Why do women need to buy insurance more than men

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Are women naturally better than men when it comes to money? Women today are taking up leading roles in finance and banking sector.

Four out of top five banks in India are led by women. Forbes has placed Arundhati Bhattacharya, the first women to have served as Chairman of India’s biggest public sector bank, as 25th most power woman in the world.

Chanda Kochhar and Shikha Sharma, heading two of the biggest private banks in India, are some of the most influential women in Indian Banking.

Ironically, when it comes to investing for their own self, women are scared. Most of the women are confident in managing their day-to-day budgeting but are not too comfortable discussing money with family.

Investment firm Fidelity Investments says majority of the women hold back when it comes to talking about money. In a study, eight out of 10 women confessed they have refrained from discussing their finances with those they are close to. Around 56 percent respondents in the study found it too personal to discuss. About one third of them said they didn’t want to disclose the information regarding their investments.

Also, a significant number of women said, they were not raised to talk about finances. Sometimes, women do not feel confident enough to talk about their financial decisions, according to Fidelity Investments Money FIT Women Study 2015.

Discussing money with family is not part of our culture. In India, women may be on good positions at work but for security, most of them still look at their fathers or husband. Social security is essentially associated with marriage. Parents invest for daughter’s wedding day not necessarily for her future.

Women are taught to take the entire household’s responsibility since childhood. For them, this hesitation to talk about money extends beyond family and friends.

Even the commercials revolve around the women of the house. From mosquito repellents to hand wash and toothpaste, it seems only the woman’s concern. The man is portrayed as someone who earns and buys life insurance for his wife to achieve the goals, he had set while he was alive.

Health insurance companies consider women a higher risk than men because they are more likely to have chronic health conditions. They tend to visit the doctor more frequently, live longer and have babies.

Women generally have a tendency to procrastinate when it comes to making financial decisions. They are so busy juggling home and office, they tend to forget themselves.

There are only a handful of social welfare schemes for women in India, mostly associated with maternity benefits. When it comes to private healthcare services, women sometimes have to pay more.

See the irony, women in India earn 25 percent less than men. According to a recent Monster Survey, the gender pay gap is the highest in manufacturing. Followed by IT, Banking & Financial and Education & Research sector.

Despite the odds, women from all walks of life multitask all the time. Unfortunately, they are not very cautious of their health. Increasing heart-related diseases, gestational diabetes, cancer, reproductive health, depression are just some of the reasons why women in India need to opt for health insurance at the earliest. With pollution, adulteration, and lifestyle diseases showing an upward trend, infertility treatments have become quite common, putting a dent in any family’s financial health.

Health insurance planning cannot be ignored and should be done as early as possible. Healthcare needs are the same for working as well as non-working females. But the reality is just the opposite.

“Individual health plans are not popular among females. Women are mostly covered in family floaters in policies held by husbands. As a rarity, divorced or single mothers go for individual medical plans,” says Vinay Taluja, ‎EVP & National Head, Landmark Insurance.

Normally, floater policies allow coverage for dependent children till the age of 21. If the woman decides to work, she gets an insurance coverage from her respective company. But if she stays at home till she finds a suitable match, her parents leave the health expenses on the future husband.

When it comes to premiums, it’s not surprising that women have to shell out more for the same sum insured. “Women have greater longevity and are at a higher risk. Health insurance companies calculate the premium on the basis of their past claim settlement ratios. Recently, all the insurance companies’ premium rates have risen 20% due to recurrence of claims” says Poonam Rungta, Financial Expert and CEO, LJ Business School.

See the Illustration below for Online Health Insurance plans.

Why women need to buy insurance more than men

*Sum Insured in Cigna TTK Health Insurance- PROHEALTH PLUS SB02 policy INR 5.5 Lakh

Source: Policy Bazaar

Talking about life insurance, companies are not that keen on selling policies to home-makers and self-employed females. For insurers, the risk of the individual is derived through the human life value (HLV) concept, in terms of financial obligation.

“The risk attached to the family’s bread earner is the maximum. The HLV of the bread earner is a declining graph, as the age increases, it becomes zero by the time he reaches retirement. The financial contribution towards his family is minimum. Hence, a sum is to be paid towards his risk cover in the form of premium,” says Poonam Rungta.

Life insurance is directly related to the age and income of the policyholder. Making it unlikely for a home-maker to get one. “A housewife has comparatively low human life value in terms of financial contribution to her family. As a financial planner, I do not recommend high sum assured plans like term cover for her. If the housewife does not have an income of her own, insurance will be granted as per minimum allowed by IRDA or equal to the husband’s insurance. A conventional plan with long term is the ideal choice for housewives, which will fulfill retirement needs,” suggests Poonam Rungta.

But a woman’s death is far more than a financial loss for the family. The absence of the female member may result in a void that may not be easy to fill. The husband may have to allocate separate funds for house help, tutor, daycare, etc. In case he gets married for the second time, he will have to incur some more expenses.

“Not many females come up and buy life insurance for themselves. Females whether earning or not, both have a notional human life value,” feels Vinay Saluja.

