What is Cancer?

Cancer is a dreadful disease that can threaten the foundation of an individual’s life and family. It is heartbreaking that approximately 2.5 million people living in India are affected by this life-threatening disease. Due to the rapid upsurge in cancer diagnosis as well as the cost of cancer treatment and care, cancer insurance has become important now than ever.

What is Cancer Insurance?

Cancer insurance is special insurance which is designed to provide financial aid to the insured if he/she is diagnosed with cancer. Cancer insurance plans are comprehensive insurance policies that save you from paying an arm and a leg by providing coverage for cancer-related treatment, i.e. radiation, hospitalization, surgery, chemotherapy, blood transfusion, nursing care and the cost of prescribed medicine.

Getting into the details about cancer insurance plans India, here is a rundown of the best cancer insurance plans in India.

Best Cancer Insurance Plans in India

Eligibility Criteria

Entry Age (Min-Max)

Sum Assured (Min-Max)

Policy Tenure (Min-Max)

Premium Payment Frequency

HDFC Life Cancer Care Plan

18-65 years

Rs.10,00,000-Rs.40, 00,000

10 years-20 years

Annual, Half- yearly, quarterly, monthly.

SBI Life Sampoorn Cancer Suraksha

18-65 years

Rs.10,00,000 - Rs. 50,00,000

5 years-30 years

Half- yearly, quarterly, monthly.

Max Life Cancer Insurance Plan

25-65 years

Rs.10,00,000-Rs.50,00,000

10 years-40 years

Annual, Half- yearly, quarterly, monthly.

PNB MetLife Cancer Insurance

18-65 years

Rs.5,00,000-Rs.40,00,000

10 years-20 years

Annual, Half- yearly, monthly.

Future Generali Cancer Protect

Adults: 18-65 years

Minors: 1-17 years

Adults- 10,00,000- Rs40,00,000

Minors- 10,00,000

Major Lives-10 years-80 years minus age at entry

Minor Lives- 18 minus age at entry or 10 years, whichever higher

Annual, monthly for regular premium;

Single premium

 HDFC Life Cancer Care Plan-

This is a thoughtfully formulated cancer insurance plan that provides coverage against the diagnosis of major or minor cancer. Some of the features and benefits offered by HDFC Life Cancer Care Plan are:

  • 3 variants of plan options are provided in the policy: 
    • Silver Option- under this option, if an insured is diagnosed in an early stage of cancer, he/she is provided with a lump-sum amount. In case of diagnosis of major cancer, the policy will pay the entire lump-sum sum assured, excluding claim made during the early stage of cancer. The policy provides premium waiver benefit for a period of 3 years in case of a valid claim made in the early stage of cancer.
    • Gold Option- This option provides 25% of the sum assured amount as lump-sum if an insured is diagnosed in an early stage of cancer. In case of diagnosis of major cancer, the policy will pay the entire sum assured in lump-sum, excluding claim made in the early stage of cancer. The policy provides premium waiver benefit for a period of 3 years, in case a valid claim is made in the early stage of cancer. Moreover, this variant of the plan also provides a sum assured increase benefit option, wherein, the sum assured of the policy automatically increases by 10% per annum until it is 200% of the original sum assured.
    • Platinum Option- This option provides 25% of the sum assured amount as lump-sum if an insured is diagnosed in an early stage of cancer. In case of diagnosis of major cancer, the policy will pay the entire lump-sum amount as sum assured, excluding claims made during the early stage of cancer. Moreover, this variant of the plan also provides a sum assured auto-increase benefit option, wherein the sum assured of the policy increases automatically by 10% per annum up to 200%.
  • The policy provides inbuilt premium waiver benefit, in case of diagnosis.
  • Premium discounts are offered above the sum assured amount of Rs.10 lakh.
  • Under the gold option, the sum assured increases by 10% per annum as a no-claim benefit.
  • In case of diagnosis of major cancer under platinum option, the plan provides a monthly income to the insured’s family for 5 years.
  • Tax benefit can be availed under section 80D of Income Tax Act, 1961.

 SBI Life Sampoorn Cancer Suraksha-

To cater to the requirements of the customers, SBI Life Sampoorn Cancer Suraksha offers extensive benefits to the policyholder. Let’s take a look at the benefits and salient features of the policy.

