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Difference Between Cancer Insurance and Critical Illness Insurance Policy

Karan Sharma Karan Sharma 02 April 2019

Learn about the difference between health insurance plans like cancer insurance and critical illness insurance at

Looking for a specific illness cover over a comprehensive plan? Read ahead and know more about the different types of specific illness policies.

Critical Illness Insurance

Modern healthcare is effective but expensive. The cost of superior medical treatment is rising day by day. Due to rampant rise in life-threatening diseases, the longevity of an average human is reduced to 60-70 years in developing nations like India. One of the most dangerous and life-threatening diseases which is infecting Indians at an alarming rate is cancer. As per the Cancer Organisation of India, the total deaths due to cancer alone stood at 7,84,821 (4,13,519 males and 3,71,302 females) in 2018. The risk of dying from cancer before the age of 75 years is 7.34% in males and 6.28% in females.

On the other hand, there are cardiovascular diseases. As per the September 2018 issue of health journal- The Lancet, Cardiac ailments killed more Indians in 2016 (28%) than any other non-communicable disease. Cardiac ailments or cardiovascular diseases comprise various ailments related to stroke, blood vessels and the heart. The coronary heart disease, also known as ischemic heart disease, has been the number one killer of the Indian population.

One of the most important causes of death is lack of funds to treat life threatening diseases such as cancer and heart failure. To cater to this, you need to consider the possibility of a comprehensive health plan. You need to be prepared for the worst with the beast plan in hand.

So, are there any health plans which cater specifically to cancer and critical illnesses? How are they different from another? Yes, read ahead to find out more.

What is a Cancer Insurance?

Cancer insurance or cancer care insurance is a special type of health care plan which provides financial protection against cancer. Since cancer is a chronic disease, a cancer insurance plan provides lump sum payment which can be used to cover expenses for the treatment of cancer arising out of hospitalization, chemotherapy, surgery etc. A cancer insurance plan is designed to release payouts as per the different stages of cancer - major, minor, critical stages, etc.

Note: A cancer care insurance plan is designed for payout on diagnosis of cancer alone. It does not provide any form of death, survival or maturity benefit. Also, cancer as a pre-existing condition will lead to rejection of the application.

What are the various types of Cancers covered under a Cancer Insurance Plan?

A few of the various types of cancers covered under a cancer insurance plan are:

  1. Prostate Cancer
  2. Breast Cancer
  3. Lung Cancer
  4. Ovarian Cancer
  5. Stomach Cancer
  6. Hypopharynx Cancer


The exclusions from this plan are:

  1. Skin Cancer
  2. Cancer caused by HIV/AIDS/STDs
  3. Cancer caused by pre-existing diseases, congenital, biological, nuclear or chemical contamination.

Benefits of a Cancer Insurance Plan

Here’s a list of top benefits offered by a Cancer Insurance Plan:

  1. Provides lump sum payment at various stages of cancer.
  2. Provides cover at various stages of cancer.
  3. Premium waiver is available if the cancer is deducted at an early-stage
  4. Tax benefits under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
  5. Insurance cover does not cease post primary diagnosis.
  6. Option to receive monthly income in case of major cancer diagnosis.
  7. Premium discounts on higher cover

What is Critical Illness Insurance Policy?

A critical illness insurance policy is an additional health insurance policy which caters in providing financial protection and security against specific listed life threatening diseases. A critical illness insurance plan can be purchased as an additional rider to an existing health plan or as an individual policy. This plan helps to overcome any limitations which are not included in a regular health or life insurance plan.

A critical illness insurance policy is designed to provide a lump sum amount in case the policyholder has been diagnosed by a critical illness. A critical illness includes cancer, heart attack, kidney failure, paralysis, stroke, etc.

Benefits of a Critical Illness Insurance Policy

Following is a list of benefits offered by a Critical Illness Insurance Plan

  1. Provides cover against a vast list of life-threatening critical diseases. These diseases are mentioned in the policy document.
  2. Provides lump sum payment upon diagnosis of a listed life-threatening critical disease.
  3. Less expensive than a comprehensive medical plan as it provides a large cover (₹15-₹20 lakhs) at an affordable premium rate.
  4. Hospital bills are not necessary to make a claim.
  5. Lump sum payout can be utilised to meet expenses such as medical treatment, hospitalization expenses, doctor’s fee, etc.
  6. Offers customization in order to maximize the benefits.

Disadvantages of a Critical Illness Insurance Policy

This Plan may have certain disadvantages as well. They are:

  1. It comes with a 90 day survival period.
  2. The plan provides cover for cancer only at advanced stages and not at an early stage.
  3. Payout is made on the first occurrence of any of the listed illness and then the plan terminates.

Cancer Insurance vs Critical Illness Insurance Policy

It is good to have a critical illness insurance policy as it will provide protection against any uncertain/terminal diseases. Also, a dedicated Cancer Insurance plan will help you restrict the expenses arising out of cancer treatment. Mentioned below are differences between the two.

Criteria Cancer Insurance Critical Illness Insurance
Why buy? - Provides financial security against medical expenses in the form of lumpsum
- Benefit-based policy.
- Provides cover against almost all forms of cancer.
- Provides financial security in the form of a lump sum payout upon successful diagnosis of a listed critical illness.
- The lump sum payout can be utilised to cover for all expenses related to the treatment of a medical emergency.
What is Covered? Comprehensive cover against all stages of cancer - minor, major and critical stages. Covers a list of critical illnesses which are mentioned in the policy document. The payout can be utilised to treat any of the mentioned illnesses.
Insurance Term Upto 20 years Upto 20 years
Who Can Buy? - Individuals who have a family history of cancer related problems/ who identify the risks associated with cancer.
- The best combination is to purchase a comprehensive health insurance plan and then purchase a cancer specific insurance plan as an additional rider option.
Individuals who are aware of/have a higher probability of developing a critical illness in the near future.
The best combination is to purchase a comprehensive health insurance plan and then purchase a critical illness insurance plan as an additional rider option.
Karan Sharma
Written by Karan Sharma
Content Strategist at Coverfox.