Mis-selling of life, health insurance top consumer complaints list

According to the report a bulk of the complaints has been registered in respect of mis-selling of insurance policies by intermediaries. Read this to know more...

Mis-selling of life, health insurance top consumer complaints list

An annual report released by the Executive Council of Insurers (ECOI) finds mis-selling of life insurance policies by intermediaries topping the list of consumer grievances. This is followed by mis-selling of health insurance policies by brokers and agents on behalf of non-life insurers.

ECOI Secretary General MML Verma noted that pan-India, consumer complaints regarding rejection of health insurance claims topped the list in the non-life insurance segment even as the number of life and non-life insurance complaints were split 50-50.

The mis-selling method

According to the insurance ombudsman set up and facilitated by ECOI, and established under the Insurance Ombudsman Rules, 2017, intermediaries indulge in fraud and forgery of signatures of the proposers on insurance forms or sell long-term, unaffordable policies that the proposer cannot service through the tenure of the policy.

Such mis-selling could be checked at the underwriting stage but “the underwriter clears long premium-paying term plans even though the proposer does not have the paying capacity to maintain the policy beyond the initial payment,” the report states.

To cover up this mis-selling, the insurance ombudsman observed that intermediaries even tutor customers to accept all terms and conditions when they receive follow-up verification calls from insurance companies, which are mandatory according to the rules set up by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), the industry regulator.

Related: Common life insurance myths busted—numbers don’t lie

The ombudsman’s limitations

While the insurance ombudsman can take the insurance company to task for mis-selling of insurance policies by their agents, it cannot impose penalties on the erring company. Also, the maximum award it can issue for disputes between the customers and insurance companies cannot exceed Rs 30 lakh.

“We have recommended that since the office looks at only individual complaints, there should not be any limit, considering that many individuals are taking Rs 1 crore cover for term or health insurance,” said Milind Kharat, Insurance Ombudsman for Mumbai and Goa, as reported by The Times of India.

Yet, Kharat claims his office effectively eases redressal of consumer complaints – there is no requirement for a lawyer, and consumers can register their complaints via email.

Ground for rejections

The main reason for rejection of health insurance claims of customers by insurance companies relates to pre-existing illnesses. The other ground for claim rejection is expenditure overshooting ‘reasonable and customary charges.’

“Reasonable is a very subjective term and what is reasonable in one part of the country may not be reasonable in another,” said Kharat, according to The Times of India report. 

Related: Fine print of claiming tax benefit on life insurance premium decoded
Claim settlement

The claim settlement ratio (CSR) measures the claims settled by the insurance companies against the claims received by it in a year. The higher the claim settlement ratio CSR, better is the insurance company from a consumer’s perspective.

According to IRDAI’s figures, the top five life insurance companies with their respective claim settlement ratios for 2016-17 are: 

Insurance Company

Total Claims Paid (FY 2016-17)

Claim Settlement Ratio (FY 2016-17)




Max Life






Aegon Life



SBI Life



Related: Why Insuring your Health is a Smart Decision?
In this context, the Annual Report for the year 2017-18 also suggests measures that could help smoothen claim settlement by complainants. One such recommendation reads:

Third Party Agents (TPAs)’ decision on settlement of claims should not be final and the matter should be reviewed by the insurer to arrive at a judicious decision. Most insurers do not have any established systems for review of the claims rejected by their TPAs. Even when the complainant approaches the Grievance Cell, after repudiation of the claim by the TPA, the insurer seldom examines the claim dispassionately. In some cases, the insurer depends upon the TPA to present cases before the ombudsman.

Related: Your 10 minute guide to health insurance

How to avoid hidden charges on overseas transactions

Are you aware of these hidden international transaction charges? Read this piece to know in detail

How to avoid hidden charges on overseas transactions

We often use our credit/debit cards for shopping while on a vacation abroad or while buying gadgets from an international website. You must have noticed that the amount deducted from your card is not just the purchase price; it also includes some additional charges.

Is there anything one can do about it?

Well, there’s a way. If you are aware of the charges levied on international transactions by various banks, and when and why they are charged, you’ll know how to minimise them.

Read on to know about these hidden international transaction charges.

Traditionally, there are seven types of charges that are levied on an international transaction. Instead of using technical jargon, let’s put it in simple words. The charges are:

  • Foreign currency conversion fee: charge for converting currency by the payment facilitator such as Visa or Mastercard
  • Transaction charges: The transaction charge levied by the bank
  • Cash withdrawal charges: Obviously, a charge on cash withdrawal
  • Goods and Service Tax (GST)
  • The annual maintenance fee
  • Cost for crossing card limit
  • Late payment fee

1. Foreign currency conversion fee

As the name suggests, this is a charge for converting your home currency (rupee) to the foreign currency (say, USD). The latter will depend on the place where you are shopping from (merchant’s place of operation).

While paying in rupees, the currency conversion rate is generally higher as compared to when paying in USD.

Along with the conversion charges, the payment facilitator (usually Visa or Mastercard) also charges a fee for conversion, which is around 1-2% of the conversion amount.

2. Transaction charge

In addition to the foreign currency conversion fee, banks also charge a flat 2.5-3.5% of the transaction value for processing. In other words, it is the charge for giving you the service of cashless shopping overseas. It is charged regardless of the currency and exchange rate. 

Therefore, you cannot skip this charge. But since such charges are disclosed in the terms and conditions of the bank that issued your card, you can choose a bank that charges less by way of transaction fee than other banks. 

3. Cash withdrawal fee

Withdrawing cash can be very expensive while touring in a foreign country. Banks charge nearly 1-4% of the transaction amount as a cash withdrawal fee, which is huge! It can either be a percentage of the transaction value or a flat amount per transaction.

So if you withdraw cash, you are not only levied the currency conversion charge but cash withdrawal charges as well, which can together amount to a good 7-8%.

