How to get the best insurance for your pets

How to get the best insurance for your pets

Health Insurance

Have you heard of pet insurance in India? If not, there here is some good news for all pet lovers in India. Pet insurance, which is already a flourishing industry abroad, is also beginning to take off in India. Given the rising cost of purchase, grooming and medical care for pets, it may be time to cover the risks. Care and concern for pets has seen a massive transition over the years. Many insurance companies in India have realised this need and have thrown open the gates for pet insurance. A pet insurance is akin to other insurance policy that cover the expenses incurred at the time of any emergency. A pet insurance covers everything from veterinary bills for treatment/ accidents to loss or theft and death of pets. It also covers third party liabilities risks in the event of loss.

Features of pet insurance

  • Customized plans – Customized pet insurance plans are available for pets such as dogs, cats, birds, etc.
  • IRDA approved – The pet insurance plans are approved by IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority). There are various types of pet insurance schemes that fall under this plan, such as: cattle, dog, horse and cat insurance etc.
  • Sum assured – Generally, the sum assured for pet insurance products like dog insurance, ranges from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 30,000. This depends on the breed and other related factors.
  • Add-on cover – Some insurance providers offer add-on covers for the base policy, such as for the loss of show entry fee. This cover is offered for the forfeit of entry fee for dog shows when the pet cannot make it to the show due to an injury or illness.
  • Third party liability – Some pet insurance policies offer third party liability cover, in the event that your pet bites/ attacks a third party or causes damage to third party property.
  • Types of cover – There are three types of pet insurance cover, namely, lifetime cover, time-limited cover and money-limit cover. Lifetime cover protects the pet and its owners against any critical/ long-term illness. This includes diseases such as eczema, arthritis, etc. The policyholder who opts for a lifetime pet insurance policy, will receive a specified amount each year towards treatment of the pet. Time limited pet insurance policy offers financial protection to a pet only for a specific period after a pet has contracted an illness or suffered an injury. Money-limit cover offers financial benefits to pet owners to meet the medical expenses of their pets. There is no time limit for this policy and it can be used until the money limit is reached.
  • Premium – Generally, the premium to be paid for the pet insurance policy in India is equal to 3 – 5 per cent of the sum assured.

To learn more about pet insurance and how is it done and the companies that cover pet insurance, do get a copy of the March 2021 Consumer VOICE English magazine today!

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Importance of Health Insurance in India

Importance of Health Insurance in India

Health Insurance

In this fast paced life with high levels of pollution and unhealthy eating habits, one needs to protect oneself. If there is a medical emergency, will you use all your savings ? You will have to if there is no medical cover. It is important to invest in a health insurance as you don’t know when you may need medical attention.Health policies allow you to opt for quality healthcare.Thus, policy holders can access medical treatment of the covered perils without any hassle.

If you have not covered yourself and your family under a family health insurance plan, a medical emergency can leave you broke. So, why do you have to wait for an emergency to occur when you can keep yourself protected. The rising medical costs again emphasise the need for every individual to be protected under a health plan.

Here are some point to consider why you should choose a health insurance:

Financial Security

The aim of every individual or family is to be financially secure. This is only possible if you save enough and getting medically insured is an equally important part of it. If you do not have a health policy, your savings will be hit. Health plans help you manage your emergency medical expense.

Lifestyle factors

Recent times have seen a major shift in the lifestyle of individuals. We don’t have time to take care of ourselves and neglect small signs of any health issue. All these things can lead to serious health problems in the future. Hence, a health policy is necessary as it includes regular medical tests, covers a range of medical treatments, and provides medical services at the best healthcare facilities.

Early disease incidence

We hear of younger people suffering from diseases such as arthritis, cardiac issues or muscular pains. Buying a health insurance allows you to avail free annual health checks ups therefore saving you from developing serious health problems.

