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What are the important factors to consider before buying critical illness insurance?

Our daily modern lifestyle habits and occupations make us susceptible to many diseases that we might have not even heard of. As the world is shrinking on a global level, a lot of other things are also taking a backseat; the most important of them is our health. We fail to give due importance to our health and eventually suffer from lifelong diseases that take away most of our time, energy and resources.

What are the important factors to consider before buying critical illness insurance?

The essential material resource that most of these diseases strip us away is our money. Regular exercise and proper eating habits do help us maintain our health, but at times, a hereditary problem comes up, and we are not left with much time in our hands to think over the situation. The most important consideration at that time becomes the way and means in which the financial requirements can be met.

One can argue that one already has health insurance in place, and most expenses are satisfied with this insurance, but there are always some extra costs that spill out of our pockets. It is in this case that a Critical Illness Insurance becomes mandatory. More than anything else, it is a safety mechanism that we must always keep at our disposal as when and where a medical emergency can strike is not known to anyone. At what time do the funds turn insufficient is not known. Hence, procuring critical illness insurance, along with medical insurance, is advisable. Suppose you take the insurance at an early age; it ensures you complete the waiting period, if any, before the risk of lifestyle diseases decreases.

Moreover, a significant question comes to the forefront of how does this critical illness insurance plan operate?

What are its basic requirements that need to be fulfilled? How does one claim critical illness insurance and its advantages over and above the health insurance policy that people already have?

First of all, one needs to understand that the critical illness insurance plan is different from mediclaim policies. The mediclaim policies are indemnity policies which are regarding paying the actual expenses incurred in the treatment of the patient whereas, in critical illness insurance, one is paid a lump sum amount of money in case one is diagnosed with a critical illness. There is a definite huge amount that is paid in the very beginning only. There is no procuring of money afterwards but fixed, pre-defined money that is received beforehand for the treatment.

There are five factors that you need to keep in mind before getting critical illness insurance.

  1. Survival Period: Mostly, insurance companies provide a period of 30 days. Still, it also varies on the type of illness one is suffering from. This means the patient needs to survive for the stipulated number of days from the date of diagnosis to claim the benefits and amount given for the treatment. If the patient dies before this specified time, then the claim money also lapses. It is also essential to keep in mind that the survival period is different from the waiting period imposed by insurers when purchasing the health insurance policy.
  2. Covered Illnesses: Researching the kind of critical insurance plan you wish to buy is one area that must be taken care of. Some insurance companies cover around 20 critical illnesses. In contrast, some cover around or more than 50 diseases. So, the kind of policy that one needs to buy should be a well-informed decision that should be taken after reading all the terms and conditions and all the essential areas of concern.
  3. Additional Covers: Health insurance policies’ primary concern is to reduce the financial burden on people and make health as the primary concern, not money. That is why aid is provided majorly in the form of monetary terms. In critical illness insurance, the primary concern is to reduce the financial burden in case of a lifelong critical illness that needs urgent attention. But in addition to this significant concern, other concerns are covered under this policy too like hospital cash, second e-opinion, and waiver of future premiums, wellness and health coaching. Having said that, it is essential to reiterate that it is highly recommendable to read all the terms and conditions before going in for any critical illness insurance.
  4. Pre – Existing Diseases: The insurance guidelines need to be read thoroughly as some insurers cover pre-existing conditions after the waiting period, which can be four years or more/less. There can be insurers who do not cover this aspect of pre-existing diseases at all. Therefore, one needs to be careful to check the coverage of pre-existing conditions; how they are covered and how they aren’t.
  5. Free Look Period: Insurance companies generally provide 15 days free look period. This is the period of re-evaluation of the chosen policy and reconsiders your decision if needed. You can cancel the policy if you are not satisfied with the terms and conditions of the policy. Since it is a fixed, definite amount paid for the critical illness insurance, the hospitalisation charges are not reimbursed. It pays a lump sum amount if you are diagnosed with an ailment or have undergone a surgery covered under the plan after the completion of the survival period. It is advisable to go for a standard health insurance policy as well. The decision is always yours whether you want to go in for a standalone policy or in conjunction with another or existing policy.

Different companies have different plans for critical illnesses. It is essential to read every term and condition carefully and then invest personally in any insurance plan. This is how a well-informed decision will help claim the benefits of critical illness insurance as it is a crucial decision of life and health that we take. In case of any confusion, you can take help from insurance experts of who shall make you understand the pros and cons of having critical illness insurance.

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