Therefore, withdrawing cash outside your home country is a strict no-no.

4. Goods and Service Tax

The government charges 18% as GST on the banking services availed by you, which is calculated on the fees charged by the banks. This is, therefore, an additional tax you bear over and above the aforementioned charges.

5. Annual maintenance fee 

Almost all cards come with an annual maintenance fee. It may be that in some banks it is waived for a year or so but after that even if you are not using it, the annual maintenance fee has to be paid. The applicable fee could range between Rs 1500-3000 in a year. 

6. Penalty for exceeding card limit 

If you cross your credit card limit even by one rupee, your bank will charge you a minimum overlimit fee of Rs 500 or 2.5% of the overlimit amount, whichever is higher. 

7. Late payment fee 

If you fail to make timely payment of your credit card dues, it may cost you dearly. If you fail to pay the minimum amount due and delay your payment by more than 90 days, a late fee will be charged by the bank. For amounts between Rs 500 and Rs 20,000 this fee will be in the range of Rs 100-600, while for amounts over Rs 20,000 it will be in the range of Rs 700-800. 

Debit card charges


Foreign transaction fee

Cash withdrawal fee


Varies from country to country

Varies from country to country

Axis Bank 

3.50%+ ST

2.50-3.50% + taxes


3.50%+ ST

Rs 125 + taxes



Rs 125 + taxes


3.50%+ ST

Rs 120 + taxes


2.5-3.5% + ST

2.5-3.50% + taxes

Standard Chartered 

Rs 140+0.07% to Rs 770+0.014%

Rs 140 + taxes

Kotak Mahindra 

3.50% + ST

Rs 150

Credit card charges


Foreign transaction fee

Cash advance fee



3% or Rs 300, whichever Is higher

Axis Bank 


2.50% of the total amount



2.5% (min Rs 300)



2.5% (min Rs 300)



2.5% (min Rs 300)



2.5% (min USD 7.5)

Standard Chartered 


3% (min Rs 300)

Kotak Mahindra 


Rs 300

American Express


2.99%of the total amount

Even if the tax adds to your overall cost, there’s actually nothing you can do about it.

After looking at all the costs that add to your online purchases, the obvious conclusion is to pay in the currency of the foreign country where the merchant belongs, whether it’s online shopping or shopping while touring. Secondly, choose a bank that offers the lowest transaction cost. Thirdly, never withdraw cash in a foreign country; instead, carry adequate cash while travelling abroad.

Following these tips should help you become a smart buyer while doing international transactions. Shop with confidence!

Karan Batra is a Chartered Accountant specialising in Income Tax and GST. He is the founder and CEO of which is one of India's largest content platforms for Tax related resources. He is also a visiting faculty at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and has also authored 2 books on Capital Gains Tax and Presumptive Tax. 

His articles and opinions are regularly published in print media like The Financial Express, The Hindu Business Line etc and also in TV Media like NDTV."

Disclaimer: This article is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as investment or insurance or tax or legal advice. You should separately obtain independent advice when making decisions in these areas.

Investment options that are popular among retirees

Have a look at these investment options that have been modeled for retired people keeping in mind high returns and less risk

Investment options that are popular among retirees

Post the age of 60, most people lose an active source of income, unless they are freelancing or providing consultancy services. As a retiree, it is important for one to build an investment portfolio that ensures a steady source of income with minimal risk to the capital invested.

The government has introduced a few investment options that offer tax benefits for senior citizens. Private financial institutes too have products that benefit the elderly. As a senior citizen, here are six options you could consider for your investment mix:

1) Senior Citizens’ Saving Scheme (SCSS)

Specifically for those above the age of 60, this government-sponsored savings scheme offers a simple and safe long-term saving method. An SCSS can be opened at any authorised bank or post office in India and one can invest any amount up to a maximum of Rs. 15 lakh in multiples of Rs. 1000.

The tenure of the investment is five years, and upon maturity can be subsequently extended for another three years. Premature withdrawals are allowed after a year of investment, albeit with withdrawal charges.

The current yield on SCSS deposits is 8.3%, which is higher than returns from other debt instruments. Besides, the returns are eligible for tax benefits under Section 80C.

Related: Tax benefits after retirement

2) Post Office Monthly Income Scheme (MIS)

Established under the purview of the Finance Ministry, this is a good option for retirees who have a lump sum amount to invest and are looking for a stable, regular source of income.

One can start with a sum of Rs. 1500, going up to Rs. 4.5 lakh individually or Rs. 9 lakh jointly with up to two other joint account holders. The tenure of the investment is five years. On maturity, you can withdraw the capital or reinvest it for another five years.

Currently offering a monthly payout at 7.7%, MIS beats returns offered by fixed deposits. However, it doesn’t offer any tax benefits.

Related: 5 ways to start investments even if you don’t have money right now

3) Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)

To protect the income of senior citizens from fluctuating market conditions, the Government of India has introduced PMVVY through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) as a limited period offering.

The scheme provides an assured pension at a rate of 8% per annum for 10 years. Subscription to the scheme was originally supposed to close in May 2018, with a maximum investment cap of Rs. 7.5 lakh per person. However, the upper limit has been bumped up to Rs. 15 lakh and senior citizens now have the option of investing until March 31, 2020.

The policy can be prematurely surrendered only under exceptional circumstances, such as a medical emergency. Loan on the policy can be availed of up to 75% of the investment, and deposits under the scheme are exempt from income tax under section 80C.

Related: 7 Government schemes to aid economic development and financial stability that you can benefit from

4) National Pension Scheme (NPS)

Another government-sponsored pension scheme, NPS allows subscribers to make regular contributions, starting with a minimum of Rs. 6000 per year, to a pension account during their working life. On retirement, subscribers can withdraw a partial amount in a lump sum and use the balance funds to buy an annuity to secure a regular post-retirement income.

