Finance

Why Do People Not Buy Life Insurance?

by Vinaya HS on January 22, 2017

in Finance

The following post is a sponsored post.

India’s insurable population is estimated to reach 750 million by 2020 with a life expectancy of 74 years. However, insurance penetration in the country was 3.9% in 2013. The ratio of premium to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 3.1% for life plans and 0.8% for general insurance plans. This was significantly lower than the global average of 6.3%.

Insurance penetration is based on several factors, such as the economic development of the nation, size and reach of the service providers, and the savings rate in various financial instruments. Although most people agree that they need insurance, a majority of them do not acquire such coverage. People do invest in the best investment plans however when it comes to life insurance they are skeptical

Here are five reasons why most people do not acquire insurance coverage.

1. Not prioritizing insurance needs

Most of the individuals insure their homes, cars, and other assets but fail to insure their lives. Many people do not like to think about death, which is why they do not consider acquiring life insurance coverage. Unfortunately, individuals fail to comprehend that all their assets are replaceable but life cannot be replaced. Considering how their family members will survive in case of their demise is very important and not setting insurance priorities in the right order may be one of the biggest mistakes to make.

2. Tedious offline procedure

When individuals start looking for coverage they come across several kinds of insurance plans. Some of these include term plans, endowment policies, and money back plans, besides others. Some people may find it difficult to comprehend the plans and the complexity may cause them to procrastinate regarding their decision.

Even after deciding on the type of insurance policy, they may have to undergo a long and tedious procedure. The application form is often lengthy and requires them to provide several personal details. Furthermore, most insurance companies require the applicants to undergo a medical examination to determine their current health status. Several people are hesitant to provide information on pre-existing medical conditions and other personal details. This cumbersome procedure often acts as a deterrent for people who want to acquire insurance coverage. However, many insurers provide the facility of applying for an insurance online, thereby making it a convenient and hassle-free process.

3. Life insurance myths

Several myths surround life insurance, which is why its penetration in India remains low. One of the biggest myths is that the sum assured is available only if the policyholder passes away. However, this is true only in the case of term plans. Other kinds of insurance policies offer survival benefits at the end of the policy term.

Furthermore, individuals need to remember that the primary objective of acquiring such coverage is to provide financial security to their family members in case of their sudden demise. Therefore, even if the survival benefits are not available, acquiring insurance for the security of the loved ones is important.

4. Lack of awareness with regards to cost and expenses

A majority of people consider a life insurance policy to be expensive. However, this is not completely true. A person who is young and is in good health may easily purchase a policy without having to pay huge premiums. The amount primarily depends on factors, such as age, health condition, risk profile, and the type of insurance. Many people do not purchase life coverage because they are unable to fit the premium within their budgets. However, researching the different options and opting for term plans may be an excellent yet inexpensive way to avail of such coverage. Another way to make the premium affordable is to purchase the policy at a younger age when the risk profile as assessed by the insurers is low.

5. Lackadaisical approach

The laid-back approach adopted by most people is one of the biggest reasons of the low insurance penetration in the country. Some individuals continue to delay the purchase of insurance thinking they are young and healthy. Others often wait to acquire insurance coverage until they are married and have children, which increase their responsibilities. However, death is uncertain and a person would not want his family to face difficulties in the case of his demise.

Many individuals think they do not need insurance. A good knowledge of income tax slab also helps to avail tax exemption benefits from life insurance. However, they must consider what would happen to the surviving family members in case of their early death. They would certainly not want their loved ones to face financial constraints in the future. Therefore, individuals must opt for life plans and safeguard future well-being.

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Top 10 Benefits of Roadside Assistance (RSA) Add-on

by Vinaya HS on December 26, 2016

in Finance

Top 10 Benefits of Roadside Assistance Add-on

Image source: ICICI Lombard

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Demonetization – A Bright Future Ahead

by Vinaya HS on December 18, 2016

in Finance

The following post is a sponsored post.

India is a country where most of the transactions are cash-based and preferred by many. This preference has led to a situation of high demand for currency. In these transactions, the currency used are of high denominations i.e. INR 1000 or INR 500 notes. All of a sudden these currency notes have been demonetised, making them no more valid legal tender. This took place on the 8th of November 2016 at 8 p.m. when it was announced by the Prime Minister in his address to the nation.

Implications of Demonetization

The implications of demonetization have been calculated, and it’s effects are felt, both socially & economically. In the immediate economic consequences; production slow down, less number of goods are offered and less demand for goods are expected. As far as the social consequences are concerned, the public at large are finding it hard to carry out daily transactions, and have become slightly uncomfortable, as they have to either deposit their cash or exchange the same.

Effect on Economy
The short-term problems were expected when the announcement took place, but the benefits, in the long run, are expected to outweigh the other problems. In the short run, cash shortages are expected and economy shall show a downward trend. This is expected as the outflow of cash from the system shall be more compared to the inflow.

But in the long run, when the market gets stabilised, the balance is struck between inflows and outflows. The reverse economy, in the long run, expects more of outflows as banks, who work on commercial terms are expected to disburse more loans. In purely economic terms, interest rates have to decrease because of large cash balances. The public at large, as well as investors, are expected to utilise this opportunity for increasing the investments. Real estate being the biggest investment sector, it is expected that the number of people who apply for home loans in the near future, is going to increase. For the public in general, loans are taken for assets purchase and long-term assets purchase are housing/ land investments. Taking home loans at lesser interest shall reap benefits both in EMI amounts as well as the tenure of investments. In a similar manner, organisations take loans for capital investments for expansion of existing or new business set up. In both the cases, employment is generated thereby expanding the flow of money.

The public deposits increase shall mean flushing of money from circulation. If money is taken out, people’s purchasing capacity shall decrease in the short run, but if more opportunities are generated, which is expected, the flow of income is going to increase. Then, it is expected that the demand for goods and services is going to go up. Once the circular flow takes place, the economy is bound to boom. The time taken for this boom to be visible purely depends on the investments flow. If we go by the capital markets, until now there has been no crash in the stock markets, indicating that the markets are stable. Going by this logic, it is expected that the retail markets are to recover very soon.

From the above it is expected that demonetization negative effects are short lived & positive effects shall be long lived.

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Demonetisation – Leading to Fulfilled Dreams

by Vinaya HS on December 18, 2016

in Finance

The following post is a sponsored post.

