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Life Insurance Policies for Senior Citizens over 60

Exiting the category of middle-aged adults and crossing the threshold of senior-citizenship can be quite a daunting experiencing, especially if one is unprepared for this transition. The realization that retirement is around the corner, just augments this fear of what happens next, making the elderly feel more vulnerable.

With the life expectancy rate improving day by day, the elderly population of India is on the rise, with a considerable proportion of them living alone either in their own houses or at nursing homes. In such a state of loneliness, the only way through which the society's senior-most residents can be made to feel secure, both financially and mentally, is by connecting them with the right life insurance policies, precisely life insurance policies.

What is a Life Insurance Policy?

A life insurance policy is an agreement that forges a life-long relationship between an insurance company (i.e., insurer) and the policyholder (i.e., insured). It is a legally binding contract, where an insurance company guarantees the beneficiary of the person insured financial coverage (in the form of a lump-sum amount) in return for timely payment of a predefined amount by the policyholder to the company.

The predefined amount paid by the insured is known as a life insurance premium. In contrast, the lump-sum amount paid by the insurance company to the nominated beneficiary on the unfortunate demise of the person insured is called a death benefit. Thus it can be said that life insurance premium is the cost that needs to be paid by the insured for his/her beneficiary to enjoy the benefits of an insurance policy.

While the rate of premium payable by the policyholder for a particular plan is fixed by the insurance company, the insured, however, do have the choice of selecting the term of the policy and the sum assured. The sum assured varies from plan to plan as well as from insurer to insurer as each insurance company considers different factors while calculating the sum assured. Some of these factors include the insured’s occupation, lifestyle, the pattern of finances, number of dependents, and so on.

Why is a Life Insurance Policy Beneficial to Senior Citizens?

There are a lot of reasons to have a life insurance policy. Some of the key reasons to have a life insurance plan for senior citizens are as follows:

Replacement of Income

There are many families in India in which the father continues to be the sole breadwinner until his retirement age because his children have failed to attain financial independence. In such families, retirement will put an end to their regular inflow of money. It is also possible for the father to die suddenly, leaving behind his aged spouse and children with no savings to manage themselves with. A life insurance policy in such scenarios, act as a channel for savings and an income source at the end of the policy term.

Closing off Debts

The majority of senior citizens pay off their existing debts at the time of their retirement. However, if there is still a home loan or business loan that needs to be paid off it is better to take a life insurance policy so that in case of death befalls one before the closure of the loan, one’s spouse or children will still not be left with the tiresome responsibility of paying off the loan out of their own pockets.

Leaving Behind a Legacy

Most parents dream of leaving behind a corpus of funds that could be used by their children after their passing away. For such parents, life insurance policies are the best options as the nominees are entitled to a large pay-out. Moreover, this will also ease the parents’ worries of having to save up money for their offspring’s future during their working years.

What are the Various Types of Senior Citizen Life Insurance Policies?

Life insurance policies for senior citizens are available in different types carrying different benefits to ease their financial stress. Almost all of the senior citizen life insurance plans in India normally come under two major categories- Term life insurance plans and whole life insurance plans

 

Term Life Insurance

Whole Life Insurance

Protection period

For a specified period (generally a fixed number of years ranging between 5-50)

For the entire lifetime of the policyholder. i.e., there is no fixed period

Types of needs help meet

Income replacement during working years

Tax-deferred wealth accumulation, wealth transfer, and preservation

Affordability

Generally more affordable than whole life insurance plans

Priced higher than term life insurance plans

Savings component

Does not include a savings component

Comes with a savings component along with the original insurance coverage

Type

Pure protection plans

Permanent protection plans

Maturity Benefits

No maturity benefit is paid on survival

Maturity benefit is paid on attaining a certain age of maybe 80-100 years)

Death Benefits

The death benefit is paid to the nominee in case the insured dies while the insurance policy is still active

The assured sum is paid to the nominee while the insured dies while the insurance policy is still active

Ideal

This plan is ideal for those who wish to ensure a stable financial future for their loved ones without paying excessive premiums

This plan is ideal for individuals seeking to safeguard the financial future of their near kin and leave behind a legacy amount

How to Apply for a Life Insurance Policy?

