Buying Personal Insurance

Published Date
01 - Mar - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Mar - 2006
 
Buying Personal Insurance
Since I'd already decided that I needed a pension policy, I decided to check if there were any Indian sites that offered insurance online.

Could I actually get my policy over the Net never leaving my room? Could I cut down on processes and paperwork?

That's me filling up forms the old way...
Since I didn't want two policies, I decided to check out the old way by calling an agent over, seeing how long it would take, and then saying, "I'll think about it". I looked in newspapers and yellow pages for the snazziest-looking insurance ads.
Time taken: 30 minutes

I figured which company I wanted to go with, and an agent was at my place pronto. He asked for a cup of tea! The nerve: just because I'm a woman doesn't mean I'll make tea for every man I meet!

I ignored him and asked to see the documents first. After a few questions I was soon looking at various options.
Time taken: 15 minutes

Even after I had narrowed down my specifications, there were still several policies I could choose from. I discussed all the features with the agent again. The data was all muddled in my head, but he explained the benefits. (The guy's patience had me flummoxed- I could take a cue from him on this!)
Time taken: 20 minutes

My confusion gave way to comprehension after the second round of discussion. Once I had chosen a cash-back policy, we quickly calculated my premium. I was informed that if it would take between three and 15 days for the company to get back to me.

Since I now knew what taking out a policy involved, it was time to say good-bye to the agent!

Time taken for deciding on a policy: 30 minutes
Time taken to shoo the agent away: 1 hour

Ease:    3/5
Total Time Taken:    1 hour, 35 minutes

...and here I'm selecting a policy online.
The agent gone, I got online to look for an Indian firm that offered insurance, and that would also allow me to pay my premiums online. I had the comfort of my home and the luxury of using my own PC.
Time taken: Nothing

The agent gone, I got online to look for an Indian firm that offered insurance, and that would also allow me to pay my premiums online. I had the comfort of my home and the luxury of using my own PC.
Time taken: Nothing

There were links on the site from where I could choose a product, download application forms, pay premiums, and also a link where I could ask them to send over an "advisor." Although they had plans for all age groups, there was no way to apply for most of them as they involved background checks.
Time taken: 30 minutes

I stumbled upon an "InstaInsure" link. The ad claimed I could apply for insurance in just 10 minutes. This was for a "pension policy with no life cover"-precisely what I wanted. I found most of the information I needed in the downloadable brochure. I called them to clarify a few things, filled out the form in a jiffy, and in just ten minutes I was done. The papers were delivered in a week.
Time taken: 30 minutes

Ease:    4/5
Total Time Taken:    1 hour, 20 minutes

And The Winner Is...
It's a tie! If you go the old way, an agent informs you about products from several firms besides showing you policy brochures. Also, companies need background checks for most policies, all of which happens offline anyway. The online method is mostly restricted to big cities and a couple of policies. There are pluses with the online method though, you can use a firm's Web site to look up information and transaction details, information is available anytime you feel like it, and you can use online tools to calculate how much you'll be paying for different policies. Besides, they don't ask you to make them a cup of tea!




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