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Friday, June 12, 2009

Compare Insurance Online Before Buying

Compare before you buy is the suggestion insurance brokers will probably give you and most of their online insurance comparison websites will have the option of comparing the insurance policies being offered by different companies. It is a best practice to compare online the different insurance quotes being provided insurance companies for life insurance, car insurance, Health insurance policies etc...

Here is an article from EconomicTimes explaining about how to look for info on online insurance in India.

While the online portals of insurance brokers or several insurance websites can save a lot of time and provide a comparison sheet for different policies, it could be misleading too. Sometimes the premium quotes provided by different websites for the same search — same age, sum assured, terms and payment frequency — may differ.

SundayET ran a query for a non-smoker of 28 years, sum assured of Rs 15 lakh and term of 10 years, from two well-known websites — Policybazaar.com and Click2insure.in. Interestingly, the premium quotes provided by both the websites were different. Click2insure.in gave quotes of Rs 3,253, Rs 4,603 and Rs 4,355 for a policy from Tata AIG Life Insurance, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance and Kotak OM Life Insurance, respectively. Policybazaar.com, however, gave the quotes of Rs 3,193, Rs 2,752 and Rs 3,392, respectively, for above mentioned companies.

The reasons can be many for a price difference, but according to the guidelines laid down by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), an insurance company cannot charge two different prices from different consumers of similar risk profile. According to Yashish Dahiya, CEO of policybazaar.com, the insurance companies provide uniform quotes. Many of the websites, which provide quotes, do not upload quotes in time and properly. But the prices must be the same, as one insurance company has exactly the same price for a certain policy across all channels.

S K Sethi, V-P and director of Insurance Brokers Association of India, says, “We are going for linking our website - healthinsuranceindia.org - with the websites of insurance companies so that figures get updated automatically and people get most updated figures. However, currently this is a reason for price discrimination as the latest quotes are not uploaded.”

Nevertheless, it may be possible that some of these website give quotes excluding the service charge, while in others service charges are inclusive.

While reasons for price difference could be any, it certainly makes it difficult for a client to take a call for buying an insurance policy. SundayET provides a ready reckoner on what are the things you should look at before you buy an insurance policy online.

See features, not just price
One should always look for the features that a policy has to offer you rather than just comparing on the basis of price. A low price does not necessarily mean a right choice. According to Dahiya, since insurance is a long-term product, one must go through the features of the policy and to see whether it suits the person’s need. Also, only price comparison is avoidable because there are catches.

According to Pankaj Arora, senior V-P at SMC Insurance Brokers, before you buy, make sure that a right comparison sheet is there in front of you. A right comparison sheet is one which not only provides you the price but also the coverage and exclusions of the policy. There are several kinds of risks and every policy does not necessarily cover all the risks.

Compare apple to apple
Some of the websites such as Click2insure.in give you only premium quotes and do not mention the name of the scheme. This may be misleading in a sense that you cannot compare the features. Also, a consumer cannot have a fair price comparison, as one would not know which quotes are for which policies as most of the insurance companies offer a variant of schemes under the same category.

In such a case, when you have a doubt, always go for some other website or cross check the figures from the website of the insurance company. In case you want to buy from the same broker or website, you should always call them for clarifications. Usually, the phone numbers of the customer support centre are mentioned on the website.

Never forget to take screenshots or print-outs before closing the website because in the online channel the moment you close the site you lose the proof.

Nevertheless, you may not get a comprehensive comparison of all the insurance companies from a single website. For instance, Policybazaar.com gives you quote from only six companies, whereas, Click2insure.in provides you a quote of around nine companies. Most of the websites provide the quotes for companies with which they have tie-ups. According to Arora, in case a website does not provide a comprehensive comparison, the customer should move on to some other websites, which include most of the insurance companies.

2 comments:

  1. For the best Online Insurance Quotes, try Zibika.com a new entrant in this space. They provide price based comparisons in Health Insurance with very good quality fine print analysis for all Insurance Products under Life Insurance, Health Insurance, Motor Insurance, Travel Insurance and Home Insurance policies as well!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love most stocks news, great site and very informative section on compare cheap life insurance quote while buying.

    ReplyDelete

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