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Home > Business > Special

Some good news for homemakers

Kairav Shah | June 25, 2007

Insurance is normally meant for the income-earner of the family. This is because the earning capacity of the head of the family decides the insurance coverage that his family would require, in case of his demise.

However, insurance for housewives does not get that much importance as she is not an income-earner. So how does the insurance sector define women? They are broadly divided into three categories including:

Working women, who have their own incomes are treated on par with the males. Women, who have sizeable income by way of interest, dividend, rent and other streams that attract Income-Tax are also given life insurance without any extra premium or restrictions.

However, for housewives, the income of the husband is taken into account for life insurance purposes. That is, since the housewife does not earn an income, it is the husband whose income comes into focus here. As a result, the amount of insurance is often smaller. Here are some of the policies that such women can have.

Personal accident policy

Insurance companies provide compensation in the event of death or disability directly due to accident. This policy offers compensation in case of death or bodily injury to the insured person, directly and solely as a result of an accident, by external, visible and violent means.

The policy operates worldwide and is a 24-hour cover. Different policies are available ranging from a restricted cover of death only, to a comprehensive cover covering death, permanent and temporary disability. In case of a housewife, the maximum coverage has a cap of Rs 100,000 or 50 per cent of the husband's sum insured, whichever is lower.

Health policy

A normal health policy (by general insurance companies) can also be bought. The maximum sum assured here is Rs 500,000. One could also take two health insurance policies of Rs 500,000 each as the maximum limit for the non-salaried person is Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million).

This policy takes care of financial worries in case of hospitalisation. This policy also provides for cashless hospitalisation in India for the treatment of any illness or disease or accidental injury suffered during the policy period.

Critical illness policies

Housewives can also get themselves covered under critical illness policies. In a critical illness plan, one can insure oneself against the risk of serious illness in much the same way as one insure one's car and one's house.

It gives the same security of knowing that a guaranteed cash sum will be paid, if the unexpected and the unfortunate were to happen. A host of critical illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis, paralysis, coronary artery bypass surgery, major organ transplant, primary pulmonary arterial hypertension, first heart attack, aorta graft surgery and kidney failure are covered under this. There are no limits to the amount that one can take through these policies.

Overseas travel insurance

When they are travelling abroad, housewives can get themselves insured. The limits are different for different sectors. For instance, the minimum limit is $25,000 for whole Asia except Japan sector. For the rest of the world, it is $50,000. This policy covers medical expenses while travelling abroad for holidays. The premiums are payable in rupees and claims settled abroad in foreign currency.

Another policy, which is not directly meant for housewives is the insurance of risk during child birth and care policy. These policies are available from Rs 50,000 up to Rs 200,000.

This policy covers defects, deformity, malformation, congenital abnormality of any kind whatsoever at the time of delivery of the new born. Even if such a condition manifests itself within 200 days of the date of delivery, or before the expiry of the policy, whichever is earlier, is covered as long as it is of congenital nature.

However, there are exclusions that include post-delivery complications, still-born child, death of the mother, miscarriage, infanticide and any defect, which is not congenital, malfunctioning of any organ defect, which manifests itself after 200 days of the delivery.

Though there aren't many options at present, but housewives should use the ones that are there and get themselves insured adequately.

The writer is head of financial planning at Sykes & Ray Equities

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