Shopping for Health Insurance

Insurance is designed to support you through various stages in your life or for specific experiences.
Representational Pic
Representational Pic

Can you think of anything more boring,unglamorous and unromantic than insurance? Is that the reason we put offthinking about it until we're old and boring and let's admit it, we don't thinkwe'll ever be that boring, right! Now imagine, can Insurance and shopping haveanything in common? Well, Yes – think of insurance like shopping for shoes –you need different styles for different occasions and you need to decide what'smost important like comfort vs style in choosing a pair. So let's try and makeshopping for  insurance just as easy.

How many of you had the foresight to purchase flood Insurance? Not many, I am sure. However we need to understand that Insurance is designed to support you through various stages in your life or for specific experiences. Let's try and understand with the help of an example – Travel insurance is a necessary buy but it's very case-by-case.

Very specific thought processes goes into deciding, if you need travel insurance. You have to wonder, what could go wrong? Your luggage could get lost, you might fall ill or miss a flight. But do you really need INR10 lac in travel insurance? Probably not, for a weekend away. But if you're doing something more adventurous, you might want to look at a plan that covers risky sports. In contrast, health insurance is one of the most important plans everyone should have.

It's good to start with basic coverage, such as premature death, permanent disability, critical and early stage illnesses. A basic health insurance plan covers you for hospital bills and selected outpatient treatment, but if you need something beyond that, you have to buy one with relevant features. Most insurance experts agree that you should set aside around 10 to 20 percent of your annual income for it.

While it seems like a lot, it's a matter of thinking ahead. The premium for insurance doesn't change over time, so if you start younger, it will be cheaper, especially in the long run. One very important question you might be asking is why now? The easiest answer to this is futuristic – You should be as invested in your health as you are in your career.

It's important to take charge of your future. Your retirement lifestyle depends on financial planning decisions you make today. Sure, you might think retirement is far away but future YOU will thank you for having a little foresight. It's not like things are getting any cheaper.

Keep in mind that Insurance is cheapest when you're young and healthy. As a matter of fact, there are also a few other types of insurance that could help you right now.

Younger women can consider plans which provide coverage against common female illnesses. It's a plus, if the plan has a regular health screening benefit, as early detection can help one better take charge of their health. However, It is pertinent to highlight here that choosing the right insurance can be confusing.

An advice from a professional financial consultant can come in handy here because he can simplify things so that you can compare policies side by side and decide from there what's most important. Point is that he can give you a better understanding of what you need. From the discussion, you will be able to identify the personalised coverage you might require.

While thinking about all the options can be frustrating, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that while it's a life decision, it's not one you can't change over time.

Yearly reviews and information at your internet-ready fingertips make it easier to see if your plans are suitable for where you are in life. And if it makes things better in the future, why not? So go ahead, you don't need a permission to shop!

(Ifthikar Bashir is a freelance Financial Advisor)

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