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Medical Underwriting for NRIs

TeamAckoJun 19, 2024

If you're a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) looking to secure your loved one's financial future, life insurance is essential to your financial plan. However, acquiring life insurance as an NRI can come with additional stipulations, particularly regarding medical underwriting. Through this article, we help you understand the medical underwriting requirements and procedures to make informed choices about your life insurance coverage. We understand that navigating the world of life insurance can be overwhelming, especially when you're dealing with extra protocols. But by the end of this guide, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and tools to confidently navigate the medical underwriting process for NRIs and secure the best possible coverage for yourself and your loved ones





What is Medical Underwriting in Life Insurance?

Medical Underwriting is a process that life insurance companies in India use to assess an individual's health risks before providing coverage. The process involves evaluating the individual's health condition, medical history, and lifestyle choices to determine the risk level associated with insuring them.

Medical Underwriting in India is particularly important for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) who wish to purchase life insurance. NRIs must adhere to specific procedures and regulatory guidelines to ensure they are eligible for coverage.

Medical Underwriting typically involves submitting relevant documents, such as medical reports and health check-up results, to the insurance company. Based on the evaluation of these documents, the company will decide whether to provide coverage and, if so, at what premium.

Let's take a look at an example:

Mr. Khan, an NRI, undergoes a health coverage assessment by an Indian insurance company. He meticulously fills out the application form with comprehensive details of his medical history, lifestyle, and coverage requirements. Considering age and pre-existing conditions, the insurer carefully evaluates his risk profile. 

The assessment guides the company in offering a meticulously crafted policy tailored to coverage and premiums. Mr Khan acknowledges these favourable conditions and accepts them. Subsequently, the insurer issued him his new plan. Consistent monitoring remains an integral part of ensuring that any alterations necessary for adjusting coverage, primarily due to changes in health or circumstances for Mr Khan, are promptly executed.

What does Medical Underwriting for NRIs mean? 

As an NRI or Non-Resident Indian, you hold Indian citizenship but live outside India. If you're looking to purchase term insurance plans in India, there are specific procedures and regulatory guidelines that you need to follow. These guidelines can vary depending on your country of residence, age, lifestyle, and medical conditions.

One of the most critical aspects of the process is Medical Underwriting. This involves evaluating your health risks and submitting relevant documents, such as valid passports, proposal forms, and mandatory medical examinations. By following these steps accurately, NRIs can ensure their loved ones receive death claims without complications.

Which are some standard underwriting procedures for NRIs?

When it comes to life insurance underwriting for NRIs, standard procedures must be followed. These procedures typically include a medical exam involving blood and urine tests and a review of the individual's medical and family history to determine their risk profile. Here are other factors that insurers consider.

  • Gauging lifestyle habits

In addition to medical history, lifestyle habits such as smoking and physical activity are assessed to determine their impact on health. Geographic location and travel history are also factors considered when evaluating the risk of diseases.

  • Understanding financial status

Some insurers may also require financial proof during the application process, which adds another layer to the evaluation process. It's important to note that insurers need time to review all of these factors before offering coverage to NRIs.

  • Evaluating risk profile

Once all relevant information has been collected and assessed, premiums are calculated based on the individual's risk level and other factors, such as age and coverage amount. It's worth noting that premiums are calculated in Indian currency.

By understanding these standard underwriting procedures for NRIs, you can prepare for the process and ensure you have all the necessary documentation and information to obtain the coverage you need to protect yourself and your loved ones.

How should NRIs begin the underwriting process? What are the requirements?

To begin the process, you must provide a valid passport, proof of income, and a proposal form. You'll also be required to undergo a medical exam, including tests that vary based on factors such as your age, health conditions, and risk factors. It's important to disclose accurate foreign currency details and adhere to the prescribed requirements to ensure that you can purchase reliable life cover with maturity benefits across geographies while maintaining compliance.

1. Types of tests and examinations required

NRIs Medical Underwriting includes taking a series of health tests and examinations including blood test, urine test and chest X-ray. 

2. Interpreting medical test results and examinations

The insurer's medical underwriters interpret the test results and evaluations to determine the policyholder's health status and any pre-existing medical conditions that may impact their insurability or premiums.It's important for people looking to get an insurance policy to have all the necessary medical information and documentation so that the insurer can evaluate their application properly and offer the best policy terms.

3. Geographic location and travel history

Subject to the insurer's board-approved underwriting policy, NRIs are able to purchase life insurance policies from their current place of residence. However, it's important to note that the underwriting process may be affected by travel history to certain countries. For instance, if an NRI has recently travelled to a country with a high incidence of COVID-19, it may impact the underwriting process.

4. Other documentation

NRIs must provide proof of income in foreign currency and valid passport copies during medical underwriting. Adhering to the specific requirements of insurance companies regarding country of residence, policy term, term insurance plan options, and premium payments is crucial.

