Online Fraud. Stay Alert!

Be Alert! Online Fraud at an Increase

With Covid 19 online trading has seen a spike, and so has cases of fraud due to consumer negligence and ignorance.

With the continuation of Covid-19 lockdown, there is a huge surge in traffic for e-commerce and digital service providers in our day-to-day lives.

Consumption of essential goods and services are in continuous demand and certainly due to Coronavirus the existing status of trade and service provisions has shrunk the sphere and thus, e-commerce and digital service providers have occupied more space.

The reality is that Consumerism will continue and certainly, the traders/service providers will play as an opportunist. This also increases the risk of cybercrime.

If a consumer gets cheated by an unscrupulous trader/service provider, he/she must take shelter of the competent consumer court to safeguard himself and also to seek adequate compensation in lieu of any type of loss, harm, damage, personal injury, illness or death, mental agony or emotional distress caused.

The provisions of the Consumer Protection Act,1986 and Act, 2019 have empowered the competent Consumer Courts to deal with and safeguard the consumers from any kind of negligence, unfair/restrictive trade practice, defects, deficiency, misleading advertisement related to any product or service, spurious goods and services etc. dealt via online trading or digital service providers.

The provisions of the Consumer Protection Act are additional and not in derogation of the provisions of any other law from the time it is being enforced.

Stay safe during these times. For any support in the event of being cheated or being duped by a trader or a firm online, please log on to www.powertoconsumer.in for your complaint.

adulteratedGoods

Spurious and Adulterated Goods – Your Rights as a Consumer

Sometimes we come across adulterated food items causing serious health issues and ailments and even death in some cases. We hardly want to take up the matter against the manufacturers/trader in the Court.

But do you know that as a consumer you are entitled to sue the manufacturer/trader in a Consumer Court seeking compensation for the incurred losses as well take the matter even to the Criminal Court.

In my experience so far, I have been approached by a couple of consumers. The first one had  purchased one of the most popular soft drink which had clearly visible dust particles. Upon further analysis done by the Public Analyst the item was declared as adulterated. The second case, in which the consumer had purchased a bottle of refined oil containing a dead lizard in it and hence was considered unfit for consumption.

This analysis was done on the advise of the Criminal Court and the Consumer Court and I had the opportunity to represent both the cases in these two Courts.

We must be aware about the laws and the next steps to take shelter against such manufacturers/traders besides seeking any Compensation in lieu of incurred losses. As per the law, the faulty manufacturers/traders can be subjected to penalizing/punishment/sentence to imprisonment, life imprisonment or even sentence to death.

We at Power to Consumer  feel it is our responsibility to spread awareness that the Consumers are empowered with the provisions of the Consumer Protection act, 1986 (also known as  COPRA). Under this act, the Consumers can be compensated adequately against their losses/injuries caused due to use of such spurious and adulterated food items. Not only this, the manufacturers/traders can be subjected to heavy punishment by the Criminal Court on the basis Consumer Court’s findings.

It also opens the door to look into the matter whether the Manufacturers/Traders have committed offence under the provision of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 for causing any loss  due to consumption of adulterated food.

The food item is analysed by the Public Analyst to find if its adulterated or not under the jurisdiction u/s 13 (1) (c) of COPRA to send such goods for its Analysis by the Public Analyst. They are vested for the purpose under Section 12 of the Prevention of Food adulteration act, 1954.

Although the Consumer Court of India is responsible for hearing all matters within the scope of Consumer Law, but the analysis and judicial review of the adulteration of ingredients is very well within the jurisdiction of the Consumer Courts.

The consumer can file a complaint under Sec. 12 of COPRA seeking adequate compensation in lieu of incurred loss. The allegations against the manufacturer/trader has to be framed under COPRA. As per the Report of the Public Analyst, one can sue the manufacturer/trader in a competent criminal court demanding punishment for them under provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

Stay Alert this Festive Season

Stay Alert. And be an empowered consumer this festive season!

The “Festive Season” is here. And it is no surprise that every business is trying to cash in on the sentiment by throwing “festive offers” to consumers.

Businesses have long used the dangling carrot of cash discounts, free exchange, reduced prices, freebies, zero interest EMI, attractive interest rates etc. to lure consumers into buying goods or services.

At Power to Consumer, we believe that there is nothing wrong in using such tactics if it is done with a good intention. If consumers don’t buy the economy won’t move forward. But what we resist is not knowing what the deal is and then getting stuck into a bad situation.

