Life Insurance Plans for NRIs in India 2019

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Life Insurance has always been the best investment method in India. Most of the Indians have at least one life insurance plan. However, if one is a Non-Resident Indian and wants to have a life insurance plan, then he/she should not worry as there are many Life Insurance Plans for NRIs in India available. All one needs to do is to select the most suitable policy. Before selecting Life Insurance for NRIs, it is necessary for an individual to know the rules related to life insurance purchase by NRIs in India. These rules are governed by the Exchange Control Manual.

Rules to Purchase Life Insurance Plans for NRIs

  • As per the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999, any Person of Indian Origin (PIOs) or Non-Resident Indian (NRI) is allowed to purchase life insurance plans in India.
  • An NRI is not required to be present in India at the time of purchase of the policy. He/she can buy a plan via written communication with the insurance provider in India. However, in such case, the NRI has to pay some extra cost and will need to undergo a medical examination and send the reports to the insurance provider in India. The cost of a medical examination has to be borne by the NRI only. The insurance company will not pay this cost.
  • If an NRI purchases the policy in India or is present in India while purchasing the policy, then he/she would not have to bear the cost of medical examination because it is inbuilt in the policy cost only.
  • There are three premium payment modes – 1) NRO Bank Account. 2) Remittance in foreign currency. 3) NRE/ FCNR Bank Account.
  • Insurance providers can issue an insurance policy dominated in the foreign currency or in Indian rupees to the NRIs. If the plan purchased is dominated in foreign currency, then the premium must be paid in foreign currency through FCNR or NRE account of the policyholder or his/her family member in India. On the other hand for policies that are dominated in Rupees for NRIs, the funds holding in NRO accounts should be used as premiums.
  • It is to be remembered that not all the insurance companies offer the policies that are foreign currency dominated. So, an NRI should check a plan for the same before purchasing it.
  • The premiums for are same for both NRIs and residents of India. However, if an NBRI is living in a country with high risks, then he/she may have to pay higher premiums.
  • An insurance policy bought in India covers death that occurs anywhere across the world.

These are some of the rules related to purchase of Life Insurance plans for NRIs, however, an NRI should also be eligible in order to buy an insurance plan in India.

Eligibility to Purchase Life Insurance Plans for NRIs

  • An NRI should be an Indian citizen and must have a valid passport of India.
  • NRI should not have a Green Card. He can be in the process of citizenship applying in his/her country of residence.
  • Any person who is of Indian origin but is holding a foreign nationality is not eligible to take a Life Insurance Plan for NRIs, except the below situations:
    • At some point in time of his/her life, the person must have earlier holding a passport of India.
    • The spouse of the NRI applicant is an Indian citizen.
    • As per the Indian Citizenship Act, the Individual, his/her grandparents, or parents must be a citizen of India.
  • An NRI must provide the below-mentioned documents to apply a life insurance plan in India:
    • A copy of the employment letter
    • Income proof
    • Details of personal finances
  • An insurance policy can either be purchased in Indian Rupees or in a foreign currency depending on the rule of the insurance provider.

How to Purchase Life Insurance Plans for NRIs in India

An NRI can get a life insurance plan without coming to India and through written communication with the insurance provider. However, in this case, he/she has to pay some extra cost and has to bear the expenses of medical tests that he/she has to send to the insurance provided by his/her own. On the other hand, if an NRI purchases a life insurance plan when he/she is in India, then he/she has not to pay for his/her health checkup as it would be covered in the policy only. There are some insurance companies that may insist on an individual to be present while policy purchase. So, it depends upon the insurance provider, but as experts suggest, it is good to be present in India while one is purchasing a policy.

Best Life Insurance Plans for NRIs in India

Now after checking the eligibility criteria and rules to purchase a Life Insurance Plan for NRIs in India, it is time to check some of the top plans.

