HDFC Life Insurance Company Review

HDFC Life Insurance Company provides comprehensive plans to Indian residents

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HDFC Life

HDFC Life

Our Take

The HDFC Life Insurance Company is a large insurer based in Mumbai, India. Catering particularly to residents of India, it does have some options for non-resident Indians (NRIs). HDFC sells a huge range of policies, with dozens of different plans and multiple optional riders. Many of the plans are very different from life insurance policies in the U.S., so they tend to be best for those who live and work in India rather than those who relocated to another country. 

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Online quotes available for most policies

  • Wide range of plan options

  • Additional discounts available

Cons
  • Limited options for non-residents

  • Policies are very different than plans sold in the U.S. plans

  • Information is difficult to find

Key Takeaways
  • HDFC Life Insurance Company was founded in 2000.
  • Based in Mumbai, India, it sells individual life insurance, group life coverage, retirement products, and healthcare policies to Indian residents and some non-resident Indians.
  • Other U.S. residents are ineligible for coverage.
  • It has 25 individual life insurance plans and multiple optional riders.
  • Most policies are sold through agents, but there are some plans that can be purchased entirely online.
Company Overview

The HDFC Life Insurance Company is a joint venture between HDFC Limited, an India-based housing finance company, and Standard Life Aberdeen, a global investment institution. 

The company was created to address an unmet need in India. Less than 3% of India’s population has life insurance protection. To address that issue, HDFC sells a range of life insurance products, health plans, and retirement options. Only Indian residents and select non-resident Indians (NRIs) are eligible for coverage from HDFC. 

The HDFC Life Insurance Company has expanded throughout India. In September 2021, HDFC Life Insurance acquired Exide Industries’ life insurance business for 67 billion rupees, the equivalent of $915 million.  

Today, HDFC has 390 branches throughout India, and its headquarters is in Mumbai, India.

  • Year Founded 2000
  • Kinds of Plans Term life, child life, savings and investment plans, Shaurya plans, ULIP, rural and social plans
  • Number of Plans 25
  • Payment Plan Options Monthly
  • Customer Service Online, phone, insurance agent
  • Phone 1-800-266-9777
  • Official Website www.HDFCLife.com

The HDFC Life Insurance Company is not one of our top-rated life insurance companies. You can review our list of the best life insurance companies for what we think are better options.

Pros Explained

  • Online quotes available for most policies: With HDFC, you don’t have to go through an agent to get an estimate of your premiums; you can use the company’s plan calculators to get an idea of your rates. 
  • Wide range of plan options: While many insurance companies have just a handful of life insurance plans, the HDFC Life Insurance Company has 25 individual policies. Some plans are specifically designed for certain audiences, such as women or individuals living in rural areas, so you can find a plan that suits your needs. 
  • Additional discounts available: On some plans, customers can qualify for special discounts. For example, individuals that have been policyholders for several years can qualify for a loyalty discount, reducing the cost of their premiums.

Cons Explained

  • Limited policy options for non-residents: HDFC caters to Indian residents. While it does sell some policies to NRIs, the options are limited, and policies aren’t available to people who aren’t Indian citizens. 
  • Policies are very different than plans sold in the U.S.: If you’re used to U.S.-based life insurance companies, you may find HDFC’s policies confusing; they work differently than U.S. plans. For example, child plans are designed to provide money to the child when they reach certain milestones, such as earning a degree or starting a new job. 
  • Information is difficult to find: With so many different life insurance options, the HDFC Life Insurance Company is massive. It can be difficult to navigate, and we found many broken links as we were doing our research. If you cannot find the information on HDFC’s website, you’ll have to contact customer service or an insurance agent for details. 

Available Plans

HDFC Life Insurance Company sells a wide range of products. It has 25 individual life insurance policies. However, most plans are only for Indian citizens and residents. Non-resident Indians, meaning Indian citizens living and working in another country, can qualify for just a few of the available plans. 

Because Indian life insurance policies can be very different than life insurance policies in the United States, here is an overview of the insurance types available from HDFC Life: 

Child

Child insurance plans from HDFC aren’t just to provide coverage in case the child dies; they can also provide money for the child’s education. Depending on the plan you choose, you can start withdrawing money from the account after five years of paying your premiums. Your policy may also have a cash value that is invested for potential growth. 

Combo

Combo plans combine whole life coverage with lifelong income. You can get a plan that covers you until you turn 100, and you can get regular income in the form of cash bonuses from the first year onward. 

Point of Sale (POS) Plans

A POS plan is available for purchase online and doesn’t require a medical exam. With this coverage option, you can choose to make payments for five to seven years, and the death benefit is guaranteed to be at least 10 times the annualized/single premium. POS plans from HDFC have a maturity benefit as well as a death benefit, so you can get a lump sum once the plan meets its maturity date. 

Savings

A savings plan has a cash value component that is saved rather than invested. These plans give you guaranteed returns at regular intervals throughout your policy’s term, or you can opt for a lump sum payment. 

Term Life

HDFC’s term life policies are similar to term insurance sold in the U.S. The most cost-effective insurance option, term life plans give you coverage for a predetermined length of time. If you die during that term, your beneficiaries receive a death benefit. If you survive your policy’s term, there is no payout. 

Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIP)

ULIPs are insurance policies that are tied to the performance of Indian stock exchanges, such as the National Stock Exchange of India Limited. There are multiple investment options to choose from, and you can make withdrawals to meet emergency expenses. 

