The Covid-19 pandemic encouraged consumers to shift to purchasing financial services digitally as opposed to buying them offline. The insurance industry, too, took a giant leap in digitization of processes to help consumers avail their insurance policies online, helped by regulations proposed by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India.
If you are looking to buy insurance online, here are some basics you need to know.
Why You Should Buy Insurance Digitally
Buying insurance online has several benefits. These include:
- It offers an instant policy experience. Most insurers have a website or mobile application via which you can buy your policy instantly by filling required details, just like buying any other product from an e-commerce website.
- Most insurers do not ask for any hard copy documentation during the online insurance purchase process. Minimum documentation in the form of soft copies are required to buy a policy online making the process easier.
- A lot of new age insurers offer customizable plans while buying insurance online. You have the option to customize your sum insured or add-ons as required. Some insurers also offer guidance on the website on most suitable plans based on the information provided by you.
- It has also paved the way for easier comparison of different insurance schemes from companies. Various online portals help with the comparison.
- Ease of accessibility through online portals empowers you and helps you feel independent. It allows you to do your research across multiple websites to opt for the best policy suited to your needs.
Process of Buying Insurance Online
Buying an insurance policy online is an easy process. Follow these steps:
- Go to the insurance company’s website, add your details and fill out any other information that the company may require.
The process varies from company to company and policy to policy. However, most companies do not have a lengthy process, and they accept digital signatures, making this process reasonably uncomplicated. All one requires is a computer, a laptop, a tablet or a phone and a decent internet connection.
- You can then choose from the products that you want to buy as most insurers offer a range of products on their website.
- You need to fill the required set of information the insurer asks for based on the product you have chosen. For instance, for a health insurance policy, you need to primarily fill your location, members, and your contact details right at the start. For motor insurance, one will have to submit the car details like the make, model, age of the car and any other damage that the vehicle has sustained.
- You will be then asked to choose from the different insurance plans available, which have different premiums and offer additional coverage. For health insurance, additionally the personal details of the insured and medical history will be required.
- The last step involves paying for the policy after which you will receive your policy documents instantly on the email address you may have provided.
- Usually, this entire process just takes a couple of minutes if you have all the information ready. However, you must remember:
- One must be sincere while filling up the insurance forms.
- Any discrepancies found by the insurance company can lead to huge fines, imprisonment and a permanent criminal record. Insurance fraud is a grave offence, and hence it must not be taken lightly.
- It is always best to cross-check any information provided as the insurance company will also ask for proof, and it is best not to get caught up in minor errors that could have been avoided.
- If one does realize that any information provided by them was wrong, one can always contact customer support for help.
How to Compare Insurance Quotes Online
One of the biggest advantages of buying insurance online is the freedom to be able to research and compare the quotes from different players, to select the best plan. While doing that, here are the things one should see beyond just the premium:
Check your sum insured: Having an adequate sum insured is of utmost importance in terms of having comprehensive protection. Hence, it is important to look for the right sum insured for yourself looking at your life stage, dependents, medical history etc. In such a case, looking at only a cheap policy might land you in trouble later. A cheaper car insurance might also have a lower insurance declared value (IDV), but might leave you unprotected during a claim.
Check the service benefits: The moment of truth for an insurer is after sales service. Like any other relationship, the first phase is always good. While you are buying insurance, the insurer might make you feel extremely special. What would actually be more useful is to see how good thereafter sales experience would be. Hence do always check for the service benefits they offer for a seamless experience.
Speed of claims of the insurer: You buy insurance for claims, so this should be investigated before you switch for a company. It is important to look at the facts and figures in terms of claim settlement ratios and their turnaround time. It is a good practice to look at reviews of the companies on their online websites such as Facebook and Google platforms to get a first-hand experience of the claims experience real customers have had with the insurer.
Process of Claiming Insurance Online
- Most insurers who let you buy a policy online also let you claim for it online too. Claims through online platforms become much easier and faster than depending on manual intervention.
- The process of claiming is simpler than what one might think. In case of a contingency, all that the insured person must do is inform the insurer.
- In the case of motor insurance, property insurance etc., the company will ask for photographs of any damages, which will serve as proof of the contingency.
- In case of a claim concerning health insurance, one will have to upload medical reports and bills, which will then be verified by the insurance company with the hospital or the clinic. In case of a cashless claim, the insured will just need to fill a pre-authorization form and show an e-card at the insurance help desk of a network hospital of the insurer. All the expenses post approval will be then handled by the insurance industry with the hospital.
Concerns Regarding Online Insurance
Your most significant concern with online insurance could be the possibility of cyber fraud and hence, you must know of the ways to counter them.
- A simple check to see if the website is authentic can go a long way.
- One must always remember that no insurer would ever ask for details like the Card Verification Value (CVV) of a debit card or an one-time password (OTP) that one would have just received. One must report to the concerned insurance company if one comes across such callers or anything suspicious.
- The customer service executives are always there to help.
- Going through testimonials can help a customer understand what can or cannot be done and how to go about the services provided.
- It is advisable that while there are several companies offering insurance services. One must choose a company with a relevant product, good service benefits and excellent customer service.
Insurance is an investment that helps you protect your savings and also keep you financially protected in any contingency. Hence, it should be bought after thorough research and consideration of the right policy. An online insurance experience helps in giving this freedom to their customers to compare various policies, while making the entire process of buying a policy instant, easy and hassle-free.