Frequently Asked Questions

Gold

Buying gold is a good habit if you have difficulty saving money. The gold conversion to cash is high as its value only increases over time. If you don’t have a habit of saving in cash, buying gold is a great way to save. However, saving in gold is a long-term option and requires patience. It is an alternative to having cash in the bank. Saving in gold is different from investing in gold because investment means treating gold as a commodity that’s subject to speculation and long cycles

Gold is a comparatively secured investment as compared to stocks and bonds. Investment in gold is needed for your portfolio diversification. Gold investments help manage your risk portfolio. If you have invested in stocks or bonds, which are high-risk funds, investment in gold will balance your risk as gold price does not behave like other financial assets. 
At the same time it is highly liquid. Further, gold is part luxury, part commodity, which makes it a unique financial and monetary asset with its own properties. Gold is also used as a means of hedging against rising prices or currency fluctuations. It is always traded in dollars, which means it does not lose value against the declining purchasing power of a currency. 
 

Pure gold is a tangible form of investment and is not typically subject to volatile market conditions. Gold is the only non-financial asset that offers you high liquidity and returns without any need to get involved in complex financial operations. Investment in stocks and mutual funds can be opaque while buying gold is an easy thing to do. It is independent of currencies and financial institutions. 

The GST levied on gold and gold jewellery is 3 percent. The import duty of 10 percent is still applied on gold, which makes the tax component 13 percent. Post GST, there is no VAT or sales tax applicable when buying gold jewellery. 

Gold cannot go bankrupt and its value does not fall like currencies and other financial assets, which are also subject to market risks. On the contrary, scarcity of gold only raises its value. Since it has a strong inverse correlation with the US dollar, it can be an essential part of a diversified portfolio to minimise risks. There is evidence to show that when shares or cash falls in value, gold prices increase. Its response is inversely proportional to other asset classes. 

Gold is like an insurance policy of your investment portfolio. It is the only non-financial asset that appreciates in value and has nominal storage costs. Unlike an insurance policy, you don’t need to pay any premium from your pocket to maintain the value of your gold. It is not directly related to your other financial assets such as stocks and bonds. Rather, it works in the opposite direction. It is an ideal investment for long-term protection of your investment portfolio. 

Gold does not lose its value in times of financial or political uncertainty and does not become worthless, unlike currencies or other financial assets bearing credit risk. People buy gold and trade it when market conditions are good. They trade it when the market is less volatile. Even otherwise, gold is a safe haven asset and a hedge. Gold is primarily money. It preserves your wealth. Unlike currency, gold is real money in hand, which cannot be printed and has no debts attached to it. 

Gold offers excellent diversification opportunities because it does not correlate to returns from other financial assets such as stocks and bonds. A strategically diversified portfolio must contain a mix of assets, especially different types of assets that do not correlate with each other. Your investment portfolio must maximise returns and minimise risk. Stocks, bonds, and cash investment must be complemented with investment in gold since it does not involve a high risk of depreciation in value. Alternative assets may face the market stress of instability, which can be perfectly balanced with a small allocation of gold in the investment portfolio. It will make your portfolio performance more consistent during unstable financial periods as well. 

Demand for gold outstrips the supply. Even higher gold prices have not affected the demand-supply equation much. The Yale researchers’ criticality system states gold as vulnerable to supply restriction because of its widespread use and lack of available substitutes. Moreover, there are large US creditors such as China, Japan, Russia, India, and oil-producing nations that have been adding to gold reserves than investing in US dollars. Such huge gold reserves will drive the gold trade, demand, and supply in the future. In addition, physical gold is increasingly being used for wealth creation by investors in the market. The high volume of gold in private accounts means a shortage in supply and a corresponding increase in value. 

Gold is traded on Forex just like every other currency. It is traded on currency desks, not on commodity desks. In addition, central banks hold their gold reserves as foreign currency holdings. Thus, it is evident that gold is money and is traded in currency value. 

Gold is reserved in central banks in huge quantities. Since gold prices influence interest rates and stock prices, central banks keep a close tab of the power of gold as a reserve asset. They understand its value and store it in vaults as an asset of huge value and as financial insurance. They allow a fully free market for gold so they can monitor the price direction and the market sentiment as a result. In a way, market participants play in the price mechanism of gold led by central banks that manage gold like currency and in a fashion analogous to other currencies. 

Investing in derivatives is different from investing in physical gold. Its value is on paper so it becomes a non-tangible asset. Managing securities or derivates can be tricky and speculative, so an investor will need to have full knowledge of financial securities. Trading in derivates can fetch you high ROI and at the same time, it can result in significant losses in case of an adverse price movement in gold. Gold as a paper currency is vulnerable to financial and systemic failures.

