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Critical Illness Insurance

Health Insurance

Critical Illness

With changing times, the complexities of our lifestyles keep increasing and so does our likelihood of being chronically ill. In such a state, investing in an adequate health cover, for you to fall back on when exposed to medical emergencies, is what you must do.

Chronic health conditions such as stroke, paralysis, kidney failure or some major organ transplant are often not included in basic health plans, which is where a critical illness plan comes into picture. Critical illnesses are serious health issues that can have a debilitating effect on an individual’s lifestyle, leave you financially strained, and also lead to permanent damage at times.

How is it different from traditional health insurance cover?

While being a health insurance product, Critical Illness is quite different from your traditional health insurance plans. Many are not clear about the distinct purpose of these two policy types, and end up depending on their comprehensive health insurance covers, only to find themselves in a fix later on.

Coverage Provided

A standard Health Insurance Plan is tailored to cover all the medical expenses right from hospitalization and the treatments that follow to recovering at home, after discharge. Pre and post hospitalization expenses, domiciliary hospitalization, maternity benefits, daycare treatments are some of the basic coverage provided by it.

A Critical Illness Cover, on the other hand, acts as a serious illness cover, offering a lump sum benefit for a specified list of illnesses.

Benefit structure

Being indemnity plans, many Health insurance Plans pay you the actual expenditure amount, post submission of the medical records and relevant bills. You receive the cost incurred based on the maximum Sum Insured, by your health insurance provider. In comparison, Critical Illness Covers are generally fixed benefit plans which pay out the Sum Insured when you are diagnosed with any of the covered illnesses. Unlike health plans, you can utilize the money received howsoever needed - be it to obtain the best treatment or pay off your liabilities.


Owing to the exhaustive coverage that it offers, premium charged for a standard Health Insurance Plan tends to be higher than a Critical Illness Plan. Owing to that, many find critical illness policies far more affordable than health plans.

Waiting Period

With the usual Health Insurance Plans, you may have to wait for the first 30 days after purchase, for your plan to actually cover you, except in case of accidents. As for the pre-existing diseases, the coverage generally begins after 1-4 years of continuous coverage with the insurer.

On the other hand, critical illness covers have a waiting period of 3 months from the date of policy inception. The cover ceases to exist, if the insurer dies within the first 30 days of the diagnosis of the ailment.

Why buy a Critical Illness Plan?

Life is unpredictable, and a Critical Illness Plan is your best stake against ailments that are life-threatening in nature. The percentage of people suffering from non-communicable chronic diseases in the country is constantly on the rise, and the cost of quality healthcare is going up as well. High medical bills, at that time, can add to the trauma of suffering and getting treated for a chronic disease.

However, with the best critical illness policy to back you up, you can receive extensive cover, even for long-term treatments with full compensation, given your Sum Insured is sufficient. Some other reasons to opt for critical illness insurance are: –

  • Cost of care and recuperation aid is covered
  • Freedom to use the lump sum amount any way you want
  • Hassle-free documentation
  • Easy claim settlement process
  • Tax Benefits under Section 80(D) of the Income Tax Act
  • Array of options for policy tenure, premium and Sum Insured
  • Coverage of pre-hospitalization expenses up to 30 before hospitalization
  • Free medical health checkups

Tips for buying critical illness cover

Consider your present familial state

It is always wise to consider your dependents when purchasing any type of health insurance product. If your family structure includes aging parents, a critical illness plan will act as a layer of added safety, protecting your against financial crisis in wake of unprecedented ailments such as stroke.

Bear in mind your health condition

Certain health condition and lifestyle habits act as a deciding factor whether or not you need a critical illness policy or not. People with a smoking/drinking habit or with a stressful work life are more prone to chronic ailments in the future. You also need to consider your family’s history of ailments and if any of those are hereditary.

Study your financial status

If you feel that you earn enough to manage certain expenses related to unprecedented ailments, you can always opt for a smaller amount of coverage. With inflation in the healthcare sector being inevitable, you need to give a thorough thought to your financial standing, and act accordingly.

Does it complement your health insurance policy?

If your Critical Illness Insurance is in symmetry with your Health Insurance Plan, you receive adequate coverage at an affordable price. A critical illness cover on top of your health insurance will keep you covered for chronic ailments, thus making your health insurance portfolio more secure and well-rounded in terms of coverage.

Moreover, undertaking a critical illness insurance comparison at the time of policy purchase will help you advance in this direction, and bring you maximum benefits.

Any Indian citizen between 18 to 65 years of age can avail Critical Illness Insurance. If you too belong to this age bracket and haven’t considered this option yet, it’s about time you should. Make a choice to safeguard your health and finances, while you still have time!

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