What are the benefits of underwriting a life insurance policy?

Underwriting a life insurance policy in India can have several benefits. Here are some examples.

  • Coverage for loved ones Underwriting ensures that the insurer assesses the policyholder's health risks accurately and offers appropriate coverage to secure the financial future of their loved ones.

  • Competitive premium rates A thorough underwriting process helps the insurer calculate premiums accurately, resulting in more competitive rates for policyholders.

  • Clarity on policy terms The underwriting process enables policyholders to understand their policy's exact terms and conditions, including coverage and exclusions.

  • Customised coverage Depending on the underwriting evaluation, insurers may offer customised coverage to policyholders, catering to their specific needs and requirements.

  • Peace of mind With a comprehensive underwriting process, policyholders can have peace of mind, knowing that their policy provides the coverage they need in case of unforeseen events.

What are the documents required for medical underwriting?

NRIs must complete a proposal form, submit proof of income, passport copy, and other documents, and undergo medical tests to apply for medical underwriting. Here are more details.

1. The proposal form

  • Accurate completion of the proposal form is crucial as it forms the basis of the life insurance contract.

  • Provide correct personal information such as name, date of birth, and contact information.

  • Accurately declare any pre-existing medical conditions as this affects policy coverage and premium payments.

  • Choose policy terms and sum assured according to financial status and needs.

  • Provide proof of income in Indian or foreign currency per the country of residence.

  • Submit a valid passport copy and other required documents for verification.

  • Disclose any past or present medical treatments, surgeries, or hospitalizations related to pre-existing medical conditions.

  • Remember, incorrect or incomplete proposal forms may lead to rejection during underwriting.

2. Providing proof of income for NRIs

Here are some crucial things for NRIs to keep in mind when providing proof of income for Medical Underwriting.

  • Providing proof of income is crucial in determining your financial stability and ability to pay premiums on time.

  • NRIs may be required to provide proof of income from their country of residence in foreign or Indian currency.

  • Valid proof of income can include bank statements, salary slips, tax returns, or other relevant documents that prove steady cash flow.

  • Requirements for acceptable proof of income may vary among insurance companies.

  • Having updated and accurate documentation ready can ensure a smooth application process and increase your chances of being approved for a policy.

3. Submitting valid passport copy and other documents

Here is a list of documents you need.

  1. A valid passport copy

  2. Proof of age

  3. Income proof

  4. Medical health reports

  5. A proposal form

Submitting these documents can help ensure a hassle-free application process and faster turnaround times from insurance companies.

Factors Affecting Medical Underwriting for NRIs

Several essential aspects influence the terms, coverage, and costs of health insurance policies for non-resident Indians. To achieve appropriate coverage, NRIs must first understand these impacts. Numerous factors directly impact the medical underwriting procedure for NRIs.

  1. Health Status: The NRI's health is essential in medical underwriting. To establish risk levels, insurers take into account pre-existing medical issues, current health status, lifestyle variables (such as smoking or alcohol usage), and family history.

  2. Age: Age is an essential element in medical underwriting. Older NRIs may experience higher rates because of the increasing health risks that come with ageing.

  3. Coverage Requirements: The chosen amount of coverage affects the underwriting procedure. NRIs may have unique healthcare needs or preferences depending on their lifestyle, family circumstances, and medical history, which might influence the conditions of their insurance coverage.

  4. Policy Type and Coverage Limits: The NRI's choice of individual or family health insurance policy, as well as coverage restrictions (e.g., yearly maximum benefit, deductible amounts), impact premiums and underwriting.

  5. Underwriting Standards: Each insurance business has unique underwriting rules and procedures for risk assessment. The insurer's risk tolerance, claims experience, and market position can all impact the NRI underwriting process.

  6. Medical Examinations: Some insurance companies may require NRIs to have medical exams as part of the underwriting process. The outcomes of these tests may influence the insurance policy's terms, coverage, and rates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the frequently asked questions on Medical Underwriting for NRIs


How long does the medical underwriting process take?

Medical underwriting time depends on case complexity, documentation availability, and review procedure turnaround times. This evaluation should take 1-2 weeks but may take longer.

Can I appeal a decision made during the medical underwriting process?

Yes, you can appeal a decision made during the medical underwriting Process. The process for appealing a health plan decision varies depending on the situation and the insurance company. You can ask your insurance company to conduct a full and fair review of its decision.

How does the medical underwriting process affect the premium for life insurance policies?

The medical underwriting process affects the premium for life insurance policies as it helps insurers determine the risk associated with insuring an individual. If an individual has a higher risk of developing a medical condition or has a pre-existing medical condition, the premium may be higher.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on industry experience and several secondary sources on the internet, and is subject to changes.


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