NPS is a hybrid investment with an 80:20 debt-to-equity ratio. Presently, one can choose from eight different registered pension fund managers.

Thanks to the equity component, the yield on NPS is a little more attractive, with the interest being anywhere between 10% and 14%.

Related: As an NPS subscriber, you may now be able to invest more in equities. What does this mean?

5) Fixed Deposits (FD) / National Savings Certificates (NSC) / Tax Free Bonds (TFB)

All the three options mentioned here are fixed income instruments. While banks, post offices, and other financial institutions offer term deposits, NSCs and TFBs are offered via government schemes or state-owned corporations.

Usually the go-to investment option for most Indians, these debt instruments lack liquidity. The yield on fixed income securities keep changing depending on economic fluctuations. 

One can invest in an FD for varying periods from 7 days to 10 years. NSCs are available via the post office for terms of 5 and 10 years. TFBs have a longer gestation period with a lock-in of 10, 15, or 20 years. It is important to factor the lock-in period before taking a call.

Most banks offer an additional interest of 0.25% to 0.50% per annum to senior citizens, which puts the current yields on most FDs between 6.5% and 7.75%. This is marginally lower than an NSC, which offers about 8.1%. Comparably, long-term TFBs yield between 8.1% and 8.4% per annum.

Related: FAQs about Fixed Deposits

6) Mutual Funds (MF) 

Most fixed income options just barely beat the inflation rate; hence it’s important to consider some equity allocation as well. MFs deliver higher inflation-adjusted returns than other assets. 

Investing in funds that have a higher debt-to-equity ratio will generate stable returns. Those with a higher risk appetite can consider balanced or large-cap funds. Unlike the other investment options, MF investors cannot remain completely passive; some monitoring of funds will be necessary.

Mutual funds too offer some systematic withdrawal plans and debt funds for those who are averse to equity allocation. Debt funds provide a greater flexibility for redemption and are taxable at 20% vis-à-vis term deposits that are taxable at 20% or 30% depending on the individual’s tax slab.

Investment options that are popular among retirees

Related: Types of mutual funds and how to start investing in them.


Investment planning for post-retirement income has to be strategically managed to maintain a preferred lifestyle, generate a regular stream of cash, and allow enough leeway for other planned or unplanned expenses such as holidays, medical emergencies, etc. 

An ideal portfolio requires a mix of fixed income and market-linked investments. The ratio would depend on your personal goals and risk appetite.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as investment or insurance or tax or legal advice. You should separately obtain independent advice when making decisions in these areas.

“Everything came to a standstill when I conquered Mount Everest”

Behind every successful life, women are equal partners", believes Muri Linggi, the third woman to conquer Mount Everest.

“Everything came to a standstill when I conquered Mount Everest”

Muri Linggi is the third woman from Arunachal Pradesh to conquer Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. In this interview, the 40-year-old, who’s a proud mother of four little girls, talks about growing up in a gender-equal society, the importance of kinship, and how it played a pivotal role in her achieving her dreams.


You’re a government employee who decided to climb Mount Everest – how did people react?

Born and raised in a free and equal society where there are no gender differences, I was determined to do something different and unusual for a woman. When I decided to climb Mount Everest, I experienced mixed reactions. In our culture, we have a society of kinship that goes back 15-16 generations. This kinship is very important to us. They were all scared and emotional about my decision. At the same time, they believed in me and prayed for my success. There were a few others outside my kin who thought I was strange to want to do this. They looked at me as if I was an alien!

Did you have any second thoughts about the expedition?

I was emotionally moved by the tears of my family and friends, but it did not discourage me or give me second thoughts. Rather, their undying support inspired me. I was even more determined to finish what I had started, as it involved the pride and honour of my loved ones as well. 

How did you feel when you reached the top?

Conquering Mount Everest is a moment I will cherish for a lifetime. I felt I was standing in front of heaven’s gate. Tears rolled down my face and everything came to standstill. I wished it could last forever. 

You became the face of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’. How do you feel about it?

I’m blessed to be born in a free society where girls are equally allowed to compete if they have the talent, the potential, and the guts to chase their dreams. Being a proud mother of four little angels, I wish all parents in Indian society allow their girl children to live their dreams without any Lakshman rekha (boundary line) drawn for them.

As a woman, what are the challenges you have faced in your professional life?

There have been instances where people have put me down or tried to embarrass me just because I am a woman. But I think the trick lies in handling such situations and not giving anyone the power to make you feel inferior. These experiences only drove me to succeed.

What is the kind of world you want to see your daughters grow up in?

In today’s materialistic world, nothing is predictable. But I know my angels will live a far better life than I did. I want them to be known for their qualities and talent, not just as daughters of an Everester.

After conquering Everest, what is your next quest? 

I believe life is uncertain and every moment is a new challenge. I want to fly. So I am looking at paragliding as my next pursuit. I also want to climb Mount Everest again.

What advice would you give to professional women who want to pursue their passion?

Gone are the days when we would hear lines such as, ‘Behind every successful man, there’s a woman’. I believe, ‘Behind every successful life, woman are equal partners’ and they walk together with you. Everything seems impossible till we try it. So, dear beautiful women and girls, if you have the zeal the sky is just another milestone to be conquered.

Love food? Here's how to turn your hobby into a career

Let us understand this delightfully dynamic profession – food blogging – in a little more detail.

Love food Here's how to turn your hobby into a career

Do you have the deepest love for cooking? Do you treasure the appreciation you get for your recipes? While some of us spend a lot of money buying exotic ingredients and cooking exquisite meals for family and friends, others are making a handsome living out of it. 

Food blogging is essentially about documenting what you cook, showcasing it to the world – preferably through an online platform – and working on popularising the same. In the olden days, expert cooks gained popularity through food columns in newspapers or through the cookbooks they wrote. 

