Free Look Period
To get an idea of 'Free Look Period' let us first understand the following scenario:
Subhash Sharma, a resident of Madhya Pradesh, was advised to buy a health insurance policy that would secure him and his loved ones against possible medical expenses in the long run. However, Subhash realised that the policy he had opted for provides a limited sum assured amount than he might require as he was the only earning member in the family. Apart, the premiums were higher than he had anticipated, which means that he got limited benefits even after paying a higher price. Subhash looks through the portals of various insurance web aggregators and the insurance companies too and stumbles upon a better option. He finds another policy that not only promises a greater sum assured in lieu of nominal premiums but also assures additional benefits than what he had originally opted for. Subhash is determined to get his present policy cancelled but is unsure about how he must proceed.
This is not the first instance of a new insurance policyholder looking to cancel the policy nor would it be the last. To ensure that the new insurance policy owner can get the policy terminated without having to pay the penalty amount, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has included a provision that allows policyholders to surrender their policies and seek a refund for the same. The policyholders are allowed a free look period, limited to 15 days, during which they must go through the terms and conditions published in the policy proposal and assess the utility of the policy accordingly.
Important details regarding the free look period include:
- The free look period starts from the day on which the policyholder receives the policy document. The free look period, in most cases, is limited to 15 days. During this period, the policyholder may request for policy modifications or move to get the policy altogether.
- Policyholders who wish to avail the free look period must be able to prove the date of receipt of the policy document. For this, they must write a request to the policyholder informing them of their intent to return the policy. To save time, insurance companies have a policy cancellation form on their websites that customers can download from to fill in the details.
- Request for a free look option for the health insurance plan involves submitting necessary details including the date of policy receipt, details of the agent who helped them buy the policy and the reason for policy cancellation. In addition, the policyholders must submit bank details including the account number and the IFSC code to which they would like the premium to be refunded. Policyholders need to affix a revenue stamp of the mentioned denomination on the policy cancellation form before submitting the same.
- It is important that policyholders must submit the original policy document issued to them by the insurance company along with the receipt of the first premium payment they had made and a cancelled cheque drawn from the bank account to which the premium money must be refunded. Policyholders who have misplaced the original policy document and are unable to replace it must submit an indemnity bond.
- The insurance company liable to refund the premium amount will pay back after deducting the proportion of the premium amount towards the coverage period, stamp duty charges and the expenses borne by the insurer towards the medical examination of the policyholder if any.
The procedure of policy cancellation during the policy period is the same for all insurance policies. However, policyholders who have paid for health insurance can apply for cancellation subject to the condition that they have bought the same for a minimum policy of three years.