Physical gold is a hedge against inflation. If you lose investment value because of inflation, you can recover thanks to appreciation in the value of your gold holdings. You have an option to invest in gold mining stocks to gain more return-on-value than just physical gold. It depends on your overall investment objective; whether you want to grow your investment portfolio substantially on a short-term basis, or you just want a hedge. Physical gold will hedge against a market crash. As an investor you will need to decide between growth and hedge. Gold mining stocks are an investment in equities or in company stocks. Investing in the right mining stocks can fetch you higher returns. 

Precious metals ETFs or gold securities investment is based on the price of bullion. This sort of investment using gold is further based on speculation since it does not offer the investor a value on physical gold. It means your investment in paper gold products is subject to bullion value market risks. You are not actually purchasing the bullion and you also cannot redeem your ETF value in physical bullion. You pay a premium on ETF purchase. There are other risks such as lack of transparency and lack of answerability. The price of bullion is not insured, so ETFs are exposed to further risks. It is not a hedge either. So individuals typically buy gold bars to protect themselves against the risks prevalent in the financial system. 

Investing in bullion on a secure platform is a better option that owning coins. Coins are accessible and handy but the manufacturing and shipping costs makes it considerably more expensive to produce. In comparison, per ounce investment in larger bullion bars will fetch you better ROI. Gold and silver coins can be exchanged for cash in an emergency situation. However, there are safety, storage, and liquidity issues, plus other factors that affect the price of coins at the time of resale. Hence the need for investing in bullion to make your investment more efficient. A clear title account will enable you to buy and sell on the primary market at the spot market price. Coin dealers will add a premium on purchases and a substantial discount on sales. With a clear title account, you will get more gold when you buy and more money when you sell the gold

Gold bullion bars are classified as an investment within the jurisdiction of European Union. People who buy gold within the EU do not have to pay VAT on it. So there is a tax exemption on gold for investment purposes in the EU. It is also considered an investment metal in the UK, the EU, and in Switzerland. In the US, physical gold is not an investment; it is a real asset

Every item of bullion has these specific qualities: a specific weight, marked purity or fitness, a refiner’s marks, and a specific serial number. It is important to note that no two bullion bars are the same. They are differentiated on the basis of these four specified qualities

Always look for the hallmark which gives the karat jewellery weight (say, 22k or 24k). You may have notices the hallmark on the necklace or bracelet clasp, or in the inner band of the ring. American-made jewellery carries the letter ‘K’ next to the number. There are other ways as well. You can drop it into water, for instance. Real gold will sink immediately since it is a heavy metal; it should never float. You could also take your gold to a reputable jewellery dealer; they have testing kits that indicate the purity of gold

22k gold jewellery is 91 per cent pure gold. The remaining 9 per cent is copper, silver, or other metals. When compared to 24k gold, 22k is more durable and costs less. People prefer buying 22k gold jewellery for its greater durability and affordability. 

A few coins in a year can be bought privately. Similarly, small denominations can be bought anonymously. It does not require you to reveal your identity or disclose any personal information. 

Gold is today considered an almost indispensable part of a diversified investment portfolio. It is immune to inflation and currency devaluation, and is not subject to market risks like other financial assets (stocks and bonds). Buying gold is a tradition that has retained its position as a high-value, long-term asset. If you are trading in gold papers, make sure you follow the trading market closely as it can be volatile in the short term. It is still a safer bet than other financial assets, and a hedge against inflation and currency erosion. It is hence an investment worth considering.

All gold ETFs in India are traded in the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). 

Gold ETFs are traded and listed on the NSE like any other company stock. It is a cash market on the NSE, where you can buy and sell ETFs at market prices. To trade you need a demat account and a trading account with a share broker. You have an option to buy in a lump sum or through a systematic investment plan (SIP). You can therefore buy ETFs from exchanges (using an online trading account) or through a broker. You can even buy Gold RTFs from asset management companies.

You need to have a demat and trading account to trade in Gold ETFs. You also have an option to buy 1 kilogram of gold (and in multiples) from a fund house if you have a basic demat account. 

There is no entry or exit charge attached to trading in Gold ETFs. However, some costs might accrue, such as (a) expense ratio to manage the funds, which is typically around 1%, (b) brokerage for the service rendered, and (c) tracking error, which is not strictly a charge but can impact returns. 

Health Insurance

Health insurance is a pre-emptive insurance that covers the risk of a person incurring medical and/or surgical expenses on account of sickness or injury.

Rising cost of medical facilities, especially in case of life-threatening situations, makes it difficult for the average Indian to bear the burden of quality healthcare. Health insurance can provide this at nominal cost.

There are two broad categories of health insurance:  (a) Indemnity plan, which includes mediclaim plans, top-ups and super top-ups; and (b) Defined benefit plan, which includes critical illness coverage and daily hospital cash plans.