Everyone dreams of owning a house but despite opportunities, these dreams are left unfulfilled due to lack of sufficient funds. On the 8th of November, the announcement of Demonetization bought some ray of hope for home buying aspirants.

Past Real Estate Scenario

The past few years have seen a considerable increase in prices of flats and land. This has taken place due to more demand & less supply if we speak in purely economic terms. But the reasons are beyond this. The land is being purchased in the outskirts at cheaper prices, infrastructure is developed by legal as well as other means, and later on housing projects were taken up. The prices are pre-decided and if people not ready to purchase at the pre-defined prices, they are left vacant, which is against economic rules.The above reasons and many more have given rise to the situation to wipe out the reasons behind this economic irrationality.

Rectify Economic Irrationality

In order to rectify the current economic situation, it was mandatory to take some stern steps, one of which being, declaring higher denomination currency as non-legal tender. INR 500 & INR 1000 notes have been declared as not legal tender, which means people are no longer going to accept the same, as the law has stopped to recognise them. However, no sooner than the declaration was made, did the confusion arise. People were left wondering what should be done with their current money, either to get it deposited to bank accounts or get them exchanged with bankers. The second step was to help people without bank accounts.

Benefits to Home Buyers

The economic implication of the declaring higher currency notes as non-legal ensured there was a greater inflow of money into banks. There was another restriction on withdrawals which means a reduction in the outflow. So banks have got stagnant cash. As the commercial banks have to earn profits for survival, they have to lend the same to loan seekers and earn interest. The largest loan seekers to whom banks lend are for home loans which are quite a lucrative business. As banks have to compete with each other and RBI will be reducing lending rates whenever it can, the only gap is banks passing the reduction to customers. There has been resistance by bankers because of high NPA’s but the flow should improve balance sheets of banks. Then banks have no option but to pass the benefits to the customers.

The above situation shall lead to a scenario of dropping interest rates. Further for the flats already built or under process there is a situation that they have to dispose of the flats, as there is a squeeze in the money market.

Taking a positive note of the above we can clearly understand there shall be more people applying for home loans in the near future. Further, the existing loan holders shall benefit by the drop in interest rates, which will help them by reducing the amounts they have to repay. The repayment reduction is not in terms of EMI amount but in the period of repayment. So the loans can be repaid at a faster pace. Further, this is going to help people who pay off the principal amount through excess cash if any because the repayment period shall further reduce.

In the near future, it is expected that more people will come forward and apply for home loans, thus helping them fulfil their home buying dreams.

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The following post is a sponsored post.



Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dheuts/3689376815

There would be a hundred things that would go the way you wanted while you’re vacationing at your favorite holiday destination but your entire holiday could go for a toss with just a single mishap you didn’t see was coming for you. What if you break your leg during an adventure activity or simply fall sick?

Obviously, you didn’t expect to fall sick or break a leg after spending a fortune on your vacation. But what if you decided to go on a vacation despite the fact that you’ve got an ailing father back home and there are high chances that you may have to shorten your trip to attend to him in case his health deteriorates further. This is definitely a foreseeable event, an event that you already anticipated could occur. Your travel insurance will not cover the losses that incurred due to such a foreseeable event.

Nature can also be very brutal at times; unexpected changes in weather conditions can ruin your vacation. Let’s say your holiday destination welcomed you with a storm and you had to stay at a local lodge or the airport itself because you simply couldn’t travel to the resort. Your international travel insurance can reimburse your prepaid trip cost or reimburse the cost of your hotel room, while you were waiting for the storm to pass.

Let’s quickly look at the various scenarios that are covered by your international travel insurance for unforeseen weather conditions:

1. Natural disasters

In cases where the impact on your trip is due to a hurricane / storm, the trip cancellation and interruption losses will be covered in the travel insurance policy if it is purchased well in advance before the hurricane / storm was named. You will not be able to enjoy these benefits if you’ve bought the travel insurance after the hurricane / storm is named.

2. Services at airport are interrupted

If the airport is closed due to inclement weather, the travel insurance will cover the costs incurred for the delayed trip. Other reasonable accommodation and travel expenses will also be covered until it becomes possible for you to travel.

3. Damaged accommodation

If the resort/hotel you were to stay at is damaged and cannot provide an accommodation to you or are unable to make any other accommodation arrangements for you, then your nonrefundable costs will be reimbursed.

4. Missed / delayed flight

If there is a delay in the scheduled arrival or departure of a flight due to inclement weather, then this can affect your travel insurance cover depending on how severe the condition is. For example, you have a long travel itinerary and you missed a connecting flight to your next destination due to bad weather. The additional costs to catch up on your travel can be reimbursed by the travel insurance policy.

Timing plays a very important role when dealing with unforeseeable events like these. If there are even the slightest chances that weather conditions can affect your trip, it is wise to avoid taking the risk of traveling. Reliance Travel Insurance policies that take care of all your hassles while you enjoy your vacation.

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Why You Should Never Buy Insurance Without Comparing?

by Vinaya HS on December 18, 2016

in Finance

The following post is a sponsored post.

Health insurance is an important financial instrument that may be used by individuals to secure their future well-being. It is a form of cashless health insurance that allows you to create a pool of resources. This may be used in the future to meet all your medical needs right from laboratory tests, check-ups, to hospitalization fees.

In order to keep up with the ever-increasing inflation and rise in the medical fees in India, it is imperative that you avail of a health insurance plan that meets your requirements. These plans ensure you can receive quality healthcare facilities without facing any financial constraints.

Health insurance purchase cycle

Generally, there is a specific process through which you avail of an insurance policy. While the initial stages focus on increasing awareness and knowledge, the final stage involves the actual payment of premium wherein you stand to benefit from the policy coverage.

The insurance purchase cycle may be divided into the following three stages:

1. Awareness

During this stage, you as a consumer, conduct extensive research in order to familiarize yourself with various insurance policies. It is imperative that you compare health insurance policies in order to understand the benefits of each. During this initial stage, review the terms and conditions of various insurers. This will help you narrow down the list of insurers that meet all your requirements and make an informed decision.

2. Quote review

This stage requires you to engage in thorough mediclaim policy comparison. Most leading insurers allow you to receive instant quotes online which may be the basis of your decision. You should consider reviewing the insurer’s website in order to solve any queries you may have. This is the stage wherein you make up your mind regarding a particular policy you intend to avail of.

