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ICICI Lombard Instant Online Health Insurance -- a View

Most of us must have seen the ICICI Lombard's Advertisments on TV.... get instant Health Insurance at the click of the mouse, any time, pay by Credit Card and have peace of mind. Cashless Insurance and admission to over 6000 hospitals all across India.
No medical, no paper work, no hassels. Everything in an instant!
Sounds too good to be true. Just a few clicks and you are insured.
But is there a catch? Before you buy Instant cover, just read on.

Surfing the net one day early in Jan this year I came across the Lombard Site and realizing that the financial year is about to close and I need to invest money, I bought myself a Health policy literally in an instant. 4 lacs cover for myself and my wife in 3 minutes. Could anything be simpler? Just clicked a few times, declared that I had no pre - existing illnesses and done. Read out their terms and conditions in detail. Printed myself out a neat policy and an I Card too boot! Was never so please with myself, as I was then.

Things took a more serious turn in Feb, when I developed an uncer in my tongue which turned out to be cancer. Had to get operated. This is when I realized that the Instant part of the policy was the instant acceptance of your money by ICICI Lombard Health Insurance Company, rest all was not as instantaneous. This is how it goes:

  1. Cash less insurance is a privilege, not a right, as I had foolishly assumed. You need pre authorization from the company which means that they need to be convinced that the illness you have could not have existed before you took the policy nor it is the result of any long standing illness. Any doubts leads to denial and a request to seek post settlement insurance.
  2. The point is that whatever you may fill in the online form, it is not accepted as truth.You still will need to prove that the illness you now have did not exist before you took the policy, which can be a very difficult task. You also need to prove that it is not the result of any other chronic illness which was present before you took the policy. Is it easy to prove that the heart problem you now have was not there before? or the kidney stone you now have is 2 months old only?

To be very honest, the company has finally accepted my claim for which I am greatly relieved and indebted. My intention is not to criticize the ICICI Lombard Health Insurance company and I suppose other insurance companies giving Instant policies must be doing exactly the same thing, but to educate people like you and me, that Instant is not always good. It is better to go in for a proper Insurance with a full fledged medical examination so that such doubts do not raise their head when you need Insurance the most. And never buy insurance "for the heck of it", you never know when you need it the most. Plan well before you get insurance.