The need of the hour is to be an empowered consumer while making any kind of transaction. Read our Top Tips to be an Empowered Consumer to know more.

Festival Offers on Home Purchase

While festive offers have traditionally been restricted to consumer durables, we have noticed a trend of property developers trying to latch onto the festive sentiment. They devise multiple schemes and offers to attract prospective home buyers. Also, due to sluggish sales on account of demonetization and the RERA Act, property developers are using this festive season as a bait to increase their sales.

So, if you are looking to invest your hard earned money in a home of your dreams this is the right time. But we advise being extremely cautious before proceeding ahead. Do a complete due diligence on your part, before you part with your money. Make sure the deal is worth it.

Look for a property that matches your requirement, look at the project’s location, features, amenities, past track record of projects, delivery schedules, and developer’s reputation for delivering quality projects.

Ensure that you do a fair evaluation of the kinds of freebies and offers against the intrinsic values mentioned above. If you find it fair and equal, then entering into an agreement makes sense. Don’t get carried away with short term discounts as it might lead to a long drawn and complicated battles.

Do hire the services of an expert lawyer who can look at the deal from the eyes of law and legal matters and ensure that you don’t get stuck into any kind of bad decision. At Power to Consumer, we have published a number of articles on queries related to builders. Please read through them and then decide on your own if the festive deal in your hand is worth moving forward.

  1. How to File a Complaint Against a Builder
  2. Builders to Compensate for Delay in Property Handover
  3. Importance of Valid Occupancy Certificate
  4. Be an Informed Consumer

Enjoy the festive season and for any consumer related queries, please feel free to approach our Legal Adviser by submitting your complaint or availing the Premium Query support service.

valid occupancy certificate

Getting a Valid Occupancy Certificate is your Right!

Occupancy Certificate or Completion Certificate is your right as a owner of a property. But, over 80% of the property buyers that we have spoken to have not even bothered to verify whether the property that they have bought with so much of aspirations has even a valid OC in place. Most of the home owners follow the market trends, and are more worried about A Khata/B Khata, and do not pay any attention to check the presence of a valid Occupancy Certificate.

You might state that you’re already living inside your house for the last ‘X’ number of years. And that you have a valid Sales Agreement in your name. What could possibly go wrong? To put simply you can be evicted by the local civic authorities any time, or worse the property could be demolished for no fault of yours, but due to the gross impunity of the property developers who has violated the approved construction plan. Their actions might lead to the authorities declaring the property as unauthorized and threatened with demolition.

Even if you might get saved from the horrible scenario of facing eviction/demolition from your own dream home, you cannot sell or hypothecate the property after a lapse of say 10 years without a valid Occupancy certificate.

Does this all mean that you have to stay at the mercy of the property developer? Or do you have a way to get your house’s Occupancy Certificate from the builder? Yes, getting a valid Occupancy Certificate is your right and we at Power to Consumer stand to fight for your right.

According to a judgement issued by the Honourable Supreme Court in the case of Faqir Chand Gulati vs Uppal Agencies Pvt. Ltd & Anr on July 10th 2008, “Even if such a provision for providing completion certificate is not found in the agreement, the builder cannot escape the liability for securing the Completion Certificate and providing a copy to the owner. The law requires the builder to obtain completion certificate of such a building.”

Some of the excerpts from the judgement includes:

1. A prayer for Completion Certificate and C&D forms cannot be brushed aside by the builder stating that he has already applied for the Certificate and the C&D forms. If it’s not issued, the builder owes a duty to make necessary application and obtain it. If it’s withheld he may approach the appropriate court to secure it. If it’s justifiably withheld the builder will have to do whatever is required to be done to bring the property in agreement with the sanctioned plan. Local municipal authorities have to inspect and issue the completion certificate. If the builder fails to do so, he will liable to compensate the complainant for all loss/damage. The builder cannot discharge himself by stating that he has applied for a Completion Certificate.

2. The builder is bound to provide amenities and facilities like water, electricity and drainage in accordance with the agreement. If the Completion Certificate is not being issued by the Corporation because the builder has made deviations in construction, it’s the builder’s duty to rectify those deviations or bring it within the permissible limits and secure a Completion Certificate and the C&D forms from MCD. A builder cannot contend that he is not bound to produce the Completion Certificate, and that he is only bound to apply for the certificate. Also, he cannot say that he is not concerned whether the building is in accordance with the sanctioned plan or not and if it fulfills the requirements of the municipal bye laws or not.

