and thus the future expense by calculating the annual cost from the monthly costs. One of the best ways to get adequate cover for these expenses is to get a lump sum that you or your family can invest in secure and safe investments like bank fixed deposits or secure debt funds. The payment from these investments, whether as interest or otherwise, will help you get the necessary amount to pay off the monthly bills.
Another thing you can do is to check which of the life insurance plans offer monthly payouts. Since these life insurance companies understand the nature of expenses, the best of them have come out with a host of plans for life insurance policyholders in India. These plans work just like a regular salary as the life insurance company deposits the amount on a specific date every month. These regular payouts make it easier to manage your expenses. Some other expenses you have to keep in mind for the future are:
Children’s expenses: Some expenses like children’s higher studies and wedding can be easily covered with life insurance plans. You can allocate a certain amount depending upon your rough estimate to arrive at the number. You can also buy different plans to cover for these expenses. Since higher studies or a wedding happen only when the children have crossed the age of 18 and 21 respectively, opting for child life insurance plans when your children are 1-5 years old means that a significant corpus builds up by the time they reach these specific ages in addition to providing them with a protective life insurance cover.
Healthcare expenses: Your healthcare expenses or those of your spouse or your parents will increase as you age. Life insurance plans should be able to cover for these exigencies. One way to take care of these is to buy mediclaim policies but life insurance plans also work out well. In addition, some of the best life insurance companies in India offer comprehensive plans that also take into account these expenses or provide optional riders that allow you to add these covers for some additional premium amount. If you are planning to use the tax exemptions under the Income Tax Act of India, then you can use both life insurance plans and mediclaim to increase your life insurance cover and also avail tax benefits.
Retirement expenses: Planning for your retirement and paying the premium for such a life insurance policy would form the bulk of your salary outgo while planning for the future. Retirement planning using life insurance plans are a great way to save for your retirement and build up a retirement corpus. You must ensure that you buy life insurance plans that ensure you are able to maintain your current standard of living and also go easy on your wallet. The best way to do this is to compare the life insurance plans available from the various life insurance companies in India. Thereafter, you can choose the life insurance cover or covers that work for you.
3. How long would your dependents need support in case of your sudden demise?
This is a crucial question in India and determines how much you should save for while you are buying the life insurance plans. With the growth of time, there has been an increased growth of nuclear families in India. This means that your family will have to fend for itself in the event of your demise. The best way to go about it is to understand a few things such as:
The age of your children: Well educated Indians are generally able to find jobs by the time they are 25 years of age on an average. Thereafter they can generally fend for themselves. This means that if your children are in their early teens, they will be able to stand on their own two feet after 15 years at the most. Doing a similar arithmetic, if your children are young and around say 5 years, then they would need 20 years of support at least. So, when you are calculating the amount of life insurance policy you would have to purchase, assume that your policy would be paying for your children’s education for these many years if the unfortunate happens.
The age of your spouse: No matter what, ensure that your homemaker spouse never has to ask monetary help to fend for herself. Looking at how healthcare has developed in India, It makes sense to assume people on an average are going to live well into their 80s in the coming years. Assuming the same for your spouse will ensure she keeps receiving a regular monthly payment for the rest of her life from your life insurance plans.
The age of your parents or other dependent family members: Apply the same logic as the one you have applied for your spouse to get at the amount your parents will need to take care of their needs. You should also factor in the age of your parents while calculating the healthcare expenses they are likely to face. Unlike your spouse who will have time to save enough from your life insurance policy income before she reaches old age, your parents will have less time and will need more funds for the costly medical tests and treatments.
4. How much money would you like to save for your child’s education and marriage?
Most parents in India want their children to have the best education and also get married off in pomp and style. As such, it makes sense to save enough money for these needs. However, how much you need depends on certain factors such as the age of the child and the stream they would want to pursue for their education. For marriage, the primary factor is simply how much you want to spend depending on your social status.
Life insurance plans help you plan for the future quite easily as they provide a regular affordable premium that you can easily pay. The premium amounts are lesser if you are buying a policy for a longer term of say 15-20 years and are higher for the shorter period plans. In addition, the amount you build up is more. Since foreign education is only contemplated for post graduation, that means you have nearly 20 years to build up a corpus if you start the life insurance policy when your child is less than a year old. The same holds true for your child’s marriage. Assuming they will get married when they are 25 years and above, you can easily save a substantial amount by the time your child reaches marriageable age, if you start a child life insurance policy when they are young.
For all these life insurance plans, the motto is, the sooner the better.