The new-age food blogger, on the other hand, takes advantage of the booming social media to gain visibility and popularity among potential consumers. Let us understand this delightfully dynamic profession in a little more detail.

Related: 5 Proven ways to make money online 

Turning a hobby into a career

It is true that if you do what you love and love what you do for a living, you don’t have to ever work in your lifetime. Consider cooking, for instance. The approach to cooking varies from person to person. Many need to cook every day and it is somewhat expected that they are bored by, or even despise, the thought of having to cook the next meal. 

But there are also some of us who think about cooking all the time – how to improvise a dish, what new ingredients to use, what new cuisine to try etc. Provided you have a natural skill for cooking, you can and should give a thought to taking up food blogging as a career. 

Of course, you must have a long-term vision and drive to make a revenue-generating enterprise out of blogging, in addition to sincerity and patience. If you spend a lot of time following recipes and cuisines, flavours and textures, and all things culinary, food blogging will allow you to enjoy and earn while doing what you love!

Related: Turning her passion into a successful career: How YouTuber - Nisha Madhulika – found her calling in her 50s 

Making money from scratch

While successful food blogging can be a very rewarding occupation, you should be sure in your conviction and approach. You should be ready to treat blogging as a profession, have a vision of its look and feel, promotion plans etc. and should be ready to devote time to it. 

Cooking skill, creativity, sincerity, and marketing skill – all these are required if you wish to become a successful food blogger. Once you are sure you have these in place, the basic steps to start and maintain a food blog are as follows:

Deciding on a type – In this era of specialisation, you will be able to attract more followers if you are able to show proficiency in a particular kind of cooking. It could be expertise in a particular cuisine, say Italian or Chinese, or it could be mastery over a particular section of food, such as salads, desserts, barbecue etc. 

Deciding on a name – It is a one-time activity but is very crucial. A name once selected will stay with you, so you should put a lot of thought into it. It should be able to generate curiosity and interest in the mind of someone who finds it on the internet.

Building the blog – Once the name is decided, you can buy the domain name and select the web hosting facilities as well as the content management platform. WordPress is a popular and convenient choice for content management, so choose a web host that offers easy WordPress install. Many web hosts also provide the domain name along with the hosting facility. 

You will also have to install plugins for comment spam filtering, content sharing, caching etc. Check out food-specific plugins such as EasyRecipe. You should also work on good and relevant themes, photos, and videos for the blog.

Populating content – Once your blog infrastructure is in place, it’s time for you to develop content and upload the same on your blog. You should make sure that the published blog looks good and is supported with quality photographs. You should also keep sharing new posts to ensure that your followers have something new to read each week.

Promoting your blog – You have to bring your marketing skills to the fore and use creativity and resourcefulness to drive your food blog ahead of the competition. It’s good to use social media share buttons and Pinterest Rich Pins, but you should also have a detailed social media strategy and should be both consistent as well as interesting in your promotions. For example, you may put out attention-grabbing teasers about your next recipe, but you must also maintain consistency in the photo watermark, use of logo, tonality of content etc.

Monetising your blog – All the above steps will take your personal pastime from your kitchen to a global audience. Once you have a good following you have to think of ways to monetise the blog. This could be through advertisements, affiliate programmes, sponsorships, or other techniques. These steps are discussed in further detail below:

Related: 6 Actionable money tips from those who became millionaires

How to monetise your food blog

To monetise a food blog, it is imperative that your blog enjoys a decent footfall and has a large number of followers. This ensures that you have a good reach and can act as a good broadcasting platform for advertisements, brand affiliations, and sponsors. 

Here are some popular ways to monetise a food blog – or any blog for that matter:

Advertisements – once your blog starts to entertain a steady stream of visitors, people and organisations will approach you for advertising spaces in your web pages. You will, of course, be paid for it. With increasing traffic in your blog, you will be able to attract bigger corporates with larger advertising budgets. As a food blogger, you can sign up with Google AdSense or other display ad networks and start earning through the ads they place on your webpage. You can even bypass them and deal directly with advertisers.

Affiliate programmes – You can start recommending products on your blog and influence your visitors into buying them. For example, visitors may be able to buy a particular brand of olive oil by following a link on your blog page. Bloggers generally sign up for affiliate networks such as ShareASale, Commission Junction, Clickbank etc. or approach companies through their websites. 

Sponsorships – Once you gather a significant number of followers, you may be approached by companies to write about them in exchange for money. For example, you could accept a cutlery brand as your sponsor and promote their products. Sites such as Tapinfluence can help you find sponsors for your page.

You can also earn money by selling digital products (such as e-books on cooking), online cookery classes, introducing subscriptions to your blog, etc. Of course, you have to apply your marketing and finance skills before you can use any or some of these monetising techniques.

Related: Guide to manage your Income as a Freelancer 

Prominent Indian food bloggers with revenue insights

The food blogging scene in India has picked up in the last few years and people are getting richer and more famous due to their cyber stardom. 

Love food? A food blogging career might be right up your alley

If you often find yourself cooking up a storm in your kitchen, you could consider making a profitable career out of your passion. You simply need to present and promote your culinary creations to gain popularity in cyberspace. With increasing patronage, your revenue will also increase – if you cash in on your popularity smartly and intelligently. Food blogging is, therefore, a good way of mixing business with gastronomical pleasures.

Own a credit card? Know these insurance benefits available to you

Have a look at some of the most common insurance benefits that can be availed with credit cards

Own a credit card Know these insurance benefits available to you

Did you know that credit cards come with insurance benefits? Most credit cards offer insurance for lost baggage, delayed trips, purchase protection, and more. Credit card insurance policies cover a lot that users aren’t aware of. If you own a credit card, do check out the insurance benefits open to you. At the same time, be sure to check for any inclusions and exclusions. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common insurance benefits offered to credit card holders:

Baggage delay insurance

This can be used in cases when your baggage gets delayed (in most cases, by six hours or more) and you have to purchase essential items. If there is a delay in baggage claim, talk to an airline representative and get a written confirmation of the baggage delay. You will need this for claiming the insured amount from your credit card company.