3. Acquisition

Purchasing a policy is the next stage wherein a determined sum is to be paid as premium. Also, the insurer mentions the fixed sum insured at this stage. Moreover, you experience coverage as per the terms of the policy and over a longer period of time, you may choose to renew your policy and make claims.

The importance of comparing health insurance plans:

You must always compare health insurance policies before purchasing one. Without comparison, you may not know which health policies offer a cashless benefit or which ones are based on the copayment model. Therefore, experts stress heavily on the need to compare health insurance policies before signing on the dotted line.

Four factors you should keep in mind while comparing health policies are listed below.

1. Insurance portfolio

Comparison of insurance affects the way you invest in your health in various ways. Your insurance portfolio may consist of diverse products purchased by you including family floater plans and riders.

2. Under-insuring

This is a situation where you have not purchased adequate coverage. Although certain policies offer lower premiums, you must review the extent of their coverage and the sum assured. Neglecting to review either of these would cost you in terms of both, mental stress as well as financial crunch.

3. Over-insuring

While conducting mediclaim policy comparison, you must analyze whether there is any overlapping with your existing policy. The purchase of overlapping policies leads you to overspend on coverage that offers you no benefit. You should focus on acquiring adequate coverage that is also financially viable.

4. The reputation of the insurer

While some insurers may choose to market their low premiums or additional facilities, it is important to consider their claim settlement ratios and reputation in the market. This is extremely important as it allows you to gauge your own chances of claim approval and payout.

Comparison plays an essential role in the process of availing of policies. While conducting research on the insurers, it is advisable to frequent consumer feedback forums. This grants you an insight into the workings of the company and satisfaction levels of its existing customers.

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The following post is a sponsored post.

You are considered to be an Indian resident based on the number of days you spend living in the country. If you reside in India for 182 days or more during a fiscal year (1st April to 31st March), you are considered a resident for taxation purposes. A non-resident Indian (NRI) is a person who stays in India for less than 182 days during a financial year.

If you are an NRI having strong roots in the country, you should consider purchasing insurance in India. Most insurance companies offer NRI insurance policies such as investment plan, child education plan, life insurance, etc. based on certain conditions.

Here are seven things you must know when you want to purchase NRI life insurance in India.

1. Eligibility

You must hold a valid passport issued by the Indian Government. Alternatively, you or your parents or grandparents were Indian citizens under the Citizenship Act, 1955 or by virtue of the Indian Constitution. You may also buy insurance in India if you are married to an Indian citizen.

2. Documents required

You may complete the paperwork to buy a life insurance policy during your visit to the country. Alternatively, you may complete the documentation in the country of your residence. Some insurers allow you to avail of insurance through a mail order. However, you need to pay for the medical tests from your own pocket.

In case you are availing of coverage for a high sum assured or buying through a mail order, you need to submit a certified Chartered Accountant’s (CA) certificate. Although you may provide an international communication address, you must have a permanent Indian address. Some insurance companies may also require you to complete NRI forms and questionnaires.

3. Premium payable

In most cases, the premium for life insurance for NRI is the same as that of a resident. However, if you live in a high-risk country, you may have to pay a higher premium. Insurance companies provide several payment modes to their NRI clients. Some of these include net banking, electronic clearing system (ECS), non-resident ordinary (NRO) or non-resident external (NRE) bank accounts, and cheque.

4. Coverage offered

Insurance companies may not offer high-value insurance plans without taking medical tests in India. Some insurers also impose a maximum limit on the sum assured.

5. Claim payout

All claims, surrender value, and maturity proceeds need to be paid in the domestic currency. From the total premium payable, you may receive foreign currency payment proportionately based on the premium amount you paid in the international currency. In case a death claim is filed, your survivors will need to submit a certificate attested by the Indian Embassy or High Commission from the country of your residence.

6. Tax benefits

The tax benefits are same for residents and NRIs. Under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961, you may save up to INR 1.5 lakh every year. Maturity and death benefits are not taxable. If you repatriate maturity proceeds, these are treated based on the double tax avoidance treaties between the countries.

7. Repatriation of proceeds

All the proceeds under your insurance plan may be repatriated outside the country based on the account used for making payments. Maturity proceeds and death claims are allowed to be repatriated in the proportion to the premium paid in foreign currency out of the total premium paid. If you made payments in domestic currency, no repatriation is allowed.
More than 23 insurance companies provide insurance to NRIs. You must consider the reputation of the insurer, claim settlement ratio, and track record before making your choice. You may take assistance from representatives of the insurance company who provide guidance on how to buy NRI insurance plan in India.

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From vaccination, school to higher education, my friend Satish planned everything even before the birth of his son. Also, one day he sat with his wife and decided the travel destination for the next two years. Not only this, but he also started investing to support his ‘planning’. He was confident that his investment would help him meet all the expenses.

It is good to plan in advance and then start investing for it. However, investing and investing smartly both are different things. Like most of the people, Satish also valued safety over returns and chose safe instruments, like fixed deposits, PPF, etc.; to meet all his future goals. Though considering the safety of returns while investing is not a bad idea, but what most of us forget to consider is the inflation impact. Instruments like fixed deposits, PPF, NSC can give you assured returns, but they can’t give you surety that the returns would be sufficient to beat the rising inflation rate.

As Warren Buffet, says “Do not put all eggs in one basket,” you should also diversify your investment across different options to reap the maximum benefit. So instead of putting the entire investment in fixed instruments, invest some amount in ULIPs which you can invest both in equity and debt as per your risk appetite. Killing two birds with one shot, ULIPs offer high returns along with the life cover.

Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of ULIPs:

1. High returns: ULIPs give you an opportunity to enjoy high returns by investing your money in equity. According to the Morgan Stanley report, equity has generated best returns in India over 5,10,15 and 20-year tenure as compared to gold, real estate, and fixed deposits. While equities gave 12.9% returns, gold, bank fixed deposits, and real estate generated 8.4%, 5.5%, and 6.2% respectively.

How ULIPs Have Performed

Source: Economic Times

2. Assured benefits: Along with the potential to grow your money, Unit Linked Insurance Plans ULIPs also protect your money from the market ups and downs. The insurer offers guaranteed returns on the invested amount. At the time of maturity, the insurer pays you higher of assured benefit or fund value. In some cases, the assured benefit can be 101% of all the premiums paid.

