Offline Vs Online Term Insurance Plan – Which is better option?

Offline Vs Online Term Insurance PlansOffline Vs Online Term Insurance Plan – Which is better option?

One of the primary step in financial planning is taking life insurance plan. Among life insurance, Term Insurance Plan is the best way to secure your family life which comes with low premiums and high risk coverage. You might be aware that there are two modes of buying term insurance i.e. offline and online term insurance plan. I am seeing several discussions in various investor forums on offline vs online term insurance plan. In this article, I would detail about offline vs online term insurance plan and which one should you opt for.


What is a Term insurance plan in India?

If you are aware of it, you can skip this section.

  • Term insurance plans are designed for risk coverage only. In case of death, the sum assured is paid to the nominee. Zero maturity amount. Tax benefits u/s 80C for the premiums paid. Premium depends on age, the sum assured, life style (smoker/non-smoker) and any premium discounts for high sum assured etc.
  • There are two modes to buy term insurance plan in India. Offline mode and online mode. Online mode of term insurance has become popular due to several positive factors.

Also Read: Which are the Good Term Insurance Plans in India?

Offline Vs Online Term Insurance Plan – Which is better option?

Let see some of the major influential factors to buy from these two modes of term insurance plans.

1) Cost of Term Insurance Plan

Online term insurance plans are cheaper by 30% to 50% compared to offline term insurance plans. Since an individual directly visits life insurance company website online and buys term insurance plans, there are no agent costs / intermediary costs, hence they come with less premiums. On the other hand, for offline term insurance plans, these are sold by agents. Commission to be paid to agents / intermediaries, hence offline term insurance plan comes with high premiums. Since mortaility risk (unknown risks or hidden risks) are almost zero as they are known upfront while buying term plan through website, online term insurance plans comes with lesser premiums.

I brought LIC offine term insurance plan few years back. Same plan with LIC now available at Rs 10,000 yearly premium with similar risk coverage. However last year I took ICICI Pru Term Insurance plan online which costed me Rs 14,000 per annum for Rs 50 Lakhs. What I am saying here is an offline plan comes with high costs, online plans come with less premiums.

2) Disclosure of facts

In online plans, individual need to fill all relevant details. He/She knows the facts. Hence online plan comes with complete disclosure of facts and term plan is given. On the other hand, in offline plans, individuals could be negligent and depend on agents to fill the form. Any non disclosure of facts by agents in the policy could lead to rejection of claim at later point of time. New IRDA guidelines indicate that after 2 years of policy, no insurance company can reject claim indicating non disclosure of facts. However, risk is still there.

I have Asthma. when I approached LIC for taking life insurance last year, I have been indicated by agent that I should not disclose this, else term insurance plan would be rejected. I have approached ICICI Term Insurance Plan through their website for online plan and disclosed this in policy offer document. My policy was approved and ICICI Term insurance policy annexure document clearly indicates that I have Asthma. Why I should hide something from insurance company?

3) High sum assured at low costs

Online term insurance plan offers  a high sum assured as it comes with low costs and zero mortality risk. Online Term insurance plans come from Rs 5 Lakhs to Rs 5 Crores and beyond. On the other hand, Offline term insurance plans, though offers a high sum assured, in reality, individuals would take only for less sum assured as it comes with very high premiums.

4) Claim Settlement Ratio

Have you ever observed that when you plan to buy online term insurance, the first page what you see is claim settlement ratio. You would try to understand what claim settlement ratio is and then apply for high claim settlement ratio company term insurance plans. On the other hand in offline plans, you are relying on agent to decide your fate and they would choose a term insurance plan where he/she would get high commissions. I am not critizing agents here. But I don’t think any agent would explain to customers about the claim settlement ratio in offline term insurance plans.

I wanted to buy term insurance plan last year. I thought I would act like a normal individual and approached an insurance aggregator who was providing comparison of life insurance plans. The suggestion I received was to buy a life insurance plan for Rs 25,000+ premium for Rs 50 Lakhs risk coverage. Insurance company claims settlement ratio was below 75%. I asked why I should not buy ICICI Pru term plan or HDFC Term plan or SBI Term plan which was coming with 40% lesser premium and also claim settlement ratio is in Top-5. I have not received any call from them there after that 🙂

5) Flexibility in applying a term insurance plan

Online term insurance plans are more flexible than offline plan. Once you do your homework, just visit insurance company website, pay a premium and you would get your policy document to your home address unless you have any major disease where such insurance company would ask for clarifications. Most of the companies are exempting medical tests if you take Rs 50 Lakhs or below term insurance plan. You can pay premiums online every year. On the other hand, in offline term insurance, you need to do some visits to insurance company. Even you may need to get medical tests done even for low sum assured. Online term insurance plans score high in terms of flexibility.

