Natural disasters are beyond our control, better be insured

MUMBAI: Though you can do little to avoid calamities, here are some ways to minimise their financial impact
Devastation caused by Jammu and Kashmir floods has, once again, brought into focus
the importance of being adequately insured to deal with the fallout of disasters. As an individual, you can do little to prevent such catastrophes.

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However, you can take steps to minimise their financial impact. In order to be prepared for every situation beyond your control, natural or man-made, make space for these covers in your protection portfolio:

Disasters like the one in Jammu & Kashmir lead to tremendous loss of lives, leaving the bread earner's dependants financially vulnerable. "Such natural calamities bring back the focus on need for protection of life and assets. As a thumb rule, a person needs to have a minimum of 10 times his annual income as life cover," says Aalok Bhan, director and head, product solutions management, Max Life Insurance.

If you wish to carry out a detailed analysis, consider your assets and liabilities -which your dependants may have to clear -before choosing the right cover and amount. Also, it's best to go for a pure protection term cover. A 30-year-old non-smoking woman may buy a term cover of Rs 1 crore with a 20-year tenure for just Rs 7,000-8,000 a year.

Home Insurance

A home insurance is meant to compensate for losses due to man-made and natural calamities. It can also insure the contents of your home and valuables against fire, theft and burglary. "As people move out of their houses to escape nature's fury , there is a risk of their household equipment and valuables being stolen. A home insurance that ordinarily comes at cost of Rs 4,000-5,000 a year for a Rs 50 lakh sum insured can make good such losses," says Rakesh Jain, CEO, Reliance General.

Personal Accident

Cover In case of a natural calamity or road accidents, the threat of disability and dismemberment is as daunting as death. This is where a personal accident policy can come to your aid.Depending on the product and insurer, it covers accidental death, permanent total disablement, permanent partial disablement,temporary total disablement and compensation for loss of employment .

"You should look at a cover of around 12-15 times your annual pay," says Sudhir Sarnobat, CEO, medimanage.com. You need this cover not only to insure against natural disasters, but also possible mishaps you may encounter in your daily life. "At a young age, many people get into jobs which entail a lot of travelling -including commuting by twowheelers -which increases the chances of accidents. So, this cover comes in handy," says Sarnobat.

Health Insurance

The need for health cover is obvious in times of floods when the threat of epidemic looms large. "With rising healthcare costs and increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases, buy this cover for yourself and your family , especially once you cross the age of 38 to 40 years. Most health insurers insist on medical tests post the age of 45 and hence, buying this cover by 40 makes a lot of sense," says Sarnobat.Buy this even if you are covered by your employer's group health cover."At this age, you should buy a cover of at least Rs 6 lakh, which can be enhanced to Rs 12-15 lakh over the next 810 years. For this age group, the annual premiums could be in the range of Rs 16,000-18,000," he adds.

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