3. Switching option: Switches play a major role in rebalancing your investment portfolio as per the market condition. It is the best option to move out of loss-making funds. According to the market condition, you can adjust your fund portfolio by switching from equity to debt or vice versa. Also, you can switch as per your age and needs. During young age, the policyholder can take more risk and thus, stay invested in equities. However, as the policy moves towards the maturity date, he can switch from equity to debt to protect the investment from market volatility. Most of the insurers offer four to five free switches to policyholders.

4. Transparent structure: As it is said, “risk comes from not knowing what you are doing,” ULIP offers a transparent structure. It means all commissions and charges are clearly mentioned in the policy document. Besides, insurers send daily updates on Net Asset Value (NAV) along with quarterly and yearly reports on the performance of ULIPs. It means you can track its performance and keep a close watch on your policy.

Besides this, all ULIP fund options are clearly detailed in the policy document. Usually, insurers offer the following types of fund options.

Type of Fund Nature of Investment Risk Element
Equity Funds (also called growth fund) The investment is made in company’s stock with an aim of capital growth Medium to High Risk
Bond Funds (also called income and fixed interest) The amount is invested in government securities, corporate bonds and various other fixed income investment options Medium Risk
Secure Fund (also called cash fund, money market fund) The amount is invested in bank and money market instruments Low Risk
Balanced Fund It offers a mix of investment in equity and debt Medium Risk

5. Lesser charges: In 2010, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) capped charges at 3% of gross yield for insurance policies with tenure of up to 10 years and 2.25% for those with tenure of over ten years. Also, there are no surrender charges if the policyholder surrenders the policy after five years. Depending on the tenure of the policy, the charges in ULIP are around 2.5%-4%. The most impressive thing about these charges is that they are evenly distributed throughout the policy tenure. Unlike other market-oriented products where the first premium goes towards these charges, in ULIPs only a small proportion of the premium is deducted as charges and the remaining is invested in the market.

Feature Pre-September 2010 Post-September 2010
Lock-in period 3-years 5-years
All charges Could be front loaded Evenly distributed during the lock-in period
Minimum mortality cover Not specified; five times as a practice 125% of the annual premium for single premium policies and 10 times for regular premium policies
Maximum reduction in yield* Not specified For policy tenure less or equal to 10 years, reduction not more than 3% at maturity and 2.25% for policy tenure above 10 years

* Difference between Gross and Net Yield.

Source: Business Today

6. Wealth boosters: Most of the insurers add wealth boosters to the investments and thus, help you to grow your money without making any extra investment. Usually, wealth boosters are added once in every five years starting from the end of the tenth policy year.

7. Top up investment: ULIPs allow individuals to invest the excess cash through periodic top-ups and earn returns on the total invested amount. Further, the top-up investment also enjoys tax benefits under both Section 80C and 10(10D).

8. Liquidity: Though, it is always advised to stay invested for the longest tenure, you can partially withdraw your money to meet any short-term needs like child’s college fee, family vacation or for a medical emergency. Unlike fixed deposits, where there are charges on premature withdrawal, in ULIPs, partial withdrawals are free of cost in most of the cases.

9. Tax benefits: ULIPs offer EEE tax benefit. The premium paid towards ULIPs is eligible to get a deduction for up to Rs 1.5 lakh under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. Like a traditional life insurance policy, death benefits paid under ULIP are also tax-free. Of course, the payouts will be higher than the sum assured, depending on the returns.

Similarly, upon maturity, the policyholder will get the assured benefit or the fund value, whichever is higher. This payout is exempted under Section 10(10D).

Tax Advantage of ULIPs

Source: The Times of India

10. Life insurance and riders: An additional benefit of life cover is available to ULIP policyholders, which is not available in any other investment options. In the case of death of the policyholder, the insurer will pay death benefits to the nominee who can use it to meet various needs. In this way, you can financially secure your family’s future, even in your absence. Moreover, there are various riders, like premium waiver, accidental death benefit, etc.; that can be added to the main policy to get more coverage. For instance, accidental death benefit rider gives double the sum assured to the nominee in case of accidental death of the policyholder.

11. Online buying: Unlike PPF, ULIPs can easily be bought online from the comfort of your home. Moreover, the online distribution has sharply cut the distribution and maintenance costs, so much so that there are various ULIPs whose cost is lower than mutual funds.

Invest wisely, live happily.

We often prefer to invest in a financial instrument that offers not only high returns but also secures our hard earned money. ULIPs serve both these purposes. So look at market fluctuations as your friend and participate in them to reap the maximum benefits. After all, “Don’t work for money, make it work for you.”

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Why Should You Buy Insurance For Your Office Online?

by Vinaya HS on November 23, 2016

in Finance

Setting up a business and gaining success must have taken a huge amount of hard work, years of perseverance and lots of timely and wise decisions. Finally, you are working in an office; built with your hard-earned money and running a business worth lakhs or crores of rupees. You have your own office equipment, machines, and other office assets. You also have a loyal workforce that needs to be regularly paid.

Looking at this whole structure, one would shudder to think about any unfortunate incident that may lead to the collapse of the whole or even a part of a precious office building or damage its machines and equipment.

But do not worry! This is where an insurance for your office comes into the picture. The best way to obtain insurance for the same is to opt for office insurance online. There are multiple insurers that provide this facility that is economical and comes without any glitches of middlemen, etc. The office insurance covers you and your business from threats like fire, burglary, riot, earthquake, etc.

Moreover, the advent of the internet has made it easy to buy office insurance. If you are still not convinced that an office insurance is a must, following are some of the reasons that you would like to consider to avail office insurance online:

1. Time saver technique: By availing office insurance online, you can protect your office premises without hassles. You don’t need to take a day off from everyday business to visit the insurer as everything is now just a click away with several options of comparing different policies offered by different insurance companies. You can choose whatever suits you the best weighing the premium costs that require being paid and the benefits that different policies offer.

2. Relatively lower premium rates: The online approach will enable you to get the best facilities at lower premium rates. This is because by selling policy online, the insurer saves administration charges and agent’s commission and this saving is passed on to customers in the form of low premium rates.