Increase in medical expenses

Healthcare expenses are extremely expensive, and it is estimated that the cost of medical expenses will rise further with the rise in inflation.One has to protect oneself against rising medicals costs and stay financially secure. So having a health plan is a paramount to purchase.

It is recommended to consult a trusted health insurance advisor He should be able to provide you with unbiased advice and help you avail the best plans. You can also compare various policies on the websites to get a clear understanding.

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Did you know that your health information is confidential?

Did you know that your health information is confidential?

health

Whenever a doctor cannot do good, he must be kept from doing harm.

~ Hippocrates

In August this year, Andhra Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission had warned doctors and hospitals to not share patient information with anyone unless required by a court of law. Warning of legal consequences if they acted contrary to this, the commission had also stated that ‘maintaining confidentiality of a patient’s medical aspects is absolutely necessary and that it is not only part of a doctor’s professional conduct, but also a Constitutional obligation.’ Let’s look at some of the cases that brought this contentious subject into the spotlight.

 Dr Prem Lata, Consumer Awakening

Former Member, CDRF-Delhi

The case in question was against State Bank of India (SBI) wherein the latter had rejected a request of settling a loan against policy claim. The judgement was arrived at on the basis of ‘unethically obtained’ medical information by SBI.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Noushad Ali (president) and P Mutyala Naidu had allowed the claim of G Vijaya Kumari of Vijayawada against SBI Life Insurance Company.  The bench observed: “It is trite to note that of late, almost every doctor/hospital is observing a professional obligation and the mandate of Constitution with impunity. They are sharing medical records of patients routinely with insurance companies, without realising consequences.”

Case Background

G Vijaya Kumari had filed a case against SBI Life Insurance Company as they had rejected her request for settlement of a home loan (from SBI itself) through the insurance claim that was due to her after her husband’s demise. The insurance company had rejected her claim on the basis of investigation wherein they claimed to have found out that the applicant had ‘suppressed material information’ at the time of obtaining the life-insurance policy.

Kumari’s husband Seshagiri Rao had borrowed Rs 22 lakh as housing loan from SBI and covered the loan with the same bank’s insurance policy. He had also mortgaged his property. Later, Rao was diagnosed with cancer and died. Distressed, his wife pleaded with the bank to settle the loan against the insurance claim and return the pledged property papers to her. However, her claim was rejected by the company on the grounds that Rao had not disclosed true facts while buying the insurance policy.

It is interesting to note that the insurance company, despite maintaining in its records that Rao had suppressed material information, had issued a certificate of good health to him and approved the insurance policy.

After thoroughly studying the case and hearing all the parties, the state commission observed that while selling policies the insurance companies did not really care as to whether or not the intending purchaser was eligible for the policy – whether he or she was concealing ‘material information’, as was being contended in this case. Instead, they surpassed basic rules, lured customers through advertising and agents to meet sales targets. When it came to settlement, they would look for every possible excuse to dismiss the same. The bench pointed out that the insurance companies invariably engaged their so-called investigators, who in turn approached doctors/hospitals for records. “These doctors/hospitals are obliging to them as a matter of course. The present case is one such instance,” the bench said.

It its final judgement, the commission not just directed SBI to settle the loan against the policy claim and return the pledged property documents, but also asked the bank to compensate Kumari with one lakh rupees and pay Rs 25,000 towards the cost of litigation. The commission also reprimanded doctors/hospitals for sharing patients’ personal information with commercial establishments and asked them all to adhere to the regulations of Medical Council of India (MCI).

Another Case

An interesting case was decided by the National Consumer Forum in February this year. Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) had rejected a claim requested by the kin of PR Sumanagala post his death, on the basis of his medical records and a medical attendant’s certificate.

