Soft Tips for buying insurance online

Are you a net savvy person who likes to shop online and now want to expand your shopping spree to personal finance products? Are you looking for tips for buying insurance online? If yes, you are at the right place.

Though the internet penetration in India is very less, it is growing massively and sensing the opportunity, insurance companies have launched insurance products that you can buy online at the comfort of your drawing room. However, here are some tips for buying insurance online that you need to be aware of.

Tips for buying insurance online that matter

1. How good is the insurance company ? – First things first , you need to zero down on an insurance company based on several factors that hold logic – you should not choose an insurer who has a good website and a flashy user interface and one that provides you a better ease of shopping for insurance. Select an insurer based on their claim settlement ratio and their pedigree and history in the insurance industry. You need to be comfortable with what you are signing up for. Don’t zero down on an insurance company simply because you got to it first on the internet!

2. Online is cheap ? – You must also not assume that all online insurance will come at a cheaper premium. You have to put some effort to find that out by comparing the online plans with the offline ones. It is safe to assume that the online plans are cheaper but it never hurts to find the same out lest you be surprised if the case is otherwise. To lay your hands on the offline premiums, you will have to go through an insurance advisor or an agent. You could even go directly to a local branch in your city and check on the same.

3. Use aggregator services – Of all the smart tips for buying insurance online, usage of aggregator services which compare similar plans from different insurance companies will help reduce your time significantly. For this, you must use online aggregator insurance companies that operate online. They provide you a comparison of say all online term plans or all traditional plans with some basic information for each product. You can then select a product for more information and zero down on one which suits your requirement before buying from the insurer’s online portal. I would not recommend you to take a decision on which product to go with based on the information provided to you on the aggregator websites as these can often be outdated or inadequate for you to take a decision. Always go to the insurer’s website and or office to know about the latest product features.

4. Fill online data over a period of time – Once you have made a decision to buy insurance online, ensure that the personal information asked for is entered meticulously. Do not submit the form with the data right away. Do it over a period of a few days. Each time, go through the questions you have answered again and check to make sure that the questions around your medical history and lifestyle are correct. Should you choose to misrepresent or provide wrong data, the insurance claim might get rejected in the future. I generally keep such information in a master excel sheet at my end. I use data from this sheet to feed in whenever I want to – either offline or online – this ensures that the data is correct everywhere and no one can point out any discrepancy.

5. Keep your documents scanned – I also have scanned all my personal documents like address proof, PAN card, ITR forms and kept them handy. Many insurance portals will ask you to attach such documents. If you keep them handy, it will take minutes’ to upload them. If you skip this step, the insurance company will put your application on the back-burner and ask you to send them by snail mail which will delay the entire process and beat the advantage of time reduction which is what online insurance was meant to deliver.

6. Is the insurer’s website secure ? – Of all the tips for buying insurance online, this one is the most important. When you are ready to pay, ensure that the site is Verisign protected. I would refrain from using net banking or my credit card on a website where security threats can lead to breach in userids and passwords leading to a total mess of your online financial information. Another quick check is to see whether the address in the browser you are using has HTTPS or HTTP. If it is the latter, do not buy from that website. The S in HTTPS indicates secure access. See screenshot below for more information.

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