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Who Should Be Your Nominee for Your Term Insurance?

A term life insurance product secures the financial needs of your dependents. In case of the policyholder's unfortunate demise,a lump sum is paid as compensation to the nominee. The lump sum, known as the sum assured, is a pre-determined amount. Hence, it is mandatory to mention the nominee in your proposal form. If you are purchasing an insurance policy with a death benefit, you should include the nominee without fail.

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Who is a Nominee? 

A nominee in term insurance is a person who receives the benefit amount (sum assured) in case of policyholder’s unfortunate death during the policy term. You can choose your family members, like parents, spouses, children, or siblings, as your term insurance nominee, according to T&Cs of the term insurance plan and regulations of IRDAI. Since this individual is expected to receive a death benefit in your absence, so it is advised to check who you choose.

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What is the Importance of Nominee?

The policyholder decides the nominee. When you subscribe to online term insurance, you must include the nominee's details as well. The nominee can be a family member. Your mother, father, wife/husband, son, or daughter can be included as a nominee. In some cases, the relatives such as nephews, uncles, and aunts can also be covered under the term policy. However, the policyholder should fulfill the necessary documentation to include distant relatives. It is crucial to prove the insurance interest if you choose a distant relative or friend. If you fail to establish this satisfactorily, the company may reject your application.

What is the percentage of Nominee while filing a death claim?

The policyholder should decide the name of the nominees and clearly mention the share each nominee would receive at the time of filing a claim. So, the percentage of allocation should be specified in the nomination form so that the claims will be processed easily and the death payouts will be distributed as per the decided ratio by the policyholder.

How Do You Choose the Nominees? 

Here is a list of some life insurance nominee rules: 

Beneficial Nominees: If any immediate family member is appointed as a nominee, they automatically will become the beneficial nominees of the claimed benefits. This simply means that the death benefit will be payable to the beneficial nominee and not to any other person or legal heir. 

Minor Nominee: Normally, some people appoint their children as Nominees for their term insurance policy. Children below 18 years of age are not eligible to manage the claim benefits. In such a case, the life assured should assign an appointee.

Non-family Nominee: You can nominate a distant relative or even your close friends. There is a slight risk in appointing such type of nominee, sometimes, the insurer might refuse the nomination and ask for further clarifications. 

Changing the Nominee: You can change your term insurance nominee anytime during the policy term, and the last nominated person will receive the benefit amount. However, you need to submit the required paperwork to change the nominee.

Selecting Multiple Nominees: You can nominate several individuals as your multiple nominees. This option is generally selected by people with multiple children as then they can distribute the benefit amount among all their loved ones by fixing the percentage of the claim amount for each nominee.

No Nominees: In case you haven’t selected a nominee, or the selected nominee has passed away, the claim amount will be paid to the legal heir of the policyholder, the legal representative, or the succession certificate holder.

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Benefits of Nomination Facility

The policyholder will appoint a nominee to receive the death benefit through the nomination facility while processing a death claim. Here is a list of benefits of appointing a nominee for your term life insurance plan in India:

  • Serves the purpose of insurance – The nomination facility serves the primary purpose of term insurance, ensuring your family’s financial security in your absence by providing them with the death benefit. In case of the policyholder's unfortunate demise, the beneficiary, i.e., the nominee, receives the financial benefit. The contract ends after the payment of the death benefit.

  • Ability to nominate any person – The policyholder can choose any person as a nominee. The policyholder should ideally select a responsible person with whom he/she has absolute trust in fulfilling the family's requirements in his/her absence. If the policyholder can prove the insurable interest, it is possible to select a friend or a distant relative as a nominee.

  • Flexibility of Appointing more than one Nominee – You can appoint one or more than one nominee in term insurance to receive the death benefit claim amount. You can pre-determine the percentage of the claim amount for each nominee and the benefit amount will be distributed accordingly amongst the nominees.

  • Change in Nominee – As discussed above, you can easily change the nominee of your term insurance plan by submitting the required documents. This provides you with the flexibility of ensuring the financial stability of your loved ones in your absence.

  • Cancellation of nominee – The cancellation of or changes in nominees can be made any number of times.

  • Nomination details on the insurance cover – The nomination details are presented on the insurance policy document. The legal obligations are fulfilled with the presence of the nominee named on the insurance document.

Documents Required to Appoint Term Insurance Nominee

The following details of the nominee should be submitted to the insurance company as per the term insurance nominee rules:

  • Name

  • Age

  • Address

  • Policyholder’s relationship with nominee

Official documents about the above details should be submitted to the insurance company.