Birla Sun Life Insurance:

Birla Sun Life Insurance Company is formed with the collaboration of Aditya Birla Group, a known Indian conglomerate, and Canadian financial service organization Sun Life. The life insurance plans for NRIs in India provided by this company has the following eligibility criteria:

  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • Entry Age: 18 years
    • Maximum Premium Payable Amount: Rs.18, 000
    • Minimum Sum Assured: Rs.2 Lakh
    • Policy Term: Till 100 years of age.
    • Premium Payment Term: 15 years to 45 years
    • Premium Payment Frequency: Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually.
  • Key Features of the Policy:
    • After completion of the premium payment term, the policyholder gets sum assured’s 5% plus bonus each year.
    • The coverage of this insurance policy is valid for the insured and his/her family until the insured achieves 100 years of age.
    • The policyholder gets rebates in premium for a higher sum assured.
    • An insured is eligible to avail the options of rider benefits to get extra coverage with the basic policy inclusions.
    • If the policy does not contain the name of the nominee, then the legal heir of the policyholder becomes the beneficiary for the proceedings of the policy.
    • The premiums that one pays against this policy are eligible for the deduction of tax under Section 80C of the Income-tax Act. In addition to this, under Section 10D of the Income Tax Act, an insured is as well eligible to get tax deductions in the sum assured.
  • Policy Exclusions:
    • Death of the policyholder due to suicide within a year of policy purchase.
    • Any misleading or incorrect information regarding the policyholder can lead to policy termination.

Max Life Insurance:

It is one of the largest private-sector non-banking life insurance providers in India. Max Life Insurance Company is the subsidiary of the Max Financial Services Limited Company, which is a public listed company. With various life insurance products or Indian residents, the company also offers life insurance plans for NRIs. The features, eligibility, and other information about such plans are:

    • Eligibility Criteria:
      • Age of Entry: 18 to 10 years
      • Maximum Sum Assured: None
      • Minimum Sum Assured: Rs.25 Lakhs
      • Policy Term: Five years to 35 years
      • Maturity Age: Maximum 70 years
    • Key Features of the Policy:
      • The first premium of the policy is payable through Indian currency via the NRO account or through a foreign currency that is equivalent to Indian rupees.
      • An NRI can get the reimbursement of surrender value, claims amount, and maturity amount out of India also.
      • The bonuses and maturity amount are paid in Indian Rupees.
      • The plan also offers tax benefits under Section 80C and 10D.
      • This life insurance plan offers accidental benefit as an add-on.
    • Policy Exclusions:
      • The policy does not give any benefit if the insured dies due to suicide.
      • The life insurance policy for NRIs become void in case of insured’s involvement in some illegal activities.

Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India:

It is a state-owned insurance and investment company of India having headquartered in Mumbai. The company also provides life insurance plans for NRIs. The eligibility and features of such plans are:

  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • Entry Age: 0 years to 50 years
    • Maximum Sum Assured: Depends on the conditions of insurance.
    • Minimum Sum Assured: Rs.10 lakh
  • Key Features of the Policy:
    • The policy allows the payment in Indian Rupees only.
    • An NRI can purchase insurance plan and finish the paperwork from his/her country of residence. This process in LIC is known as ‘Mail Order Business’.
    • The maximum sum assured allowed under the Mail Order Business method is Rs.3 Crores.
    • The NRIs can also get insurance under some non-medical special scheme that is subject to some terms and conditions.

Kotak Life Insurance:

This is one of the largest private life insurance companies in India. The company offers different protection plans under one umbrella and out of which life insurance for NRIs are a few of them. The features and eligibility of the life insurance plans of Kotak for NRIs are:

  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • Entry Age: 18 years to 65 years
    • Maximum Sum Assured: None
    • Minimum Sum Assured: Rs.25 lakhs
    • Policy Term: 5 years – 40 years
    • Maturity Age: Minimum 23 years and Maximum 75 years
  • Key Features of the Policy:
    • The plan provides great coverage in comparatively lower premium rates.
    • For non-smokers and women, this plan provides special premium rates.
    • The plan also offers option rider clauses, which are:
      • A part of the sum assured is distributed for critical illness cover.
      • The complete sum assured is paid in case of accidental death of the insured.
      • In case of permanent disability, payments are made in installments.
      • The policy also offers tax benefits under section 80 C for the premiums paid and 10D for the sum assured.

Conclusion:

The choice is of an individual NRI, but these are some of the relevant information that he/she must take while finalizing a life insurance plan. Even though all the above mentioned Indian life insurance companies are dealing with NRIs for long but the decision is always the policyholder.

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