Insure yourself against critical illnesses


The biggest advantage of a critical illness cover is that, one can meet the costs of treatment without exhausting years of savings

Arun Balakrishnan

Critical illnesses like heart conditions, cancer, diabetes, stroke, paralysis require prolonged and expensive treatments. Indemnity health insurance plans, with limited sum insured, are typically insufficient to meet the expenses of such treatments. Moreover, when a critical illness strikes, it often impairs the earning ability of the patient. If the patient happens to be the chief earning member of the family, there may be serious repercussions – loss of income and drastic change in the standard of living.

To tackle the financial fallout of such critical illnesses, insurers offer special policies called critical illness policies.

Critical illness policies offer the insured a pre-stipulated payout on being diagnosed with a specified critical illness, regardless of whether the treatment has started or if the patient has been hospitalised. With the lumpsum in hand, the patient’s family can decide on the required treatment. The biggest advantage of a critical illness cover is that, one can meet the costs of treatment without exhausting years of savings. Moreover, the payout may also help the patient’s family deal with the loss of income at least on a temporary basis.

Broadly, there are two variants available in such policies. One is a standalone critical illness policy, independent of your existing health or life insurance and the other is a critical illness rider which is clubbed with the health or life cover. Riders usually offer a lower sum assured as the amount cannot exceed the cover on the base plan. Standalone policies on the other hand, can offer a sum insured of as high as Rs. 50 lakh but also command a higher premium than riders. 

Besides the standard policies, there are some unique policies tailored to the needs of women. Some such covers are those for breast and ovarian cancer.

So, be it standalone, rider or tailor made, get a critical illness policy and tackle the financial implications of a serious illness with ease.

The writer is CEO, BerkshireInsurance.com

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