Terms and Conditions you should know:

  • Baggage delay, in most cases, is insured per person and has a maximum limit.
  • You should also check the delay time period after which your insurance will cover you, this is usually 24 hours, but may differ.

Zero-liability policy

More than an insurance policy, this is a benefit that credit card holders should avail of. If your credit card gets stolen, you should immediately report it to the bank and other concerned authorities. You will have no liability on any of these charges.

Terms and Conditions you should know:

In most cases, the only condition for this policy to benefit you is that you report the loss as soon as you realise it is missing. Only after you file a report, will the zero-liability policy kick in. 

Lost baggage insurance

This insurance covers you in case your baggage or any of its contents have been stolen, or if the bag is lost. While this is usually applicable only to checked-in baggage, some companies may even cover your carry-on or hand baggage. In case of theft or lost baggage, most credit card companies will reimburse you for the bag, as well as its contents.  

Exclusions or Terms and Conditions you should know:

  • Check which items are excluded from the plan
  • Some companies do not cover any cash that was lost with your baggage, check with your insurer
  • Check the limit up to which your personal belongings will be insured

Related: Taking a loan against your credit card? Here are some things you must know      

Flight cancelled/delayed insurance

If your flight gets cancelled due to bad weather, terror attacks, or any other reason covered by your credit card company, you are eligible for a reimbursement. Be sure to check the covered reasons before claiming the insurance. Some companies even offer some reimbursement in case your flight gets delayed. This insurance will be applicable to cardholders only if they have made bookings from their credit cards.

Related: How to come out of credit card debt? 

Exclusions or Terms and Conditions you should know:

  • You have to provide documents supporting your cancellation reason and any other expenses incurred
  • In case you're cancelling because you're ill, you will need proof in the form of advice given to you by a qualified doctor
  • Most companies expect you to bear a delay of at least 24 hours from the originally scheduled arrival time

Read other terms and conditions carefully before you decide to cancel a trip

Medical insurance while travelling

This insurance policy covers you if you get sick or are involved in an accident while on a trip. In the case of an accident, you will be taken to the nearest hospital. The cost of transportation, hospitalisation, and any other necessary medical assistance will be covered by your credit card. Keep in mind, in most cases, you will have to pay the bill first and you will be reimbursed by your insurer later. It is wise to check with your credit card companies about such conditions.

Exclusions or Terms and Conditions you should know:

  • Any injury you get while participating in adventure sports is not covered.
  • Every policy will have a maximum amount up to which they can cover you
  • If you're travelling to another country, you should check if the insurance is applicable there

Purchase protection

Did you know all the items you buy using your credit card may be insured with purchase protection? Also known as damage protection, this plan insures items against theft or accidental damage. Different credit card companies have different coverage amounts. The duration for which your purchased goods are protected will also vary from company to company. On the purchase of certain goods, some credit card companies offer an extended warranty at a nominal or no cost. In this case, too, it is a good practice to browse through the exclusions, if any. 

Exclusions or Terms and Conditions you should know:

  • For every item, you will be insured only for the amount charged to your credit card
  • In most cases, additional charges related to shipping and delivery are not covered
  • Coverage duration will differ from company to company
  • You usually need to raise a claim within 1 month from the date your item was stolen or damaged

Related: Things to consider before picking up a credit card 

Credit insurance

In case of accidental death of the primary credit card holder, a waiver of up to Rs 50,000 is provided on any outstanding bills. The waiver amount will vary from company to company and you must read the fine print to determine what waiver amount your credit card company is offering. 

Own a credit card? Know these insurance benefits available to you

Going forward, we hope you inquire about any insurance benefits your credit card company might offer you. If you already own a credit card, it is never too late to have a quick call with a representative from your credit card company. You should always be aware of the benefits so that, in case you ever have to use it, at least you won’t waste time reading and understanding the fine print!

Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana: What you need to know

Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana is claimed to be the world’s biggest government-sponsored healthcare scheme. Here’s a look at its benefits and eligibility criteria.

Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana What you need to know

In his Independence Day address in August this year, PM Modi announced the launch of Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), India’s largest health insurance scheme. Hailed as the biggest government-sponsored healthcare scheme in the world, this will offer an insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh per family and cover almost 50 crore citizens.

In this article we shall discuss in detail the benefits and the eligibility criteria for this health program. But first let’s understand why the need was felt for such a health insurance scheme.

India does not have a comprehensive government health insurance scheme. In the event of sickness or hospitalisation, most citizens end up paying more than three-fourths of their healthcare cost out of their own pockets. Getting proper medical care can be really tough for those living below the poverty line. Ayushman Bharat has been designed to help such families. 

Related: Health Insurance 101 

Who is covered under this insurance scheme?

The mission aims to cover 10 crore families. The Rs 5 lakh cashless family floater insurance scheme covers all members of the household for one year. Members can be added to the insurance with the government’s approval.

There is no cap on family size, age, or gender. All members of eligible families as present in the latest Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) database are automatically covered by this scheme. Existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) beneficiaries and even those who are a part of similar schemes in other states will be included.

What is covered under the scheme?

Families insured under Ayushman Bharat will be covered for up to 1354 medical and surgical packages that have been categorised under 25 separate specialties – which include cardiology, neurosurgery, oncology (chemotherapy for 50 types of cancers), burns, etc. Patients can avail of any one package – either surgical or medical – at one time.

Related: Budget 2018 Proposes major advances in the healthcare sector  

What are the key benefits of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana?

While the biggest benefit is the Rs 5 lakh cashless cover that families enjoy, there are other benefits that make the program appealing to the common man.