Under Section 80D of the IT Act, you can claim up to Rs 15,000 for yourself and Rs 20,000 for dependants (senior citizens) as a deduction from taxable income on the premium paid towards a health insurance policy.

There are ten primary factors that affect your health insurance premium: age, gender, marital status, body mass index (BMI), pre-existing conditions, family medical history, consumption of injurious substances, profession, location, and previous insurance (if any).

Most health insurance policies do not cover: eye and dental care, cosmetic surgeries, lifestyle-induced diseases such as tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, intentional self-injury or suicide attempt, injury from adventure sports, non-allopathic treatment, and injuries arising due to act of war.

A change of address does not affect the insurance premium and is considered a non-financial endorsement. The address can be easily changed on the service providers’ web portal or by dialling the toll-free number.

There are ten primary factors you should consider in a health insurance plan: affordability and competitiveness of insurance premium and cover, easy and swift claim process, shorter waiting period, large network of hospitals, option to add top-ups and riders, option for family healthcare plan, pre- and post-hospitalisation benefits, cumulative bonus, lifetime renewals, and free medical checkups.

You can opt for a top-up on your insurance plan. This will increase the insurance threshold of your policy at affordable premium rates.

Most insurance companies do not cover maternity care under a standard insurance policy. However, you may be able to add a maternity insurance rider to your main health insurance policy.

Some insurance providers offer the option to add parents in your ‘family floater’ policy for no additional cost. Parents and in-laws can definitely be added to the comprehensive family policy by paying an additional cost to the premium.

A family floater policy is a single policy that covers the medical expenses of all the members of a family included in the policy.

Yes, you can cancel your insurance policy. Within the free ‘look-in’ period, your premium will be refunded after deducting stamp duty and proportionate risk charges. If a medical test was done, that cost will be deducted too. After the free look-in period, the company may refund a part of the premium based on its policy specifications.

There are different types of hospitalisation benefits. Cash benefit allows for a cash reimbursement for each day spent in hospital, while pre- and post-hospitalisation benefits reimburse for the costs of care before and after hospitalisation respectively. In case of cashless hospitalisation, the insured does not have to pay out of pocket.

In such cases you would need to fill and sign a claim form, produce the discharge certificate from the hospital, along with ailment history, bills, receipts, and memos from the hospital, plus diagnostic report, surgeon’s report, and certificate from the doctor stating the patient is cured. Also include details of previous policies (if any).

The insurer has to be intimated within 24 hours of emergency hospitalisation. Keep all bills and documents for the claim. The claim has to be filed within seven days of discharge.

Claims are reimbursed after all forms and documents as prescribed by the insurer are submitted by the policyholder. 

Third Party Administration (TPA) is the cashless service provided to a policyholder for all hospitalisation covered under the policy at any network or non-network hospital of their choice.

Policyholders can avail of round-the-clock assistance via a toll-free number, online assistance during hospitalisation, ambulance services, cashless hospitalisation, claims processing, and other services as defined by the insurer.

A policyholder can claim any number of times in a year as long as the value of the service provided remains within the insured limit.

Insurers may provide a free health checkup facility for customers who have completed a certain tenure without making a claim. The actual tenure may differ from one insurance provider to another. 

All diagnostic tests are covered under a health insurance plan as long as they are associated with the treatment or hospitalisation of the insured person.

Yes, you can take as many additional policies as you wish. If you approach the same insurer, quoting your existing policy details can get you cheaper premiums.

As per the terms of insurance, a hospital needs to be registered as one with the local authorities, have a minimum of 15 beds, and have qualified doctors and facility for inpatient and outpatient treatment.

Usually, for customers below the age of 50 years, a medical checkup is not necessary. This may vary depending on the insurer and the plan

All original bills and documents pertaining to the case history from a period of 30 days prior to hospitalisation can be claimed as pre-hospitalisation. For calculating post-hospitalisation expenses, a percentage of the hospital bill (excluding room rent) or Rs 5000, whichever is lower, is settled on the doctor’s recommendation and discharge summary.

The hospital providing the care needs to send a pre-authorisation form duly signed by the customer to the insurance provider at least two days before hospitalisation. Any changes in the details provided renders the authorisation invalid.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is a contract between a policyholder and an insurer. The policyholder gets insured for a specific amount and in return has to make regular premium payments. The policyholder must also declare his/her nominees in the life insurance policy. In case of an unfortunate event such as death, these nominees will receive the amount the policyholder was insured for.

Life insurance is one of the best ways to ensure your family is taken care of, if anything unfortunate happens to you. A life insurance policy can be helpful to cater to the monetary needs of your loved ones when you're not around, especially if they are financially dependent on you.

