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Insurance Contract: Read the Fine Print Carefully!

Do you read the fine print on insurance policies before buying them? Or do you find the terms and conditions so intimidating that you prefer to turn a blind eye? Most people don’t bother to read the fine print before signing the insurance contract. However, there is no use of a policy if the insurer can wriggle out of its obligations because of conditions and clauses, which are already there in the insurance contract, but you haven’t paid heed to them. Here we have outlined below some footnotes under different insurance heads that you should read at the time of buying the policy.

Health insurance

It permanently excludes congenital diseases:- Often congenital diseases are confused with pre-existing ailments such as cataract and hernia, which are covered after a waiting period of 3 or 4 years. However, congenital diseases are genetic disorders such as Down syndrome and cystic fibrosis. As a result, these diseases are not covered by health insurers.
Hospitalization for Investigative diagnostic is not covered by health insurers:- Most health insurers permanently exclude costs incurred on investigative diagnostic tests even if conducted while hospitalized. As these tests do not diagnose or cure an injury or ailment, health insurers reject the claim or impose a waiting period clause even if these were prescribed by a qualified doctor.

Critical Illness Policy/Personal Accident Policy

Job loss cover doesn’t cover termination:- A grim job scenario has led many people to take up job loss cover to alleviate the pain of being laid off. However, the coverage is not available if you are asked to leave on account of poor performance. Insurers consider such events as controllable and therefore, don’t offer any coverage.

Motor Insurance

Motor insurance covers stolen vehicles only if you have original keys:- To settle the claim for stolen vehicles, insurers ask for original keys as a proof that you were not negligent in maintaining the security of your vehicle. In case you have lost your key and have had a makeshift made by the local smith, you could face trouble in getting the claim amount if your vehicle is stolen.  

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance offers coverage only if the loss is reported to police within 24 hours:- The insurer cannot be held responsible if losses or damages are not reported to the appropriate police authority within 24 hours of the discovery of the loss.

Home Insurance

No home insurance coverage is given if the house remains unoccupied for more than 30 days:- Home insurance provides security to the structure and/or contents against unforeseen situations. However, the insurer is not liable to pay claim if the loss arises when your house remains unoccupied for more than 30 days without the knowledge of the insurer.
Burglary insurance doesn’t cover theft:- In insurance, both burglary and theft are different. Burglary requires your house to be broken into with an intention to steal, while theft doesn’t involve forceful breaking in. A visitor to your house who pockets an invaluable item has committed a theft and not burglary. Therefore, burglary insurance doesn’t cover theft unless it is explicitly mentioned in the policy document.

Standard Fire & Special Perils Insurance Policy

Fire insurance pays sum assured after accounting for depreciation:- If the loss incurred is due to fire, the insurer pays the original sum assured minus depreciation, even though the cost of reconstruction may have increased. In order to get the full sum assured value, you should insure the property on reinstatement (replacement) value.

Remember, insurance is meant to offer financial security in case of emergencies. So make sure you read the fine print carefully to avoid ‘surprises’ that could become the reason of claim rejection.

Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 09 June 2020
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