By Somali K Chakrabarti
You can be a victim of cancer, or a survivor of cancer. It’s a mindset.
– Dave Pelzer
A critical illness like cancer can completely can disrupt anyone’s life. The patient has to deal with immense physical pain and emotional trauma, while the family has to incur huge medical expenses, at the same time keep the other expenses going. Critical illness of an earning member means the loss of income, which causes additional strain on finances.
For this reason, insurance to cover such unforeseen expenses due to critical illness becomes a must for every earning individual, having a dependent family.
Critical illnesses are not covered under normal health insurance policies.
Therefore a comprehensive Critical Illness policy is a MUST have in your insurance portfolio in addition to the health insurance and life insurance policy.
Many general insurance and life insurance companies provide Critical Illness plans to take care of the direct and indirect financial consequences if you are diagnosed with a critical illness.
Here, I present a review of
CritiCare+, a critical illness insurance policy by Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance (ETLI).
Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance (ETLI) is a life insurance venture between Edelweiss Financial Services, Mumbai & Tokio Marine, Japan.
What I found good about CritiCare+:
1. High coverage
The minimum sum assured with CritiCare+ is Rs 5 lakhs, the maximum cover can go up to Rs 1 Crore, which is higher than the cover offered by most other policies.
A policy that allows for a high cover is preferable as the costs of treatment and other expenses are bound to increase due to inflation at a later stage in life.
Additionally discounts are available for large Sum Assured.
2. Reasonable Premium
The premium for a single claim option with a cover of Rs 1 Crore works out to be less than Rs 1,000 pm (exclusive of tax) for a non-smoker who is 25 years of age, which is reasonable for the amount of cover available. The premium amount increases with increase in the entry age.
The premium rates are guaranteed for the first five years and can be reviewed after five years with prior approval from the IRDA.
3. Higher limit for Entry age
The policy can be purchased by people from 18 to 65 years of age.
Only a few Critical Illness policies in India allow an upper limit for entry age till 65 yrs.
4. Broad range of Critical illnesses covered
CritiCare+ provides a wide illness coverage of 17 critical illnesses:
5. Critical illnesses NOT included in the plan are in line with other plans
- Any critical illness diagnosed within the first 90 days from the issue/revival of the policy.
- Any critical illness arising out of any genetic illness or disorder
- Any critical illness due to alcohol, smoking, other tobacco intake or drug abuse
Critical illness acquired because of Human Immune-deficiency Virus (HIV) infection
- Critical illness acquired due to Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Critical illness arising due to intentional self-injury, suicide or attempted suicide
- Any pre-existing diseases, which you were already diagnosed with before buying the critical illness insurance.
These exclusions are in line with exclusions mentioned in other critical illness policies.
6. Benefits to the insured
On diagnosis of a critical illness, the insured will receive the sum assured, irrespective of the actual expenses incurred, provided he/she survives for 28 days post diagnosis. Thereafter the policy will get terminated.
However no benefit is payable in event of death of the life insured, maturity or surrender of policy.
This feature is compares favourably with most other policies, wherein the benefits are payable if the insured survives for a period of 30 days after the diagnosis.
7. Cover continuity under Multi Claim option
- You can claim up to 3 times during the policy term under the Multi claim option.
- You can get a waiver on the future premiums after your first claim, and stay protected for the remaining term of the policy.
3 claims are permissible provided there is a gap of 365 days between two critical illnesses, and the critical illnesses fall under different groups. No cap on the claim amounts is mentioned for Multi claim options.
Availability of the multi claim option is a desirable feature of the policy.
8. Tax Benefits
You can avail tax benefits from premium and claim amount under Section 80D and Section 10 (10D) by investing in the critical illness plan.
9. Available online
It is easy to generate the quote and purchase the policy online. However Insurance advisors are available to analyse your needs and suggest a product best suited to your requirements.
What more I wished for in CritiCare+
1. Renewable for life
The maximum maturity age for the policy is 70 years, after which the policy terminates. The policy is not renewable for life. This means if the critical illness occurs after 70 years of age you are not covered.
2. Family Floater option
Family Floater option is not available with CritiCare+. With Family Floaters, a person can get a large cover shared among self and spouse. Floater options generally work out more cost effective than individual options.
Critical Illness Policy vs Critical Illness Riders
The standalone critical insurance policy costs more than critical illness riders provided with some health and life insurance policies but offers more flexibility in choosing the sum insured and larger covers as compared to riders.
As such, standalone critical illness policy is preferable as compared to critical illness riders for those who can afford the premium.
Last but not the least
As an investor, you need to do due diligence and adequate research before selecting a product to suit your needs.
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