The main aim of a life insurance policy is to ensure your loved ones are taken care of after you die. Here are some reasons why you should consider getting a life insurance policy: 
- With you gone, the emotional loss will be unbearable, but with a life insurance policy in place at least your dependents won't have to bear financial loss too. 
- The assured sum can provide financial support so that your family can continue to live the lifestyle you wanted them to have.
- Your family won’t have the additional burden of repaying your loans or debts, if you have an adequate insurance cover.
- A life insurance policy also provides many tax benefits for the insured as well as for the beneficiary.
 

When it comes to choosing the best life insurance policy, you can go online to compare the benefits and features offered by various insurance companies. Additionally, also take into consideration which policy best matches your needs
If you have a financial advisor, you should definitely take their opinion. Once you shortlist a few companies or policies, read reviews about them and compare all the specifics. This should help you choose one policy that suits all your needs.
 

Under sections 80C, 80CC, and 80CCE a maximum deduction of amount of Rs 1,50,000 is allowed on the premiums you pay. 
Additionally, under section 10 (10D), any amount received under a life insurance policy is exempted from tax. This amount could be any of the following: maturity benefit, death benefit, bonus, or survival benefit
 

Yes, it is very safe to buy life insurance online. It's not only safe and secure but also beneficial if you buy insurance online. You get transparency on all the features and benefits of the policy. Also, you can avoid any additional costs you may incur if you buy a policy from an agent.

A 'premium' is a periodic instalment you, a policyholder, pay the insurance company covering you. Covering you is a risk for the insurance company and for taking this risk the company charges you a specific amount, which is your 'premium'.

Before buying an insurance policy, you must have clarity on the following:
-        Have you compared all the different types of insurance policies?
-        How frequently will you have to pay the premium?
-        What is the claim settlement process?
-        Can you avail of any riders on your policy? If yes, what are they?
-        If the need arises, can you take a loan against your life insurance? 
 

For getting a life insurance policy, it is better if you carry all documents related to your medical history. If specific medical reports are required by your insurer, they will ask you for it.

Life insurance premiums are calculated on the basis of many factors, such as:
- Your age
- Medical history
- Gender
- Additional riders
 

Some life insurance policies do let a policyholder take a loan against their policy. Whether or not you are eligible for this is something you should clarify with your insurer while taking your policy. 

The documentation your nominee will need depends on the insurer. Listed below are the documents insurance companies usually ask for:
- Original life insurance policy
- A premium receipt
- Duly filled claim form
- ID proof of nominee
- Hospitalisation documents
- All prescriptions
- All bills
- Last attending physician’s certificate
- Death certificate
- Cremation certificate


In case of unnatural death, the following documents may be required:
- Certified police report
- Certified police inquest report
- Chemical analysis report, if there is one
- Certified post-mortem report
 

It varies from person to person. A young healthy individual (Person A) may have to pay a smaller premium as compared to a middle-aged person who smokes (Person B). This is because when an insurer insures you, they are taking a risk. And this risk is less with Person A as compared to Person B.

Having a life insurance policy ensures the loved ones of the insured have adequate financial support in case the insured dies. Other than providing financial support, a life insurance policy also provides a host of benefits such as: 
- Death benefits are usually exempted from income tax.
- Most insurers let policyholders take a loan against their life insurance policy.
- If you surrender your life insurance policy before the term is completed, you are eligible for a surrender bonus.
- Premium amounts are usually very small and affordable when you compare it to the payout that you will get. The premium you pay largely depends on the type of life insurance policy you choose, and your age. This is one reason why it is advisable to get a life insurance policy as early in your life as possible.
 

Life insurance policies issue a payout only when the insured person is no more. If your policy has certain riders like a critical illness rider,  you or the beneficiary will get a specific amount as payout while the policy term is still in progress. This completely depends on the type of policy you own and it is highly advisable that you get these details clarified from your insurer.

Yes, it is advisable to buy a life insurance policy as early in life as possible, preferably when you're between 25 and 30. Buying a life insurance policy at a young age is beneficial because the younger you are, the lower premiums you'll have to pay. The more you delay getting life insurance, the higher the premium you pay.

It is always recommended you buy an insurance policy directly from your insurance company instead of getting it from an agent. It is extremely easy to buy a policy directly from an insurance company. Other than that, here are a few other benefits:
- You directly interact with the company without having a middleman. This gives you first-hand access to all the information you need. When interacting with an agent, there is potential for wrong information being passed on to you. There is also a small chance of the agent being a fraudster. On the other hand, very rarely will a life insurance company trick its customers.
- When it comes to cost, if you get a policy from an agent you will have to pay their commission and other such additional costs. You can save on all of these intermediary costs by buying a life insurance policy directly from the insurance company.
- If you buy a policy directly from your insurer, you have an option to do so online. This is not only instant but is also very safe. With an agent, the handling of money will mostly be through traditional methods of payment and can cause delays. The potential for fraudulent transactions is also higher when interacting with an agent.
 

