Understanding the Survival Period In A Critical Illness Insurance Policy
A critical illness insurance policy is a step ahead in securing your future health and finances. While regular health insurance policies cover hospitalisation expenses and the like, a critical illness insurance policy pays lump sum amounts during diagnosis of a critical illness. When browsing through several such critical illness insurance policies, you may have come across the term ‘survival period’. Contrary to what many people may think at the first glance, this is not a synonym for ‘waiting period’. So, what does it mean exactly? Let’s understand that in this article.
Meaning of ‘survival period’
The survival period refers to the amount of time required to pass after the diagnosis of a covered critical illness before the sum insured is paid. Basically, after you have been diagnosed with a critical illness, it is essential to cover this period to get the benefits of your critical illness insurance plan.
So, let’s assume that your insurance company has a survival period of 30 days. You get diagnosed with benign brain tumour, an illness covered by your critical illness insurance policy. Now, beginning from the date of your diagnosis, you would have to wait for around 30 days to receive the sum insured/percentage of the sum insured due to you.
It is important to understand that the survival period differs from insurance company to insurance company. In some cases, though not all, the survival period may even differ from illness to illness.
Term unique to critical illness insurance policy
You will probably not find any mention of a survival period in any kind of health insurance policies other than critical illness insurance plans. The unique nature of a critical illness plan is such that a survival period becomes necessary. Critical illness insurance policies do not offer death benefit, that is compensation paid on the untimely death of the policyholder due to a critical illness. However, some policies may return the premiums paid till then in such a scenario. Do talk to your insurer about this before going ahead.
Different from ‘waiting period’
A waiting period in health insurance policies refers to the amount of time that one has to wait for before the policy becomes active. There are basically three types of waiting period – general waiting period, waiting period for pre-existing conditions, and waiting period for specific illnesses.
Do keep in mind that even a critical illness insurance policy has a waiting period. You will have to wait for a particular, pre-decided amount of time before the policy becomes valid and you can raise a claim for coma, cancer, paralysis, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, loss of speech/sight/hearing, and so on. After you have been diagnosed for the same and have informed your insurer, you will have to wait for a particular time period before you can reap the benefits of the claim.
To have a good insurance experience, you should look for an insurer that has short survival period. This ensures to a great extent that you can get financial assistance at the earliest and can use the claim amount for any reasons as you deem fit.
However, the survival period is not the only factor that determines how reliable the insurance policy and provider are. Here are other factors to look into as well:
- Claim settlement ratio – A higher claim settlement ratio means that the insurer is dedicated to solving your claims. So, expect a speedy claim approval and timely payment.
- Number of medical issues covered – A good critical illness insurance policy should cover around 20-25 serious illnesses, surgical procedures, and medical events.
- Excellent customer service – Dealing with a critical illness is difficult in itself. You should not have to deal with a unhelpful customer staff on top of that as well. So, read reviews and check the customer service for yourself before you choose to invest in any kinds of health insurance policies with an insurer.
While this article aims to educate you the survival period, it is advisable that you have a discussion with your insurance agent and read the policy wordings carefully before you purchase the critical illness insurance policy.