Can You Renew Expired Health Insurance Policy Online?
With the rising medical costs in India, health insurance policies are an important investment. However, it is very important to remember that health insurance plans are usually only valid for one year, and need to be renewed annually.
Renewing will also give you the opportunity to change your coverage, choose add-ons, or adjust the sum insured of the plan. But, if you fail to renew the policy on time, it will lapse. In such cases what can you do to ensure that you have coverage?
Is It Possible To Renew an Expired Health Insurance Policy?
Once your policy has expired (and you have also not paid the premium within the grace period) it becomes inactive. This means that any claims you file after the expiry will be rejected.
And, when your policy lapses, many insurers will ask you to begin the process of buying a fresh health insurance cover from that start. However, while a few insurers will also let you revive your expired policy, there is no guarantee it will be allowed.
What is the Grace Period for Health Insurance Renewal?
Most insurance companies offer a short grace period of 7-30 days after the end of your policy period. This period provides you with a window to renew your policy and keep its continuity benefits such as cumulative bonus, and waiting periods.
However, as the policy coverage has ended, during this period you will not get any health benefits, meaning that if you make a claim for any medical emergency or hospitalization during this period, it will be rejected. You will have to bear all the healthcare expenses out of your pocket.
What Can You Do When Your Health Policy Has Expired?
If you fail to renew the policy on time, it will expire, you will cease to have health coverage and the cumulative bonus and the waiting periods from your previous policy will also lapse. But, there are some things you can do:
Revive Your Lapsed Policy
Some insurance companies will allow you to revive the lapsed policy by paying the outstanding premium amount, with added interest. In this case, you might have to undergo a number of health check-ups to clarify the state of your health before the insurer reinstates your policy.
Buy a New Policy
In many cases, you cannot renew your old policy, and you must buy an entirely new policy, either from the same insurer or a different company. This policy will not include any continuity benefits like bonuses, and you will have to complete all the required waiting periods for pre-existing diseases, maternity benefits, etc. again from the start.
Additionally, since your premium will be calculated from scratch, it will be higher. This is because of the lapsed policy, and the fact that you will be older than when you bought the previous policy.
Importance of Renewing Your Health Insurance Before It Expires
There are many benefits to renewing your health insurance plan before it expires. These include:
- Continuous coverage – you will have uninterrupted coverage and be protected in case of any unforeseen medical emergencies.
- Waiting periods will be completed – if you have completed the waiting periods from your policy, they will continue to be in effect, and will not get lapsed with your policy.
- Maintain your cumulative bonus – for claim-free years, you will get a cumulative bonus upon renewal, but this will be lost in a lapsed policy.
- Keep your premiums low – a lapse in your policy can result in higher premiums than if you renew the policy on time.
- Income tax benefits – paying a health insurance premium on time means that you can claim tax benefits and returns under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act.
Tips to Avoid Missing Your Health Insurance Renewal
Here are some tips to ensure that you never forget to pay your health insurance premiums on time, and can avoid a lapse in your policy:
- Keep track of the expiry date, and the date for renewal by setting a reminder on your phone or laptop
- If you wish to continue with the same plan, you can opt for an auto-payment, where the premium will be automatically deducted from your bank account
- Check your SMS, email, and spam folder in case your insurers have sent reminders regarding premium payment for renewal
- Opt to get your insurer’s smartphone app, where you can complete the renewal process wherever you are, and even on-the-go.
Health insurance policies are a safeguard against financial setbacks while getting medical care. Thus, it is important to ensure that you have continuous coverage in case of any medical emergency. You can only do so by ensuring that you renew the policy on time each year.
While you can continue to have health insurance even after it has expired, you will end up paying a higher price and will not be able to avail yourself of all of its benefits.