Life insurance coverage begins once all the prerequisites and paperwork are complete. The coverage effective date is the actual date when your life insurance cover comes into effect. Be sure to check your policy papers to know when your life coverage begins.

Before your life insurance coverage starts, your premium amount is decided. Based on this premium amount, your coverage amount is decided. So yes, your life insurance premiums are fixed. 

Yes, you can get a life insurance for your parents. While you will continue to make premium payments for the policy, your parents will be the ones insured. If your parents have retired or are close to retirement, it makes sense for you to get life insurance for them as they won't have the additional burden of paying premiums.

Whether or not older people can get a life insurance depends on their age and health. Every insurer has an age limit, after which they do not issue new life insurance policies. Either way it is advisable if younger people buy life insurance policies for older relatives. It can get difficult for older people to keep up with the premiums. Additionally, the older the insured person is the higher the premium they will have to pay.

When it comes to the question of whether life insurance payouts are taxable, people have a preconceived notion that they aren't. This isn't always true. There are certain conditions that determine the taxability of insurance payouts and there are some exceptions too. It is important that you. as a policyholder, be aware of the tax benefits of your insurance policy. 

This depends on the type of life insurance you have opted for. If a term insurance is what you have, the amount you pay as premium will increase with your age. But in case of a life insurance policy, the premium you pay will remain the same throughout your life.

Yes, you can have as many life insurance policies as you want. In case a claim is rejected by one insurer, people with multiple policies have the advantage of filing a claim with another insurer. Multiple life insurance policies also have different maturity periods and varied premiums.

When you get a life insurance policy, you have to add beneficiaries or nominees in your policy. This can be anyone - your spouse, your kids, or your parents. In case of your death, whoever is listed as your nominee will get the benefits of your life insurance.
If you survive till the time the policy term is completed,  you will be eligible for maturity benefits. In either case, you or your nominees will benefit from your life insurance policy.
 

A life insurance policy covers the life of the policyholder.

A very rudimentary way of calculating how much life insurance you need is by ensuring you get a cover that is 7-10 times your annual salary. A better way to calculate this is to envision the amount you’d want your spouse or your beneficiaries to have once you’re gone. From this amount, deduct any income they’d have at any point, e.g. pension, retirement funds, or any other savings. The amount after these deductions is the life insurance cover you need.

Yes, you can buy a life insurance policy for your partner. Your partner/spouse will be the one whose life is insured and can make the premium payments. Alternatively, you can opt for a joint life insurance plan. This will insure the life of both you and your partner. The listed nominees will get the insurance payout in case of untimely death of either you or your partner. Some policies give a payout when either of the partners dies and then the policy ends. In other policies, beneficiaries receive a payout when each of the two policyholders die.

Exclusions differ from policy to policy but mentioned below are some of the things most life insurance policies won’t cover:
- Critical illnesses
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Suicide (Some policies do have a suicide clause, but most life insurance policies don’t)
- Reckless endangerment of your life
It is best to ask your insurer about all exclusions that come with your life insurance policy. 
 

According to Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, if you make a premium payment for yourself, your spouse, or your kids, you can claim tax deduction on insurance premiums of up to Rs 1,50,000. But if the policy insures anyone else, the premium payments of the policy will not be eligible for deduction under Section 80C.

Motor Insurance

Motor insurance, also known as vehicle/auto insurance, is financial protection offered to all kinds of vehicles (cars, motorcycles, trucks etc.) against damage and its occupants against physical harm in the event of an accident, theft, natural disaster, and other such events as specified in the policy.

As per the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, it is illegal to drive a vehicle in India without motor insurance.

The purpose of motor insurance is to provide protection against liability arising from a scenario where you inadvertently injure another human or damage another vehicle. The insurance policy covers the amount you would have to pay for the damage or bodily harm caused to a third party.

The basic insurance coverage is based on the value of the automobile. Additional coverage or benefits add on to the cost of the basic cover. In case of an accident or damage, you can file a ‘claim’ with your insurer, who will cover the damage or losses up to the extent specified in the terms and conditions of the insurance policy. 

The premium is calculated based on the make and model of your vehicle, listed selling price from the manufacturer, its age, place of registration, and insured declared value (IDV).

Visit the website of the existing/preferred insurer and choose from among the three main categories – insurance for a new vehicle, transfer from another insurer, or renewal. Then fill an online form that asks for your personal details and that of the vehicle. It will make a calculation and present an estimate on the premium.

