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Why you must buy a critical illness plan

December 01, 2015 08:25 IST

If you are diagnosed with a critical disease, then its treatment would be very expensive and may require intensive care and hospitalisation which your comprehensive insurance plan may not cover. In such type of cases you have to pay the cost of the whole treatment.

You already have a basic health care plan and the question that may frequently arise in your mind is: do you really need another health insurance plan or your current health plan is sufficient?

If you are diagnosed with any major disease or feel that that the current coverage amount is not sufficient to cover a critical disease then you should opt for a critical illness policy which can assist you at any critical juncture.

Importance of critical illness policy

In a critical insurance plan, the insured receives a lump sum amount from the insurer which the insured can use to cover the loss of income as the insured person is unable to earn in this condition and can’t afford the burden of expensive treatment. You can add it on your basic comprehensive health insurance cover.

Normally, a critical illness plan is available at an affordable cost as compared to indemnity plans. For example, a normal health insurance plan for a person of 30 years of age with a sum assured amount of Rs 5 lakh will cost around Rs 6,000 yearly as compared to a critical illness plan that costs only Rs 1,500.

Apart from this, a basic health plan with the association of a critical illness plan can provide a large number of benefits and sufficient cover as well.

Basically, general insurance companies and life insurers are selling these critical care plans. Life insurance companies are offering this plan for a longer time period for instance ICICI’s Prudential Crisis provides coverage for around 50 years.

What the companies cover?

Normally, each company has its own rules and regulations regarding the critical illness coverage, For example, ICICI Prudential Critical plan provides coverage against 35 illnesses, Aviva's Health Secure covers12 diseases, Bharti AXA's Smart covers around 320 ailments. Some of the diseases normally covered are

There are some companies which cover more diseases. The critical illness plans provide fixed benefits. The insured individual gets the entire sum insured amount whether or not s/he gets admitted in the hospital and whatever is the cost of treatment. However, the norms differ from one company to another.

Few built in features are also different. Some companies provide accidental death benefits and partial disability coverage whereas some companies don’t.

Comparison of some individual critical illness plans

There are various companies that assist you in getting the best suitable critical care plan at an affordable premium. A simple comparison will help you understand the various plans and features in a better and lucid manner.

Things to consider while buying critical insurance plan

Health history and age

Medical history and the age of the customer is an important factor for deciding the sum insured amount. For old age people, the sum insured amount would be high, as at this age the chances of critical diseases are high. A larger cover will be good for old aged people.

You must check if the plan covers pre-existing diseases or not. Some insurers cover it and some not.

If you already have a comprehensive health insurance policy, then also you can go for a critical care policy. Additional riders are also available which you can avail of for further benefits. Both life and health insurance companies offer the critical illness plan, the only difference being that life insurers offer this plan for a long term.

In a critical illness plan, the insurance company pays a lump sum amount to the insured for covering the expenses of major diseases. It is generally tax free.

The concept of the claim depends upon company. Some insurers provide immediate coverage whereas some take a time period of 28 days to 6 months after a serious illness or disability. Primarily, the disability coverage takes time before getting active. Do always remember that critical illness coverage is different from basic health plan or income plan.

Photograph: David Hilowitz/Creative Commons

Naval Goel is CEO & Founder,

Naval Goel