Health insurance policyholders are allowed to switch their insurance company and port their policy to another company if they are not happy with their existing insurance company. This facility was introduced by IRDAI in 2011, however many policyholders are still not aware of this and hence not using this facility. As per a survey conducted by ET Wealth, 27.12% of the respondents were not aware of this feature.^
Porting is different from canceling or not renewing a policy with one company and buying from another. When you port a policy, you are essentially transferring your existing policy from one company to another, the benefit here is that you do not lose continuity benefits of pre-existing diseases i.e. If you have already completed two out of the four years of pre-existing disease waiting period with your existing company, when you port your policy you would be required to serve only the remaining two years and not again undergo a four-year waiting period. However, when you buy a fresh policy from another insurer you start from scratch with the various waiting periods.
According to IRDAI, a portability request needs to be made at least 45 days before the renewal date of the existing policy to provide sufficient time to the new insurance company to scrutinize the request. It may be noted that portability request can also be rejected by the new insurance company if it does not meet their underwriting guidelines or other terms and conditions of the company.