What is the Survival Period in Health Insurance?

The prevalence of critical diseases in India has increased exponentially. The long-term and expensive treatment of such diseases has led to more people buying critical illness insurance plans. Every critical illness insurance plan comes with a ‘survival period’. Ever wondered what it is? Let’s find out.

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    What is a Survival Period?

    The survival period refers to the time period that the insured must survive after being diagnosed with a critical illness, such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, etc. This is an essential clause under a critical illness insurance policy as an insurance company does not pay the coverage amount unless the insured survives this period. A survival period generally varies from 14 days to 30 days depending on the plan.

    When you are diagnosed with a critical illness, your health insurance provider pays a lump sum amount under your critical illness insurance policy to cover the medical expenses incurred on its treatment. They don’t pay a death benefit to your family members. If you are unable to survive the disease, insurance providers will not have to make any payment. Besides, paying a lump sum amount to all policyholders as soon as they get diagnosed with a critical disease will pose a greater liability on the insurer. Hence, insurance companies have added the survival clause under all critical illness plans and pay the sum insured only if you survive the period.

    Do You Get a Return on Premium if You Don’t Survive the Survival Period?

    No. Most critical illness insurance plans do not offer a return on premium option if you die during the survival period. A return on premium refers to the refund of the total premium paid by the policyholder before his/her untimely death. The feature is available under life insurance plans.

    However, under health insurance, no return on the premium is provided to the nominee or your family members if you die during the survival period or before getting diagnosed with a critical disease.

    Should You Consider Survival Period While Buying a Critical Illness Insurance Policy?

    Yes. You should consider the survival period of a critical illness insurance plan before buying. It is recommended to opt for a critical illness plan that comes with a shorter survival period. This will help you to obtain the coverage amount under the policy faster and reduce your financial burden that will come with a longer survival period. You can compare various critical illness plans online on Policybazaar.com keeping the survival period clause in mind to find the most suitable policy.

    Is Survival Period and Waiting Period the Same?

    No. The survival period is not the same as a waiting period. A survival period is a duration that you need to survive after you have been diagnosed with a critical disease. However, the waiting period is the period that you need to wait out in order to raise an insurance claim, such as pre-existing diseases waiting period, critical illness waiting period, maternity cover waiting period, etc.

    A survival period is generally shorter than a waiting period. While the survival period varies from two weeks to 1 month depending on the critical illness plan, waiting periods range from 15 days to 4 years depending on the type of plan and kind of waiting period. For instance, a critical illness insurance policy may come with a waiting period of 90 days and a survival period of 30 days. Similarly, the pre-existing waiting period under a family health insurance plan may be of 4 years but the maternity cover waiting period may only be of 2 years.

    While survival period can be found only under a critical illness insurance policy, a waiting period is present in all types of health insurance plans, including critical illness insurance plans. Moreover, a survival period gets activated after a person gets diagnosed with a critical illness but a waiting period gets activated as soon as the policy is purchased. 

    In a Nutshell

    The survival period is an important aspect of a critical illness insurance policy. You will not be eligible to obtain the lump sum payment under your policy unless you survive this period. Hence, you must check the survival period of a critical illness plan at the time of buying and prefer to opt for a plan with a shorter survival period.

    Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 21 September 2021

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