A good health insurance plan is necessary for both you and your family’s health. In case of medical emergencies, you can rely on your insurer to take care of the cost of medical treatments. But what happens if you are diagnosed with a critical illness, say cancer or stroke. Does your regular insurance policy cover you for that? Most probably not! This leaves you to foot the bill yourself. To financially protect yourself in case you get diagnosed with some kind of critical illness, you must consider buying a standalone critical illness plan or adding critical illness riders to your existing policy.

Here are 5 essential tips to buy the best critical illness policy:

1) Present situation

In order to buy a critical illness plan that best suits your needs, you need to take into account the age of every family member, including your parents. If your parents are senior citizens you may want to consider taking a plan that covers sudden ailments like strokes. Select a critical illness policy that provides sufficient financial aid in case of medical emergencies.

Given that there are several insurance companies providing such covers, it becomes essential to compare the pros and cons and then decide which one seems fit in your current situation.

2) Kinds of critical illnesses covered

The number of critical illnesses covered will differ from insurer to insurer. Some may cover 10 major critical illnesses, while others 20. Some of the illnesses covered by insurance companies include kidney failure, paralysis, cancer, stroke, coronary artery bypass surgery etc.

Before selecting a critical insurance policy, make sure to go through the list of critical illnesses covered. Opt for a policy that covers any illnesses which you think you are vulnerable to. Keep in mind that the longer the list of covered illnesses get, the more the premiums will cost.

3) Financial situation

If you think you have saved up enough money to pay for treating any serious illnesses that may arise in the future, you can consider buying a cover with a smaller coverage. However, you must keep in mind that the cost of medical treatments is increasing very quickly. So having a health insurance cover with a critical illness policy as a rider will be much needed to meet the medical bills.

It is also a good idea to take out such a cover if you have debts to be repaid. In case you are unable to work due to any serious illness, the benefits of the policy can be used to repay the debts.

4) Health condition

Depending on your present health condition, you can decide whether or not to opt for a critical insurance policy. If you, for instance, are a regular tobacco user or lead a very stressful work life, there is a high possibility that you may face health issues in the future. Or, if some serious hereditary disease runs in your family, there is a chance you might inherit the same.

Buy a cover while you are healthy so that you can benefit from the low cost of premium. It must be noted that premiums for tobacco users will be a bit high.

5) Standalone or rider

Critical illness plan can be bought either as a standalone policy or as a rider by clubbing it with life or health insurance plans. The choice between a standalone and rider is wholly dependent on your requirements.

In case of a standalone policy, there is more flexibility when it comes to sum insured and the covers are larger compared to riders. A rider, on the other hand, generally costs lesser compared to a standalone policy. Assess which option will best suit your needs and accordingly take a decision.