Below are the types of life insurance policies available in the market:-
1. Term Insurance - It is the simplest and cheapest form of insurance that is designed to offer financial protection for a specified tenure, say 15 or 20 years. Term insurance ensures that your family gets a large lump sum amount, i.e; sum assured after your death to lead a financially stable life. However, if you survive the term, the insurer pays nothing. The best thing about a term insurance policy is that the premium is quite low for the insurance cover it provides. Some insurance companies in India also offer a life insurance policy product that comes with a money back guarantee.
2. Endowment Policy:- It offers the dual benefit of insurance and investment. A certain part of the premium is allocated towards the sum assured, while the remaining portion of the premium gets invested in asset markets— equities and debt. It pays a lump sum amount after the specified duration or on the death of the policyholder, whichever is earlier. An endowment policy may declare bonus periodically, which is paid, either on maturity or on the death of the insured.
3. Unit Linked Insurance Product (ULIPs):- In ULIP, a portion of the premium goes towards providing the life cover, while the residual portion is invested in equities and debts. The investment portion in ULIP is subject to market volatility. Investing in ULIP inculcates regular saving habit in a person, which is imperative for the creation of wealth.
4. Money Back Life Insurance:- It offers periodical payment of partial survival benefits during the tenure of the policy as long as the policyholder is alive. In the event of death of the insured, the insurance company pays the full sum assured along with survival benefits.
5. Whole Life Insurance:-Offering the dual benefit of insurance and investment, whole life insurance plans offer insurance cover for the whole life of the person or up to 100 years whichever is earlier. Also the life insurance company calculates bonus on the sum assured, which is paid to the nominee after the death of the policyholder.
6. Child Insurance:- The increasing education cost is causing uneasiness among parents. Therefore, it is best to invest in a good child insurance plan to give secured life to your child even in your absence. A child life insurance plan offers a lump-sum amount to the beneficiary (i.e. child) on the death of the policyholder. Here, the policy doesn’t end. In this case, Life Insurance Company exempts all future premiums and pays the money to the child at specified intervals as planned out by the policyholder.
7. Retirement Insurance Policies:-Also called pension plans, these are offered by life insurance companies to help an individual build a retirement corpus. This money helps a person to lead a financially secured life even after retirement. In case of an unfortunate death of the policyholder, the nominee can either take a lump sum or receive a regular pension for the rest of the policy tenure. These life insurance plans are great to build up a retirement corpus, Most life insurance companies in India provide a wide array of plans for people to save for their retirement.
Some of the Common Life Insurance Terms
It’s easy to get confused with life insurance jargons at the time of comparing insurance plans. Here we explain some of the common life insurance terms that you must be aware of:-
Premium:- An amount paid to the life insurance company to get an insurance cover is called premium. A single premium life policy cover will require you to pay the entire premium amount in one go, while the yearly premium life policy cover will require you to pay premiums every year for the number of years specified in the life insurance policy document. Your life insurance premium will depend on several factors such as your age, amount of cover, the time period of cover, your gender, smoking or alcohol consumption habits and so on.
Insurer and insured:- The person who is covered by an insurance policy is called insured. Further, the insurer is the life insurance company that issues the policy, such as ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co., Bharti AXA Life Insurance Co., Max Life Insurance, SBI Life Insurance and Birla Sun Life.
Sum assured:- It is the amount that a life insurance company agrees to pay, excluding bonus. In other worlds, it is the guaranteed amount that you or your nominee will receive.
Bonus:-This is an additional amount given by a life insurer along with the sum assured either on maturity or death of the policyholder. However, only participating life insurance plans or plans ‘with profits’ are eligible to get bonus.
Maturity value:-It is the amount that a life insurance company pays on maturity of the life insurance policy. It includes both sum assured and bonus.
Rider:- It is an additional benefit attached to the primary insurance cover. It offers financial protection over and above the basic sum assured against an eventuality. Some of the most popular riders that can be attached with insurance plans are critical illness rider, disability rider and premium waiver rider.
Annuity:- It is the regular payment that an insurance company agrees to pay you after you cross the specified age. So, for instance, you cross the age mark of 55, the life insurer will pay you a monthly or quarterly return. It is called annuity.
Surrender Value:- If halfway the life insurance policy tenure, you decide to discontinue the life insurance policy and take whatever money is due to you, the life insurer pays an amount which is called surrender value.
Paid-up Value:-If you stop paying premiums but do not withdraw the money from your insurance policy, your life insurance policy earns paid-up value. Depending on the number of premium paid, the insurance company will reduce your sum assured considerably and pays the remaining amount at the end of the tenure.
Survival Benefit:- This is a fixed amount paid by a life insurance company at the end of a specified duration.
Whether you want to buy money back policy, whole life insurance or any other policy, take the following steps to find affordable life insurance plans in India:-
Buy when you are young:- The cost of life insurance policy increases with your age. Therefore, it is always better to buy an appropriate life insurance policy when you are young and when your premium rates are low.