LIC rejected the claim stating that “the insured was a diabetic patient for the past 15 years and was undergoing irregular treatment.” To justify their claim, the company produced a discharge summary and the treatment records supplied by the Holy Ghost Mission Hospital where Sumanagala had died. They also produced a medical attendant’s certificate that confirmed acute renal failure as secondary cause of death and long-standing diabetes as the primary cause. On the other hand, Sumanagala’s wife continued to insist that her husband was totally healthy when he had taken the policy and that they learnt about his condition only after he was admitted to the hospital.

Interestingly, the company could not produce any evidence – treatment records, doctor’s statement, prescription or diagnosis – that could prove that the insured was getting treatment (even if irregular) for diabetes prior to his admission at the hospital. They could not counter the fact that kidney failure could be due to many reasons and that it was not possible to diagnose the time when kidney deterioration might have started.

All allegations by the insurance company were later proved wrong when the attorney cross-examined the doctor who had signed the medical attendant’s certificate. He accepted that he had not treated the patient and it was recorded that he was diabetic on the basis of symptoms of the patient. He also admitted that kidney failure could be due to many causes other than diabetes – there was no test available to determine the duration of diabetes. In fact, the old health records of Sumanagala that were obtained from a government medical college did not mention anything about him being a diabetes or hypertensive patient.

Announcing the final verdict, the commission reprimanded the insurance company and asked it to settle the claim.

Reiterating the above judgement in another case wherein Life Insurance Corporation had been sued by Dr PS Aggarwal, the Supreme Court had stated: “The onus to prove that there was material concealment of any disease, which directly proved fatal, was on the insurance company. In addition to above, the petitioner was supposed to prove that at the time of taking policy the person who gave the information knew about such a disease and he withheld it with an intention to defraud the insurance company.”

Likewise, in the case of Life Insurance Corporation versus Asha Goel, the National Commission had stated that “the burden of proving that the insured had made false representations or had suppressed material facts is on the Corporation.”

Stating the position of law, the National Commission explained that ‘exclusion clause’ could be applied by the court if insurer could prove the case of ‘pre-existing disease’. For that, the insurer must justify three elements:

(a) the policyholder suppressed facts which were material to disclose;

(b) the suppression must be fraudulently made by the policyholder; and

(c) the policyholder must have known at the time of making the statement that it was false or that it suppressed facts which it was material to disclose.

One must note here that Pollock and Mulla’s Indian Contract and Specific Relief Acts states that “any fact the knowledge or ignorance of which would materially influence an insurer in making the contract or in estimating the degree and character of risks in fixing the rate of premium is a material fact.”

Consumers, Be Aware

Although the above judgements and interventions are encouraging and have favoured distressed consumers, one should always be conscious when buying insurance and avoid any possibility of dismissal of insurance claim, by filling in correct details about health, history of illnesses in the family, and occupation and income.

Details of health: Insurance proposers tend to avoid filling in details regarding health conditions fearing that information on any ailment may result in the insurer rejecting the contract or asking for a higher premium. It must be understood that insurance companies do not deny any scope for insurance to those afflicted with specific diseases or health troubles.

History of illnesses in the family: Details of correct age along with health details of family members are important owing to the hereditary nature of certain diseases. Two or more people in the family succumbing to some specific illness that may be genetic in nature or exhibiting suicidal tendencies indicates a higher risk of death of those insured, and hence attract higher premiums.

Occupation and income: The maximum life cover allowed by any insurance company depends on the level of income, thus requiring the insured to provide right details of his/her income. Authenticity of income details may be determined by submission of last pay slip along with the income tax return (ITR) filed. For those employed in risky occupations including aviation, army, police, defence services or mining jobs, giving information about the nature of job is especially important as the underwriting criteria decided by the insurer require an added load to the premium paid.

Taking a life-insurance policy is a way to show your loved ones that you care. Since the process involves underwriting a legal contract, it is necessary that extreme caution is taken while filling out the form. This will ensure timely and complete payment of the claim to the nominee.

