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How insurance savvy are we?

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In a country like India, where laws exist but their enforcement does not, insurance is taken lightly. Many people are not even aware that a motor vehicle cannot ply on the road without third party insurance. When they are caught by the police, they feign ignorance, call their high-powered police friends or just cough up the fine and move on.

When people return from a holiday and find that their house has been burgled, they make a lot of hues and cry if they have an insurance policy. But a majority of Indian households do not have one. So they console themselves that it was destined and even god could not have averted the mishap.

One hospitalisation costs many thousands today. The innocent villager who comes to the city with his ill wife will end up mortgaging his land to pay his wife’s hospital bills because he never knew that insurance could take care of his sudden financial emergency.

Unless there is a bank finance or hire-purchase involved in any product sale, insurance is never insisted upon. Why talk of villagers who lack awareness, even city dwellers, try to save on premium by just going for a third party insurance instead of a package policy or a zero depreciation policy. This is a case of being “penny wise, pound foolish”. You may pay less now but your savings will be washed out if your vehicle gets damaged in an accident and the company refuses to pay for repairs as it is outside the scope of the policy.

Insurance companies today, both public and private, have a variety of covers to cater to every kind and class of citizens. It is just that the common man is unaware of the various benefits he stands to get by paying a small sum up front.

So the need of the hour is to educate people about the various covers available to suit third multifarious needs. Something unattempted is equal to something not done. So, the government and the insurance companies should hold briefing sessions at different forums to drive home the point that today insurance is a necessity, not a luxury.

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