“Conditions Apply”: The Ambiguous Hidden Truth!
Day in and Day out we are offered insurance policies for cars/bikes, family, health and property by various insurance brands with tempting offers and various other schemes attached. The policy is shown so attractively that the innocent customer gives a go ahead upon simple listening of the benefits. But what is more important is the hidden conditions attached to it and these hidden applied conditions come to light when the person plans to take a claim. Thus begins his/her ordeal with the insurance brand.
We buy insurance to secure ourselves and our loved ones and hope that we may never face a situation where we need to claim for insurance god willingly but in today’s time the scenarios have changed and so have our life-styles. Hence, insurance claims are becoming common. When one reaches to the insurance company’s office to claim for insurance, he is informed about those “micro mini” lettered guidelines which are not even readable in most cases. These guidelines are never for the benefit of the customer and are a hidden tool to delay/ deny the claim by the insurance brands. Over there the claimant is made to realize how easy it is to fall in the trap and it is impossible to get out. It is a situation where the customer feels betrayed and dejected from all corners and seems as if he/she has nothing more to loose. Insurance policies at large today are not customer centric rather it has become more of a bulk commodity like daily use vegetable which is sold in bulk by vendors.
Coming to the health insurance, brands dealing here do not take a minute in denying claims on frivolous grounds and bring to light really unreasonable ambiguities in the claimant’s documentation. While selling an insurance policy, the agent treats you as god and once the claimant goes there to request for a claim, he’ll be treated as if he has committed a mistake by entering their premise. Most of the agents are least bothered to address your concerns and one shall run from pillar to post to ensure that insurance claim is processed in time and at the same time he/she may even pledge never ever to see the insurance agent’s face again in life because the whole process of claiming has so many loop holes and ambiguities from provider’s side that the claimant is always harassed and unfortunately remains at the receiving end.
I therefore would like to suggest certain basic points which shall help all of us to ensure that we do not simply fall for the sugar coated facts by the insurance agents and rather be well informed about the clauses before signing on the dotted line and giving the cheque of premium.
• Never give a go ahead to those who are selling insurance over the phone. No matter even if they call from the most reputed insurance brand. Tell them to e-mail details.
• Never be bothered by the hurry of the insurance agent. Take your time to read the policy clause by clause. Always remember, you as customer are providing them business so you have all the right to know the details.
• Do not fall for mouth-watering schemes publicized in attractive advertisements. They are the most commonly used misleading source of information.
• Use a magnifying glass to read the conditions apply. This might sound funny but will protect you from falling in the trap. The official always take advantage of this so better be alert than sorry.
• Do take full contact details of the agent and the insurance brand’s nearest office so that in case of any clarification you may go and clarify the doubt.
• I may sound a bit old-school here, but if it’s possible then try to pay premium by cheque and avoid online payments. Cheque shall always serve as a hard copy proof of your payment of the premium so for the records do maintain a Xerox copy.
• Prior to signing, take out a full set of photocopy of the policy for your record.
• Do keep a check on the insurance brand’s website and keep a tab on the life insurance policy amount too. This way you’ll know how much extra amount you’ll get over the sum insured.
• In case of car insurance, do not fall for the brand whose premium is low comparatively rather go for the brand whose body language and communication and clarity of facts comforts you the most. Remember, it’s your hard earned money so invest it wisely.
• In case of health insurance, do a pre-check with the hospitals mentioned in tie-up list.
With the above suggestions, I just hope that to some extent we all can be conscious and alert of the mal-practices prevailing at large in insurance sector. I hope the article is beneficial for all the readers and the members.