 

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How to Find Health Insurance for International Student Travel

How to Find Health Insurance for International Student Travel

Health Insurance

Students and parents of students who are going abroad often wonder how to find health insurance for international student travel. If you are also worried about this, then you should read on. Here are a few simple steps you can follow to pick the best possible insurance option that works for a student when he or she really needs help.

Talk to the School

When seeking the answer to how to find health insurance for international student travel, your first step should be the school of the student. If a student is sent for international education by a domestic school, the school might offer health insurance advice too. Similarly, if a student is enrolling in a school or college situated abroad, make sure that the student gets advice on health insurance from the prospective school or college.

Choose the Right Company

Though there are tons of companies that provide health insurance for international student travel, you should pick a company that has a good reputation and has been there since long. It will ensure that the company representatives will be there to assist a student if he/she needs their help. Also, make sure that the company has a local office near the student’s college, school, university or international address to get quick query resolution. Also, make sure that you choose a company that has a 24-hour support center.

Compare the Plans

Compare plans offered by two or more insurance providers to make sure that you make a right decision. It is essential that the insurance offers coverage for new illness or injuries, emergency doctor visits, lab orders and emergency surgeries. Don’t expect coverage for preventive care or routine checkups. Also, compare the value of each service offered in the coverage by looking at the costs. Learn about co-payments and deductibles too.

Examine the Plans

Examine each plan carefully and ask questions before you purchase. Ensure that it will provide coverage for the needs you identified in Step 2. You need to understand the exact amount of coverage it provides, what deductibles and co-payments are involved and any exemption limits and refund policies. Also, the U.S. State Department recommends looking for medical policies that guarantee their payments abroad, pay directly to foreign hospitals and foreign doctors and have a 24-hour support center.

Choose According to Trips

When seeking the answer to how to find health insurance for international student travel, make sure that you count the number of international trips a student will have in a month or a year. A few trip options are a single trip plan, multi-trip plan, group plan or a long-term plan. Choose whichever suits the student the best.

Inquire About Global Student Insurance Options

Many students can benefit from global student health insurance plans that provide comprehensive medical coverage for students. If you are eligible for the same, make sure you learn more about it before making a decision.

Stay Eligible

Once you have chosen the right plan after following the advice on how to find health insurance for international student travel mentioned here, make sure that you know about all eligibility qualifications and meet them to keep the insurance useful. For instance, some insurance providers might ask a student to attend classes for a specified number of hours each week to stay eligible. Be smart, and you’ll get financial support from your insurer even in a different country!

 

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Stages of Cancer: Claims and Payouts in case of Cancer Insurance Plan

Stages of Cancer: Claims and Payouts in case of Cancer Insurance Plan

Cancer Insurance

There are over 100 types of cancers which can affect human beings. Any part of a body can be affected at any time and without any warning signals. The incidence of cancer is on the rise in India. National Cancer Institute AIIMS projects that India is likely to have over 17.3 lakh new cases of cancer and over 8.8 lakh deaths due to the disease by 2020 with cancers of breast, lung and cervix topping the list. Another study (ascopubs.org) the projected incidence of patients with cancer in India among males was 679,421 (94.1 per 100,000) and among females 712,758 (103.6 per 100,000) for the year 2020. One in 68 males (lung cancer), 1 in 29 females (breast cancer), and 1 in 9 Indians will develop cancer during their lifetime (0-74 years of age). The projected 5 most common cancers in 2020 for males (lung, mouth, prostate, tongue, and stomach) constitute 36% of all cancers and for females (breast, cervix uteri, ovary, corpus uteri, and lung) constitute 53% of all cancers. A 2012 WHO report has indicated that India has the largest number of cancer-afflicted patients globally after the USA and China. Studies underline that 70-90 per cent of all cancers are due to lifestyle changes and environmental factors, and not genetics, as presumed by people in general.

