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What is insurance portability?

Insurance Portability

Insurance Portability is a concept wherein an insured person who is not satisfied with the products and services of his/her existing insurance provider can change the existing insurance company with another. One of the major benefits of this facility is that an individual can opt for a similar product and keep his/her previous details such as coverage and other benefits that were previously part of the insurance plan.

Currently, the facility of insurance portability is applicable to only health insurance policies in India. The portability option is now allowed in case of all family floater policies and individual plans issued by health insurance as well as general insurance companies. The benefits that can be transferred in such scenarios are:

  • Waiting period
  • Time bound exclusions
  • Waiting periods for already existing ailments

So if you change your health insurance policy from one insurance service provider to another, you do not have to lose the benefits you have accumulated in your existing policy. However, the process of shifting your health insurance policy from one insurer to another is not that easy. The major problems faced in processing such critical data are: coverage against previously existing diseases/ailments; Claim history (with details of all previous claims) and present health status of the proposer or insured.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has laid down some rights to protect you when porting your policy to any other insurer of your choice. The organization says that your new insurer “shall allow for credit gained by the insurer for pre-existing conditions in terms of waiting period.”

Insurance Portability Rights:

  • As an insured, you can port your policy from and to any general insurance company or specialized health insurance company
  • You can port any individual or family policies
  • When porting your policy, your new insurance service provider has to give you the credit relating to waiting period for any pre-existing conditions that you have gained from your previous insurance company
  • The new insurance provider must insure you at least up to the sum insured under the previous policy
  • The two insurers, previous and new, should complete the porting as per the deadlines prescribed by IRDA

The documents required for insurance portability application are:

Previous Insurer Documents

  1. Policy certificates of all previous years
  2. Latest renewal notice from existing insurer
  3. Self-declaration in no-claim cases
  4. Additional documents (if claim has been made) such as discharge summary and investigation report

New Insurer Documents

  1. Duly filled proposal form
  2. Duly filled portability from Escape Route
  3. All details including forms, medical records and claim history to be shared at the IRDA website within seven working days

Some conditions laid down by the IRDA  for porting your policy are:

  • As an insured, you can port the policy at the juncture of renewal, which means that your new insurance period will be with the new insurance company.
  • Apart from the waiting period credit, all other terms of the new insurance policy including the premium amount would be  at the discretion of the new insurance company.
  • If you plan to port your policy then you must write to your existing insurance service provider for transfer/shift of your policy. Also, specify the name of the new company wherein you plan to shift your policy as well as renew the policy without a break. 
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