Health insurance policies cannot be renewed after the grace period

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During the term of the contract, an insured requested to be moved from the non-smoker category to the smoker category. Will the insurer update their policy term and charge a higher premium or cancel their policy? Will the claim be paid by the insurer in the future?

—Name withheld on request

A life insurance contract cannot be modified mid-term. If the policyholder became a smoker after the policy was put in place, there is no provision to change the policy from a non-smoker to a smoker.

However, once you have informed the insurer of the change in status from non-smoker to smoker, the insurer is likely to do an audit. Insurers will want to check whether smoking status was accurately declared at the time of the policy application. If the insurance is convinced of a false declaration, it can decide to cancel the policy.

I have had a family health contract since 2017. On September 1, 2020, the contract expired and no notification or reminder was sent to me for its renewal. Now, is it possible to continue with the same policy since I have already covered the waiting period for pre-existing conditions?

—Name withheld on request

Health insurance policies generally have a 30-day grace period. If a policy is renewed within this time, the completed waiting period is postponed. However, after the grace period, the policy generally cannot be renewed without a new waiting period.

However, you can make a request to the insurer, citing the absence of notification to relaunch the contract for you.

In some cases, insurance companies make exceptions and reinstate the policy.

Abhishek Bondia is Senior Director and Managing Director of SecureNow.in.

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