Since most of the insurance companies have made applications for life insurance policies online, the procedure for applying to these plans has become simple. The steps are listed below:

  • Determine the type of insurance (i.e., whole life or term) plan that is required
  • Assess the insurance coverage that will be required by either the insured himself/herself or his/her beneficiaries after the insured’s demise. Nowadays, applicants can also reach out to insurance company agents over the phone, who will suggest a feasible life insurance quote (free of cost) based on one's background information.
  • It is essential to speak with at least one insurance agent as they will help the applicants in finalizing their life insurance policy and guide them through the process of arranging for the required documents.
  • Afterwards, the applicants are required to fill in an application form that seeks their details and undergoes a telephonic interview.
  • Additionally, most insurance companies these days demand that the applicants undergo a medical examination to check their eligibility and finalize the rate. This will also prevent the applicants from lying about their medical history in the application form. Medical examinations are quite flexible as the majority of the companies provide their applicants with the option of choosing the time and venue.
  • The final step in the application is process is underwriting, which is carried out by the respective companies and involves the review of the application forms. Once the underwriting approval is obtained, the applicants can sign the documents and pay for the policy.

How to Claim the Benefits of a Life Insurance Policy?

The procedure for claiming the benefits of a life insurance policy is very easy, with minimal paperwork involved.

  • Generally, this process is initiated by the insurance companies themselves when they send a policy discharge form to the policyholder, about one month before the maturity date of the insurance plan. The insured is required to fill out this form. The policy discharge form requires the signature of not only the policyholder but also of two other witnesses.
  • This form is also typically accompanied by a letter that informs the insured about the various documents that he/she has to send, along with the form, to the insurance company to claim the benefits. The documents that need to be enclosed with the form are an original copy of the policy document, copies of address and identity proof, a cancelled check leaf, and a bank mandate form with details.
  • These documents, along with policy discharge form, should be sent in such a manner that it reaches the insurance company at least 5-7 days before the policy attains maturity.
  • Once the company receives all the documents, they will be duly verified. Upon successful verification, the company will process the maturity claim, and the proceeds will be credited directly to the insured's bank account.
  • In case the insured dies after the policy attain maturity, but before the claim discharge procedure is completed, then the maturity benefits will be credited to the bank account of the beneficiary.

FAQs

  • Q. What is the grace period?

    A. Each insurance policy requires the policyholder to pay the required premium before the due date. However, insurance companies do understand that the insured might not always be able to pay up before the due date. For this reason, companies provide a window period known as the grace period. The policyholder should pay the outstanding premium within this period, failing which the policy lapses.

  • Q. What is a lapsed policy?

    A. When a policyholder fails to pay the required premium even during the grace period, then the life insurance plan lapses (i.e., gets cancelled). Following this, the nominee will not receive the entitled coverage, including the death benefit.

  • Q. What happens if the policyholder dies during the grace period?

    A. Legally speaking, the life insurance policy continues to be in force even during the grace period because the period is a part of the contract. So, in case the insured dies during the grace period, the nominee will still receive full benefits, provided that the policyholder had paid the entire premium before the date of his death. If that is not the case, and there is still some outstanding premium to be paid, then the beneficiaries will also receive benefits after deducting the unpaid premium.

  • Q. How to renew a life insurance policy?

    A. When a life insurance plan expires, the policyholder is gifted with three options- either he/she can go for a new plan or renew the existing one if he/she likes to continue being insured or they can choose not to receive any more financial coverage.  Most of the insurance companies send a renewal notice to their clients (along with the rates for a new life term policy) when their existing plan expires. If the policyholder wishes to renew the current policy, then it can be done online. The process is similar to how an application form is filed for a new plan, but the insured doesn't have to submit all the documents again.

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