Are Women in India Under Insured?

Women are proactive homemakers and are good with budgeting and savings. Surprisingly, when it comes to investing in their own future or health, Indian women are often found to fall short. The concept of 'family first' is firmly embedded in their psyche. As a result, the number of under insured women in India is mind numbing.

Testimony to the fact is a survey conducted by Birla Sun Life Insurance in the year 2017. The survey shows that only 50% of the internet savvy Indian women have a dedicated life insurance plan. This compares poorly to 72% of Indian men with active life insurance plans. Another survey report recent released by National Family Health Survey of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare shows that merely 20% of women age between 15 to 49 years of age have health insurance. There are multiple reasons for this disproportionately higher number of under insured women compared to their male counterparts.

Part of the reason is lower financial awareness while the dearth of proactive women-centric plans also contributes to such disparity.

Lower Financial Awareness Women in India have traditionally been reliant on the male members of the family for financial decision making. Owing to this psyche, women not in active work environment are still reluctant to take any major financial decision, including buying insurance. For example, in health insurance, women are mostly covered under family floater plans instead of an independent insurance cover. This significantly drives up the number of under insured women as the sum assured under family floater plans cover all family members, and are not earmarked for any individual.

Need for More Women-centric Insurance Plans Women have a greater longevity as compared to their male counterparts. This makes them a higher risk proposition for insurance companies especially for health insurance. So many insurance plans have comparatively higher premiums for women-centric policies. This drives many families to settle for family floater policies, which is more cost effective. Besides, there are only a few women-centric plans in India.

Need for an Individual Insurance Plan for Women There is a growing need for women to opt for both health and life insurance to safeguard themselves and their dependents financially. If you are still without insurance, here are some of the very strong reasons why you should seek insurance immediately.

Changing Demographics and Family Structures Changing family demographics mean that women can be a single mother or separated or outlive their spouse. In all such scenarios, having a dedicated insurance plan can be the proverbial stitch in time. Opt for an independent insurance plan over and above your family floater plan as the future is anything but certain.

Rise in Various Women Specific Ailments From pregnancy and childbirth related health concerns to women-specific diseases like cervical or breast cancer, infertility treatments, any ailment can wipe out your savings in an instant. Growing health care costs mean that women must have independent health insurance plan to be ready financially for any such eventuality.

Family’s Financial Health A woman’s financial contribution to a family is very important in today’s world of spiraling costs.  So, in the absence of double income, the entire family’s financial plans may go haywire should an emergency arise. This is a strong reason why the woman of the house also needs to have a dedicated life insurance policy with a high sum insured. The norm of covering the bread winner of the family towards insurance also means that many non-working women are excluded from any insurance protection. However, non-working women too contribute to the family in many indirect ways, including financially. As the woman of the house, it is your duty to protect your future and your health against contingencies. Timely and adequate health insurance