Can NRIs buy Insurance in India?

Can NRIs buy Insurance in India?

You have settled abroad. And you might have opted for several insurance plans in your country of residence. Now, you want to buy an insurance plan in India. And the question that’s on your mind is, “Can I do it?”

The answer is yes, you can.

The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) guidelines allow people to buy insurance in India, irrespective of their country of residence.

Do you need to be physically present in India to buy the policy?

You don’t need to be physically present in India to buy the policy. A suitable option for you is to go online and check out the various options available. Many sites provide a comparative study of the policies of multiple insurers. These sites also contain feedback from actual customers. All this would be of help to you.

However, being physically present in India for the purchase has some benefits. The insurer can get in touch with you to get medical checkups done. The insurer will bear the costs for the same. But if you buy it from your country of residence, then you need to get the necessary medicals done and send across the reports to the insurer—at your own cost.

It might happen, though, that the insurer has an overseas office in your city of residence or close by. In such a case, you may take advantage of its service by being physically present there.

Does the country of residence affect the application?

It does. If you happen to stay in a country that faces frequent political turmoil or terrorist attacks that put the lives of the citizens at risk, then that country falls in the high-risk category. On the contrary, countries with a stable government and a steady law-and-order situation fall in the low-risk category.

If you happen to stay in the former, your application might be rejected, or you might need to pay a much higher premium. The opposite would be the case for residents of low-risk countries.

How do you pay your premium?

You have purchased the policy in India, and it has been issued in INR. So, you would need to pay the premium through your NRO or NRE/FCNR bank account.

How do you claim a payout?

In the case of a life insurance policy, your nominee would receive the payout in the currency in which the insurer issued the policy. Along with the claim, the nominee would have to submit additional documents. In most cases, these documents would be a copy of the death certificate of the insured person, identity proof of the nominee, and the original policy document.

If the insured person passes away in a foreign country, then the Indian Embassy or the High Commission in that country would have to attest the death certificate. This need won’t arise if the insured passes away in India.

In the case of health insurance, the insured person can claim the hospitalization benefits only if he/she spends money on treatment within the boundaries of India. And if the NRI stays in a risk-prone country, then the insurer might offer a lower sum to the insured.

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