The insurance policy document is critical for filing a claim as it has all the details of the insurance cover and lays down all the benefits, terms, conditions and exclusions, if any. It also has the contact details of the insurer.
The policy document is also important because it has all the details that were agreed upon by both parties when the insurance contract was signed, and the insurer is bound to honour the commitment as laid down in the policy document.
While the majority of insurance policy buyers still prefer keeping the physical policy document, it’s not mandatory anymore.
Under regulation 4, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) had said in 2016 that an insurer needs to issue both physical and electronic documents to shareholders. However, in September 2020, the insurance regulator said that for health insurance policies, insurers should send a copy of the proposal form electronically to the registered email ID or mobile number provided by the customer.
Post this, the policyholders need to be informed through SMS that the policy document has been sent to them electronically. If the policyholder asks for the physical version, it shall be made available too. However, physical policy documents could be delayed due to operational issues due to Covid.
Currently, insurers are not required to send physical copies of insurance documents till 31 March 2022.
Insurance companies and brokers also let policyholders download the policy documents from the app or the website or request it through email or the call centre. Many insurance companies have since stopped issuing physical documents, unless otherwise requested, as a part of their ‘go green’ initiative.
“A customer is not required to send physical documents while making a claim. However, physical documents are also accepted if the customer solely wishes to physically send us the documents. However, this usually increases the turnaround time (TAT) for claims settlement,” says Adarsh Agarwal, appointed actuary, Go Digit General Insurance, an online general insurance company.
You could request a physical copy of your policy document from the insurance company, if needed. You could simply do it by contacting the customer service team via email or phone.
“At Digit, physical documents like your policy documents, other proofs of claims like bills, etc, or other identification documents can be sent digitally while making a claim. A customer is not required to send physical documents while making a claim,” says Agarwal.
He further explained that physical documents are also accepted if the customer solely wished to physically send them the documents. However, he said that this usually increases the turnaround time (TAT) for claims settlement.
Storage of Policy Documents
It is possible to store essential documents online these days. One should ensure that the platform they are using to store documents, including the insurance policy document, is well-encrypted, are password-protected wherever possible, and your closest family members like your spouse or children have access to it. You could also store them in your car or your phone for easy access.
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