  • The scheme covers all pre-existing conditions from the day the policy comes into effect.
  • Insured families can visit a public or empanelled private hospital anywhere in the country and get free treatment.
  • Hospitalisation expenses – including registration, nursing, and boarding charges in a general ward – are all covered by the insurance policy.
  • The scheme also takes care of surgical equipment, consultation fees, and procedure charges, as well as cost of implants, medicines, diagnostic tests, and food for patients during their hospital stay.
  • All follow-up care, including pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses, will be taken care of.
  • The insured family pays no money towards treatment in case of hospitalisation.
  • In the event the insured individual requires multiple surgeries, the highest package rate will be waived for the first treatment; and 50% and 25% of the expense will be provided for the second and third treatment respectively.
  • To receive treatment at any registered hospital, the injured family member must carry the prescribed ID.

Related: Healthcare rates could be 20% lower than CGHS under modicare 

Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana: What you need to know

Related: 6 Simple ways to cut down expenses on doctors and healthcare article

How to check your eligibility online

1) On the landing page of the ‘Am I Eligible’ portal, you must enter an active mobile number (to get an OTP) and then the captcha letters displayed on the screen. Then click on the ‘Generate OTP’ button. You will receive an OTP as a text message at the mobile number entered. Enter this and click on ‘Verify OTP,’ which takes you to a page where you can enter search details.

2) An individual can search whether he/she is an eligible beneficiary for Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana using the following:

Mobile number/Ration card Number: An Additional Data Collection Drive (ADCD) was conducted on 30th April 2018 at all Gram Sabhas across India to capture active mobile numbers and ration card numbers of families in the SECC database. Only if the individual got their mobile number or ration card number captured during this drive will it show up on the portal. If despite doing this no results are displayed, search using the ‘SECC Name’ option.

SECC Name: Individuals can search if they are eligible for Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana using the details as per the SECC database – name, father’s name, gender, state, etc. If no results are displayed even now, contact a nearby Ayushman Mitra.

RSBY URN: Additionally, all active families that are enrolled under RSBY (till 31st March 2018) that do not feature in the targeted groups as per SECC data will be included; they can identify if they are eligible for Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana using their RSBY URN.

3) If the search is successful, the individual has an option to receive a text message with the HHID number/ RSBY URN in future on their phone by clicking the ‘Get SMS’ button and entering the mobile number. Note: This mobile number can be different from the one used in the first step for OTP generation.

Related: Here's how getting healthy today can save you additional costs later 

How to check your eligibility offline

You can also check your eligibility for Ayushman Bharat by calling the helpline number 14555.

Ayushman Bharat is an ambitious project by the Government of India that aims to offer a comprehensive health insurance plan to the economically weaker sections of the society, thereby making healthcare affordable and accessible to the country's economically weaker section.  

Watch out for these alarming indications that you might not retire rich

Here are some indications that you need to watch out for that may hamper your retirement goals

Watch out for these alarming indications that you might not retire rich

Bill Gates is reputed to have once said that being born poor is not a person’s mistake, but dying so definitely is. His contention: whatever the family situation may be when a person is born, it can never stop someone who’s truly motivated from trying to better his or her lot. 

However, if the person dies poor, it would be because the right decisions were not taken, or there was not enough motivation to strive for better. 

Going by this yardstick, how well are you placed? What are the odds that you may not be as financially comfortable as you may like to believe? There are some telltale signs that should worry you – if you’re smart enough to spot them. Let’s take a look.

Related: Can you afford to live upto 100 years? 

Paycheck contentment

Starting at the beginning: are you happy with a steady paycheck? If this is your comfort zone and you are content, it should be a warning bell: it reflects a lack of motivation to realise your true potential. 

If you think your provident fund and bank savings are enough for retired life, think again – there is something called inflation. Use a retirement calculator to see how much you need to save to build the required retirement corpus. If you find it difficult, it is a sign you’re not on your way to wealth.

Related: How is asset allocation linked to retirement planning? 

Month-end nightmare

Do you struggle to make ends meet every month-end? If yes, this could be either a good or a bad sign. If you are short of ready cash around this time because you have invested heavily to meet your retirement fund, you are on the right track. If not, your shortfall could be due to one of these two reasons or both: your take-home pay is inadequate, and/or you spend recklessly. 

What’s the solution? Either look for a job that pays more, or reworks your lifestyle so you can save more. MNYLNCAER India Financial Protection Survey reveals that only a miniscule 18.5% of India’s salaried population can be considered financially secure. Another survey shows that salaried earners save only around 7% of their income. If you belong to this class, you are unlikely to ever become rich.

Related: Retirement planning for pros:  National Pension Scheme 

Loan burden

Do you have too many loans? Many people fall in the ‘EMI trap’, having willy-nilly made credit cards and personal loans their lifeline; this is a sure sign that you will never be rich. Just so you know, getting out of this trap is not easy. Loans should have a purpose – say, to buy a home, educate your children, or meet an unexpected situation such as a medical emergency. 

However, be cautious. Sometimes people buy a second house thinking this would increase their assets and help them save on taxes. But this could be fallacious, as it has been found that tax benefits on housing loans are often overhyped. Also, real estate is a tricky area.

Related: What is the right age to start planning our retirement? 

Minimal investments

You are in serious trouble if you have no financial goals, have not started investing, have no income-generating assets, focus more on saving than on earning to invest, and don’t care to know what a financial asset or what the difference is between saving and investing. If you’re fine all with that, you could end up borrowing when it’s time to get your kids married, or god forbid, to get by when you’re too old to work. 

Related: Is 50 too late for me to start saving for retirement? 

Even India’s central bank observed in a report: “Indian households tend to borrow later in life and are more likely to reach retirement age with positive debt balances, which is a source of risk given that they are no longer earning income during these years.” 

Translation: if you fall in this category, you will never become rich.

