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What Is Critical Illness Cover? - Features, Benefits and Claim Process

Being diagnosed with a critical illness means complete disruption of normal life and completely wiping away of a lifetime of savings. You become uncertain of your existence and added to this are worries regarding the security and future of those depending on you. So, what is the way out of this dilemma? Critical illness covers provide you and your family financial security for such times that come unannounced.

Critical Illness Cover

Do not let unforeseen circumstances shatter the long cherished dreams of you and your family but start planning for such occurrences well ahead. In most of the critical illness plans, you get a lump sum when the news of such an earth shattering health problem finally comes to the fore. With so many insurance companies providing their covers, it is necessary to compare the available features and then decide which one seems ideal in your current situation.

What does critical illness insurance cover?

Critical illness cover can give you and your family the needed cover when the going gets very tough. This may work as a standalone product or as a part of your existing life insurance policy. A number of different illnesses remain covered under this scheme, which may vary from policy to policy. However, stroke, cancer, bypass of a coronary artery, paralysis, and failure of a major organ are common to various available covers. You can use this in addition to your existing Mediclaim in order to get extra financial security when dreaded illness strikes.

Best Critical Illness Insurance in India in 2016

Critical Illness Plans Entry Age (in years ) Sum Assured (in Lakhs.) Policy Term (in years) No. of Critical Illnesses Covered Waiting period (in days)
ICICI Lombard Critical Care 20-45 3-12 1-5 9 90
HDFC ERGO Critical Illness Insurance 5-45 2.5-10 1-2 8 90
New India Asha Kiran Policy 18-65 2-8 1-2 11 30
Star CriticCare Plus Insurance 18-65 2-10 1 9 90
Bajaj Allianz Critical Illness Plan 18-65 1-50 1 10 90


Critical Illness Plans from Top Insurers:

Now that you know about the top critical illness insurance plans in India in 2016, let’s get to know these plans in greater details:

1. ICICI Lombard Critical Care

ICICI Lombard Critical Care is one of the most popular critical illness plans in India in 2016. It is one of the most affordable critical illness insurance plans that are thoughtfully conceptualized to ensure greater financial protection and comprehensive health security to salaried individual with fixed income. In addition to covering as many as 9 specific critical illnesses, the insurer provides policyholders with access to immediate benefit, total and permanent accidental disability.

Here are some of the key highlights of the plan:

  • Hospitalization coverage is available at 3200+ network hospitals.
  • One time lump sum payment is made to the insured after the first diagnosis.
  • Sum assured is paid out to the nominees in case of accidental death of the insured.
  • No medical tests are required.
  • 5% family discount is available for policy holders.
  • Lifetime renewability is allowed.
  • 30 day grace period is given to make the premium payment.

2. HDFC ERGO Critical Illness Insurance

HDFC ERGO critical illness plan is yet another popular critical illness insurance plan that offers easy access to comprehensive financial security to the policy holders. Available in two distinct variants – Silver and Platinum, this policy provides coverage against 8 specified critical illnesses. A lump sum amount is paid out to the policy holders in case of confirmed diagnosis.

Here are some of the key highlights of the plan:

  • Hospitalization coverage is available at 4800+ network hospitals.
  • One time lump sum payment is paid to the insured after confirmed diagnosis.
  • Policy holders can avail benefits for loss occurring due to any (listed) illness.
  • Discounts are available on 2 years’ policy term.
  • Premiums paid for the policy are tax exempt under Section 80D of Income Tax Act.
  • No pre-medical tests are required for people up to the age of 45.
  • 15 day grace period is given to make the premium payment.

3. New India Asha Kiran Policy

One of the bestselling insurance products from New India group, New India Asha Kiran Policy has been thoughtfully designed by the insurer to provide policy holders comprehensive coverage against critical diseases. This amazing critical illness insurance policy covers all the expenses incurred during the treatment of critical illnesses.

Here are some of the key highlights of this plan:

  • Hospitalization expenses including room rent, IV Fluids, nursing, Blood Transfusion, Injection administration charges, and RMO Charges are covered.
  • Policy holders can avail death and disability benefits with this plan.
  • 10% of the basic sum assured is paid out to the insured as the critical care benefit.
  • Premiums are tax exempt under Section 80D.
  • Day-care treatment is available for 74 types of diseases.
  • A grace period of 30 days is allowed to make the premium payment.

4. Star CritiCare Plus Insurance

Star CritiCare Plus insurance is yet another popular insurance plan that ranks the popularity charts amongst insurance seekers in India. In fact, industry veterans and experts claim that it is one of the most comprehensive critical illness insurance policies available in the market. This policy ensures a lot of benefits for the insured and the nominees.

Here are the key highlights of the plan:

  • Policy holders are paid in one lump sum amount after the first diagnosis.
  • Pre and post hospitalization are both covered under this plan.
  • Some specified non-allopathic treatments are also covered.
  • Policy holders are also entitled to get accident benefits.
  • No medical screening is required to purchase this policy for people below 50 years of age.
  • Income tax benefits are available on the premium payments under Section 80D of the Indian Income Tax Act.

5. Bajaj Allianz Critical Illness Plan

It is difficult not to talk about Bajaj Allianz Critical Illness plan when talking about some of the best critical illness insurance plans available in India. The plan is known to a slew of benefits to the insured. This policy is easily available at competitive premium rates and offers unique single window assistance to all its policy holders. In addition, the plan is known for faster claim settlements.

Here are just some of the many key highlights of the plan:

  • A one-time lump sum premium payment is made to the insured.
  • Pre and post hospitalization are both covered under this plan.
  • Comprehensive cover for medical tests.
  • Lifetime renewability is allowed.
  • Pre-medical screening may be required depending upon the age and health of the policy seeker.
  • Income tax benefits are available on the premium payments under Section 80D of the Indian Income Tax Act.

Clauses for Use of Critical Illness Cover

Before you can use the critical illness cover, for dealing with the medical situation in your family it is necessary to understand the various clauses that detail its use. It is necessary to know that you cannot go for this plan to cover any congenital condition or diseases, which are pre-existing. Again, there is a specific waiting period mentioned in the plans only after which you become eligible to make the most of the inherent benefits. The survival clause associated with the critical illness cover provides policyholders a pre-determined benefit should he/she survives a definite period in the post diagnosis scenario. However, death waves off any claims to this end.

Remain aware of the various rules and regulations associated with the critical illness cover for making a strong claim when the time comes.

Number of Diseases Covered - Critical Illness Rider

When you are shopping for a critical illness cover one of the first things to look into is the number of diseases the policy covers. This may vary from as low as eight different diseases to as high as over twenty. Remember, based on this the premiums that you need to pay in order to avail this services may vary. Therefore, instead of bulk it is a better idea to delve into what your needs are and then make decisions based on that.

Claim Process for Critical Illness Insurance

Before you actually zero in on a particular critical illness cover, it is necessary to know clearly, what the claim process of the company is like. If it seems complicated, a maze of various procedures it is a good idea to remain away from such covers. An ideal cover is the one that gives a detailed way to get your due in clear and precise language so as not to leave any doubts in your mind.

There is no doubt, that a sturdy critical illness cover can help you to tide over difficult health and financial condition and give your family something to fall back on. However choosing well is the key to success. With so many choices available in the insurance market and each company luring you with their high-featured schemes, this is not going to be much difficult. Even then, do not forget to take your time!