There was a time when diseases like cancers and tumours were considered rare. Not many people were affected by these life-threatening diseases. But times have changed drastically. Today a cancer diagnosis has become as normal as a headache. With the fast-paced, stressful lifestyles that we lead, contracting critical illnesses has become common. A diagnosis of such a nature can affect one; physically, mentally and financially. While one has no choice but to face the first two consequences, it is at least possible to prepare for such a diagnosis by purchasing a critical illness health insurance policy.
What is a critical illness policy?
A critical illness policy is a specific health insurance policy which provides the insured parties lump-sum benefits in case a critical illness is diagnosed. Each company lists out several critical illnesses such as cancers, tumours, paralysis, strokes, attacks etc., that are covered under this policy. Premiums of these policies are typically higher than those of regular health insurance policies, although the sum assured in these are also very high. Here are 5 things to consider before purchasing a critical illness policy.
List of all the critical illnesses covered: A critical illness can be financially draining and last for years on end. Did you know that there are as many as 36 types of critical illnesses? However, not every insurance provider covers all the types of critical illnesses in a policy. In India, health insurance providers offer critical illness coverage for anywhere from 8-20 illnesses. It is best to choose a policy that covers maximum critical illnesses.
Look out for illnesses not covered in the policy: While it is important to know which illnesses are covered in the policy, you must also look out for those not covered. Read the policy document carefully to assess the illnesses not covered, before purchasing it.
Understand the claim-filing procedure: Typically, the claim-filing procedure for a critical illness policy is the same as a regular health insurance policy. However, it is better to understand the formalities for filing the claim well in advance. If you have any doubts you can either call your insurance agent or customer service help-line to understand the procedure.
Understand the renewal benefits: It is essential that you keep renewing your critical illness policy every year. Most insurance companies offer a no-claims bonus i.e. your sum assured increases by a small percentage (typically, 5%) for every year that you do not file a claim. Since the prices of health care are increasing by the day, this benefit especially comes in handy as you continue to pay the same premium, but your sum assured keeps compounding.
Age of coverage: Each policy comes with a maximum cap on the policy holder’s age. It is ideal to purchase a critical illness policy when you are young. The younger you are, the lower is your premium since the chances of contracting critical illnesses are fewer when you are young. Also, you may not be allowed to purchase this policy after reaching a certain age.