Sweet policy for the diabetics

Buying and selling process must be planned carefully to avoid rejection

A question I am often asked, particularly by senior citizens, is if diabetic patients can buy health and term insurances. They can, but the buying process and product selection have to be carefully planned.

Purchase

The buying process is important because insurance rejections become a part of your permanent record, mis-declarations result in claims rejection, and untimely renewal can lead to a significant loss in insurance benefits. Select insurers that provide their opinion before the formal application. They evaluate your previous medical records and let you know the likelihood of getting an insurance. Any feedback from them, at this stage, is informal and not part of your records. This means, when you apply to other insurers, you need not state that your application was rejected by another insurer.

Give complete details of your diabetic condition in the proposal form or to the medical underwriter. This prevents potential claims from being rejected for medical non-disclosure.

Finally, do not miss insurance renewal. On both health and term life, insurers cannot change the terms after you have bought the insurance, unless you delay renewal. In health insurance, a renewal lapse will lead to the waiting periods for diseases, including diabetes, being reset. In life insurance, the insurer may decide not to re-issue the term plan if your health has worsened.

What to pick

Product selection depends on your diabetic condition. Gestational diabetes, developed during pregnancy, often clears up over time. Insurers will issue standard covers to women even if they have had prior gestational diabetes. You may need to wait a few months after delivery to purchase the insurance.

Type 1 diabetes, which is insulin-dependent, is difficult to insure. There are just a few options available. You can be insured through a group cover if your company offers that as a benefit. For health insurance, Star Health has a Diabetes Safe plan that covers complications of Type 1 diabetes as well.

For life insurance, you may buy an individual personal accident insurance. This will pay your nominee if you die in an accident. The insurance does not depend on your health. Most general and health insurers offer personal accident insurances. Bajaj Allianz has a plan that allows for a relatively high sum assured.

Type 2 diabetes, where the body develops insulin resistance, is the most common form and easier to insure against. If the diabetes onset is recent or if your medication is low, most insurers will issue standard health/term insurance policies with a premium loading. The extent of the premium loading is likely to vary between 10 and 30 per cent.

These are the best products to buy because they are comprehensive. Health insurance, in particular, is renewable lifelong. In health insurance, ensure that the insurer does not permanently exclude diabetic conditions. In term life insurance, diabetes-related exclusions are not allowed. In fact, no exclusion, with the exception of suicide in the first year, is permitted.

Niche plans

If your diabetes is severe, insurers may not issue standard health or term insurance. In such situations, you can buy diabetes-specific health plans. Apollo Munich and Star Health offer such products, although this is not an exhaustive list. Energy by Apollo Munich covers Type 2 diabetes. This will cost about ₹20,000 for a ₹3-lakh cover. The plan incentivises you to keep yourself fit and measure sugar levels regularly. Diabetes Safe by Star Health covers both Type 1 and 2 diabetes. The Star Health plan will cost a 30-year old about ₹14,000 for a ₹5-lakh cover, and there is a version available where you need not undergo medical tests. This insurance for a 50-year old will cost ₹26,000.

Senior citizens have an additional option. They can buy a Star Senior Citizen Red Carpet that covers pre-existing diseases, including Type 1 diabetes, immediately.

You may also want to enhance your cover by buying disease-specific insurances such as cancer or dengue care. These health insurances do not require medical tests and will be issued to you even if you have diabetes.

They are a cost-effective way of enhancing insurance. Cancer cover is offered by HDFC Life, Max Life and ICICI Prudential. Dengue cover is available from Apollo Munich and DHFL Pramerica. For life cover, consider buying the personal accident insurance previously described.

The best safeguard, of course, is to buy your insurances early and take good care of yourself.

The writer is Managing Director, www.securenow.in

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