Getting health insurance is crucial, considering the need to protect our finances if a medical emergency arises and the increasing healthcare costs. With technology advancing rapidly and most fields going digital, the insurance industry has also stepped up its game. The majority of the insurance companies allow you to buy and renew their policies online. However, many people are still sceptical about the reliability and safety of the online mode. Here are the top 10 differences between buying health insurance online and through an agent:
One of the primary benefits of the digital age is the availability of information at your fingertips. You can put this to use when purchasing medical insurance online to research insurance companies, their products, customer service, claim settlement ratio, and the like. These are essential factors to consider before buying health insurance. You can find this data on various direct and indirect online forums. When you get health insurance through an agent, you typically rely on their word and recommendations. Since you don’t get additional information, you can’t be sure of getting the right deal.
Buying health insurance online has a clear advantage in this regard since you can do this from anywhere in the world, including the comfort of your home. You can quickly complete the process yourself based on your schedule without meeting an insurance company representative.
If you opt for the online mode of purchase, you directly go to the company’s website and thoroughly read their terms and conditions. You can even print this information or take screenshots of it, reducing the possibility of fraud. However, if you go to an agent, they may present you with manipulated policy wording to win your favour towards their company. This could be because they typically get rewarded for reaching their monthly target of selling a particular number of policies.
4) Filing claims
Having an agent is slightly more advantageous when filing claims because you can give them all your documents and ask them to raise a claim on your behalf. However, if you don’t have an agent, you can directly call the insurance provider and enquire about the health insurance claim filing process.
5) Process speed
Buying insurance online is quick and doesn’t require you to get through long queues. Once you decide to get an insurance policy and do the relevant research, you only have to log in to the insurer’s website and pay the premium. Soon after this, you usually receive the policy document via email and don’t have to wait for it to arrive by post.
6) Security of the policy document
As mentioned earlier, when you buy insurance online, the insurer sends a copy of the policy document to your email address. The policy document also gets saved on the account you create with the insurance company, eliminating the risk of loss due to negligence or theft.
7) Access to the insurance provider
When you purchase health insurance online, you have direct access to the insurance company. As there are no middlemen, you get the information directly without any miscommunication. If you’re associated with an agent, you may or may not be able to contact them if a medical emergency occurs—adding to your worries when you’re already stressed.
8) Choice range and comparison
With online insurance purchases, you get the chance to explore a wide range of insurance policies without having to leave your home. You can also compare insurance plans offered by different insurance companies, giving you a clear understanding of the products in the market and the ones best suited to your needs.
Buying health insurance online requires less investment than doing so through an agent. In the former case, you only pay the premium and the service tax applicable, and there are no hidden costs. You can also easily modify add-ons and get discounts for early renewal or because your insurer has a tie-up with certain banks and digital wallets. However, agents can’t help you avail of such savings. Moreover, you need to pay agents a commission/intermediary fee for their services, which is an added expense.
The paperwork associated with online insurance purchase is nil to minimal, unlike the offline medium. This also makes the process easier to get through, saving both energy and time.
Overall, buying health insurance online has more advantages than doing it through an agent. If you’re still not confident about online insurance purchases, you can call your preferred insurance company’s toll-free number to get your doubts clarified before going ahead with the process.