Usually, a health insurance policy is valid for 1 year, 2 years or 3 years, after which it needs to be renewed. Not renewing the policy on time could lead it to lapse. If the insurance policy lapses, it will have to be bought again, which can be a much more expensive and cumbersome task than renewing it. In this article below, we will discuss the importance, benefits and methods of timely renewal of a health insurance policy.

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  1. Policy renewal in health insurance
  2. How to renew a health insurance policy
  3. Online renewal of health insurance
  4. Offline renewal of health insurance
  5. Benefits of health insurance policy renewal before expiry
  6. Disadvantages of not renewing health insurance policy on time
  7. Grace period for health insurance
  8. Things to remember while renewing a policy in health insurance
  9. Policy renewal tips
  10. Conclusion

Whether it is health insurance or any other type of insurance, renewal in all cases means the continuation of the service on behalf of the company. For example, if you have a prepaid number, then after a certain time you need to recharge it so that the number remains active, or if you have a postpaid number, then you need to keep paying the bill so that the service continues on behalf of the company. Similarly, in insurance, there is a period of validity of the policy, after which it needs to be renewed. If the policy is not renewed on time, it will lapse and all the benefits received from the insurance company will be forfeited.

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Most policies can be renewed either online or offline as per your convenience. But in times like the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important to limit your exposure and keep yourself safe. So even if you’ve always renewed your policy offline, it may be better to learn how to do it online now.

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Renewing health insurance online is a fast and simple process. If you want to renew your policy online, then visit the official website of your insurance company. Next, find the renewal section, which may also be labelled the the policy renewal button. You will be asked to enter the registered mobile number to begin the process. Following that, you may also have to enter the policy number and the date of expiry of the policy. You can make the payment through Debit Card, Credit Card or Net Banking. Once your payment is done, you are given a copy of the renewal receipt digitally, which you can download and print. When you renew a policy online, you may also need a username and password so that you can check your policy details on the insurer's website in the future.

As an insured, renewing the policy online can be beneficial in the following ways:

  • Time-saving: The biggest advantage of online renewal is that it saves you time. Not only this, you can renew online from anywhere. The entire process takes only a few minutes and the procedure is very easy.
  • Contactless: Contactless is one of the safest ways to work, especially these days. You don’t have to stand in any queue, wait to be heard by the staff or worry about handling cash.
  • Other benefits: Many times insurance companies give you various offers for online renewal, which are not given when you try to renew the policy offline. Such offers are meant to promote contactless payment.

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Given the current situation, most people do not feel it’s safe to do renew their policy offline, as it involves travel time, transportation cost, risk of meeting people in person, etc. If you want to renew your policy offline, you will have to visit your insurer. You can go to the nearest branch of the insurance company, where you will also need the policy card and number along with any other documents mentioned in the policy bond.

The timely renewal of a health insurance policy can bring with it the following benefits for the insured and their family:

  • Continued protection: Most health insurance companies do not provide health insurance to customers after a certain age as people are most likely to be affected by pre-existing diseases or chronic medical conditions in old age. This makes it important to renew the health insurance policy on time so that there is no fear of the policy lapsing and you not being able to get the benefits of the insurance.
  • Tax benefit: By purchasing a health insurance policy, the policyholder becomes eligible for tax benefits under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. In order to continue receiving tax benefits, it is mandatory for an individual to renew their health insurance policy on time.
  • Avoiding the risk of expensive premiums: In the health insurance world, it is said that you should get an insurance policy as young as possible, as the policy is easily available and at a low premium at this time. Therefore, if a person's existing health insurance policy lapses, they will not be able to get a new policy at the same premium again.
  • Fulfilment of health insurance requirements: When you are about to renew the policy, the most important thing to consider is the 'Health Insurance Requirements', which refers to reviewing your policy and paying attention to the addon services that you wish to add to your existing policy. An addon service, like maternity cover or OPD care, can only be added at the time of renewal. While you will get additional coverage for the add-on services you select, it will also affect the premium you pay.
  • Portability option: One of the most important things at the time of policy renewal is the option of portability. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) allows policyholders to choose another insurance company at the time of policy renewal if they are not satisfied with the existing insurance company. The policy will still remain the same. If you wish to port your policy, you have to inform your insurance company of this at least 45 days before the policy expires. By doing this, the policyholder can also take advantage of the no-claim bonus and will not have to go through the waiting period again. So if you are unsatisfied with your insurance company, you can consider the portability option at the time of renewal.

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It is mandatory to renew the health insurance policy. Failure to do so can result in many disadvantages like:

  • Loss of no claim bonus: No-claim bonus (NCB) is like a reward i.e. bonus for the insured, which his insurance company gives them. During the term of the policy, if the insured does not file a claim, the insurance company can reward the customer in two ways – deduction on the amount of premium or increase in coverage. This bonus is given to the insured only at the time of renewal. Through this, the insurer encourages its consumers to remain healthy and file claims only when necessary.
  • Waiting period loss: The waiting period means that you cannot make a claim as soon as you take the policy. There are many diseases and medical conditions for which you have to complete the waiting period, meaning that these conditions will be covered only after the expiry of the time period mentioned in the policy bond. Normal health insurance is usually active after one month whereas you may have to wait for 3 months to file a claim for a critical illness. Keep in mind, the waiting period can be increased or decreased according to the health of the insured.

In case you are not able to renew the policy on time due to some reason, most health insurance companies provide a few extra days (known as the health insurance grace period) to their customers to do so. If you pay the premium during this additional time, the policy can be saved from lapsing. Generally, the grace period is of 30 days, but it can be different depending on the policy and the frequency of premium payment. In some policies, an additional time of 15 days is available. So read the policy bond carefully to know the grace period in your health insurance policy.

It is very important that you renew the policy before it expires. Your insurance company may send you a notice to renew the policy before the validity expires, but it is not necessary for all insurance companies to do so. Apart from this, it is also the responsibility of the policyholder to renew the policy on time and not wait for a reminder.

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Generally, the policy should be renewed 15 days before the date of expiry of the policy, but it can be done within a few days even after the date of expiry. After the end of the policy term, a few days are given by the insurance company, which is called the grace period. However, the grace period may vary depending on the type of policy. Therefore, you must make note of the important dates related to the health insurance plan.

Below are some tips to be kept in mind while renewing your health insurance policy:

  • Renew the policy before the due date: If you do not renew the policy on time, the health insurance companies usually give a grace period of 30 days after the expiry date. If even the grace period is over, not only will your policy lapse but it may also be difficult to buy it again at the same premium. As you grow older, the risk of diseases also increases, resulting in the premium going up.
  • Revise the sum insured: If you want your sum assured to be increased, then this can be done only during the policy renewal process. In some cases, the insurance company may also require a medical test and claim history to increase the sum insured.
  • Check for any changes in the terms and conditions of the policy: While renewing the policy, the terms and conditions of your policy remain the same (as before) as per the rules of IRDAI. As per IRDAI regulation, any change in premium or benefits can be made only with the approval of IRDAI and customers must be informed by the insurance company of this at least three months before renewal.

People generally think that simply buying health insurance is a responsible step, but that is not enough. Renewing a health insurance policy in a timely and proper manner is as essential as buying the right health insurance for you. Plus, there are a few other things you can only do during your renewal, like increasing the sum insured and making changes in the proposed details. This is the reason why the policy should be renewed on time and special care should be taken to make changes that can be done only at the time of renewal. If renewing on the last day, many important things can slip your notice.

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