At Power to Consumer, we believe it is your right to get a valid Occupancy Certificate for the property you have purchased from the developer. If you are a victim of harassment through builder, please feel free to approach us.

cheated by insurance provider

Cheated by the Insurance Provider? Fight for your right!

There is a fundamental conflict of interest between the company and the customer. No wonder Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) is one of the richest organizations in India. “It should realize that it “survives and thrives” on consumer and “propensity to become unjustly rich by rejecting their claims” is highly depriciable,” the Delhi State Consumer Commission said.

This is a big scam to cheat the customers but regulators don’t have the will or political clout to stop them.

The root cause of the problem is — archaic laws which allow thousands of insurance claims to be unfairly rejected by insurance companies year after year. One of the reasons for routine rejection of motor, travel, household and health claims is an anomaly in the law, which puts the “duty of disclosure” on the policyholder. Accordingly a policyholder is expected to disclose not only things he or she has been asked for, such as medical conditions, but also things that they haven’t which could later turn out to be significant. This is the origin of dispute as an insurance company can legitimately reject a claim it was not informed by the insurer.

Both non-disclosure and misrepresentation are like weapons of offense in the law for the insurance companies to use against the consumers. For instance much to Rita Bhat’s dismay her critical illness insurance claim rejected. She had just been diagnosed ovarian cancer and needed the money but the insurance company rejected the claim because of a technical flaw in her initial application form. The insurance company kept insisting that it was a pre-existing disease.

What was particularly shocking was the inhuman manner in which Rita was treated by the insurance company which branded her a liar and on top of that referred to the disease as breast cancer instead of ovarian cancer. This is a fact insurance almost all companies have doctors on their panel whose job is not to facilitate the treatment but to create confusion to avoid paying the claim.

In yet another case – when a relatively junior doctor on the payroll of ICICI Lombard challenged the diagnosis of a senior Consultant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, the husband of the lady even offered to forego the claim if the doctor who claimed to know more could come and treat his wife. But the doctor refused.

The basic flaw in the insurance system is that many of the provisions the Insurance Act, 1938 are faulty but due to lack of political consensus amendments in the Insurance act could not be marshaled in the parliament. Some of the basic lacunas in the Insurance Act, 1938 are:

The Insurance Act, 1938 is a redundant legislation of the colonial era that requires deletion.

  1. The IRDA Act, 1999 has inserted some provisions in the Insurance Act, 1938 without deleting the old provisions. This is giving rise to anomalies, for example, definition of the term ‘insurance company’.
  2. References in Insurance Act 1938 have to be replaced by corresponding new legislations e.g., Indian Companies Act, 1913 has to be replaced by Companies Act, 1956.
  3. Reclassification of insurance businesses is necessary. Insurance business may broadly be classified as ‘life’ and ‘non-life’ business. Even definitions of ‘insurance’ and ‘insurer’ have to be amended.
  4. The IRDA Act needs to be merged in the Insurance Act, 1938.
  5. There must be a provision of appeal against the decisions of the IRDA to an independent body constituted under the Act itself.
  6. There should be a full-fledged grievance redressal mechanism.
  7. Specific statutory enumerations are required for protecting the interest of policyholders so that unintended minor mistakes in disclosure do not lead to a loss of coverage.
  8. Provisions regarding investments, loans and management need review and revision. The term “approved securities” is required to be revised in the context of new economic policy and business practices.

According to legal pundits the insurance contract suffers from procedural or substantive unfairness. The term substantive unfairness means it is one-sided, harsh, oppressive and unfair. By virtue of this contact the insurance Companies have excluded liability for negligence, breach of contract and given themselves the power to vary the terms of the contract unilaterally- which is unfair. The insurance contract also violates the provisions of the Indian Contract Act, 1862 which has several provisions against undue influence, coercion, fraud, mistake, misrepresentation etc. These are ‘procedural’ provisions already contained in the Act.

How to File a Complaint in the Consumer Court

So you have decided to take the unscrupulous trader/company to the consumer court, and are looking at legal support in how to file a complaint in the consumer forum? [su_highlight background=”#fb5539″]Congratulations! you have taken one bold step towards exercising your rights as a consumer. [/su_highlight]To understand the next steps, please read through the content below.

You can also download an easy to understand and shareable PDF version of the process. If you would like to have a professional consumer rights adviser assist you in the process, get in touch with us now by clicking here.

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When does one approach a consumer court?

