Once in a while there comes a time when the payment of premiums becomes difficult thus causing the policy to lapse. Policy lapsation can be dangerous as you or your financial dependants/beneficiaries may not get any benefit, which was the reason for buying the insurance cover in the first place.
You just need to know the reasons behind the policy lapsation and process of revival if ever there is any requirement in future (whatever the reason may be).
Reasons for policy lapse:
- because of carelessness
- because one doesn’t see value in continuing with the policy,
- because of a financial crisis and can’t afford it any longer
Policy will lapse only if you fail to pay your premiums regularly. If something happens to you during this period, the insurance company will honor its commitment and pay you or your beneficiaries, depending upon the type of policy you hold. However, if you stop paying your premium, then the insurance company will no longer be obliged to continue providing an insurance cover on your life. In this situation, your policy is said to have lapsed. The insurer might not provide any monetary benefits (the sum assured under the policy) to you or your beneficiaries if something were to happen to you.
Before your policy lapses, you still have a limited time period during which you can make well on a delayed premium payment. If you are late on your premium payment, the insurer will send you a reminder and give you a grace period within which to pay your premium. This is usually 15 days when you pay your premium monthly and 30 days in all other cases. If you fail to pay the premium even after this grace period, your policy will lapse. The insurer will send you a letter informing you about the same.
Revival: Most traditional policies (like term, whole-life and endowment plans) can be revived, subject to certain criteria that your insurer might impose on you.
Revival can happen at any time, but the conditions for revival might depend upon how long the policy has been lapsed for. Under the insurance laws, if the policy has been in force for at least three years, the insured gets up to two years to revive the policy. Some insurers like LIC have special schemes under which policies can be revived for up to five years from being lapsed.
- If you revive the policy within six months from the date of lapsation, the process might be as simple as paying the overdue premium (and interest) to catch up on the delay on your part.
- If you revive the policy after six months from the date of lapsation, you might be required to pay the overdue premium, penalty fees, as well as interest payment that could be up to 12-18% of the premium payment, depending upon the type of policy and the date of purchase.
At the time of revival, the insurer might impose a lot of conditions or even decline your request for a policy revival if the company is not convinced about the honesty of your application on grounds of suspected fraud or the like. It can be very likely that the insurer will ask you to appear for a medical test before the policy can be revived to ascertain whether you have developed a new medical condition during policy lapse that might expose the insurance company to a high risk in insuring your life.
At the time of revival, usually, full benefits that you or your beneficiaries are eligible for will be reinstated. However, if after revival, the insured commits suicide within one year, the insurer can deny the claim. Similarly, if the insured passes away within two years of the revival, the insurer has the option of conducting an inquiry before they decide to pay the claims to the beneficiaries.
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