Saturday, December 8, 2007

Missing the premium payment date

Opting for the right insurance cover is like taking your first step towards financial planning. But if you want to keep this security cover intact then you need to be financially disciplined and make those timely payments towards the premium amount. Many times because of sheer negligence or unforeseen circumstances, you miss upon making the payments on time. And when you find those bills, reminders stacked in one corner of the house, you are not sure whether to make a call to the company and revive your policy or simply let it go. Well, if you have been deliberating the same, here is a lowdown on how you can revive your policy.

The Process

There is a misconception that once you miss your due date for paying premium, the insurance company cancels the policy. It is advisable that before you decide to forego your policy, you should check out with your agent or the insurance company what’s the status of your policy. All insurance companies give a grace period of 30 days after the due date.

Nonetheless, even then if you are not able to utilise this grace period, it doesn’t mean that it’s all over. “You can revive the policy till six months from the due date (including grace period) is over. You will be required to pay interest on outstanding premium amount as penalty. The interest, in our case, is 10.33% per annum or higher depending upon the policy that you hold and this vary from company to company and policy to policy,” says Kalpana Sampat, chief – underwriting, claims & group operations, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance. Any policy can be revived during the life time of the life assured, but before the date of expiry of policy term. You need to submit proof of continued insurability to the satisfaction of the insurance company and make the requisite payments of all the arrears of premium together with interest to revive your policy.

Old V/S New

If you believe that reviving the old policy is not a good idea, then you are wrong. Financial planners believe that under no circumstances, you should discontinue the old policy and apply for a newer one. A person who defaults on a policy payment is generally in financial lurch. You need to take into consideration age factor, since you bought your old policy at a young age so the benefits acrrued till date will go away if you take a new policy. Same is the case with ULIPs where the commission charges are higher in the first few years and lesser amount is invested.

However, Manoj Agarwal, head – insurance advisory, SKP Moneywise believes that this theory doesn’t holds true if the policy has been in a state of lapse for over five years, reviving may not be the best option. “If a policyholder wants to revive a policy after five years, we suggest that he take up a new policy, since the fine on premium may be very high by that time,” he says