A Consumer Court is a forum for any consumer to approach and file a petition against a company or an individual. The grievance can be in the event of deficiency in providing promised services or selling defective goods knowingly.

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[su_spoiler title=”Preparing a Complaint Petition” icon=”arrow” style=”fancy”]

The first step involved in filing a case in the Consumer Court is preparing a complaint petition. The petition carries all the details of your case. Though you can present your petition on a plain paper, there is a suggested format which can be used to emphasise your case in a precise manner. Below is a checklist outlining the finer aspects of preparing a complaint petition:

  • Your complaint against the defaulting trader/service provider has to be filed within two years of the cause of action
  • The complaint has to be definite and precise. You can’t include generalised statement(s)
  • Keep all facts, proofs, documents, receipts, cards etc. related to your complaint in proper order. You will be required to submit them at the time of hearing of the case
  • Once the Complaint Petition is ready, you will have to make 3 copies of the same along with photocopies of all the relevant proofs, supplemented with an affidavit
  • Copies of the Complaint Petition and the proofs will also have to be served upon all the parties involved, besides the three copies being filed
  • Above all, you will have to ensure that your case falls within the jurisdiction of a particular District Forum/State Commission by checking if the opposite party resides or carried on business or has a branch office within the limits of the jurisdiction

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[su_spoiler title=”Choosing a Consumer Court” icon=”arrow” style=”fancy” ]

There are three distinct levels of Consumer Courts that have been set-up to help you file your case

  • The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum – This is the most elementary form of Consumer Court, and is present in every district of India. The District Forum can only accept consumer complaints/cases in disputes that involved a consideration value of up to Rs. 20 Lakhs. A decision of the District Forum can be questioned before Honourable State Commission by way of an Appeal
  • The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission – These Commissions are set-up at the state level in their respective capital. The State Commission can accept complaints/cases in disputes ranging above Rs. 20 Lakhs to Rs.1 Crore. A decision of the State Commission can be questioned in the Honourable National Commission by way of an Appeal
  • The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission – The National Commission is the third level of Consumer Court. Set in New Delhi,the National Commission accepts cases in disputes ranging beyond Rs. 1 Crore. The decision of the National Commission can be questioned in the Honourable Supreme Court of India by way of an Appeal

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[su_spoiler title=”Depositing the Statutory Fees” icon=”arrow” style=”fancy” ] Each of the three courts have designated fees, also known as ‘Statutory Deposits‘. This fee can be paid by way drawing postal orders/demand draft/fixed deposit receipts, and is based on the amount of compensation one wishes to claim.

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Provisions have been made in the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 to file Appeal/Revisions to higher level Commission(s) and to the Honourable Supreme Court of India, if one is not satisfied with the verdicts of the respective Court(s) below:

State Commission
An Appeal can be filed as against the final order passed by District Forums before State Commission of the respective state. The appellant will have to make a Statutory Deposit at the rate of 50% of the awarded amount, or Rs.25000/- whichever is less. Any interlocutory order (an order being passed by any District Forum during continuation of any consumer case which seems to be irregular or being passed in excessive and/or beyond exercise of jurisdiction) can be questioned before the Honourable State Commission by way of preferring revision as against same.

National Commission
An Appeal / Revision can be filed as against the final order passed by State Commission before National Commission. The appellant will have to make a statutory deposit at the rate of 50% of the awarded amount, or Rs.35000/- whichever is less. Any interlocutory order (an order being passed by any State Commission during continuation of any consumer case which seems to be irregular or being passed in excessive and/or beyond exercise of jurisdiction) can be questioned before the Honourable National Commission by way of preferring revision as against same.

Supreme Court
An Appeal / Revision can be filed as against the final order passed by National Commission in the Honourable Supreme Court of India. Any interlocutory order (an order being passed by any National Commission during continuation of any consumer case which seems to be irregular or being passed in excessive and/or beyond exercise of jurisdiction) can be questioned before the Honourable Supreme Court of India by way of preferring revision as against same.

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[su_spoiler title=”Process Summary” icon=”arrow” style=”fancy” ]

  • Make sure you have a definite and precise complaint against the defaulter. Take the support of our Legal Adviser to draft your complaint
  • Ensure your case falls within the jurisdiction of a particular District/State Commission
  • Make a list of all the mentioned proofs, invoices, bills, documents etc., to support your complaint
  • Submit printed copies of the Complaint Document along with copies of all the proofs to all the involved parties
  • Prepare a Postal Order/Demand Draft/Fixed Deposit Receipt as applicable

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If you feel you are ready to file a complaint in the consumer court, and would like to have a professional consumer rights adviser assist you in the process, get in touch with us now by clicking here

Zero Fir in Rail Theft Cases – Your Right!

