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Insurance policies for spouse maintenance

The role of insurance is to safeguard individual interest and, in turn, society as a whole. Insurance offers peace of mind, as it meets the needs of persons during contingencies. There are various types of insurance policies for special needs like education, marriage, health other than the regular life insurance, theft insurance and insurance for natural calamities, viz., fire, flood, tsunami, earthquake, etc.

In the present-day scenario, as marriage poses a great ‘risk’ for both the spouses, not to mention the concept of ‘living together’, insurance companies could introduce a policy for spouse maintenance in case of matrimonial disputes. Currently, maintenance or alimony is provided only to the spouse. Insurance cover could be provided to enable children provide maintenance to their parents, when parents seek redress under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

Tax benefits

The government could also provide tax benefit for such policies as is being done for other insurance policies. Now that marriages have to be compulsorily registered as per the Registration of Marriages Act, spouses could opt for an insurance policy for ‘spouse maintenance’ at the time of registering the marriage, and avail themselves of tax benefits. It could be a money back policy if they continue to live together as husband and wife for a minimum period of seven years without any matrimonial dispute. The denial of the factum of marriage by the husband would not disentitle the wife to get maintenance pendente lite (while the lawsuit is pending; or contingent on the outcome of the legal action or litigation) till the same is finally decided. The husband can also claim maintenance as per Section 24 of the Hindu Marriages Act. In such cases, the Spouse Maintenance insurance policy will be a boon.

Courts find it difficult to fix the quantum of maintenance. The various factors to be considered are the status of the parties, the earning capacity of the spouse, etc. A practical difficulty faced by the courts is recovery of the maintenance amount. To recover it, too many hurdles have to be crossed even if the amount is small. In order to avoid this delay, as soon as a petition is filed for maintenance, a notice with all the necessary documents should be sent to the insurance company concerned for the claim and, on verification of the same, the amount may be released.

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act of 2007 came into effect in Tamil Nadu on September 29, 2008 but so far no effort has been made to constitute a tribunal to enable the senior citizens/parents seek redress as visualised by the Act.

In case of parents who have children, own or adopted, it is the duty/obligation of the children to maintain them. An insurance policy that offers maintenance coverage would provide the spouse or children on whom the responsibility rests to sit back peacefully and relax, leaving the insurance company to pay on their behalf. Society would also see a change in the concept of marriage and the values of raising a family, which not only gives a man and woman the status of husband and wife but also brings added human values.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 2:58:55 AM |

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