Also Read: Complete review of HDFC Click 2 Protect Plus Term Insurance Plan

6) Rider Benefits in Term Plans

One of the biggest drawbacks of online term insurance plan is, it comes only with death coverage + accidental death coverage (with additional premiums). However, for offline plans, there are some rider benefits available if you can pay additional premiums. Permanent disability, partial disability, Critical Illness Ridder benefits are available in offline mode.

Conclusion: If you observe about offline vs online term insurance plans comparison, it clearly indicates that one can go for online term insurance plans. Low Premiums, disclosure of facts through online, high sum assured with less costs, flexibility in applying are major positive factors for Online Term Insurance Plans.

Readers, what are your views about Online Vs Offline term insurance plan? Do you agree with my views or you have different opinion about it.

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Offline Vs Online Term Insurance Plan – Which is better option


  • Dhawal Sharma

    As an agent myself, I strongly disagree with the first point itself. You assumption could have been correct if the agent’s commission on TERM POLICY (Or any policy for that matter) is NOT the same throughout the term of the policy. As an agent of Kotak Life insurance, I get 24% commission on TERM PLAN in first year..but from Second year, the commission is 5% for rest of the tenure of the policy. So your argument that Agent’s commission is the 1st reason for premium difference is wrong. In first year, this reason might hold true but what of the subsequent commissions ?? Where is the difference (24% – 5%) going ?? This reason has absolutely no basis or ground. Online TERM PLANs are only meant to catch the so-called urban, educated people, thats it..Otherwise, do you think this thing making sense that URBAN – Educated people paying LESS premium through ONLINE mode, and poor, rural (or tier-2, tier-3) people paying MORE premium ??

    • Hi Dhawal, Do you mean that a semi-urban and rural person cannot apply online term plan? Come-on. Offline policies are costlier, please accept the fact. I do not know exactly how much insurance you would get from offline policies year on year.

      • Dhawal Sharma

        Hi suresh..First of all, you must have noticed that ONLINE policies and companies (Including my own company – KOTAK) are available only in selected cities, and not PAN india – every city and town..Hope you will agree with me..I accept the fact that OFFLINE are a bit more costly but is it the real picture ??? How come the companies with the CHEAPEST online premium are the ones with the lowest CLAIM settlement ratio ?? for eg: Aegon Religare, Edelweiss Tokio, India First..Come-on, you too can smell the rat 😉

        • Dhawal, If you observe my blog, this is what I tell investors. One should not consider low premium policies, but high claim settlement ratio company for term insurance plans. Looks you are not seeing my articles on how I am educating investors.

  • Raaghav

    Hi Suresh,
    I am looking to purchase 1cr term insurance policy but i am scared to buy because of the medical tests involved.
    I am a smoker which i will disclose, will the insurance provider reject my application if my chest x ray shows any abnormality?
    I have been delaying it for almost 2 yrs for the same reason 🙁
    Premium is going up year on year 🙂

    • Hi Raaghav, There are high chances that it gets rejected unless you disclose the facts. There are many companies who are issuing insurance plans even for smokers. Try with private life insurance companies.

  • Myra

    Extremely informative. I had absolutely no idea that there are so many little details, but after going through the article i feel that i too know something.Investing in anything requires a lot of thought and research too so that your money is safe and provides great returns also. I have recently bought tata aia life’s money back Insurance plan, this plan gives you the flexibility to choose from various term options to meet your financial commitments with the advantage of paying for only half the term. 

  • Mubarak

    Hi suresh,

    Iam having LIC jeevan anand policy SA 10 lacs for tenure of 16 yrs. I have taken this policy in 2008, and recently i have taken loan of 3 lacs from this policy, I need your suggestion whether its a good idea to surrender this policy now, because it became burden to me as iam paying 1 lac premium per annum including loan interest.If i close this policy i can invest this amount in mutual funds or real estate so that i may get good returns compare to what i will get after mature of this policy And also iam having term Insurance 50 lacs (HDFC click 2 protect) Iam planning to take LIC or ICICI term plan. Please suggest me.


    Mubarak Shaik

    • Hi Mubaraj, First consider taking term insurance plan and then surrender your existing money back policies. This way you would not loose risk cover during shifting of plans.

      • Mubarak

        hi suresh ji,
        Thank you very much for your reply. Please suggest me term insurance plans which are coming with riders like accidental death benefit , permanent disability, critical illness , premium waiver off all in one plan. i have searched but i didn’t got one.

        Mubarak shaik

  • NK

    Hi Suresh,

    Thanks for the article. One of my friend’s had applied for online term plan in one of top 5 insurance companies. He has been facing unnecessary delays in issuing the policy even though he has submitted all the documents. Can you please comment on the actual experience people had in getting an online term plan.


    • Hi NK, Except for LIC, till now I have not heard about any delays in issuing term insurance document for online plans in top 5 companies. Which insurance company term plan he has applied ?

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