Over the last two decades, there has been a significant increase in the number of people taking care of their health by eating healthy, exercising, and trying to follow a healthy routine. However, regardless of the level of fitness, one cannot completely avoid diseases and illnesses.
The last two decades also saw an increase in the cost of medical treatment in the country. Hence, any medical emergency can result in huge bills. This is where a health insurance policy steps in. It ensures that during such times, the bills are taken care of so that you can focus on the treatment. There are many insurers offering health insurance plans in India.
While traditionally, insurance policies were purchased offline, many new-age insurers are offering online health insurance policies too. So, which is a better option – online or offline? Let’s find out.
Online and Offline Health Insurance
Traditionally, people purchased health insurance policies offline. They would visit the office of the insurer or talk to an insurance agent to buy the policy. These agents played a major role in helping people find the right plans and coverage for their needs.
With years of experience, health insurance agents also had information about various insurers and the discounts offered by them. They charged a small commission for the services rendered that would impact the overall premium of the policy.
With the advent and rise of digitisation, online health insurance policies have gained popularity. People can visit the website of various insurers, compare health insurance plans, and choose the best one for their requirements.
There are no agents involved, and people can communicate directly with the insurer for any doubts or clarifications. In addition, there are specialised health insurance policies available like cancer insurance that offer protection against specific diseases or illnesses.
Online vs Offline Health Insurance Plans
Here is a comparison between online vs offline health insurance plans:
Since offline health insurance plans have agents working and involve a lot of man-hours, most insurers charge a higher premium for offline plans compared to online plans.
Right from filling out the application form to submitting documents and receiving the policy, everything is done on paper in offline mode. Hence, there is a lot of paperwork involved in buying an offline health insurance policy. But on the other hand, when you purchase an online policy, there is no paperwork involved.
Usually, the insurance agent is the source of information on the policy in the offline mode. The agent informs the policy seeker about the terms and conditions of the policy and the inclusions and exclusions. This dependence on the agent makes it less transparent for the policy seeker.
On the other hand, in the online mode, all information about the policy is made available online. Hence, you can go through the policy wordings and talk to the insurer if you have any doubts.
If you are opting for the offline mode and want to compare policies across multiple insurers, then you will have to ask the agent to get you the required information, structure it, and then run a comparison. In the online mode, you can use the health insurance calculator to make policy comparisons to help you find the perfect online health insurance policy.
To buy an offline policy, you need to visit the office of the insurer. Also, you are required to carry your documents and be physically present to submit the forms. However, an online health insurance policy can be purchased anytime and from anywhere. This makes buying online policies more convenient than offline policies.
Since physical documents need to travel from one department to the other within the insurance company, policy issuance can take a few days or even weeks. In contrast, online health insurance policies are issued within a few minutes.
When you buy an offline policy, you have to take the word of the agent with regards to the service and claim processing of the insurer. Unfortunately, there is no way to talk to an existing customer to get feedback unless you know someone who has a policy from the same insurer. However, before you buy a policy online, you can check reviews from existing customers instantly. This can help you make an informed decision.
As you can see, buying an online health insurance policy has more advantages than its offline counterpart. In today’s times, online insurers are offering customisable policies at attractive premium rates. Moreover, since the cost of issuance and support for online policies is lower than offline policies, insurers can offer discounts on premiums and leverage technology to offer various value-added services like health insurance premium calculators in India. Hence, if you are looking to buy a health insurance policy, you might want to consider the online mode.