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About the 14-Day Free Look Period in Insurance Policies

In the world of insurance, the concept of a free look period holds immense significance for policyholders. This provision, typically found in life insurance policies and certain other types of insurance contracts, grants individuals a specific timeframe within which they can thoroughly examine their policy, weigh its merits, and make an informed decision about its suitability. During this period, policyholders are granted the freedom to either retain the policy or cancel it without facing any financial penalties or obligations.

In Singapore, insurance companies adhere to the practice of providing a generous “14-day free look period” to policyholders. This period commences from the moment the policyholder receives the policy document, marking the beginning of a crucial evaluation phase. It is during this time that policyholders are encouraged to meticulously review the terms, conditions, and coverage of their insurance policy, ensuring that it aligns with their unique needs and expectations.

Within the confines of this 14-day window, policyholders hold the power to terminate the policy if they discover that it fails to meet their requirements or preferences. The right to cancellation within the free look period is a significant privilege bestowed upon policyholders, affording them the freedom to reconsider their decision and explore alternative options if necessary. To initiate the cancellation process, it is essential for policyholders to notify the insurance company in writing about their intent. Once the company receives the cancellation notice, they are duty-bound to promptly terminate the policy and proceed with the necessary arrangements to provide an appropriate refund.

The refund issued during the cancellation process typically encompasses the premiums paid by the policyholder. It is expected that the insurance company processes this refund within a reasonable timeframe, ensuring that policyholders are promptly reimbursed for their financial contributions. This aspect of the free look period ensures that policyholders do not bear any financial burdens for a policy they choose to cancel.

It is crucial to recognize that the free look period serves as a protective measure for consumers, providing them with a valuable “cooling-off” period to assess their insurance policy in detail and ensure their satisfaction. During this period, policyholders are strongly advised to invest the necessary time and effort in comprehensively reviewing the policy’s terms, coverage details, and exclusions. This diligent scrutiny equips policyholders with the knowledge and confidence required to make an informed decision about whether to retain or cancel the policy.

Moving beyond the policyholder’s perspective, the importance of the free look period is also acknowledged and upheld by insurance regulations. Clause 8 of the insurance regulations in Singapore mandates the inclusion of a free look period in life policies and accident and health policies issued by licensed insurers. This regulatory provision establishes a standardized requirement, ensuring that policyholders are uniformly afforded certain rights and protections when entering into insurance contracts with durations of one year or more.

The regulations stipulate that every life policy or accident and health policy must incorporate a clause granting the policy owner a minimum of 14 days after receiving the policy to carefully scrutinize its terms and conditions. This stipulation recognizes the significance of providing policyholders with adequate time to familiarize themselves with the policy’s provisions, enabling them to develop a clear understanding of the coverage, benefits, and limitations it offers.

In the event that a policy is terminated during the free look period, the regulations outline specific provisions to govern the process. Firstly, any amount paid by the policy owner in connection with the policy, including premiums or related expenses, is deemed recoverable from the insurer. This ensures that policyholders are entitled to a refund of the financial contributions made, safeguarding them against unnecessary financial burdens associated with a canceled policy.

Additionally, the regulations permit insurers to recover underwriting expenses incurred in relation to the policy. This provision acknowledges the legitimate costs incurred by insurers during the assessment and issuance of a policy. It strikes a balance between the policyholder’s right to a refund and the insurer’s need to recoup expenses related to the underwriting process.

It is worth noting that the regulations acknowledge the unique nature of investment-linked policies. In such cases, insurers may adjust the amount payable to the policy owner to reflect changes in the market value of the underlying assets. This provision ensures that policyholders are fairly compensated based on the prevailing value of their investments.

The inclusion of the free look period clause in life insurance policies and accident and health insurance policies serves as a crucial safeguard for policyholders. This period provides them with the necessary time and autonomy to evaluate their policies, consider their options, and make an informed decision about their insurance coverage. By incorporating this provision into insurance regulations, Singapore emphasizes its commitment to protecting policyholders’ interests, striking a balance between consumer rights and the legitimate needs of insurers.

Here are some tips for using the 14-day free look period

  • Read your policy carefully before you sign it. This will help you to understand what is covered and what is not.
  • Ask questions if you do not understand anything.
  • Take your time to make a decision. Do not feel pressured to buy the policy right away.
  • If you decide not to keep the policy, contact the insurance company within 14 days of receiving it.

If you are considering buying an insurance policy, it is important to be aware of the 14-day free look period. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you can cancel the policy if you are not happy with it.

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