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When is the best time to buy insurance?

Learn from Sumit Agarwal’s story – and don’t make the same mistakes he made.

Sumit Agarwal (37) has had a reasonably secure life. He has a stable job, a small family and reasonable monthly expenses. So he decided to get health insurance for himself and his family. If only he had taken insurance five years ago…

The Sumit Agarwal story

Sumit is a regular family man. He works as a lecturer in a private coaching class, takes home tuitions and authors tutorial sheets for students over the weekends. His wife, Menaka, has a job in a bank, and their son, Vikash, is in second grade. At first glance, everything seems fine with the Agarwal household.

But Sumit has been meaning to buy health insurance for many years, and he didn’t. Menaka, too, didn’t push him on the matter – with the result, that Sumit reached age 37 before he realised the error of his ways. “I developed diabetes last year,” he says. “I gave up smoking recently but my health has been compromised because I have been smoking since my teenage years. I realised that without health insurance, I would have no way of paying the hospital bills. So I thought I will finally take health insurance and get that problem fixed.”

If only things were that simple – Sumit’s age, his lifestyle, his health condition, all combined to create hurdles in his application. “Two companies told me that I could not get health cover for two years after taking the policy because of my advanced diabetes. Three others rejected my application outright, calling me a ‘high risk’ candidate. Plus, I had admitted to being a smoker,” he says. “I thought of opting for a policy that does not do health check-ups, but Menaka told me not to do it. What if the policy was terminated because I had withheld information?”

Sumit now has health insurance, but the premiums are high due to his health condition and his age. “I first thought of health insurance when I was in my late 20s, when I was making good money,” he sighs. “I wish I had taken it then. There would have been no hassles and I would be paying lower premiums, too.”

The right time to buy insurance?

There is no ‘right’ time to buy insurance – you must buy health insurance ASAP. The rule of thumb is to buy insurance when you are over 18 years old and earning money. The earlier you buy it, the more amenable insurance companies are to selling it to you.

Besides, you will have almost nil health issues in your early 20s, with a good spending power to boot. Invest in a health insurance plan that covers the entire family, such as the Chola Swasth Parivar policy. However, it is a good idea to also invest in an individual policy and build a personal connection with the insurance provider. We recommend the Chola MS Individual Healthline policy for this purpose.

All in all, delaying the process simply backfires on one – as Sumit learnt. “I have no excuses to offer – it was total carelessness on my part to delay taking insurance. I tell everyone I know to buy insurance when they’re young and healthy – or they will face the same hurdles I did,” he signs off.

* The characters in this article are fictional and have been used for illustrative purposes.

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