Life insurance is certainly one of the main the different parts of any individual’s financial plan. However there is lot of misunderstanding about life insurance, mainly as a result of way life insurance products have now been sold over time in India. We have discussed some typically common mistakes insurance buyers should avoid when buying insurance policies.
1. Underestimating insurance requirement: Many life insurance buyers choose their insurance covers or sum assured, based on the plans their agents want to market and just how much premium they could afford. This a wrong approach. Your insurance requirement is really a function of your financial situation, and has nothing do in what goods are available. Many insurance buyers use thumb rules like 10 times annual income for cover. Some financial advisers say that the cover of 10 times your annual income is adequate because it gives your loved ones 10 years worth of income, if you are gone. But this is not always correct. Suppose, you’ve 20 year mortgage or home loan. How will your loved ones pay the EMIs after 10 years, when all the loan remains outstanding? Suppose you’ve very young children. Your household will go out of income, when your young ones require it the absolute most, e.g. due to their higher education. Insurance buyers need to consider several factors in deciding just how much insurance cover is adequate for them.
· Repayment of the whole outstanding debt (e.g. home loan, car loan etc.) of the policy holder
· After debt repayment, the cover or sum assured should have surplus funds to generate enough monthly income to cover all of the living expenses of the dependents of the policy holder, factoring in inflation
· After debt repayment and generating monthly income, the sum assured must also be adequate to meet up future obligations of the policy holder, like children’s education, marriage etc.
2. Choosing the cheapest policy: Many insurance buyers like to buy policies which can be cheaper. That is another serious mistake. An inexpensive policy is no good, if the insurance company for some reason or another cannot fulfil the claim in the case of an untimely death. Even when the insurer fulfils the claim, if it requires a extended time to fulfil the claim it is unquestionably not just a desirable situation for group of the insured to be in. You must look at metrics like Claims Settlement Ratio and Duration wise settlement of death claims of different life insurance companies, to choose an insurer, which will honour its obligation in fulfilling your claim in a reasonable manner, should such an unfortunate situation arise. Data on these metrics for all your insurance companies in India is available in the IRDA annual report (on the IRDA website). It’s also advisable to check claim settlement reviews online and only then select a company that’s an excellent track record of settling claims.
3. Treating life insurance as an investment and buying the wrong plan: The normal misconception about life insurance is that, it can also be as an excellent investment or retirement planning solution. This misconception is basically due with a insurance agents who like to market expensive policies to earn high commissions. In the event that you compare returns from life insurance to other investment options, it just doesn’t make sense as an investment. If you should be a investor with quite a long time horizon, equity is the greatest wealth creation instrument. Over a 20 year time horizon, investment in equity funds through SIP will result in a corpus that’s at the very least three to four times the maturity quantity of life insurance plan with a 20 year term, with exactly the same investment. Life insurance should always been seen as protection for your loved ones, in the case of an untimely death. Investment should be a completely separate consideration. Even though insurance companies sell Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) as attractive investment products, on your own evaluation you must separate the insurance component and investment component and pay consideration as to the portion of your premium actually gets allocated to investments. In the early years of a ULIP policy, just a small amount goes to purchasing units.
A great financial planner will always advise you to buy term insurance plan. A term plan is the purest type of insurance and is really a straightforward protection policy. The premium of term insurance plans is significantly significantly less than other types of insurance plans, and it leaves the policy holders with a much bigger investible surplus they can purchase investment products like mutual funds that provide greater returns in the long run, compared to endowment or cash back plans. If you should be a term insurance plan holder, under some specific situations, you could go for other types of insurance (e.g. ULIP, endowment or cash back plans), along with your term policy, for the specific financial needs.
4. Buying insurance for the goal of tax planning: For quite some time agents have inveigled their clients into buying insurance plans to save lots of tax under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. Investors should realize that insurance has become the worst tax saving investment. Return from insurance plans is in the product range of 5 – 6%, whereas Public Provident Fund, another 80C investment, gives near to 9% risk free and tax free returns. Levens verzekeringen Equity Linked Saving Schemes, another 80C investment, gives greater tax free returns within the long term. Further, returns from insurance plans might not be entirely tax free. If the premiums exceed 20% of sum assured, then compared to that extent the maturity proceeds are taxable. As discussed earlier, the main thing to see about life insurance is that objective is to supply life cover, not to generate the best investment return.
5. Surrendering life insurance plan or withdrawing as a result before maturity: This can be a serious mistake and compromises the financial security of your loved ones in the case of an unfortunate incident. Life Insurance shouldn’t be touched before the unfortunate death of the insured occurs. Some policy holders surrender their policy to meet up an urgent financial need, with the hope of buying a fresh policy when their financial situation improves. Such policy holders need to keep in mind two things. First, mortality isn’t in anyone’s control. That’s why we buy life insurance in the first place. Second, life insurance gets very costly while the insurance buyer gets older. Your financial plan should offer contingency funds to meet up any unexpected urgent expense or provide liquidity for a time period in the case of a financial distress.
6. Insurance is really a one-time exercise: I’m reminded of an old motorcycle advertisement on television, which had the punch line, “Fill it, shut it, forget it” ;.Some insurance buyers have exactly the same philosophy towards life insurance. After they buy adequate cover in an excellent life insurance plan from the reputed company, they assume that their life insurance needs are taken care of forever. This can be a mistake. Financial situation of insurance buyers change with time. Compare your current income along with your income 10 years back. Hasn’t your income grown several times? Your lifestyle would also provide improved significantly. If you purchased a life insurance plan 10 years ago based on your income back then, the sum assured won’t be enough to meet up your family’s current lifestyle and needs, in the unfortunate event of your untimely death. Therefore you should purchase yet another term intend to cover that risk. Life Insurance needs have to be re-evaluated at a typical frequency and any extra sum assured if required, ought to be bought.