In India, it is mandatory that everyone driving a vehicle has their vehicle insured. The insurance will cover damage the person owning the vehicle causes to others, and to their own vehicles. There are a whole lot of variants of the policy structure, but we can leave those aside for another day. Driving without insurance is a crime and punishable, with a much higher penalty now than in the last so many years.
Most companies offer health insurance for all their employees and their families. For many smaller organisations which don’t have the employee count or the heft to negotiate a group health insurance, the state offers some protection through Employee State Insurance schemes.
Recently, the Government of India launched Health insurance schemes for everyone who wants to avail the scheme at very low costs.
Life insurance gets us tax rebates as well. There is home insurance, and general insurance. Doctors can insure themselves against malpractice. Shop owners can insure their stores against floods, fire, rioting and even terrorism. Buses are insured, cars are insured. Farmers can buy agriculture insurance and protect themselves from the vagaries of the nature. Pretty much any and everything is insurable except relationships. Think about it: Is there any company that you know of that insures against a heartbreak, a breakup or any of the other two hundred things that can go wrong with a relationship? Every day we hear jingles on the radio, popups on our internet pages, advertisements on TV and every other media that we access, calling out insurance policies - unit linked, single premium, life-time coverage, payback policies, education cover and what not, but have you ever heard any advertisements saying, “For monthly premium of Rupees Nine Hundred and Ninety-Nine, get insurance coverage of Rupees Twenty Lakhs for any breach of promise of monogamy!” or “One time premium of Rupees Fifteen Thousand covers divorce charges at any time, in case of a non-contested divorce, or a premium of Rupees Fifty Thousand to cover all kinds of divorces!” Nobody offers any such insurance policy to the best of my knowledge.
Are we so certain that relationships will work? When we cover against events such as lightning strikes that might happen for one in fifteen million people, why would we not want to cover against, say, divorces that happens close to one in five marriages? We do so many rituals and make so many promises at the start of many relationships, just to get some semblance of such an assurance. Does it mean we don’t want any insurance for relationships? Or, are the risks so great that no insurance company will cover it and risk themselves?
Only an actuarial at an insurance company might be able to answer that question and answer why there are no such products in the market, none that are advertised for the general population in any case. In the meantime, without insurance, all we have is the assurance we give to each other and hold ourselves to those promises.
As written for the New Indian Express
Ajanta, Mahesh and other InnerSight counsellors and guest contributors are happy to share their thoughts here.