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3 Insurance Lessons From Delhi's Smog

24/11/2016 4:39 PM IST | Updated 24/11/2016 4:53 PM IST
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Air pollution in Delhi is nothing new. But, this year, the pollution level reached five times above the unhealthy limit of the air quality index as set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Delhi was declared "the most polluted city in the world", as published in a CNN report. This was followed by protests outside Parliament, an increase in the sale of pollution masks and a number of emergency measures taken by the government.

Be it a fatal road accident or a terminal disease, a natural calamity or a man-made one, life is more vulnerable than you think it is.

The smog in Delhi's NCR and the people's fight against it teaches us three very important lessons pertaining to insurance.

1. Protect yourself

Delhi, being one of the most populous and highly urbanized cities in India, has a very high level of vehicular and industrial emissions to cope with. Air pollution is an obvious result of this. Hence, it is not easy to avoid pollution just by wearing face masks. Avoiding diesel cars, opting for public transport and staying indoors as much as possible are also necessary to tackle such a high level of air pollution. If you cannot give up the comfort of travelling in your own car for a few days, especially if it is a diesel car, you cannot expect a pollution-free capital ever in your life.

When it is about life insurance, our advice will be somewhat similar. Death is a certainty, it can happen anytime and anywhere. However, even beyond death you can protect your dependent family members by getting life insurance, so that they don't suffer more than necessary if you are not around. If you think that life insurance (read: term insurance) is a waste of money, as it offers no benefit unless you die, you are making a grave mistake. Life insurance plans are not for returns on investment but to provide a financial shield to the dependents of your family. A life cover of ₹1 crore costs about ₹8000 annually. It is better to shun the expectation of return from insurance and opt for a term plan for adequate life coverage and cutting down financial risk in life.

2. Be prepared for uncertainties

From vehicle emissions to the burning of crops and industry fuel—the air pollution is Delhi is fed by a number of sources, many of which are out of our control. The only way to cope with pollution is by changing our attitude. Travelling in public transport, for example, instead of using private cars, especially diesel ones, will have considerable effect on pollution control.

Just as you cannot control all the sources of pollution, you cannot control all the factors that affect your life. Be it a fatal road accident or a terminal disease, a natural calamity or a man-made one, life is more vulnerable than you think it is. So, you must be prepared for the uncertainties of life, have a realistic attitude to deal with crises. A term plan with some additional riders such as critical illness cover or accidental death and disability benefit cover etc. that are relevant to your case is what you should have to protect your family financially from unfortunate events in the future.

3. Pollution is life-threatening — Get your life and health insured

Air pollution is one of the major reasons behind the rise of health-related issues in our country. As estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2012, over 600,000 people in India died of diseases caused by air pollution. India accounts for one-fifth of such deaths worldwide. These facts are disturbing but cannot be ignored.

You never want your family to land in a debt-trap or an unplanned financial crisis after your death.

Life insurance is a real need. You need to have life insurance cover so that your family remains financially protected against health-related issues that are a reality in today's age and lifestyle. After all, why would you want your family to land in a debt-trap or an unplanned financial crisis after your death (that might be caused by pollution-related illnesses such as cancer or congestive heart failure).This calls for a term plan for yourself and health insurance plans for each member of your family.

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