In the event of an accident you should call the 24x7 toll-free number provided by the insurer and register a claim. The vehicle must then be driven or towed to an authorised garage for repairs, after which the survey and claims process starts.

As an incentive for safe driving, a no-claim bonus (NCB) is offered as a percentage discount on the auto insurance premium for not having claimed insurance for a specified time period.

Yes, you can. There are multiple service providers to choose from.

Yes, you can renew your motor policy online in minutes.

Your insurance provider will send you a reminder via email and text a week or two ahead of your renewal date. You need to visit the insurers’ website and key in the policy details and other details as prompted by the online form. The renewal premium will be calculated and presented to you, and you can pay this online via card or bank transfer.

Buying motor insurance online is easier and faster, and with less paperwork and manpower requirements it is also cheaper. All your documents will be safe and can be accessed from anywhere. Further, any changes, endorsements, or renewals can be done easily.

Motor insurance is primarily classified based on usage – private or commercial vehicle. In addition, the insurance plan may have third party liability insurance, comprehensive coverage, and other add-on coverage such as roadside assistance, zero depreciation, etc.

Some things not covered under motor insurance are acts of war, using the car for unlawful reasons, deliberate damage, driving without a valid licence, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, accidents that happen outside the geographical jurisdiction of the policy, and mechanical or electrical breakdowns.

The registration certificate (RC), driver’s license, FIR, and repair invoice are required to file an insurance claim.

The cost of motor trade insurance depends on factors such as your age, gender, type of business, make and model of car, security of the said vehicle, number of employees listed on the insurance, etc. 

You should consider the following factors: value of the car, how good a driver you are, the amount of life and health insurance you have (excluding the motor insurance), the coverage you need for third party insurance, whether your locality is prone to natural disasters such as floods, etc. 

Your coverage limit needs to factor in physical harm, permanent disability or death caused to you or a third party, medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, legal fees – apart from the comprehensive restoration of your vehicle.

The insurance policy is valid for a period of one year from the date of approval by the insurance company.

There is 18% GST applicable on motor insurance premiums.

Yes, you can easily get a duplicate copy after paying a small fee and executing certain directives from the insurance company.

Yes, you can transfer the insurance to the new owner. 

Legally it is not permissible to continue with the insurance without having it transferred to your name after the ownership of the vehicle has changed hands.

There will be a small transfer fee, and a no objection certificate (NOC) will be required from the previous owner. The new owner will have to provide the old insurance certificate, new RC, and fill the application form as well. If there are accumulated no-claim bonuses, you will need to get a certificate for that as well.

Motor insurance deductible is the amount you have to pay out of your pocket for repairs in the event of an accident.

Yes, you can transfer your no-claim bonus to the new insurance company by submitting an NCB retention letter.

At the time of renewal of the policy, you can ask the insurer to change the IDV of the vehicle. This can have a direct and significant impact on your premium and coverage.

The refund policy depends on the insurer’s terms. You may be able to get the unused premium on a pro-rata basis after a small cancellation fee is deducted

Mutual Funds

Mutual funds can be classified into three categories:
1. kStructure-based mutual fund schemes:
•    Open-ended schemes
•    Close-ended schemes
•    Interval schemes
2. Objective-based mutual fund schemes:
•    Growth schemes
•    Income schemes
•    Balanced schemes
•    Liquid schemes
•    Gilt funds
•    Tax-saving schemes
•    Index funds
3. Special mutual fund schemes
•    Sector-specific funds
 

Mutual funds offer two options:
1. Growth option
In the growth option, any profit made by the mutual fund scheme is reinvested. Investors eventually gain compounded returns. The net asset value (NAV) rises if the scheme makes profits and drops in case of loss.
2. Dividend option
In this case, investors will receive the profits made by the scheme. Investors may receive dividends on a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly basis. The dividend amount does not remain constant and investors are not assured of returns. If the scheme doesn’t make profits, investors may not receive dividends.
 

Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS) is a great mutual fund option that can help you save tax. Under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, all investments made in ELSS qualify for a tax deduction of up to Rs 1.5 Lakh.
If you decide to sell your equity mutual funds after a year, the returns will qualify for a 10% long term capital gains (LTCG) tax. LTCG tax was reintroduced in 2018. If you sell your equity mutual funds within a year, you will have to pay short-term capital gains tax of 15% on your returns. You will also have to pay a 10% tax on any dividend you gain.
 

You can transfer funds to your mutual fund ledger either via netbanking or by transferring it from your equity trading account; then you can buy mutual funds using your ledger account.

The time taken for funds to be credited to your bank account depends on when you place a request for the transfer. Usually it takes a maximum of two working days from the day of your request.

While choosing a mutual fund scheme, keep in mind what you wish to achieve with this investment. You should choose a scheme that best fits your goals and requirements.

The Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) is a great periodic investment plan. With SIPs you can invest a specific fixed amount in a mutual fund scheme. You will have the option to invest monthly, bi-monthly, or fortnightly.
•    If you decide to increase the invested amount, a Step-up SIP will enable you to do this.
•    Alert SIP is a type of SIP that intimates investors when the market is done, so that they may invest more.
•    In case of Perpetual SIP, you don’t have to define an end date. The investment plan will go on till you give the fund house instructions to stop it.
 

Yes, balanced funds are a type of mutual funds that invest in a combination of stocks and bonds.

Net asset value (NAV) is a metric that measures how individual scheme performs. It is completely dependent on the market value of the securities every scheme holds, and so it can change from day to day. This value is mandatorily disclosed either daily or weekly, depending on the type of scheme.

To calculate NAV, first the value of all the securities present in a mutual fund portfolio is calculated. Then, after deducting all expenses, a value is obtained. This value is then divided by the total number of units present in the fund. This final value is the NAV of the mutual fund scheme.

Open-ended mutual fund schemes provide liquidity. All your units invested here can be redeemed for the current market value at any time. Close-ended mutual fund schemes, on the other hand, can’t be redeemed as long as the maturity period isn’t over.

Open-ended mutual fund schemes have no fixed duration, i.e. no maturity period. Investors can hence invest in the scheme at any time and withdraw units whenever they want. If you want liquidity, investing in open-ended mutual fund schemes is a good option.

Close-ended mutual fund schemes have a fixed maturity period. Investors subscribe to the scheme when it launches; subscription is open for a limited period. Units of the scheme are listed on stock exchanges and investors can buy or sell units of the scheme there. The NAV of close-ended mutual fund schemes is disclosed on a weekly basis. Some schemes let investors sell back their units to the mutual fund, as an exit route. 

•    Open-ended schemes don’t have a lock-in period, making them a great option if you’re looking for liquidity.
•    Close-ended schemes are traded in stock exchanges, unlike open-ended schemes. 
•    Investors can subscribe to open-ended schemes at any time, whereas subscription to close-ended schemes is open for a very short period. 
•    The corpus is fixed in close-ended schemes because after a certain period of time, no new units are sold. In an open-ended fund, the corpus is variable because investors may continuously keep buying and/or redeeming. 
 

All asset management companies (AMCs) are regulated by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). SEBI is the regulatory body for the Indian securities market. If an AMC is promoted by a bank, it is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). 

An asset management company or AMC is the entity that invests your money in mutual funds. AMCs not only manage your investments but also try to provide you a diversified portfolio.

It depends on the type of instrument a mutual fund invests in. Everyone knows that investing in the stock market is risky as it keeps fluctuating; similarly, investing in stock-market related mutual funds is risky too. Fixed-income instruments and mutual funds that invest in government securities are comparatively safer investment options. 

Assessing the historical performance of a mutual fund can give you some insights into how it performs. Though past performance is no guarantee of how the fund will perform in future, it can still give one a basic understanding.

To determine what mutual funds are most suitable for you, find out if the fund meets your requirements for risk tolerance. Also see if the fund’s investment objectives match yours. There are online tools that can help you with this. You can also consult a financial advisor to get more clarity on choosing mutual funds.

Entry load is a fee charged when an investor purchases units of a mutual fund scheme. The entry load percentage is added to the NAV. This NAV is the same as the NAV at the time of allotment of units.

Exit load is a fee charged when an investor wants to redeem their units or transfer their units between schemes. The exit load percentage is deducted from the NAV. This amount will not be added into the pool of funds; it will instead go to the AMC.

Some of the factors are:
•    The market trend at all times
•    The stocks you invest in
•    Performance of the sector where you have invested
•    Portfolio management or reshuffling
•    Size of the funds pool
 

‘Switching’ happens when investors choose to switch from investing in one mutual fund to another. Additional costs may be applicable for switching. 

No, mutual funds aren’t allowed to indulge in speculation. Mutual funds trade only once a day, after the markets close, unlike stocks and ETFs. 

No, investing in mutual funds doesn’t guarantee returns.

You can buy mutual funds directly from an AMC, or from an independent financial advisor (IFA), online portals, or through your bank. You can buy mutual funds with a demat account or an online trading account.
To sell your mutual funds you can contact your financial advisor or the mutual fund company. Depending on the type of mutual fund scheme you have invested in, you may have to pay a fee for selling your mutual fund units. You can choose how you want the money from your mutual funds to be transferred back to you; you can get it via cheque or have the money directly deposited in your bank.
 

There aren’t many prerequisites for investing in mutual funds. You just need to ensure you have an online trading account or a demat account and that it is activated. Without this you won’t be able to invest in mutual funds.