3. Covering a wide range of damages: The best part of availing an office insurance policy online is that with just some digital work on your part, you can protect your office premises from multiple unwelcome destructive incidents. If you think that your office has been constructed flawlessly and there no damage is likely to occur, think again! There are many dangers that are uncalled for, and they may occur either by mismanagement or due to the use of low-quality material in some areas. These incidents include fire, bursting of pipelines and some unfortunate event in the adjacent building that may also affect your office premises.

4. Protection from natural disasters: A natural disaster is common in coastal areas that have dangers from cyclone or floods. If your office is situated in a mountainous region, there is a risk of landslide. The problem is that such disasters are not in human control and often destroy everything in the region. Imagine the amount of loss in case of such an unfortunate incident takes place. It is thus better to insure your office to protect it from widespread damage and destruction.

5. Protection from criminal activities: Do you think that your office is safe from any illegal activities? With rising criminal activities, you can never be sure enough.

You need to ensure the safety of your office from theft and burglary. A good way is to have a suitable cover in case such incidents might take place. The office insurance policy also covers damage due to riots and strikes. So, if your office is situated in a riot-prone area, secure it through the office insurance policy instead of suffering a huge loss later.

6. Secure office equipment: Most insurance policies also offer a cover for your office equipment and machines. After all, these are the main things through which your business runs.

It is thus better to secure the machines from any damage or destruction due to fire, burglary or forceful entry into the office premises with the aim to destroy office equipment. If you lose your essential equipment, the production and your business are likely to be halted in an untimely manner. It will also decrease your employee satisfaction and reduce their efficiency at work. Extended benefits include compensation for any loss of money in a safe or in transit.

So, no second thought needs to be spared now when you know the easy way to obtain the office insurance is online.

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A PPF Calculator

by Vinaya HS on October 30, 2016

in Finance

The following post is a sponsored post.

PPF calculator refers to the simple calculator that determines interest earned on your investment in PPF account. The basic idea behind PFF calculator is compounding the interest on your investment. Although, you can exercise this method manually when you have to calculate interest for one year. But when it comes down to fifteen or ten years, the calculations can be messier but no need to worry simple PPF calculators can help you do all the calculations. Before we go to details of PPF calculator, Let’s understand more about PPF account, its features and benefits

What Is Public Provident Fund Account?

In simple words, Public Provident Fund is the saving scheme that helps individuals to build the retirement corpus and also save taxes. With this scheme, you can invest your savings for fixed period and will earn the periodic interest (compounded annually). Currently, the PPF interest rate is 8.1%! That is reasonable!

PPF account can be opened with a low and affordable amount of deposit. The second attraction to this scheme is the tax benefits. The interest earned is completely tax-free. And, this scheme is backed by the government, so comes with security. No doubt, why PPF is so popular in India!

PPF is easily accessible. You will face no problem while registering for the account. To open a new account, you have to visit the authorized bank or post office. Simply, get the form, fill it and submit with required documents. PPF accounts can be opened in all PSU banks and some select private banks.

Why Should You Choose PPF Scheme?

Some people don’t opt for PPF scheme because they don’t know its awesome features and benefits. For your convenience, I have outlined some of them as follows:

Interest Rate: The Indian Government set the interest rate for PPF periodically Currently the review period is quarter. You earn interest on investment which is compounded annually. Current interest rate is 8.1%, which is pretty good.

Tenure: To avail the benefits of PPF, you need to keep the account active for fifteen years. It means you need to invest in this account per year for fifteen years. After maturity, you can invest for further five years.

Initial Deposit: You can open the account with Rs. 100.

Minimum/Maximum Annual Deposit: To keep the account active, you have to make a deposit every year. The minimum amount is Rs. 500 and the maximum are Rs. 1.5 lacs per years. You can make deposits with a cheque, cash, PO, online funds transfer and DD, etc.

Withdrawals: Withdrawal is allowed after maturity. Well, premature withdrawal can be made, but on certain conditions and after seven years from opening date. Otherwise, premature withdrawal is not possible!

Tax Advantages: The tax rebate is the main attraction of PPF. The interest earned is completely tax-free

How To Calculate The Interest Using PPF Calculator?

Calculation of PPF interest is not difficult. So what is the exact algorithm of PPF calculator? As mentioned in the start, the interest will be compounded annually. For instance, you have made the initial investment of Rs. 1.5 lac. So, you will calculate the interest on Rs. 1.5 lacs at the rate of 8.1%. Pretty easy right! Now, we have to compound it. Next year, you will make an investment of Rs. 1.5 lacs again. Now, the rate will be applied to the sum of previous year’s balance including interest earned and current year’s balance. And this process will be continued for fifteen years. You can use a simple calculator below to calculate interest and yearly balance for PPF calculator.

Author: Sarabdeep Singh; Co-founder bodhik.com, an online financial advisor.

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What is Property Insurance and How to Buy It?

by Vinaya HS on October 30, 2016

in Finance

Opting for an appropriate property insurance is as important as buying a property. Make sure that you go for an insurance that offers 360-degree coverage. As per your property choose the type of insurance you need and go for the one that offers comprehensive coverage. To help you in deciding the best, we have compiled an infographic.

Property Insurance Infographic

Image source: Securenow.in

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When you are looking to take a personal loan, two of the key factors that play an important role in lender’s decision to lend to you are:

  1. Your Credit History
  2. Your Income Stability

Personal loans are unsecured loans. This means that lender is giving the borrower money without taking any collateral. So in case of a default by the borrower, lender will have no security that can be sold off to recover outstanding loan amount. And this is the reason why interest rates on personal loans are typically higher than rates on secured loans like home or auto loans.

In unsecured loans, the only thing that the borrower can depend on is your past credit history and your future income potential.

If you have been regular with your EMI payments in past, it will reflect positively in your credit report. A good credit score tells the lenders that the applicant has been regular in clearing his past dues and this can be expected in future too. So the perceived risk of a borrower with good credit score is lower.

So having a good credit score is very important for getting a personal loan at competitive rates. If lenders perceive that you are a high-risk borrower with lower-than-average credit score, they might deny you a loan or offer you a personal loan at very higher interest rates.

Now coming to future income potential. You can only pay off your new loans with future income and not by past credit record. Isn’t it?

This is the reason why importance is given to borrower’s ability to meet future EMI obligations. This is judged basis stability of income and its adequateness given other expenses of the borrower. If lenders feel that borrower will be unable to meet his EMI obligations due to lack of sufficient regular income, they can chose to reject the loan application.