  • The plan shows flexibility by providing an option of monthly income benefit.
  • The enrollment and payout process of the policy is simple and hassle-free.
  • The policy provides premium waiver benefit in case of diagnosis of cancer.
  • The policyholder can avail second medical opinion from the team of medical experts.
  • The tax benefit is offered under section 80D of Income Tax Act 1961.

Max Life Cancer Insurance Plan

Max Life Cancer Insurance Plan provides complete protection against the treatment related to all stages of the cancer diagnosis. Let’s take a look at the features and benefits of the policy.

  • Irrespective of the stages of cancer, the plan provides the payout.
  • In case, the major stage of cancer is diagnosed, dual benefit as lump-sum payout plus income is paid to the insured.
  • After the completion of first five claim-free years, the sum assured of the policy increases by 10%.
  • In case of an early stage of cancer detection, all the future premiums are waived off.
  • The insured can avail tax exemption on the premium paid under section 80D of Income Tax Act 1961.

 PNB MetLife Cancer Insurance

PNB MetLife Cancer Insurance Plan is a tailor-made plan that provides comprehensive coverage against different stages of cancer. Some of the key features and benefits offered by the policy are:

  • The plan has inbuilt life and terminal illness cover along with a health cover.
  • The policy provides coverage for all the stages of illness according to its criticality.
  • In case of a claim for moderate severity, the policy waives off the premium for next 5 years.
  • Tax Benefit is offered on the premium paid under section 80D of Income Tax Act 1961.
  • The sum assured of the policy ranges from minimum Rs. 5,00,000 to maximum Rs. 40,00,000.
  • The policy provides a free-look period of 15 days, wherein the insured can cancel the policy if he/she is dissatisfied with the terms and conditions of the policy.

 Future Generali Cancer Protect Plan

This is a comprehensive insurance policy that takes care of cancer-related treatment costs. The plan provides coverage for minors as well as adults. Some of the benefits offered by the policy are:

  • The sum assured offered by the policy is the highest of the following:
    • 10 times of the annual premium
    • Sum assured
    • 105% of the entire premium paid as on the date of the claim made.
    • Death benefit which is NIL
    • Maturity benefit which is NIL
  • The benefits of minor stage cancer are payable only once during the entire tenure of the policy.
  • If the major stage of cancer is diagnosed, then the policy provides the entire sum assured amount to the insured.
  • 25% of the sum assured is instantly paid to the insured in case the minor stage of cancer is diagnosed. Moreover, the premium of the policy is waived off till the end of the policy tenure or for next three years, whichever is more.
  • The policy provides tax benefit under section 80D of Income Tax Act 1961.

Now that you have a detailed overview of the best cancer insurance plans in India, it is important to know the types of cancer that are covered by these cancer insurance plans.

Types of Cancer Covered by Cancer Insurance Plan

  • Breast Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Blood Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Bone Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer

Why Should You Get a Cancer Insurance Plan?

These days, people are more prone to life-threatening diseases due to change in lifestyle, pollution and other different factors. It is shocking to know that 71% of death between the age group of 30-69 years happens due to cancer disease. Not only this, there are more than 200 types of cancer that can be developed in an individual’s body and unfortunately, only a few types of cancers are totally curable. Diagnosis of cancer has an adverse effect on families, both emotionally and financially. Moreover, not all the health insurance policies provide coverage for cancer-related treatment cost. Thus, having a standalone comprehensive cancer insurance policy mitigates the risk of a financial crisis due to cancer-related treatment and by providing you with financial assistance which saves you from selling the family heirlooms. 

Besides this, it is worth considering if:

  • Cancer runs in your family history
  • If you think that you have a greater risk of developing cancer due to environmental, lifestyle or other reasons.
  • Your regular health insurance policy does not provide coverage for cancer-related treatment.
  • You don’t have sufficient savings to take care of your hefty medical bills.
  • You are the breadwinner of the family.

However, before zeroing in on a cancer insurance plan, it is important to know all the aspects of a cancer insurance plan.

How to Choose a Cancer Insurance Plan?

Here are some of the points that should be kept in mind before buying a cancer insurance plan.

1. Go for High Sum Assured-

Medical expenses are mushrooming rapidly over the years, and if we talk about cancer treatment, then it can easily leave a dent in your savings. Also, the duration of cancer treatment is longer. So, it is wiser to opt for cancer insurance plan that offers a high sum assured amount. This will act as a financial cushion at the time of a crisis.

2. The Coverage should be of Longer Duration-

Apart from focusing on the coverage, it is also important that the plan you choose provides coverage for a longer duration. The time period of cancer-related treatment is usually very long; so, the longer the tenure of your policy, the more coverage you will get for cancer treatment.