Do your homework:- Every life insurance company deploys its own tools and calculators to choose the right coverage and tenure for your policy. However, it is imperative to carry out some basic research on your part to know what you want and how much premium you can afford. In this way, you can find the best life insurance policy.
Avoid buying too many riders if you don’t understand them:- Though it is a good idea to buy riders, but if you don’t understand them fully, you should avoid them. Remember, riders come at an additional cost and their cost will be added to your life insurance premium. Therefore, it is good to first understand your requirements before shelling out extra money.
Take the help of a trusted life insurance advisor:- While it may look trivial, it is important to take the help of a reliable life insurance advisor to find the right policy. Most individuals are incapacitated to take the right financial decision by themselves and therefore, need to hire a life insurance advisor.
Compare life insurance policies:- Since there are various life insurance companies in India offering a gamut of insurance policies, you need to be sure that you have selected right life insurance plans. Either you can compare it by yourself or take the help of a life insurance advisor who will compare various life insurance policies on your behalf.
The number of internet users has increased considerably in India. As a result, more and more people are buying life insurance policies online. However, if you are yet to use the internet to buy the life insurance policy, here we are giving you some of the good reasons why you should buy life insurance policies online now.
Low cost:- Online life insurance policies are cheaper than their offline counterparts. As you purchase life insurance policies directly from the insurer without any intermediary, the insurer saves money and passes on the benefit to the buyer. Thus, online life policies work out to be cheaper.
Easy background check:- With rampant use of social media and other means, it becomes easy to check the reputation of the life insurance company online before buying any policy. While scouting for a life insurance cover online, you can read reviews of policyholders and can take a better decision based on this information.
Hassle-free process:- From start to finish, the entire process is hassle-free. All queries regarding the life insurance cover and insurance plans are quickly resolved by customer service centres. Even mandatory documents such as identity and address proof can be scanned and sent to the life insurance company.
Instant policy quotes:- Online platform allows you to easily compare different life insurance policies in India. You just need to key in the details, get your insurance quotes and compare premium. You can buy the best life insurance policy in a blink of an eye.
If you too are looking for some good life insurance plans, but do not have an idea about which Life insurance company to choose and what type of policy is apt for you, PolicyBazaar can be a great help. We offer details of leading life insurers and various life insurance policies in India, such as endowment life policy and whole life policy. You can even compare different life insurance policies online to see which policy suits you most. You can also enrol for a life policy and pay the premium for the policy online. Furthermore, with PolicyBazaar, getting life insurance policies quotes online from different life insurance companies is no more remain a daunting task.
Over the last few years the premium of life insurance plans has sloshed drastically. Isn’t that a real motivation to get covered? To buy the best life insurance plan, log on to PolicyBazaar and get quotes from life policies of all the top insurers. So get your life insured, all it takes is a few clicks of the mouse at our website.
January 29 ,2016 : As per the statistics collected by the Life Insurance Council, a growth of 3.5% is registered in the number of life insurance policies sold since April 2015. An interim premium growth of 16% in the new business has also been registered. Having a look on the data of the initial 6 months, a growth of 8.6% is quite evident in the number of policies sold, which In contrast, unveils a slower rise rate of 14.45%. The net premium income of the company was registered to be Rs. 85588 crore with 1.66 crore policies sold, which in comparison was reported to be Rs. 73777 crore in December 2014 with the number of policies sold being 1.60 crore. Likewise, the private sector insurance companies registered the net premium growth of 17.47%, which is comparatively higher than 15.38% growth registered by public sector insurance companies. ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company managed to grow its business premium by 33% with 20% sales drop.
Do we need to pay taxes for benefits provided under life insurance cover?
The agent should actually inform you about the taxable benefits included in your policy. And, generally the death benefits are not subjected to any income tax.
How to check cash value of life insurance policy?
Majorly, cash value of life insurance policy include the death benefit along with some amount of fund which can be used as saving or source for future premium payment.
How do health condition, age and sex affect the premium?
The older you get, the greater are the chances of sickness and demise. Talking about the sex, male are likely to pay more as the life existence of a woman is generally higher than that of a man. If you are suffering from poor health or pre-existence disease then you are expected to pay a higher premium. Health is actually counted before age and sex.
Can the insurer refuse to pay?
Till the time it is a genuine case, the insurer has no point to reject the case. In case of deceptive claim or disappearing of an individual under mysterious circumstances, the insurer can hold the payment for investigation results.
Is there any tax benefit?
You can have tax rebate on the policy under the Income Tax Section 80C. Also, the death benefit received as cover is not considered taxable income for the beneficiary. The cash value plans are generally not counted under the taxable section.
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