Ever been stuck with a health insurance policy which you do not like but keep renewing to not loose out on waiting period for pre-existing diseases? Or got so annoyed with the experience of dealing with your health insurance provider that you curse why you purchased that policy?
If you are among those who have been in such situations and are unhappy with your health insurance provider, then this article is for you. I will explain how you can Port your Health Insurance Policy to other Insurers without losing out on your Waiting Period and No Claim Bonus benefits. I will tell you everything you need to know about Porting – How to Port Health Insurance Policy, When to Port, Why to Port, Things to remember while Porting etc.
What is Porting
Porting is a process by which you can change your service provider without loosing on key benefits.
Just like you can change your mobile service provider while retaining mobile number, now you can also port your health insurance policy while retaining Waiting Period for pre-existing diseases and No Claim Bonus related benefit.
So if you are unhappy with the service, costs, plans or terms and conditions provided by your existing health insurance provider, you can port to new health insurance provider. In this process, you will not loose on the waiting period spent on original health insurance. You will also be able to port the No Claim Bonus of your existing policy.
Note – Waiting period benefit is applicable not only on porting to other insurance provider but also for porting to other policy of same insurance provider.
Why should you Port Insurance Policy
You should consider porting your health insurance policy if
- You are unhappy with the service, plan or terms and conditions of existing insurance provider.
- You find a better plan being offered by same / another health insurance provider.
- Network of hospitals covered by existing insurance provider is not good in your city.
- You have shifted your job/location and your existing insurance provider does not cover that job/area.
- Your existing insurance policy does not cover modern practices / alternate medication (like Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Unani etc) which you believe in.
- Existing insurance policy no longer suits you due to hidden clauses/co-payment options/sublimits/cover limitations/age/disease or any other reason.
When to Port Health Insurance Policy
Porting of insurance policy can be done only at the time of renewal. As per rules, the process can be started between 60 – 45 days before the renewal is due.
In real life, it is advisable to place porting request between 45 days to 15 days of your policy renewal date. So for example, if your policy renewal date is 1st Jan, then you should ideally place porting request between Mid Nov to Mid Dec. this will give everyone sufficient time.
Note – With Policy Bazaar / Coverfox etc, you can also place policy porting request upto 4-5 days before renewal is due. This is because they take advantage of the rule which allows you to renew your existing policy upto 30 days after renewal date has expired. However, the risk in this process is that in case new insurance provider delays in making a decision, you will be stuck without knowing whether to wait for new policy (for which you have already paid) or pay for old policy.
How to Port Health Insurance Policy
Just follow the below process to port.
Step 1 – Finalize New Insurer/Policy
To apply for porting, first step is to identify the new insurance provide and policy you want to port to. Do your research and finalize this.
Step 2 – Decide Mode of Purchase
Once you have zeroed in on the new insurance policy provider and policy you want to port to, decide how you want to port. Do you want to buy directly via insurance provider or want to buy via online agents like Policy Bazaar / Coverfox etc or want to purchase via offline agents.
Whatever is the mode of purchase you finalize, just inform them that you want to port your existing health insurance policy. If you are buying directly, then inform the new insurer about the existing insurer/policy to which you want to port. If you are buying from Policy Bazaar/Coverfox, they will do it for you.
Step 3 – Complete Documentation
You will be asked to fill up portability form and proposal form. This is a simple form where you have to fill basic details related to your existing health insurance policy, claims made, health and lifestyle related questionnaire, existing and genetic disease related declaration etc.
Fill up the form honestly and submit it along with copies of existing policies and hospitalization/discharge reports (if any) from previous 3-4 years.
Step 4 – Make Payment
Submit the form and make the payment with new insurance provider.
Step 5 – Complete Medicals if requested
The new health insurance provider will decide if it wants to conduct your medical examination. If they conduct it, do the needful as requested.
Step 6 – Wait For Decision
Basis your health reports and other metrics, your new insurance provider will inform you whether your porting request is accepted or not. As per IRDA rules, insurance providers have to mandatorily take a decision within 15 days of placing the porting request. If the request is accepted, they will issue new health insurance policy which will be valid from the day your current policy expires. If they reject your porting request, you can either try with alternate provider or just renew your policy with existing insurance provider.
Things to remember while porting
In a nutshell, following things have to be remembered before you decide to port your health insurance policy
- Your waiting period towards Pre-Existing Diseases spent in current insurance policy will be counted in new policy.
- No Claim Bonus Benefits can be availed while porting in new policy
- You can port to another policy of same insurer or other insurance as long as they are of same type (health insurance, general insurance etc)
- New Insurance policy cannot be of lower Sum Assured.
- If Sum Assured has increased in new policy, then you will have to serve entire waiting period for the increased amount.
- There are no charges for porting a policy
- It is not compulsory that your porting request will be approved
- Similar policy with different insurers can have different offering. So read the brochures carefully before deciding.
By introducing Porting option, IRDA (insurance regulator in India) has greatly helped the common man and taken a step towards improving competitiveness and service among insurance providers. However, porting option should be used with care. Just because a policy is cheap should not result in porting. Analyze carefully on the things which are making you unhappy and whether they are one-off incidences or recurring. Research well to find out the right policy which solves these concerns and only then decide if you want to port.