Insurance is about the unknown and the unforeseen. You buy a policy, be it life insurance, a health policy or a motor cover, to guard against financial worries arising out of eventualities that could disrupt your finances, whether it be due to death or any other calamity such as unexpected medical expenses or losses due to motor accident. In an uncertain world, you need to be adequately protected at all times. But the real worth of your insurance policies is known only at the time of filing claims. If you get your money, well and good. However, claim rejection can be shattering, especially if it is for untimely death of the policyholder. Which is why you need to be aware at all times of what all you need to do to ensure that there are no hindrances at the time of claim filing. Thus, have you informed your family members, especially the nominees, about the policies that you have purchased? In fact, have you mentioned a nominee for the policy? Do you know whether and when you need to inform the third party administrator or the health insurer while going for planned hospitalisation? Or, do you know that you need to file a first information report (FIR) with the police before filing for third-party claims in the event of a motor accident? In our cover story, we tell you all you need to know to ensure smooth claims processing across life, health and general insurance claims and also give you some valuable tips to help you remain prepared.
On another front, weather worries are looming over the economy. Forecasters say that this could be an El Nino year, characterised by changes in climate over the Pacific Ocean which, in turn, leads to disruption in global weather patterns and causes deficit rainfall in the Indian subcontinent. There are fears that there may be drought in some parts of the country. The government is bracing up for the likelihood of shortages of agricultural commodities and the resultant rise in prices. In his recent address to Parliament, President Pranab Mukherjee too made a mention of the likelihood of subnormal monsoon and said that the government was putting in place a contingency plan to tackle the situation. Should this happen, the economy could take a hit and sentiments in the equity market may be impacted. However, if you are a commodity investor, you can take positions to gain from the shortages and consequent rise in prices. We tell you how some major agricultural commodities are likely to behave in the event of below-normal rains and where to invest your money.
The real estate market is going through a prolonged sluggish phase. In our story 'Wait and Watch', read views of experts on the outlook for the sector and whether or not this is the right time for you to bet on it.
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