So when you are applying for a personal loan, make sure you have paid heed to these two factors. This will save you from any negative surprises that might spring up in loan processing phase.

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There is not much difference between a festival loan and a personal loan as far as loan structure is concerned. Infact, both are unsecured loans – i.e. do not need any collateral to be provided by the borrowers. But there are some differences that are there. Festival loans can be availed for smaller amounts of upto Rs 1 lac. Personal loans on other hand can be taken for larger requirements like Rs 25 lac.

This is one of the reason why festival loans come at lower rate of interest. Generally these loans are 2-3% cheaper than regular personal loans. Since the amount involved is small, the risk involved (of default) is lower. Hence the lenders are willing to take lower compensation (lower interest rate) for the lower risk they are taking.

So coming back to your requirement, if you need just a small amount of money for some months then you would obviously benefit more from lower rate of interest. Isn’t it?

This is the reason that you can consider taking a festival loan in this time of the year. Festival loans are specifically offered to help borrowers during this festive season when their expenses start getting out of hand. Though employers to pitch in with annual bonuses, fact is that bonuses tend to be less than what is needed by most employees. So lenders have come up with this special seasonal loan product that is designed specifically to help borrowers this festive season.

It is also possible that you might be considering using credit cards to part-fund your expenses. But remember that in spite of being quite convenient, credit cards are extremely costly. At times these can cost about 40-50% on an annual basis. So it doesn’t make financial sense to take a high-cost loan when a cheaper loan (in form of festival loans) is easily available.

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Critical illness policies pay the entire benefits as a lump sum amount when the insured is diagnosed with such conditions. The sum assured is paid in total irrespective of the treatment cost.

Generally, a person diagnosed with a critical illness may be unable to fulfill his duties as an employee for an extended period of time. Although the treatment costs may be covered under the health plan, the individual may face severe financial difficulties due to loss of regular income.

The critical illness benefit amount is useful to avoid a liquidity crisis. The critical illness insurance amount has no limitation on its use and the policyholder may use it to meet his financial liabilities, such as loan installment, children education fees, or regular home expenses.

Critical illness coverage is available as:

  • A rider along with a life insurance policy from a life insurer
  • A standalone policy from a general insurer

Here are four salient features of a critical illness policy.

1. Policy Term

Generally, a life insurance policy term is between 10 and 30 years. A critical illness rider included within the life plan will have the same term as that of the original policy. The critical illness benefit ends when this term is over. Therefore, individuals lose such coverage on the maturity of their life insurance policies, which is often at an older age when most people would require these benefits. In comparison, standalone critical illness policies are available for a tenure of one to three years. Moreover, most general insurers offer standalone policies with a lifetime renewal option for the convenience of policyholders.

2. Premium Amount

Both standalone critical illness policies, as well as coverage taken as a rider, provide the option of increasing premium amounts over the years. A common misconception among people is that since the life insurance premium does not change during the policy term, the premium on the rider also remains constant. However, the fact is that policyholders have the flexibility of increasing the rider premium every 3 to 5 years.

3. Sum Assured

When an individual acquires critical illness cover as a rider along with a life insurance plan, the sum assured on the rider is restricted to the amount of the original policy. On the other hand, there is no restriction on the sum assured when a person opts for a standalone critical illness policy. However, he must check for any restrictions that may be imposed by the insurer for the specific products.

4. Illnesses Covered

Most riders purchased with an existing life insurance plan limit the number of illnesses that can be covered. In comparison, standalone policies provide wider coverage by including a higher number of critical ailments. Furthermore, an individual must check how pre-existing conditions are treated while researching on critical illness policies. This will allow a person with an existing condition to make an informed decision. Most indemnity-based life insurance policies do not cover existing ailments even at the end of the waiting period. A majority of insurers do not provide benefits under the insurance policy for pre-existing conditions for a period of 2 to 4 years.

5. Claim Process

Policyholders must carefully review the survival and waiting periods before making any decision. Both these periods affect the claim procedure if such a need arises in the future. Survival period is the minimum number of days (often 30 days) a person must survive after being diagnosed with an illness to be eligible for a claim. Waiting period (90 days or more) is the number of days for which no benefits are paid if a person is diagnosed with any medical condition included in the policy. This limitation is applied to prevent fraudulent claims by policyholders. Furthermore, policyholders must remember that the critical illness benefits are not automatically paid if they are diagnosed with a severe medical condition. Most insurers have severity criteria for various conditions that are covered under these policies. Only if the diagnosis meets these severity conditions, the insurers will pay the benefits to the policyholders. In case these criteria are not met, the companies may reject the claims.

Critical illnesses are on the rise because of the unhealthy and stressful lifestyle led by most people. To ensure no financial difficulties arise in the case of being diagnosed with such a condition, acquiring critical illness insurance is important. However, understanding all the terms and conditions before availing of the policy will prevent inconvenience in the future.

About HDFC Life

HDFC Life, one of India’s leading private life insurance companies promoted by HDFC Ltd. & Standard Life Ltd., offers a range of individual and group insurance solutions. HDFC Life’s product portfolio comprises of solutions, which meet various customer needs such as Protection, Pension, Savings, Investment, Health and Online Term Insurance.

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Pros and Cons of a Car Loan

by Vinaya HS on September 6, 2016

in Finance

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A new purchase is always exciting, be it a home or a car. However, ensuring you have a seamless experience while making your purchase is equally important. Selecting a good car is only the first step, but completing all financial tasks related to the same will ensure you drive off in your new car without any trouble.

If you have been contemplating on buying a brand new car but are discouraged by the burden of making a large payment, considering your current financial status may help choose between paying in cash and opting for a loan. Often, arranging for a large amount of cash may not be within your means, and in such a case, opting for car finance may be the best thing to do.

When you purchase a car from a dealer, the dealer may also provide the option of financing. Although, opting to finance your car from such dealers may not guarantee you security. Therefore, choosing private financing could be more beneficial. You are more likely to have a hassle-free experience if you choose to finance your car through a credit union or a bank.

