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India was hit by a devastating second wave of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in between the months of March till May, that claimed a huge number of lives. The conditions were so severe that almost all states and UTs across the country were forced to impose strict lockdown or other curbs to control the spread of the deadly Coronavirus. However, with a decline in the number of fresh and active COVID-19 cases, many states and UTs have started to relax restrictions in order to bring the economy back on track. Unfortunately, the unlocking process and easing of restrictions have led to the resumption of crowding in the markets. In fact, many people can be easily seen floating the norms of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, which seems like an invitation to the third wave of the pandemic.
Moreover, given the nature of the virus, most medical experts across the country have predicted a third wave of the pandemic in the next few months. In fact, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) has already warned against the third wave of Covid and has predicted that the third wave may strike as early as the next six to eight weeks if people do not strictly adhere to face masks and social distancing norms. The third wave of COVID-19 seems inevitable, as many countries of Europe, the United States and India have already experienced the pandemic in various waves. As the threat of the third wave is real, it is important that we learn from the previous waves and take necessary precautions well in advance. Not to forget, prevention is the bedrock of our response to the ongoing pandemic.
In terms of self-protection and containing the virus, experts agree that is important to wash your hands as frequently as possible and thoroughly with soap. Apart from that, it is important to cover your face with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing. It is also highly recommended to visit a doctor if you have symptoms and avoid direct contact with live animals in affected areas. While all these are measures to protect yourself physically from getting infected with coronavirus infection, it is also very important to stay financially protected against the pandemic and the only way to stay financially protected against the treatment of the infection is by buying an adequate health insurance policy. Unlike all other medical expenses for hospitalisation, if one gets hospitalised for treating coronavirus infection, health insurance plan will come in rescue to safeguard medical expenses.
Buying a health insurance plan not just for yourself but for your entire family is important to make sure your hospital admission and treatment expenses are covered seamlessly. Moreover, viral infections like Ebola, H1N1 and now coronavirus are not a part of pre-existing ailments and they don’t have any waiting periods implied. Your health insurance policy will cover you for testing and the cost of treatment for the novel coronavirus. However, while buying health insurance, it is important to have an adequate sum insured as treatment of such pandemics is quite costly and one must have sufficient coverage to pay for the expenses. One may choose to buy a cover with 1 crore sum insured which is available for as low as Rs. 9,552 for a 32year-old individual living in a metro city.
Another important step in your preparation for the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is buying term life insurance at the earliest to secure the financial future of your loved ones. By paying a small premium for a pre-defined period of 30 – 40 years, you get a life cover of an amount as high as Rs. 1 Crore – Rs. 2 Crore. Life insurance has always been a must-have insurance product for the maximum financial protection of the dependents however, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for have life insurance has increased by many folds, as you may never know how severely the virus may strike you regardless of the fact how fit and healthy you are.
When managing your finances, remember that playing the (stock) market without adequate knowledge is dangerous and can lead to bankruptcy. Learn and understand the trends to take the right action of your portfolio that may have been built over several years. Many analysts indicate that investing money in the market (in the right set of stocks of course) when it is down is a sensible method to earn good returns when the economy bounces back and the markets reflect the growth. One may need to be patient and have a long-term view when investing here but if the broader economic story is not hurt and you expect the economy to bounce back to normalcy, the markets and its major participants will end up owing that growth.
Sharp market downturns generally produce tremendous returns - as seen during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the country. If you are afraid of investing directly in the equity markets, then consider guaranteed insurance plans that offer better returns than simple fixed deposits that offer diminishing returns in such downturns. There are numerous such products available in the market including Capital Guaranteed Products and Guaranteed Return Products that promise you guaranteed returns and allow you to lock in the rate of interest for a maximum of 45-years.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has indeed led to an unprecedented financial crisis at a pace none of us has ever seen in our lifetimes. From what the experts say, there is no immediate end in sight for this calamity and we may be expected to live with COVID-19 for the next 3-4 years. It is therefore important to maintain a positive outlook and remind ourselves that the world has a history of overcoming such grave challenges. During such hard times, it is of utmost importance to focus on our families and protect their health and wealth. By simply following the aforementioned steps, we all can keep our family’s financial future safe, regardless of how long this pandemic lasts.
07 May, 2021