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It is better to buy both health and accident plans

17 June, 2008

A health plan only covers hospitalization costs due to illness or accident, while accident insurance covers disability or death resulting from a mishap. My agent advises me to take accident insurance although my health plan covers mishaps. Does it make sense?

It is important to make the distinction between a personal accident cover and a health plan. It is possible to get a high personal accident cover at a nominal cost. The plan would cover temporary or permanent disability, or death due to accident. A health plan only covers hospitalization expenses on account of an illness or accident. 
Both covers have their individual benefits and cannot be compared. Ultimately, only you can decide what will give you mental and financial security - personal accident, health plan or both. 
For instance, if your job requires extensive travelling or otherwise involves high risk of physical injury, then you might consider buying accident insurance.
If one can afford it, it is advisable to go for both, health as well as personal accident insurance.
I am going abroad for the first time. What do overseas health policies cover and how much do they cost? Will I get the cashless facility?

An overseas health policy is better known as travel insurance. When one travels abroad, travel insurance is important and is usually taken care of by the travel agent. 
An overseas traveller is exposed to various risks such as accidents, sudden illness or mere acclimatization and needs health/ medical insurance, more so because medical expenses abroad are unaffordable.
Any insurer who offers travel insurance will most certainly also offer the cashless facility. 
General insurers in India have tied up with third-party administrators (TPAs) to ensure medical care the world over. In the event of an accident or illness, TPAs can be contacted, and they would then arrange for cashless facility for medical treatment. It is important for the customer to inform the TPA at the time of hospitalization or immediately after hospitalization to ascertain whether the medical treatment in question is covered by the policy. 
The premium rates vary based on the following factors:
  • Number of days for which the trip has been arranged
  • The traveller's age
  • Countries to be visited
We are holding exhibitions across India and our merchandise will move from one city to another over four or five weeks. What kind of policy will insure the exhibits from damage and theft at each site and in transit? How much will it cost? We are into exquisite glassware and the merchandise will be worth around Rs10 lakh.

Such risks are generally covered under marine cargo insurance. The details provided are too brief to exactly be able to design suitable terms. However, we can advise as under:
Normally, the risk will be assessed based on the per transit limit/value at store or display. The rates will also depend upon the period of display at exhibition sites and also multi-transit, if any, involved. 
The nature of the cargo will have a direct bearing on the rate, which in this case is glassware. The policy will normally carry a standard deductible that will be on the higher side for fragile items. The rates will be in the range of 0.15% to 0.25% with the items of fragile nature warranting a higher rate. 
The policy will cover loss/ damage in transit as well as at the exhibition. It will have standard exclusions such as high-tech equipment and theft or pilferage of goods from unattended stalls. 
The cover will cease for goods sold from the exhibition premises. Excluding consequential loss of any kind, the policy will not cover any liability attaching on account of the goods. (Example of liability: insured cargo catches fire and, in turn, affects surrounding property) says Ajay Bimbhet ,managing director, Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Company Ltd.

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