All You Need to Know About Buying a Critical Illness Insurance Cover

On June 2,2021 Gujarati Midday a daily newspaper by Jagaran group has published my article on Critical Illness under Health Insurance. The article image is here for the ones who can read Gujarati and translation of the same in English is after the image for the readers, clients, friends and family.

While regular health insurance covers your medical and hospitalisation expenses, a critical illness cover pays out a good lump sum in the event that the policyholder is diagnosed with a serious disease such as cancer or paralysis, or needs bypass surgery or organ transplant. It is prudent to purchase such a critical illness cover over and above your health insurance. In fact, a number of life insurance plans have the option of availing an additional cover for critical illness at a small premium. The Payout from such a plan can help you meet treatment expenses, make the lifestyle changes required for recovery, or make up for income lost.
Generally the major diseases covered by Critical Illness Policies are – 
• Cancer
• Kidney failure which results in dialysis
• Aplastic Anaemia
• End stage Liver failure
• Coma
• Open chest CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting)
• Permanent paralysis of limbs
• Stroke which causes permanent symptoms
• Multiple sclerosis
• First heart attack
• Aorta graft surgery
• Open heart replacement or heart valve repair, etc.
• Major Organ Transplant


When you should buy a critical illness insurance cover?
It is suggested that you buy critical illness insurance around the age of 40. However, purchasing it earlier may be more beneficial. Today’s lifestyle and stress can lead to health problems, such as heart attacks, as early as 35 years. Given this, purchasing a critical health insurance cover at an earlier age is better.


Factors to be considered before buying a Critical Illness Policy:


If you are looking to purchase a critical illness insurance policy, here are some other things to know about the policy:


List of Illness Covered: The number of illnesses covered under a critical illness policy differs between insurer to insurer. It is equally important that one peruse the policy to identify the diseases not covered under the plan.


Cover Amount: The sum insured has to be identified considering living expenses, EMI’s or even the repayment of loans, loss of income due to diagnosis of Critical Illness,  treatment cost to be incurred etc. Once these factors are considered it would be easy to arrive at the appropriate sum insured.


Claims Process: Understand the claims process so it becomes easier for you and your family to claim and go through the process and also know the sum insured that would be paid at diagnosis or even at death.


No medical check-up required: If one is 45 years old or below, one does not need a medical check-up to purchase the policy.


Survival and Waiting Period: With every critical Illness insurance product, each insurer has a waiting period ranging from 30 to 90 days before the insurance cover starts and a specified number of days of survival after diagnosis.


Critical Illness & Health Cover : Don’t replace the standard health policy with Critical Illness rider as critical Illness works only on diagnosis of specified diseases and wont cover family as a whole.
Free look period: Critical Illness policy comes with a 15-day free look period beginning from the date of receipt of the policy. If the policy does not work for you, you can return it and get the premium back, based on the policy terms.


Renewal Benefits: Most critical illness policies have to be renewed every year and insurers often give out benefits to those policyholders who have not filed claims. When you are comparing plans, see which benefits are provided under each policy and choose according to your needs.


Payout mode: In case of claim, insured has an option to receive claim as Lumpsum or even in staggered manner as a % of sum insured depending upon the insurer and the product we opt for.


Think of a critical illness cover as an additional layer of security on your health plan. Whereas your family health insurance will cover hospitalisation and treatment expenses, a critical illness insurance policy gives you the financial support to tide over a medical crisis of larger proportions, without dealing a blow to your savings.


Question – Can I take a family floater of Critical Illness Policy?
Answer – Critical Illness is a Fixed benefit policy and shall cover only on Individual basis.


Question –  Will premium change each time of renewal?
Answer -Each Insurer has a Age Slab wise premiums which shall change with Age under every standalone Critical Illness insurance policy.