In fact, premium rates for females are two years lesser as compared to males due to a lower mortality rate. See the illustration below:

Why women need to buy insurance more than men

The problem is not just with the awareness levels but also the way we have been brought up. Piya (name changed), IT Professional and mother of a four-year-old, says she never thought of buying life insurance while she was working. She’s now on a sabbatical. Although, she has health insurance which includes the nuclear family.

“Women don’t really participate when it comes to money matters. They leave everything to the husband. Even the insurance companies portray men as the breadwinner in all their advertisements,” she laments.

Garima (name changed), Associate Professor with a private university, is single and thinks every woman should buy life insurance for herself. “Insurance has nothing to do with your marital status. If you are earning, you should opt for term plans. Even the health policies provided by employers are not tailor-made. Relying only on group plans can be harmful at times, better to go for individual medical plans as per your need,” she feels.

Women need to focus on themselves before the alarm bell rings because they run the family in many ways. Women’s health issues are different as compared to men’s and need special attention. But sadly, very few women give importance to their own health. For the majority of their lives, they remain ignored, dependent, or busy playing hide and seek between home and office.

Travel and Pregnancy: To do or not to do?

share travel and pregnancy don’t really go hand-in-hand. Pregnant women refrain from traveling, but here’s the thing: they don’t always have to! Whether it is traveling for work or for leisure, pregnancy can make you dicey about the whole trip.

However, if you want to combine travel with pregnancy, you need to know about these 11 basics:

1. Can you travel?
The first thing you should clear out is whether or not you can travel. If there is any medical complication, your doctor may not allow you to travel at all, forget high-altitude flights! Some airlines even need a medical confirmation; because running into labor at 30,000 feet above the ground is a scary scenario!

If you get a go-ahead from your doctor, the chances of medical emergencies are higher during the first and third trimesters. So, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, between 14 and 28 weeks is the best time!

2. Hydrate yourself
The thumb rule here is – carry a minimum of 3 liters of stored water for a 24-hour flight. During pregnancy, you consume for two. However, higher altitudes and low cabin pressure can dehydrate your body. This can be compensated by drinking more water.

3. Take the aisle seats!
Good hydration leads to frequent urination. So, for the comfort of your co-passengers, choose an aisle seat. This also gives you more opportunity to stretch freely. It is very important for pregnant women to stretch their legs and back regularly.

4. Compression socks
Your blood flow is rather unstable during pregnancy. Flights and long travels can make this worse, leading to body ache. Compression socks are a no-drug way to smoothen blood circulation.
Restless leg syndrome, another common ailment among expecting mothers, can be dealt away with compression socks too.

5. Carry less!
You shouldn’t expect a glamorous vacation. You may need to repeat outfits, or at the best, color coordinate within the limited options. As for toiletries, you should be able to buy them at your destination.

6. Expect nausea
Pregnancy brings nausea along for most women. There are medications that can help relieve the symptoms. Alternatively, you can go for mint tea or ginger candies. You may feel repelled by strong deodorants and perfumes, but essential oils can have the exact opposite effect. Keep these quick fixes in your carry-on, along with your other important documents.

7. Keep your inflight food simple
Salty food leads to fluid retention. Pregnant women often complain of uncomfortable swellings in their ankles and feet. The excess fluid retained (Thanks to the salt!) has the full potential to make the bloating worse. Your taste buds may also experience increased sensitivity. In that case, it is best to pre-book vegetarian meals. If they aren’t available, bring your own home-cooked nutritious food.

8. Inform your airline
Some women don’t show early. There are cases wherein the obvious “baby bump” was missing throughout. So, don’t leave your pregnancy for others to notice and assume. Inform the airline in advance. Also, make sure you have all the needed medical documents, which can support your claim on a special treatment if need be.

9. Check for vaccinations
Before your journey, you may be asked to get a few vaccines. Unless it is a regular flu shot or Tdap, this requirement should be taken as a red flag. Pre-vaccination is only necessary for heavily infested places. Pregnancy means increased vulnerability, and at the same time, increased responsibility. So, why risk your baby as well as your own health?

10. Sea bands
In case, you have planned a cruise ahead, do consult your doctor. They can prescribe precautionary medication for seasickness, like Dimenhydrinate or Diphenhydramine. However, if you want a drug-free option, go for a sea-band.
Sea bands work on the principles of acupressure. They apply optimum pressure around your wrist, which effectively combats nausea.

11. Avoid these common ailments
You may pull a ligament or two if you try lifting heavy luggage. You should ask the airport staff for help.
Jetlag shouldn’t be ignored either! Get enough sleep after you’ve landed. Also, coffee may have served you well during jetlag for all these years, but caffeine is a no-go during pregnancy! You may need to befriend green tea or healthier pro-biotics.

Last but definitely not least, don’t hesitate in asking for help. Traveling is stressful and with a little life fostering inside you, it is naturally more uneasy. Reach out to the people around you. Most importantly, accept that your womb will get you a lot more attention than usual. However, this can be used to your benefit.

Always remember: Pregnancy, despite being stressful, is a memorable journey. Traveling on its own! Thus, while you have already set foot in this impeccable journey, we recommend you consult your gynecologist before planning your travel. At any given point in time, your travel shouldn’t make things complicated. If you want to know the basic rights for pregnant women in India, read this.

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