3. Your Plan Should Cover all Stages of Cancer-

Even though the rates of cancer insurance policy are high, go for a cancer insurance plan that covers you through different stages of cancer.  Hence, plans which provide stage-based claim payouts should be your first choice. Generally, a percentage of sum assured is provided by the cancer insurance policy for different stages of cancer.

4. The Plan Should Provide Premium Waiver and Income Benefit-

Cancer can severely affect the health of an individual. Moreover, it also burns a hole in the pocket. The high cost of cancer treatment can inevitably take your income for a toss. Hence, go for a plan that acts as a financial backup during these situations.  A plan with premium waiver benefit will not only keep the policy active but will also provide financial assistance to the family of the insured. The same could be said for regular income benefit in a cancer policy.

5. Go through the Terms and Conditions of Survival and Waiting Period of the Policy-

Check and re-check the waiting period of the policy i.e. the time period you will have to wait before the policy starts providing coverage. Moreover, check the survival period of the policy is also very important as it is what makes the insured eligible to claim benefits of the policy. The survival period is the minimum number of days the insured has to survive after a cancer diagnosis.

6. Check Family Health History and weigh risk Factor-

Buying a cancer insurance policy makes more sense if you have a family history of cancer. You can check your current medical insurance plan to analyze how a cancer insurance plan can complement your current health insurance policy.  Keep in mind that cancer insurance can only provide coverage for cancer and does not cover any other critical illnesses.

7. Double Policy Does Not Mean Double Coverage-

Having a separate cancer insurance policy along with a comprehensive health insurance plan does not mean that you can avail the benefits of both the plans at the same time. Maximum insurance policies include the clause of ‘coordination of benefits’ which means that one plan will not cover the expenses that the other one does. Thus, it is important to carefully analyze and compare various plans before purchasing a particular cancer insurance plan.

While purchasing a cancer insurance policy, many people confuse it with critical illness insurance. However, cancer insurance is very different from critical illness insurance. Let’s take a look at how cancer insurance differs from critical illness insurance.

Difference between Cancer Insurance and Critical Illness Insurance

  • The critical illness insurance provides coverage for the expenses incurred on the treatment of a range of critical diseases like stroke, paralysis, major organ transplant, kidney failure, multiple sclerosis, some life-threatening cancer, heart-related disease, deafness, etc.
  • A regular critical illness plan provides lump-sum benefits to the insured once he/she is diagnosed with the covered critical illness.
  • Critical illness plans are more affordable as compared to the normal health insurance plan, as it only provides coverage for specified critical illnesses only.
  • You can purchase critical illness as a standalone policy or as a rider benefit within your existing health insurance policy.
  • Unlike cancer insurance plan, the major disadvantage of Critical Illness plan is that it covers cancer only at an advanced stage. Thus, in case you are diagnosed with cancer after the completion of the waiting period, you cannot make a claim until cancer reaches its advanced stage.
  • It does not provide coverage against the complications arising from cancer.

So, in case you have a higher risk of developing cancer, then it is wiser to have a cancer insurance plan instead of a critical illness plan. Let’s take a look at the benefits offered by a cancer insurance plan.

Benefits of Cancer Insurance

  • Provides coverage for different stages of cancer.
  • A lump-sum benefit is paid to the insured in case he/she is diagnosed with cancer.
  • Even during the early stage of a cancer diagnosis, the policy provides premium waiver benefit.
  • The sum assured of the policy annually increases by 10%, in case no claim has been made during the year.
  • In case the insured is diagnosed with major cancer, then the policy provides a fixed monthly income to his/her family for a fixed number of years.
  • For a higher sum assured, the policy offers premium discounts to the policyholder.
  • The coverage of the policy does not cease after the first diagnosis of cancer.
  • The policy provides the benefit of tax exemption under section 80D of Income Tax Act, 1961, up to the limit of Rs. 25,000 for individuals below 60 years of age and Rs.30, 000 for senior citizens.

Wrapping it up!

Now that you have a detailed overview of cancer insurance plans, deciding on whether you want to have a standalone cancer insurance policy or would like a cancer cover to be included in your existing health insurance as a rider/add-on is solely at your discretion. Remember that a cancer insurance plan does not replace your current health insurance policy but, ideally, should complement it, so that your out-of-pocket expenses are taken care of.