No Nomination Found

If the policyholder or the nominee does not provide the nomination details and dies during the policy term, and the nominee's details are not updated with the insurance company, the following rules are applied:

The insurance company will dispatch the claim amount to the Class I legal heir. The following persons are described as Class I legal heirs:

  • Insured's spouse

  • Insured's son

  • Insured's father

  • Insured's mother

If the policyholder leaves a will, the following procedure is followed:

  • The process is as per the Indian Succession Act, 1925.

  • The claim amount is distributed as per the terms of the will.

  • The court issues the succession certificate, and based on the court's decision, the insurance company will hand over the claim amount.

  • The insurance company may demand an indemnity bond, joint discharge statement, or waiver of legal evidence.

Mistakes to Avoid While Appointing Term Insurance Nominee

The policyholder commits the following errors or mistakes that can create trouble while processing and paying the death benefit to the nominee:

  • A nominee not informed – The nominee should know about the insurance policy. The policyholder should notify the nominee of the policy and share the policy documents with him/her. If the nominee is unaware, he/she will fail to submit the insurance claim to the insurance company. Even if the insurance company tries to identify the nominee based on the details provided, it is unwise for the policyholder not to inform the nominee about the insurance policy in his/her name.

  • Details not updated – The policyholder fails to update the nominee's details. The address and other information of the nominee should be updated periodically. If the nominee dies during the term, the change in the nominee should be updated immediately. The policyholder can change the nominee at any time, and there are no restrictions on the number of changes.

  • Minor nominee – The policyholder appoints a minor nominee (nominee's age is less than 18 years) and fails to provide the information of the appointee. If the policyholder must appoint a minor as his/her nominee, he/she should take steps to select an appointee. The policyholder should provide complete and verified details of the appointee. If the policyholder fails to provide the required information about the appointee, the minor will not get the financial benefit. The appointee receives the financial benefit until the minor attains 18 years of age.

  • Appointment of one nominee – The policyholder fails to provide more than one nominee in the nomination forms. If an unfortunate event befalls the nominee and the policyholder fails to update the nomination form, the claim processing and transferring the death benefit can get complicated. The insurance company will then continue by identifying the legal heir and completing the necessary legal formalities. These unnecessary hassles can be avoided by choosing more than one nominee. The allocation percentage should be mentioned in the nomination form so that the claim will be processed quickly and the death benefit will be distributed as per the ratio.

  • Not aware of nominee's rights – Nominees assume that they have absolute ownership of the death claim. If there is a difference between the nominee details and the person mentioned in the will, the will takes higher precedence. If the policyholder wants to provide the nominee's absolute rights, a choice should be prepared, and the nominee should be included in the will.

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Nomination vs. Assignment

The nomination facility gives the nominee the right to collect the death benefit. The nomination is the authorization to receive the money, and the policyholder provides this authorization. The nomination can be canceled or changed as many times as per the needs of the policyholder.

The right of the policyholder can also be passed on to an assignee. The assignment of the policy can be done on the policy or through a separate deed. If you assign a policy, it cannot be revoked again.

Wrapping it Up!

The nomination facility protects the interests of the life assured, the nominee as well as the insurer. The insurance company will deliver the death benefit as per the information presented in the nomination form. If there is a change in the nominee's particulars, such as name and address, the details should be updated immediately.

FAQ's

  • Q: Can we add nominee in term insurance?

    Ans: Yes, you can add one or more than one nominees in term insurance to ensure the financial protection of your loved ones. You can select the most suitable nominee as per your preferences. This way, in case of the policyholder’s death, the insurer will payout the claim benefit to the nominee to help take care of their financial obligations.
  • Q: What happens to term insurance if nominee dies?

    Ans: If the nominee dies before the policyholder, the policyholder needs to appoint a new nominee as soon as possible to ensure the right person receives the benefit amount in their absence.
  • Q: Can a brother be a nominee in life insurance?

    Ans: Yes, you can appoint your brother or any other sibling as the nominee in both life or term insurance. You need to state the relationship with nominee, and the nominee should be mentioned in the nominee relationship list.
  • Q: How to appoint a nominee under a term insurance policy?

    Ans: You can appoint a nominee, as per your preference, at the time of buying the policy.
  • Q: Does making a nomination under a term insurance policy require a fee?

    Ans: No, nominating someone under a term insurance policy does not require any fees. However, making changes in the nominee details can be charged as per the insurer’s T&Cs.
  • Q: Is nomination allowed under a term insurance policy wherein the proposer and life assured are two different people?

    Ans: No, nomination is not allowed under term plans where the life assured and the policyholder are different individuals. You can only appoint a nominee in term insurance, where the proposer and the life assured are the same.

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