Available Riders

Like many insurance companies in the U.S., the HDFC Life Insurance company has optional insurance riders that you can add to your policy at an additional cost. You can use riders to purchase additional coverage, access your death benefit to pay for expenses while you’re living, or waive your premiums if you become disabled. 

Accidental Death

If you are killed in a covered accident, HDFC will pay you an additional benefit if you have this rider on your policy. 

Accidental Disability

If you are partially or permanently disabled, you can use this rider to get a lump sum payment while you’re living. 

Critical Illness Coverage

If you add the critical illness coverage rider to your plan, it acts as an income replacement if you become critically ill. The amount received can help cover some of your living expenses and medical bills. 

Income Rider

With the income rider, you’ll receive a monthly income payment for 10 years that is equal to a percentage of your rider total.

Premium Waiver

With the premium waiver rider, the company will waive future premiums if you cannot pay them due to an accidental disability or critical illness. 

Protect Plus

The Protect Plus rider provides three benefits: personal accident coverage, accidental death coverage, and cancer coverage. With all three, you or your beneficiaries will receive a monthly income for 10 years. 

Term Rider

With the term rider, you will receive a monthly income payment if a covered person dies within a designated period of time. 

Customer Service

With most HDFC policies, you must contact an agent or call the company directly. However, there are some policies for NRIs that can be purchased entirely online. 

To buy a policy, you have to present the following documents: 

  • Photocopy of valid passport
  • Copy of permanent account number (PAN) or Form 60 in the absence of PAN
  • Proof of NRI status, such as a valid visa or work permit
  • Proof of address, such as a lease or utility bill

For NRIs, all copies of these documents must be verified by a notary public, court magistrate, judge, Indian Embassy/Consulate General, branches of overseas banks with whom Indian banks have relationships, or authorized officials of overseas branches of Scheduled Commercial Banks in India.

The HDFC Life Insurance has a massive website with educational tools, resources, and policy brochures. However, we found that it had many broken links and error messages as we tried to get information about some policy options and eligibility criteria, which may be frustrating for customers looking to buy coverage. 

You can find a local HDFC office with the branch locator tool. Or, NRIs can call +91-8916613503 or email buyonline@hdfclife.in. 

Complaint Index

The HDFC Life Insurance Company doesn’t sell policies within the United States, so the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) did not issue it a complaint ratio. 

Third-Party Ratings

As an insurer for Indian residents, HDFC hasn’t been evaluated by AM Best, the credit rating agency that rates U.S. insurers. It also wasn’t included in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study since the researchers only looked at companies based in the U.S.

However, customers have generally left favorable reviews about the company. On PolicyBazaar—an insurance aggregator for Indian insurers—the HDFC has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 based on over 140 customer reviews as of September 6, 2021. 

S&P Global assigned a “BBB” long-term financial strength rating to HDFC. It’s the fifth Indian company to be rated higher than the sovereign rating of India. 

Cancellation Policy

In the U.S., customers usually have a 10-day "free look" period to review their policies and cancel them without penalty. 

For HDFC, the free look period is 15 days. However, policies purchased online or over the phone are subject to a 30-day free look period. Once the free look period ends, policies typically have a cancellation fee. For details, contact HDFC or your insurance agent. 

Price

With all of its policies, HDFC offers rate tools you can use to estimate your premium costs. If you are a policyholder and make all of your premium payments by their due dates, you may also qualify for loyalty discounts. 

As with other companies, HDFC requires you to select either “male” or “female” when getting a quote for a policy or submitting a life insurance application.  As HDFIC  is an Indian company, it may have different guidelines and restrictions than U.S.-based companies for nonbinary individuals

Competition

If you are not an Indian citizen, you aren’t eligible for HDFC’s policies and you are likely better off with a company that is based in the U.S., such as Northwestern Mutual. 

Northwestern Mutual is the largest individual life insurance company in the country based on direct premiums written. It has 12 different policy options, including term, whole life, universal, and variable universal policies. Northwestern Mutual also has an excellent reputation for customer service. It was ranked fourth out of 23 companies in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, and it received fewer complaints than expected for its size.

  HDFC Northwestern Mutual
Market Share Not applicable Largest in the U.S., 8.4%
Number of Plans  25 12 
Dividends for 2020  Not applicable  $6.2 billion 
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives  Not applicable  Not applicable
Service Method  Agents, phone, online  Agents and advisors
AM Best Rating  Not applicable  A++ (Superior) 
Complaints Trend  Not applicable  0.05
Final Verdict

For Indian residents and eligible NRIs, the HDFC Life Insurance Company has dozens of plans that may fit your needs. Plus, you can use optional riders to further customize your coverage. However, those who aren’t Indian citizens aren’t eligible for coverage, and its policies may not be what you’re used to seeing in the U.S. If you are living in the U.S., a company that is based here may have plans that better suit your financial situation and future goals.

How We Review Life Insurance Companies

Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative methodology that analyzes each insurer on their stability and reliability, customer service, claims experience, diversity of product lines, and cost. We compare the terms of each type of policy offered—including available coverage amounts, optional riders, and premium payment options—with those of other major life insurance companies. Lastly, we look at how the company is rated by third-party organizations to determine its reliability and overall reputation. 

Article Sources

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  1. Reuters. "India's HDFC Life Bulks Up With $915 mln Acquisition." Accessed September 6, 2021. 

  2. PolicyBazaar. "HDFC Life Insurance." Accessed September 6, 2021. 

  3. Business Superbrands Council. "HDFC Life," Page 2. Accessed September 6, 2021.