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Life Insurance for NRIs in India 2024

Life insurance is as necessary as other basic requirements of life. Every person in India has at least one life insurance plan in his investment portfolio. It has become very common for NRIs to choose to buy life insurance coverage in India instead of buying it abroad.

You may wonder how this entire thing could work! Non-Resident Indians are indeed permitted to buy life cover in their home country and insurers can also issue life cover plans to NRI clients.

Life insurance can be purchased in both Indian and foreign currencies. There are insurance companies in India that provide the best life insurance plans in India for NRIs.

Why do NRIs Buy Life Insurance in India?

There could be several reasons for NRIs buying life insurance plans in India though they do not live in India. Here are a few reasons why Non-Resident Indians choose to have a life insurance plan in India:

  • Those who have temporarily moved to a foreign due to their job or higher studies choose to buy life insurance policies in India.
  • Since life insurance plans for NRIs can be easily bought in India, those who have plans to resettle in India after a certain period choose to buy insurance beforehand.
  • Those NRIs, who have their parents and other responsibilities in India, they also choose to buy insurance from Indian insurers.
  • Those NRIs, who have their nominees in India, also choose to buy life insurance cover in India. This would make it easier for the nominee to claim the insurance.

How to Buy Life Insurance for NRIs in India?

NRIs can buy NRI life cover plans from Indian insurers through written conversations with the insurer from abroad. In that case, you may need to spend some extra money to complete this process of purchasing the policy.

You might need to pay on your own for your health screening and spend some additional amount to send the original health reports and other original attested documents to the insurance company from abroad. If you would buy the insurance while you are in India, you do not have to pay for your health screening because it would be covered by the policy itself.

However, many insurance companies may insist on your presence while buying life insurance. It will be less complicated if you plan to buy insurance during your visit to India.

Things to Know Before Purchasing Life Insurance for NRIs

It is advisable to know about the insurers and their policies for NRI clients in depth before you choose to buy a life cover plan from abroad.

1. Types of Life Insurance Plans in India

There are several kinds of life cover plans available in India. Life insurance plans for NRIs are no different from that of residents of India. NRIs can also avail of all types of life insurance coverage. You may choose to buy a traditional life cover policy, Unit Linked Insurance Plan, or term insurance plan.

2. Premium Payment of NRI Life Cover Plan

It is up to the insurance company whether or not they will accept foreign currency. Some insurers may choose to take Indian currency only. If your policy is denominated in foreign currency you may pay your premiums in foreign currency from overseas or else via your FCNR/NRE account. If the insurer accepts Indian currency only, you may pay premiums via your NRO bank account.

3. Premium Rate

It is often thought that life insurance plans for NRIs cost higher premiums. But this is just a myth. Premiums to be contributed towards life insurance cover are the same for both Indian residents and non-resident Indians. However, if the NRI is living in a country where there is a higher risk of life, the premium can get higher for him.

4. Life Coverage

Life insurance plans for NRIs may allow limited coverage. If the health screening of the policy proposer is done in foreign, higher sum assurance may not be possible for the NRI. On the contrary, if the medical screening is held during your visit to India, the higher sum can be assured to avail greater life coverage.

5. Maturity and Death Benefits

Maturity and death benefits are repatriable provided the premiums are paid in foreign currency. The death benefit of life insurance plans for NRIs is payable, even if the death of the policy owner takes place outside India. However, if the premiums for the entire policy term are paid in Indian currency, these benefits are payable but not repatriable. Besides, if the insurance plan is bought before leaving the country, that, too, will not affect the maturity and death benefits. The portion of the premium paid in foreign currency will be repatriated.

6. Tax Benefits

In India, NRIs can also avail similar tax benefits. That means, an NRI can also save up to ₹1lakh and 50 thousand on life insurance under the norms of Sec 80C.

Read more: What is a Rider in Life Insurance: Types and Benefits

Important Tips Regarding Life Insurance for NRIs

  • Life insurance premiums can indeed be paid in foreign currency in India from abroad but many life insurance companies may not allow you to pay in foreign currency to avoid the currency risk.
  • Even if the insurance company denominates your insurance policy into foreign currency, premium rates may vary to deal with the currency risk.
  • If the insurance is denominated in foreign currency, you either need to pay premiums directly in foreign currency or via an NRE account.
  • If your insurance plan premiums can only be paid in Indian currency then you have to make payments via NRO accounts.
  • Regarding taxation, check for the tax rules in the country where you presently reside. You may or may not receive any tax benefit abroad.
  • Regarding insurance claims, it is recommended to go through the actual claim procedure of life insurance plans for NRIs to avoid any confusion. Here is a list of documents that are usually needed to claim NRI life insurance:
  • Original certificate of the insurance policy.
  • Original identity proof of the policy claimant.
  • Insurance holder’s original death certificate – Attestation of the death certificate by a high commission overseas or by the Indian Embassy is a must.

However, if the demise of the policy owner occurs during his visit to India, an attested death certificate may not be required. This may vary from one insurer to another.

Ajeet Sharma, the founder of Financegab and a well-known name in the field of financial blogging. Blogging since 2017, he has the expertise and excellent knowledge about personal finance. Financegab is all about personal finance which aims to create awareness among people about personal finance and help them to make smart, well-informed financial decisions.


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