Here are the pros of financing a car that will help you decide whether it is the right choice for you:

  • Helps manage the budget: The first and foremost advantage of a loan is that it lets you purchase a car without having to burn a hole in your pocket.
  • Fast loan approval: Getting a loan sanctioned is not a tedious process anymore. After all the necessary documents have been furnished, you can expect the loan disbursal in three to six days.
  • Option of EMI: Choosing a loan lets you repay the amount in Equated Monthly Installments (EMIS), thereby reducing the pressure of having to pay a huge amount in one go. The financer sanctioning the loan strategically spaces out the EMI and, the duration is increased depending on your ability to pay off the loan.
  • Choice of variable and fixed interest rates: Furthermore, you may conveniently decide between variable and fixed interest rates. In the case of a variable interest rate, the interest rate varies according to the changes in the market. However, a fixed interest rate remains the same for the entire tenure of the loan.
  • Tax deduction: If your new car will be used for business purpose, then you may qualify for tax deduction under the Income Tax Act.
  • Advantage of employing the residual value: The residual value may also be attached which could contribute towards decreasing the number of installments per month.

Consider the following cons, so that you are well informed prior to your car purchase:

  • High interest rates: High car loan interest rates in a loan could come in the way of gaining ownership of your dream car. However, financers now offer them at competitive prices and you could compare rates before your purchase.
  • Risk of financer repossessing car: Inability to pay at regular intervals puts you at the risk of losing ownership of your new car. So, ensure you keep a track of your repayment tenure and avoid a bad credit history.

Considering the flexibility and convenience of car loans, it is wise to choose this option when buying a new car. So, now you won’t have to delay the process of bringing home your new car. Being aware of the loan tenure and inspecting interest rates will help you avoid the risks, thereby facilitating a smooth buying experience.

Disclaimer: The blogger is solely responsible for all the posts, comments and mentions posted within this website. Mahindra Finance does not endorse the accuracy or reliability of any information’s, content or advertisements contained on, distributed through, or linked, downloaded or accessed from any of the services contained on this website, nor the quality of any products, information’s or any other material displayed, purchased, or obtained by you as a result of an advertisement or any other information’s or offer in or in connection with the services herein.

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Many people take personal loans when they are unable to arrange funds in the short term. But the same people are capable of getting the required amount after some time. So personal loans do help these people bridge the time gap.

So when these people actually have enough money to clear off the loans, does it make sense to go and do just that?

The answer depends on 2 important factors:

1. When you want to pre-close a personal loan, lenders might charge a prepayment penalty. So how much is the prepayment charge (generally a percentage of outstanding amount) will help you decide whether to pre-close or not.

2. Now most loans are structured in a way that they start charging interest first and principal later. So if you have taken a personal loan of tenure 2 years and you can pay the entire sum back after just 4 months, then you can save a lot in terms of the interest. However, if you are nearing the end of the loan tenure, pre-closing the loan might not make much financial sense. It is because you would have already paid most of the interest. The remainder principal would be in any case have to be repaid with time.

Now these are mathematical factors. But having a clear zero-loan life gives you peace of mind that cannot be calculated by financial mathematics.

So if you have surplus money available with you and which can be used to prepay a part or full personal loan, think of it in two stages. First do the math as explained in above two factors. Once it’s clear that prepaying makes sense mathematically, just go and do it. But if mathematics says that there is no great benefit of prepayment, then ask yourself as to what holds higher priority for you – saving money or peach of mind. Your answer will help you take the decision.

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Unlike home or car loans, the personal loans are unsecured form of loans. So there is no collateral for lenders. So with no recourse to any security in case the failure to repay the loan, the lenders give compensate themselves for higher default risk that they are taking by charging higher interest rate.

So how do lenders decide what rate to charge from different personal loan customers? There are several factors that are used to assess the risk – current income, income stability, profession, age, existing loan EMIs, credit history, etc.

A good credit history means that you do not have too many loans. Also, you have regularly paid your loan EMIs in past. The idea of credit score is to help lenders gauge your riskiness. It is an indicator of your credit-worthiness and is calculated based on your financial history. So higher the risk assessed (lower credit score), higher will be your loan interest rate.

To see how higher interest rates effect your loan EMIs, try using the personal loan EMI calculators online. You will get a good idea of the actual link between your risk (which results in change in interest rates) and your EMIs.

But it is not that only your credit score can affect your personal loan rates. How you handle you personal loan will also affect your credit score. If you are irregular with your new loan EMIs and fail to pay them on time, it will reflect in your credit score. Slowly your credit score will start deteriorating. Remember that even a single missed payment can negatively affect your credit score. So, if you have taken a personal loan recently, ensure that monthly payments are done on time.

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What is Health Insurance Portability?

by Vinaya HS on September 6, 2016

in Finance

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In October 2011, health insurance companies provided a new feature to their customers. Users were allowed to port their health covers in case they were unsatisfied with the current service providers. Although the portability was considered to be simple, a policyholder cannot port as per his wish.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) provide the right of accepting the portability to the service providers. This means that if the insurance company providing critical illness plan and mediclaim plans finds an application for portability unacceptable, it reserves the right to decline the request.

To avoid rejection, here are five important things an individual must know before making a portability request

1. What is health insurance portability?

Health insurance portability allows policyholders to switch from their current insurer to another service provider. During the portability, the policyholders do not lose the continuity benefits related to pre-existing conditions. The terms related to waiting period and other time-bound exclusions remain the same after porting the health plan. The portability is subject to the policyholders receiving the same coverage as offered by the previous insurer.

2. Who can apply for portability?

Holders of indemnity health policies issued by registered general or non-life insurers are allowed to port their plans. Furthermore, only similar policies (basic to basic reimbursement or top-up to top-up) are portable. If a person is covered under a group insurance plan, he first needs to migrate to an individual policy from the same insurance provider. After a period of one year from the date of such migration, he may port the individual health insurance plan to another service provider.

3. Is it recommended to port current health insurance?

The main reason for policyholders to port their insurance is the poor quality of services. Several users are dissatisfied with varying reimbursement limits, age limitations at the time of renewal, cumbersome claim settlement procedure, co-payment terms, room rent limits, and other conditions. Increasing awareness among the users has enabled them to gain an improved understanding of health insurance.

Policyholders have to undergo medical tests while applying for portability. The new insurer may reject the portability request if the underwriting norms are not met. Furthermore, individuals may lose their no-claim bonus resulting in higher sum insured when the policy is ported. This is because the new insurer considers the cumulative amount as the basic sum insured, which may entail a higher premium. Major variations between inclusions and exclusions among the two service providers may also result in rejection.