Finally, health; if you are in a bad state health-wise, chances are that your savings will go to meet rising costs of healthcare requirements as you get older, when you are more vulnerable to multiple diseases. Thus, good health plays a big role in how financially stable you are in your old age. S. Premkumar Raja, Co-founder of Nightingales Medical Trust, was quoted recently by the Mint newspaper as estimating that 90% of retired employees in India survive on their savings, which get exhausted within a few years of retirement.  

Commonly asked questions regarding gold loan

Thinking of a applying for a gold loan? Read on to know the things you must know before applying for one.

Commonly asked questions regarding gold loan

Pledging gold for money is a common practice in India. People pledge their gold jewellery to pawnshops and financers to, say, arrange funds for starting a new business or to settle urgent medical bills. It is easy to get a loan against gold. Now the process has been institutionalised with banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) offering gold loans. 

Getting a loan against your gold is simple if you are aware of the exact process and some facts. For instance, did you know that a gold loan is the easiest and the fastest way to secure money for short-term credit? However, it is not advisable to go for a big loan against your gold since the interest rates can be pretty hefty, which could mean the interest you pay can be double the value of your gold!

Related: 5 Mistakes to avoid while applying for a gold loan 

Here are some important FAQs to consider before you think of applying for a gold loan. 

What is a gold loan?

A gold loan is granted to you when you give gold jewellery as collateral to the lender. The amount of loan is usually a percentage amount, up to 75% of the value of the pledged gold. You are required to repay the loan in instalments. Once you repay the loan, plus the interest amount, you will get your gold back. 

Nationalised banks, private banks, and NBFCs offer gold loans at affordable rates. The annual interest rate on your gold loan ranges from 13 to 16%. You can avail of a gold loan to meet a short-term credit requirement such as your child’s education, a medical emergency, a wedding in the family etc. Taking a gold loan is always preferable to selling your jewellery. 

What type of gold can I pledge?

All gold valuables can be pledged for a loan. The purity of the gold will determine the loan value. For instance, coins and gold bars have more value as they come with higher purity. In case of gold jewellery studded with precious stones, only the value of the gold component is considered. 

Suppose you have 20-karat gold jewellery in which 10 grams is pure gold and 4 grams is made up of silver, gems, etc. Then, at the time of evaluating the jewellery for a gold loan, the value of only 10 grams of pure gold will be considered. 

Related: Will India lose interest in Gold? 

How can I avail of a gold loan?

To get a gold loan, you need to take your gold asset(s) to the lender. The purity of the gold is checked and this forms the basis of the loan amount. The market value of the gold is then checked, and the loan sanctioned. As mentioned earlier, this can be up to 75% of the gold value (the maximum value of the loan as per RBI guidelines). 

To put it in other words, your loan amount cannot exceed 75% of the value of your gold. The lender will then deduct the processing fee (usually up to 1 of the total loan amount), following which your loan is disbursed in cash (if it is up to Rs 20,000). 

Related: 3 Gold schemes offered by jewellers and how they work 

Is my gold safe with the lender?

Gold loans are now managed by professional institutions that keep your jewellery safe in a strong vault guarded under 24x7 CCTV cameras. Some lenders even insure the gold pledged to them, protecting it against theft. In case of a robbery, you will still get back an amount equivalent to the gold’s market value.

What documents will I need to submit?

You will need an identity proof (PAN and Aadhaar card copy), one address proof (electricity bill, ration card, passport, or telephone bill) and one signature proof (passport copy, driver’s license etc). Also carry two passport-sized photographs. If you don’t have a PAN card, you can submit Form 60. You may also need to supply proof of income if requested.

Who can apply for a gold loan?

Any person who is 18 years old or above can apply, as long as they have a gold asset to pledge. You could be a salaried professional, a housewife, or self-employed. Farmers too can avail of a gold loan for farm credit, agriculture infrastructure, and ancillary activities.

How long does it take to sanction a gold loan?

The process of applying for a gold loan is very simple and fast. If you have the all the necessary documents in place, you could get your loan on the same day. 

Related: Buying gold? 5 things to check before you buy 

What are the repayment options?

You can repay the gold loan in EMIs. You even have the option to pay the interest amount upfront and repay the principal loan amount at the end of the loan tenure. 

Commonly asked questions regarding gold loan

What is the tenure of repaying the gold loan?

The loan period is usually 3-12 months. The period of repayment cannot exceed two and a half years, and the loan must be repaid within 30 months (or 36 months, depending on the lender). Some lenders offer the option to renew your loan to extend the tenure. 

What happens if I don’t repay my loan on time?

Shorter loan tenure means you should be confident of repaying the loan on time. Failing to do so may cause you to lose your pledged gold. The lender has every right to sell your gold to recover the loan amount. 

What are the fees and other charges involved?

There is a loan processing fee of up to 1% of the loan amount, which the borrower must pay before the loan is executed. Banks charge a processing fee while some other lenders may not.You may also need to pay a valuation charge. Some lenders have in-house valuators, in which case the valuation fee might be waived. This fee is thus specific to the lender. 

Some lenders charge renewal fees based on the loan amount and stamp duty as per the state laws. Also, you may need to pay a late payment penalty depending on the lender. 

In addition, your lender can charge you GST or service tax and a prepayment penalty if you clear the loan before the tenure is over. This charge differs from one lender to another, so it is important to compare costs. Some may not charge a prepayment penalty at all. 

Bank or NBFC – which is better?

There are now specialised NBFCs and banks offering gold loans across cities. As per the RBI notification, both banks and NBFCs now offer a loan-to-value ratio of 75%. A quick comparison will tell you which one to go to for a gold loan:

  • Banks offer gold loan at a lower rate of interest than NBFCs. Interest is even lower for public sector banks. This is so because the cost of funds in banks is lower. 
  • Loan disbursal is faster with NBFCs as compared to banks. An NBFC only needs your KYC document, so the documentation is less cumbersome. 
  • The option of paying interest during the loan tenure and the principal loan amount at the end of the tenure is available only with NBFCs. 
  • NBFCs do not charge a prepayment penalty. 

