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Last Updated : Aug 07, 2012 03:59 PM IST | Source:

Critical illness policies: How do you choose the best

A critical illness in your family may spell financial disaster for you and your family if you are not adequately insured. There are a variety of critical insurance plans in the market that provide you with an excellent financial cushion when you are diagnosed with a critical illness.

A critical illness in your family may spell financial disaster for you and your family if you are not adequately insured. There are a variety of critical insurance plans in the market that provide you with an excellent financial cushion when you are diagnosed with a critical illness. That is why it is important for you to choose the best critical illness cover to ensure that you and your family are protected from the financial setbacks of your getting diagnosed with a covered illness.

Advantages of critical illness policies

  • Complete Family Protection: Critical Illness plans help to protect you and your family against financial liabilities arising from hospitalisation due to critical illness. Most medical insurance policies only cover hospitalisation due to non critical illnesses
  • Tax Benefits: Get the advantage of availing tax benefits under section 80D by investing in a critical illness plan
  • Range of diseases covered: Critical Illness plans cover a large variety of diseases to give you a comprehensive financial protection. The major illnesses are Cancer, Kidney failure, Organ transplant, Multiple sclerosis, Major burns, Coronary artery surgery, Coma, Aorta graft surgery, First heart attack, Heart attack, Coronary artery bypass surgery, Paralysis, Primary pulmonary arterial hypertension and Stroke
  • Financial Cushion with a peace of mind: Critical Illness policies aim to give you a financial cushion in case of a medical emergency and help you concentrate more on looking after the patient rather than running around to arrange for money
  • Range of expenses covered: These plans also cover expenses like donor expenses in a transplant surgery, which are not covered under normal health insurance policy

How to choose the best critical illness policies

Choosing the right critical illness insurance will help you save on your critical illness insurance premium. Comparison is best way to get critical illness insurance at low rates.

  • Guaranteed and Reviewable premiums: Before buying a critical illness policy one should check if the premiums are fixed or can be increased by the insurance company in later years. Although reviewable premiums tend to be cheaper, it's advisable to get guaranteed premiums because they will save you money in the long run
  • Plan Features: You should always consider plan features like renewal/ no claim bonus that you can get in form of a percentage increase in sum assured while buying a critical illness plan. A Critical Insurance plan should have an option to increase/top-up the sum insured at later point in life when your liabilities have increased.
  • Stand Alone policy or a Rider: The difference between a critical illness as a rider and a combined life and critical illness plan is that when a claim is made from the rider, the life insurance policy will still be effective. For a combined life critical illness insurance plan, once a critical illness claim is made, the life cover terminates. Also in a Critical Illness rider the number of critical diseases covered are very less and hence the riders are not that financially viable. You can also consider getting a stand-alone cover. This makes sense if you already have a life insurance policy but would like to strengthen it with an additional critical illness policy.
  • Exclusions: Read the small print so you are sure what you are buying. Make sure you know exactly what is and is not covered.
  • Kinds of critical illness covered: You should look at the list of critical illnesses being covered, as this may vary on the insurance company issuing the policy. You should opt for a policy that will cover any illnesses which you think you are particularly vulnerable to.
  • Existing Medical Conditions: Check if there is a clause of which medical conditions are included or excluded. This becomes all the more important when you are buying a plan for your older parents.
  • Critical Illnesses with Coverage Continuation Option: Critical illness policies cease to exist after critical illness claim is made. So choose a critical illness plan where the plan has a coverage continuation option for all or selected diseases

Checklist for choosing the best Critical Insurance Plan

SNo Parameters Best Scenarios
1 Premiums Low cost and guaranteed
2 Sum Assured Coverage should be atleast 3 to 4 times of your annual income
3 Maximum Age at renewability  High
4 Waiting Periods Should be less
5 Range of diseases covered High
6 Plan Features Comprehensive
7 Exclusions Less
8 Cover Continuation Option Should be available
9 Miscellaneous Expenses Should be covered
10 Underwriting Processes Should not be too stringent
11 Serviceability of the Insurer









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First Published on Aug 7, 2012 02:47 pm
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