4. When should one consider porting health policies?

Most experts advise porting the health insurance policies at the time of renewal. A majority of the insurance service providers recommend applying for portability 45 days before the date of renewing the policy. This is because existing insurer is required to provide certain details within a specific period of time. Moreover, the new service provider must communicate the decision on the portability request within 15 days of receiving the application.

5. Does age and health history matter when it comes to health insurance portability?

Purchasing a health policy when a person is young and healthy is easy because of the low-risk profile. The insurers are hesitant to offer health cover to elders because the possibility of them falling sick is much higher. Applicants over a certain age need to undergo medical tests. If a person has contracted some medical conditions after acquiring the original policy, the new insurer may reject the application for portability due to the higher risk. Any adverse medical history reduces the possibility of being covered under new plans.

If a person is considering porting the health plan, it is important to initiate the process early. Being honest careful while filling the application form is advisable to avoid rejection. Moreover, portability is not guaranteed; therefore, users are advised to fully comprehend the implications.

About HDFC Health

HDFC Health is an initiative by HDFC Life, a life insurance company in India to help increase awareness, spread knowledge and enshroud myths surrounding the health insurance sector in India. As a wholly owned subsidiary of HDFC Life, HDFC Health Insurance and other mediclaim plans in India cover individual, family floater, critical illness and cancer care insurance plans.

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How to Choose the Right Used Car Loan Lender?

by Vinaya HS on August 29, 2016

in Finance

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Most people turn to a finance option if they do not have outright cash required to purchase a pre-owned car. There are numerous factors that have to be considered while availing of vehicle loans. The most important step in the loan application process is choosing a lender. While selecting a lender, you must consider the following six factors:

1. Reputation of the lender

Always opt for a reputable and well-established lending institution. Such institutions are well-versed with the latest trends and schemes. They understand their customers’ needs and provide services to suit those needs. You should therefore check on a lending institution’s reputation and its professional lending experience.

2. Amount of loan offered

Not all lending institutions provide the entire sum that borrowers apply for. In case of used car loans, the borrower has to provide a certain percentage as down payment. This amount varies from lender to lender. Hence, it is important to select those lenders who approve a higher loan amount so that your down payment may be lower.

3. Interest rates

Usually, the interest rates for second-hand auto loans are slightly higher than that of new car finance. However, there are many banks and lending institutions that offer loans at attractive rates in order to draw more customers and increase their customer base. Take advantage of this benefit, and choose a lender who offers lower rates of interest. Low interest rates mean that you have to pay less for your car loan.

4. Borrowing costs

It is imperative to read the Terms and Conditions of repayment before signing on dotted line. Check for pre-payment charges, part-payment fee, processing fee, late payment charges, and loan cancellation charges, besides others. You need to have thorough knowledge about such fees and charges.

5. Repayment options

Used car loan seekers now have the option of customizing their EMIs based on their financial capabilities. Hence, choose lenders who offer such kind of flexible repayment options as it helps you adjust your repayment amount in case you have a surge in income or are cash-strapped.

6. Loan processing time

Some banks and financial institutions take a few days to approve used vehicle loans, while some take a couple of weeks. Based on your requirement of the loan, you may choose the right lender. If you wish to obtain a loan on an urgent basis, opt for a lender who offers faster processing time. Some lending institutions may also provide customers with the option of checking their approval status online thereby providing convenience to customers.

Finalizing on a particular lender may be a confusing task due to the array of options available in the market. Consider all the above-mentioned factors before you select your used car loan lender as it will help you avail of a pre-owned car loan conveniently.

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Filing income tax is a procedure which requires individuals to be aware of latest income tax slab and various tax saving investment options as well. Filing ITR without paper is possible only for individuals with digital signatures. Taxpayers without a digital signature need to post a physical copy of the returns to the Central Processing Center (CPC) in Bengaluru within 120 days of completing filing their returns online.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) issued a notification on 13th July 2015 in relation to the use of Electronic Verification Code to verify the electronically filed ITR. Taxpayers who verify their ITR through this EVC are not required to send physical copies through the post.

Understanding EVC

The EVC helps in the verification of the person’s identity known as the verifier and can be generated on the e-filing site of the IT department. This code can be used for verifying ITR 1, 2, 2A, 3, 4, 4S, and Karta of an HUF. Every assessee will need to generate a unique EVC related to his or her Permanent Account Number (PAN) and can be used to verify only one ITR irrespective of the Assessment Year (AY) or type of return (revised or original). This code is valid for 72 hours and stored against the assessee PAN. Verifiers can generate multiple EVC and use more than one mode for its generation.

EVC generation modes

The CBDT, to simplify the process of filing income tax returns online provides 4 methods to verifiers to generate the EVC. Assesses are advised to ensure their e-mail address and mobile number is registered with the CBDT to enable the generation of the code.

E-filing website: This is the simplest and fastest way to generate the electronic verification code. You will simply need to follow the steps on the e-filing website and the EVC is sent to your registered mobile number and e-mail address. You will need to login using your PAN, click the e filing returns online tab and select Generate to receive the EVC.

Linking AADHAR card to your PAN: After logging in, click on the “Profile Settings” tab. A drop-down menu providing an option of Linking AADHAR to PAN will open. After filling the necessary details, you can click to complete the process and generate the EVC.

Through Bank ATM: You will have to use the ATM card of the registered bank with the income tax department. To generate the EVC, you will have to select “generate EVC for ITR filing” tab that appears on the ATM screen. The code will be sent to your registered mobile number

Net Banking: For using this method you will need to route the income tax returns online filing process through the registered bank. Assesses must login to their net banking account to be redirected to the e-filing website to generate the EVC, which will be received on the registered mobile number.

Using EVC to verify the ITR
The EVC is usable while uploading the returns through net banking, returns that are already uploaded, or uploading the ITR without net banking facility. The entire procedure is simple and well-outlined on the e-filing website and can be easily used by most users to make filing online returns easy and convenient.

About HDFC Life

HDFC Life, one of India’s leading private life insurance companies promoted by HDFC Ltd. & Standard Life Ltd., offers a range of individual and group insurance solutions. HDFC Life’s product portfolio comprises of solutions, which meet various customer needs such as Protection, Pension, Savings, Investment, Health and Online Term Plan.

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