Zero FIR in Rail Thefts

Recently, we carried an article which was aimed at creating awareness about theft during rail journey. The post covered the process of filing a FIR in case of a railway theft. According to Indian Railways website, passengers can now file a complaint in the running train itself without breaking their journey. Forms to lodge FIR/Complaint are now available with Coach Attendants, Conductors, Guards, RPF Train Escorts.

The issue of lodging an FIR lies mainly with the jurisdiction in which the theft had taken place. We have come across cases where the Railway Police is generally reluctant to file an FIR if the incident has happened outside their jurisdiction.Premium Legal Support

But, it is now pleasant to note that the issue of said jurisdiction has been resolved by a decision taken at a high-level meeting chaired by the Joint Commissioner of Police, New Delhi Mr. Mukesh Meena and attended by Inspector Generals of neighbouring states.

As per the aforesaid decision, passengers can lodge a ‘zero FIR’ in any railway station and seek swift action. The concerned police station where the FIR is lodged will fax a copy immediately to the police station under whose jurisdiction the incident has taken place.’

[su_highlight background=”#fc908b”]What is Zero FIR?[/su_highlight]

According to indiacivic.com, “FIR can now be filed at any police station – even if you are far off from the place of incident and you may/ may not be sure of the correct jurisdiction. There are provisions to do so and the same can be transferred to the appropriate police station limits when these are available. Such an FIR is called the Zero FIR!”

Power to Consumer believes that ‘Zero FIR in cases of Railway Travel’ is a great step in the direction of making train travel safe and hassle free for the millions of passengers who journey frequently. So the next time when you are travelling, and if you or someone around you is an unfortunate victim of rail theft, we hope that you will be able to use this piece of information to claim your right as a consumer.

Popular Posts of 2014 from Power to Consumer Blog

popular blog posts of 2014At Power to Consumer, we had an eventful 2014. Consumers across various states approached our award winning Consumer Rights Advocate with their consumer issues for timely and accurate legal guidance.

In service of such readers and general consumers, we present a summary of the most popular blog posts of 2014. We are sure that our blog updates will make more people aware of important topics, ones that affect their lives, directly or indirectly. If you need more such helpful information on consumer rights and awareness delivered to your inbox regularly, consider subscribing by using the form below.

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Expiry Date of CylinderDo you know your LPG Cylinder’s expiry date? Each LPG cylinder has an expiry date determining its safety in use. Know more… Gas Cylinder Insurance PolicyAre you aware of your LPG insurance policy? Every consumer is indemnified against loss of any kind due to a cylinder blast at his/her premises. Know more…
gas cylinderWhat needs to be done in a LPG blast incident?In the eventuality of a LPG cylinder blast, what do you need to do? Know more… Railway Theft and Legal CompensationVictim of theft in a train journey? Theft of personal belongings while travelling is liable for compensation by the railways. Know more…

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[su_highlight background=”#fc908b”]Here’s hoping a safe and happy 2015 to you and your loved ones. [/su_highlight]Remember, stay alert, stay empowered.

Liked the post? Consider “subscribing” to receive important information delivered to your inbox directly. We have a strict no-SPAM policy.

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Consumer Cases & Consumer Courts

Consumer Cases and Consumer Court
Consumer Cases and Consumer Court

[su_heading size=”20″]The ultimate authority to grant a consumer justice in consumer cases are the annointed consumer courts of India. [/su_heading]

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 states that ‘in a case of consumer being cheated by a third party, the ultimate authority to decide the matter in favour of either rests with the annointed Consumer Court(s) of India.’ And nobody else.

No private individual or institution can pass judgements and render justice in consumer cases.

All consumer forums, private institutions rendering services to help the hapless consumer [su_highlight]seek justice are supposed to complement and not compete with the legal arrangement[/su_highlight]. Yet, many a times it has come to my notice that such entities act like a consumer court themselves; and work on behalf of the consumer court resolving the consumer cases thus directly competing with the consumer court and its objective.