So, if you need a gold loan at a lower interest rate, a bank should be your first priority. On the other hand, if you need a simple and speedy loan, an NBFC should be your preferred choice. 

Related: What is the difference between E-gold and gold ETFs? 

What are the advantages of taking a gold loan?

Taking a loan against your gold has many benefits:

  • It is fast and easy to process. It does not require you to show any income proof or credit card history; you only need a gold asset to pledge. 
  • The documentation work to process a gold loan is simple; you only need to produce a few documents. 
  • Gold loan is offered at a lower interest rate compared to unsecured loans such as personal loans, which come with an interest rate of 15% onwards. 

A word of caution

Apply for a gold loan only if you are confident of repaying in time. Otherwise, you may lose your asset as the bank or NBFC is entitled to sell your gold to recover the unpaid loan amount. It is therefore recommended that you opt for a gold loan only for short-term credit, and repay it on time so you can get your gold back.

Are you an NRI? Here’s how you can claim a TDS refund

As an NRI, if your tax liability is less than the TDS deducted from your income, you can file an income tax return to claim a refund. Here’s how to go about it.

Are you an NRI Here’s how you can claim a TDS refund

As a responsible citizen, you would no doubt have paid your income tax before the due date. You would also have submitted the necessary documents to your employer to look into your TDS (tax deducted at source). But what if your tax liability is less than the TDS? You need not worry as you can now claim a refund for the excess amount deducted under TDS.

TDS for NRIs

As an NRI, you may have to pay tax based on the type of income you earn in India, such as on your salary income, if your services are rendered in India. However, for other incomes there are different rates according to type. 

Where the total income of an assessee, being an NRI, includes any income from investment or income from LTCG of an asset other than a specified asset.

Section 111A is applicable in case of STCG arising on transfer of equity shares or units of equity oriented mutual funds (*) or units of a business trust, which are transferred on or after 1-10-2004 through a recognized stock exchange and such transaction is liable to securities transaction tax (STT).

Related: NRIs will no longer qualify to invest in Public Provident Fund 

Save on TDS through DTAA

If you are residing in a country that has a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)with India it can help you reduce your tax liability considerably. 

What is DTAA?

DTAA is an agreement signed by two countries – in this case, India and the country you reside in. The DTAA agreement for Indian citizens is arranged in a manner so that taxpayers do not have to pay tax twice for the same income, in the country of residence and source country. India currently has DTAAs with 80 countries worldwide.

How DTAA works

DTAA allows you to reduce your tax implication on the income earned in India. The rate of TDS to be deducted is fixed as per the DTAA on your income earned in India. Moreover, provisions of DTAA override those of the IT Act. 

Related: 8 Incomes you shouldn't miss while filing your IT returns 

Documents required for DTAA

To avail of benefits from the DTAA for your tax concessions, submit the following documents:

  • Tax Residency Certificate (TRC): Obtain the Tax Residency Certificate from the country you are residing in. It is issued when you submit necessary documents and prescribed fees, and contains basic information such as name, status (individual, company, firm etc.), address, nationality, country, tax identification number in the country of residence, tax status, period for which the tax certificate is issued, etc.
  • Self-declaratory cum indemnity form: This form is a declaration by the government of the country you reside in. It contains details such as your account number, country of residence, the period during which the TRC was submitted, tax rate applicable under DTAA, etc.
  • Additionally, you are required to submit attested copies of your passport, visa, and PAN.

Related: Top 6 Most Common Mistakes to avoid when filing IT returns 

The process of claiming your refund is simple; let’s take you through the steps:

Steps to file for an IT refund

1. Collect your documents

Collect all the relevant documents needed to file your return. These include your PAN, passport, and bank details. Form 26AS provides you with necessary details of the TDS deducted during the year. In addition, Form 16 would determine your TDS if you are a salaried individual. You would also need details of income earned from the head ‘Income from other sources’ such as interest income and TDS certificates. 

2. File the IT return

  • Go to the e-filing portal ( and log in with your user ID (your PAN) and password.
  • Download the ITR form applicable to you – either ITR-2 or ITR-3, depending on the nature of the income you are receiving in India. If you have a business income, you will be required to file ITR-3. In case there is no business income, ITR-2 would be applicable.
  • Fill in the basic details and then click on the 'Pre Fill' button.
  • Enter all relevant data and click on 'Calculate' to determine your tax and interest liability.
  • Once you have filled all relevant details click 'Validate' by entering the one-time password (OTP) sent to your registered number.
  • Generate and save the XML file. Save this file on your computer.
  • Revisit the portal and upload the saved XML file. Add your Digital Signature (DSC) to it. (Digital Signature is used to electronically sign documents and forms) 

Related: A dummy's guide to form 26AS 

3. Verify your return

After you have filed your IT return you will be required to verify it. Once you have uploaded the XML file, a form known as ITR-V will be generated. This form is for the purpose of verification, so download it. You can also receive this form on your email address from the IT Department. 

Once you upload the ITR with DSC, your filing is complete. Alternatively, you can print a copy of the form, sign it, and submit the ITR-V within 120 days from the date of e-filing to the Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) at the following address: CPC, Post Bag No 1, Electronic City PO, Bengaluru 560 100, Karnataka.

Once your form has been received by the IT department, your return will be processed.


You need not worry about excess TDS deducted by your employer. You can claim it by filing an IT return. You just need to be aware of the TDS deductions applicable to you, depending on the various incomes you receive. As an NRI, you also have to conform to the tax laws of two countries at once, which may increase your tax liability. 

Fortunately, if you reside in a country with which India has a DTAA, you can reduce your tax liability to an extent. So keep yourself updated about the information mentioned above.