Over the last one month, general insurance companies have launched insurance plans for novel coronavirus. However, players in the insurance industry feel that policyholders are better off buying comprehensive health cover rather than buying a disease-specific cover.
Insurance companies like Star Health and Allied Insurance, ICICI Lombard General Insurance, Digit Insurance and Reliance General Insurance have launched dedicated insurance cover for novel coronavirus. Single illness cover like novel coronavirus is at a disadvantage compared to a comprehensive cover because they cover only specific illness and its sum insured is also very low.
Insurance players say that policyholders need to first have a comprehensive health cover and later buy add-on covers of specific illness like novel coronavirus or Cancer Care.
Amit Chhabra, head-health insurance, Policybazaar.com, said: “Get adequate (at least Rs 10 lakh per person sum insured) health insurance coverage which provides protection against any illness. This much is necessary to protect against Coronavirus or any other illness that a customer may have, especially nowadays with an increasing tendency of critical illnesses (cancer, heart, liver problems) at every age.”
Even the sum insured for novel coronavirus is low for individual plans currently, which is also one of the reasons for first having a comprehensive cover rather than specific disease cover. The ‘Star Novel Coronavirus Insurance Policy’ by Star Health and Allied Insurance, is available under two sum insured options of Rs 21,000 and Rs 42,000 at premiums of Rs 459 plus GST and Rs 918 plus GST, respectively.
However, if someone wants to buy a comprehensive health cover, it would cost them Rs 8,000-11,000 for Rs 10 lakh sum insured.
The data from Policybazaar.com show that a 30-year-old male living in Mumbai will have an annual premium of Rs 7,938 for Activ Assure Diamond by Aditya Birla Health Insurance and Rs 11,024 per annum for Optima Restore by HDFC Ergo Health for sum insured of Rs 10 lakh.
Industry players also say that a large number of policyholders are buying complete health cover compared to specific disease cover. S Prakash, MD at Star Health and Allied Insurance, said: “I find customers preferring to buy routine mediclaim covers as they are more inclined to have a comprehensive cover.” Once a policyholder has comprehensive health cover, he can look at buying add-on critical illness cover. “In order to cover for loss of income that may happen if somebody suffers from COVID-19, one can look to buy the COVID-19-specific fixed benefit plans as an add-on to the basic health insurance policy,” added Chhabra.