Worse, these entities charge a hefty commission or fee from hapless consumers to resolve their complaint. But with a disclaimer [su_highlight]that in case of the issue not being resolve, the fees won’t be refunded back[/su_highlight]. This is such a state of shame. A consumer who is already hassled by the consumption of defective goods or services of a company, is now supposed to wait for relief from such entities, who have absolutely no legal knowledge of the Act or how the system is supposed to work. The mode of operations of many such self-appointed entities are simple:

  1. Accept a complaint from the consumer
  2. Approach the defaulting company, and befriend someone in authority
  3. Work with the officer to resolve the case
  4. Advertise success far and wide while hiding unsuccessful cases

The problem with the above approach is that it is now becoming a common place in certain companies to keep defaulting instead of improving. It is also birthing the process of defaulting and then resolving. As doing so brings revenue to the officer involved.

This approach is prevalent for petty issues such as overcharge of phone bills, unfair recharge credit, wrong good delivered, etc. But what about serious offences like medical negligence? Or insurance scams? Or LPG  cylinder blasts? Do these so called private institutions, consumer forums, have the legal knowledge required to support a consumer?

I earnestly resort all consumers and readers to take the appropriate legal way. And approach an educated consumer rights lawyer to guide you on the way forward.

I have always rendered free advice on consumer issues through www.powertoconsumer.in. And will continue doing so in service of the empowered consumer.

Liked the post? Press the subscribe button to receive such updates regularly. [su_button url=”http://www.powertoconsumer.in/blog/subscribe/” style=”glass” background=”#efba2d” size=”5″ icon=”icon: arrow-right” ]Subscribe[/su_button]

5 Key Factors to Consider Before Buying an Insurance Plan

Key Factors to Consider Before Buying an InsuranceThere are many occasions in life when you wonder if you have taken the right decision. Some of the decisions may concern your financial life. Investing your hard-earned money in any financial product of a company or a bank – recommended by your friends, family or agent – without understanding how it works, is a common issue. Your mind is filled with doubts and uncertainty on whether you have made the right investment, especially if it is in a long-term product like insurance.

An insurance policy is a must in any financial portfolio as it covers the risk associated with the loss of life or property. Since it’s a long-term contract for 10 years or more, it is difficult to make changes or amend these contracts during the policy term. Hence, you must spend a little time to research these products to ensure you don’t have regrets later. It may not be possible for you to understand all the intricacies of a life insurance policy. But, you could consider the following factors while choosing a plan:

( A )   Need-based investment:
The standard thumb rule is that your life cover should be 10 times your annual income so that your family is not impacted financially in case something were to happen to you.

You should also take into account any preexisting medical complication or property loans while selecting the life cover. Your financial portfolio should be well balanced and need-based. For example, in case you need to build a corpus for your child’s education, you can select from a range of products from insurance companies that ensure the funds that you had planned for your child’s education are available whether you are around or not.

You need to remember that insurance is a protection-cum-long-term investment and savings tool. You need to define your need – like your child’s education or retirement – and accordingly buy a policy that will help you meet your requirement in future.

( B )    Background check and due diligence:

Once you have decided on the policy, you could do the necessary background check on the company concerned. All life insurance companies have comprehensive disclosures on their websites that give all required information. Policy structure, customer service capabilities, scope of network, online platform (in case someone wants to buy online term policy), are some of the key things you should look for.

Secondly, there are many sites that help you compare various policies as well as the premiums. However, the one thing you need not worry is the financial health of an insurance company. The insurance sector is highly regulated and all companies need to maintain a solvency ratio to ensure that the customer does not suffer.

( C )     Fund performance:

When buying a Unit linked policy, which also acts as an investment vehicle, you could look at the past performance of the company. All life insurance companies provide details of their funds’ performance online. An important thing to consider here would be stability. A company with a good fund performance will have a consistent track record with the fund performance neither being erratic nor extremely risky.

( D )     Claim settlement ratio:

Many experts advise that the claim settlement ratio of an insurance company should also be considered when buying a product. However, this should not be of concern as long as you have provided correct information in your policy form. As I mentioned earlier, the insurance sector is highly regulated. Hence, the chances of a rightful claim not being settled is rare. In fact, the average claim settlement ratio of the insurance sector is above 80%, and most companies have healthy ratios.

(E )      Understanding the policy:

Once you have zeroed in on the product based on your need and track record of a company, you should understand the features of the policy, specifically those related to the policy term, premium-paying term, maturity date and charges. You must also understand the benefit structure of the policy. Every Unit linked policy comes with a benefit illustration at 10% and 6%, which discloses the charges and what the status of your investment would be on a yearly basis.