Of late, cancer has become one of the most feared health conditions, and rightly so. In addition to causing a significant amount of physical and mental distress to the diagnosed individual, cancer is also quite expensive to treat. Thus, given the rise in hospitalisation and treatment costs over the past few years, it is smart to invest in a cancer insurance policy at the earliest.
Cancer insurance is a type of insurance plan that is specifically designed to help the policyholder manage the treatment costs in case one is diagnosed with the disease. While the benefits and payouts offered to a policyholder will vary from plan to plan, most insurance providers will pay the policyholder a lump sum amount at diagnosis of the disease. The payout offered will usually vary based on the stage of the disease at diagnosis.
The lump sum payout, in most cases, can be used by the policyholder to manage hospitalisation expenses, to pay for day-to-day expenses, or may also serve as an income replacement for the diagnosed individual's family. Given how important a cancer insurance plan can be, make sure to take the points listed below into consideration before purchasing a cancer insurance policy for yourself or your loved ones.
1. Sum insured: Considering how expensive it can be to treat cancer, it is advisable to opt for a cancer insurance plan with a high sum insured. This will ensure that you have a sufficient sum of money to pay for your hospitalisation and medical expenses in case you are ever diagnosed with the disease. You can decide how much to opt for as the sum insured after assessing your savings/investments, expenses incurred on a monthly basis, and your premium payment ability.
2. Coverage for various stages of the disease: When looking for a cancer insurance policy, make sure to opt for a policy that offers coverage for all stages of the disease – Carcinoma in Situ (CIS), early-stage cancer, and major/critical-stage cancer. Thus, the policy that you opt for should ideally provide stage-based payouts, wherein the insurer will provide you a payout based on the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis.
3. Waiting period and survival period clause: Most cancer insurance policies that are currently offered come with a waiting period and a survival period clause. During the waiting period, which will start immediately after the policy is purchased, policyholders will not be able to raise any claims. Thus, if you were to be diagnosed with cancer during the waiting period, you will not be able to raise a claim with your insurance provider even though you have a cancer insurance plan. The initial waiting period usually ranges between 30 days and 180 days. Thus, when purchasing a cancer insurance policy, you should, ideally, opt for a policy with a short waiting period. The survival period, on the other hand, is a certain number of days that the policyholder has to survive after diagnosis of the disease to be eligible to receive the payout from the insurance provider. The survival period for cancer insurance plans is usually 7 days.
4. Inbuilt benefits: Certain cancer insurance policies come with inbuilt benefits such as the waiver of premium benefit, indexation benefit, income benefit, etc. If your policy comes with a waiver of premium benefit, all future premium payments will be waived off if you happen to be diagnosed with cancer. The income benefit provides you with regular income payouts for a definite pre-determined period of time. The indexation benefit will increase your sum insured by a certain percentage every policy year if no claims are made during the given year. These additional benefits can help increase the coverage/policy benefits significantly. Thus, it is essential to opt for a policy that offers at least a few inbuilt benefits.
5. Policy tenure: It is advisable to opt for a cancer insurance plan with a long policy term to ensure that you are protected for a longer period of time. Thus, make sure to assess your current age and opt for a policy with a tenure that suits your coverage needs.
A cancer insurance plan will provide you sufficient funds to manage your healthcare expenses in case you are ever diagnosed with the disease. However, before you select the policy, it is vital that you compare the terms and conditions of different cancer insurance plans and opt for a policy that provides you with sufficient benefits. Also, make sure to check the premium rates of various plans by using the premium calculator feature on the insurer’s official website or through a trusted third-party insurance website. Ideally, the policy that you opt for should come at an affordable premium rate, without you having to compromise on the coverage.