Travel Insurance

If the insured person is on an aircraft/ship that has been hijacked, the insurance company pays a compensation for every 6 or 12 hours of the distress.

Travel insurance gives you insurance coverage and travel assistance before and during your journey. It protects you from unforeseen incidences.

A lot of unfortunate things can happen during a trip – you could miss your flight, lose your baggage, have a medical emergency, etc. Travel insurance covers these risks. 

Most travel insurance policies cover trip cancellation, trip delay, loss/delay of baggage, medical expenses, and emergency evacuation due to natural calamity or terrorist activity, among other things 

No, travel insurance is not mandatory; but it is highly recommended.

Most universities abroad make it mandatory for students to get travel insurance.

Any individual travelling for work or leisure, who has bought return tickets, can buy travel insurance.

Generally, age is the only factor. Anyone aged between three months and 60 years is eligible for individual travel insurance. Senior citizens till the age of 85 can get the senior citizen travel insurance plan.

Third Party Administrator, or TPA as it is commonly known, provides cashless medical services. It also helps resolve claim-related issues. 

Single-trip insurance covers you for a specific trip. It starts when you board your flight from India and ends when you are back, or till the end of issuance period, whichever is earlier. 
A multi-trip policy covers you for multiple trips in a given time period, generally 365 days. Conditions may apply on the number of trips and maximum duration of trips.
 

As soon as you are back from your trip, you need to fill up a claims form and submit relevant documents. Refer to the question on documents needed to file different claims.

This depends purely on your insurance provider. It can take from three business days to 15 business days.

Medical: Claim form, doctor’s report, original bills and receipts, passport, and visa copy.
Loss/delay of baggage: Claim form, copies of baggage tags, correspondence with airline, property irregularity report from airline, bills of expenses for the time period.
Loss of passport: Copy of new passport, copy of old passport, FIR report, bills for expenses occurred in obtaining new passport.
Flight cancellation, delay, missed connections: Claim form, original tickets, correspondence with airline, bills for expenses occurred. 
 

If you have bought an extendable policy, you can extend your insurance for up to 30 days in most cases, provided you haven’t had any accident or illness during your trip.

Depending on your insurer, the minimum period can be as short as a few hours, and as long as 365 days.

All travel insurance plans come with a ‘free look’ period. This is for travellers to review the policy to see if it fits their needs. You can cancel your policy during this period. You cannot cancel your policy for a refund after this period is over or after your trip has started.

Most travel insurance companies allow you to change details of your policy; however, it needs to be done before your scheduled departure.

Trip cancellation travel insurance reimburses you if you have to cancel a prepaid non-refundable trip. The reason for cancellation is critical here. You will be reimbursed only if the reason is covered by the insurer.

Most insurance companies allow a refund if you cancel your trip. There will be some deductions towards administrative cost.

Yes. You need to file your claim and submit the required documents as soon as you return to India. Cashless hospitalisation is an exception to this rule in most cases.

Most insurers cover loss of credit/cash. However, they put a cap on the payout amount. This depends on the terms and conditions of your insurer.

Yes, most policies cover loss of passport.

If your checked-in baggage is damaged or permanently lost, the insurance provider reimburses the cost of replacement of the goods.

Generally, travel companies do not allow a refund if you cut short your trip. However, you should read your policy to see if there is such a provision.

There is no medical examination required till the age of 60 or 70, depending on the insurer. If you have any adverse medical history, make sure you submit the relevant documents before your trip commences.

Yes. Usually a travel policy covers medical treatment, hospitalisation, and ambulance fee.

If the insured person is on an aircraft/ship that has been hijacked, the insurance company pays compensation for every 6 or 12 hours of the distress.

Credit Cards

A credit card is a financial tool that allows you to borrow or take credit from a bank for purchases. A credit card is convenient to use, especially when you don’t have cash at your immediate disposal. It enables the cardholder to take credit to make purchases on a short-term basis. The money has to be paid back within the specified term or interest-free period. Failing to do so will invite interest or penalty charge by the bank. 

A debit card user withdraws money directly from his or her checking account. A credit card user, on the other hand, takes credit from the bank for which they will be billed later by the bank. In case of a debit card, money is debited directly from your bank account. A credit card user, on the other hand, is given a short-term loan through the card issuing entity. The credit card user receives a consolidated purchases credit card bill at the end of the billing cycle. 
To know more about debit card versus credit card go here
 

For the consumer there is no real difference between Visa and Mastercard. They are both modes of payment or payment technology companies. Different banks issue credit cards utilising either of these modes of payments. 

For the consumer there is no real difference between Visa and Mastercard. They are both modes of payment or payment technology companies. Different banks issue credit cards utilising either of these modes of payments. 

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