Pink products looking pale

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 07, 2012 18:52 hrs

The past few years have seen banks and insurance companies launching several ‘pink’ products. However, on a closer look, many seem just ‘cosmetic’. No wonder, experts are not bandying about these products. We give a lowdown on a few:

Insurance: Most insurance companies offer lower-premium rates and mortality charges for women, compared to those for men. The norms are simpler as well.

Life Insurance Corpora-tion (LIC) claims its Jeevan Bharti policy for women is among the most popular. It provides cover for accident, critical illness and congenital disability — structured in as optional riders. This is keeping in mind women-specific requirements, such as encashment of survival benefit, advance premium flexibility, the option to take annuity from maturity proceeds and auto cover.

Bajaj Allianz’s Women Critical Illness Plan aims to cover critical illnesses, such as breast cancer, uterine/cervical cancer and ovarian cancer, among others, giving a one-time lump sum on detection of any.

“These are unique to women and not covered by other general insurance policies,” says Renuka Kanvinde, senior manager, health administration team, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.

However, do keep in mind, these products cover ailments endemic to women only. So, if you are diagnosed with something not covered, these will not suffice. For instance, the critical illness plan does not cover cardiac conditions or cancers, such as that of the throat. So, for any product that you choose, read the fine print carefully. You would not want to end up with an insurance policy that does not cover an illness you have.

Bottom line: Remember to read the fine print before purchasing a policy.

Savings bank accounts: Many banks have savings accounts — just for women. These include ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, South Indian Bank, Corporation Bank and Karur Vysya Bank.

These savings bank accounts offer the same interest rates as regular ones and the other features are almost identical, too. However, you may just be getting a slightly higher discount on swiping your debit cards. For example, the only major benefit on the women's savings account offered by ICICI Bank is that you can maintain a recurring deposit of Rs 2,000 and get a free zero-balance savings account.

Bottom line:The offer doesn’t make a substantial difference to your finances.

Credit cards: Certain banks have credit cards for women only. Take a look at HDFC Bank’s Woman’s Gold Credit Card.

The difference between this and the bank’s regular Gold Credit Card is the choice of redemptions. In the women’s card, you can redeem your points for electronic appliances, such as microwaves, at shopping outlets.

However, you cannot avail of an add-on card. This is where the difference ends. Else, it’s just like any other normal credit card.

Bottom line:You could do without it as well.

Certified financial planner, Gaurav Mashruwala, says even if you have a specific purpose in your mind for purchasing these products, it would be advisable to go for the regular one.

“A savings bank account cannot give you additional features to what the Reserve Bank India has stipulated. Therefore, you will not find much difference between a savings bank account for a woman and an ordinary one. The same holds true for credit cards, except, maybe, you could get to redeem points at a few more outlets. Therefore, these special products make sense only in one-off cases, where the needs of a client may not get addressed by the wide range of existing financial products,” he says.

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