Some facts for you to ponder:

  •   There are over 100 types of cancers which can affect human beings.
  •   Any part of a body can be affected at any time and without any warning signals.
  •   The incidence of cancer is on the rise in India. Various studies claim that there were about 14 lakh cases in 2016 and the figure is projected to rise up to over 17.3 lakh by 2020.
  •  A 2012 WHO report has indicated that India has the largest number of cancer-afflicted patients globally after the USA and China.
  • Studies underline that 70-90 per cent of all cancers are due to lifestyle changes and environmental factors, and not genetics, as presumed by people in general.

Stages of Cancer

Typically, there are four stages of cancer: carcinoma in situ (CIS), early stage, major stage and critical stage. As far as payouts are concerned, insurers normally treat the first two stages in the same way and the last two similarly.

  1. Carcinoma in situ (CIS): In the first-ever diagnosis of a histologically proven stage, the cancer cells have not yet penetrated the basement membrane or invaded the surrounding tissues.
  2. Early stage: In this stage, there is presence of any of the specified malignant conditions that can invade and destroy nearby tissue. (Payment of lump sum ranging from 20 per cent to 25 per cent of sum insured is made at this stage.)
  3. Major stage: This stage is characterised by the first-ever malignant tumour with uncontrolled growth and spread of malignant cells, with invasion and destruction of normal tissues. (Lump-sum payment of up to 100 per cent of sum insured is paid at this stage.)
  4. Critical stage: Any cancer that meets the definition of ‘major stage’ and where the insured individual’s oncologist has determined that the cancer has progressed to Stage IV is the critical stage. (Payment of lump-sum amount ranging up to 150 per cent of sum insured is possible at this stage.)

Related

Cow Ghee – How pure is your ghee?

Cow Ghee – How pure is your ghee?

Cow Ghee

Indian cuisines are famous for its delectable taste and aroma. Thanks to our age-old cooking tradition that uses a lot of spices and desi ghee. Desi ghee or cow ghee makes our tadka dal savory, mutton biryani lip-smacking and our paranthas complete. Besides the taste and aroma, cow ghee is good for health too.

During the lockdown, Indians had been busy experimenting with different cuisines and one item that has been used vigorously is cow ghee. It is a carrier of fat-soluble vitamins including A, D, E and K, which our bodies need in very small quantities but can’t make for itself. These vitamins perform many essential functions.

These vitamins perform many essential functions. Similarly, the essential fatty acids, which cannot be synthesized in our body, are also supplied by ghee. Cow ghee is the pure clarified fat-derived solely from milk or curd or desi butter or from cream to which no colouring matter flavor or preservative gets added. Ghee is an important dairy product that enters inter-state trade too. Due to variation in its composition from region to region and season to season and also because it depends on the type of animal and the feed given, the establishment of its purity often involves elaborate analysis, as well as tests for its keeping quality.

Why cow ghee is more yellow?

Cow ghee is more yellow because of the pigment (the natural colouring matter of animal or plant tissue) beta-carotene. Beta- carotene comes from the cows’ diet, which consists mostly of dried grass, grass, grains and cereals. The amount of beta carotene in the cow ghee depends on a few factors:

Cow feed is the most important (grass-fed dairy products contain more beta carotene than cows who are fed grains).

Cow’s breed.

The season of the year is also important. The biological makeup of milk changes throughout the lactation period.

Disclaimer:

As there is no validated test method to authentic cow ghee, we could not carry out authentication tests. Comparative testing was conducted as per prescribed parameters in national standard for Ghee.

Consumer VOICE team this time singled out 11 popular /regular selling cow ghee brands and tested on different parameters including vitamin A, milk fat, adulteration, flavor and taste among others.

So the next time you are going to buy your cow ghee, make sure you are acquainted with the correct information. To know what constituents make the cow ghee brand best for you, get a copy of the report from the Consumer VOICE magazine.

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Say no to vanaspati (ghee)

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Benefits of Cow Ghee

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Ghee is a clarified type of butter, meaning that it has been simmered into a concentrate and the residue has been removed. What remains is basically...

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