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Critical Illness Insurance Cover for Self Employed

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Thu, 02/12/2015 - 17:43


Health Insurance

Critical Illness Insurance Cover for Self EmployedIn a day and age of cut throat competition, hectic work schedules of a business set up, dwindling personal time and rocketing expenses, being prepared for a personal emergency mentally and financially can be a massive challenge. And if this emergency is health related, apart from enormous medical bills, the stress of paying house/vehicle/education/personal loan EMIs within set deadlines can be unimaginable.

Add to this the financial hit of not working for the duration of one's illness and consequent drawbacks to business. The situation could get more dire if the patient is the sole bread winner of the family. Despite a strong inkling and fair understanding of such situations, thanks to our "Jugaad" and last minute fix capabilities we seldom plan for such exigencies.

Most of us would have spoken with or heard of relatives, family or friends that ended up in great debt or losing almost everything in their effort to save a critically family member. Yet the urgency of planning for ourselves continues to elude most of us.

While most parts of the developed world have benefited abundantly from insurance, India has dismally low penetration levels. Insurance and health insurance in particular is an inexpensive and reliable solution to deal with such unforeseen circumstances.

Successful establishment of international Insurance JVs and two decade of liberalization later, the insurance industry today offers the consumer enough customization to match most health needs as per age, budget and personal requirements.

While the wide array of insurance offerings is certainly a sign of a maturing and evolving market, it is important that one picks the right insurance to meet one’s need. Choosing low insurance is tantamount to no insurance at all. On the other hand picking something that offers cover that one mayn’t able to utilize may result in regular payment of huge premiums.

So how does one really pick something that matches budget requirements and provides adequate cover not just for health expenses but also for the financial hit one’s business set up may face? While on the face of it, selecting something with so many conditions may appear to be a difficult proposition, however a quick understanding of some basic health insurance aspects with a few tips can make the process fairly simple.

For starters, among health emergencies, critical illness (e.g. heart attack, liver failure - as grim as they sound target even young healthy folks) are perhaps one of the most challenging of situations to deal with. Apart from the physical trauma; financial stress can be excruciating. Choosing the right critical illness cover can therefore in a lot of cases can mean a difference between shutting shop and staying in business.

So what really does a Critical illness cover do?

A critical illness policy offers upfront funds in case a person is detected with a critical illness. All the insured needs to do is provide proof of critical illness and collect the sum. While going in for a critical illness policy, one must take into consideration certain aspects of the policy.

1. The Cover
One must scrutinize how much cover is required which is a relative factor and what exactly is the amount to be paid for that. One must know the benefits offered, critical areas like recurring costs, treatment costs, and future financial liabilities or occurrence of an unforeseen adversity like loss of income must be taken care of. The age-benefit factor must be evaluated before deciding on the cover.

2. Kind of Policy
There are two kinds of critical illness policies – a standalone policy and a rider which can be clubbed with life or health insurance plans. Although the policy clause under both the options would be almost the same, however a standalone policy has wider flexibility in choosing the sum insured and larger covers compared to the riders.

3. Illnesses covered
One must gauge the list of critical illnesses covered. There are insurers in the market today where one can avail the privilege of having coverage on as many as 20 illnesses.

4. Adequate sum insured
It is imperious to consider the average cost of treating major illnesses while evaluating the cover size. Treatment of critical illness is expensive.

5. Lump-sum Cover
Many would be surprised to know that Health insurance doesn’t necessarily need to cover medical expenses alone. A lot of insurance health policies offer lump- sum amount in case of a critical illness. This helps deal not just with medical expenses but also with day to day expenditure. In case the insured is diagnosed with critical illness he/she is paid twice the amount insured which can be used as per his/her discretion to settle medical bills and finance daily expenditure.

One should always analyze the need of the hour and assess the situation that life sometimes has in store for you, especially when you are on your own, regular income is not there to make your life easier and does not have the cushion of company provided health insurance to fall back upon. Critical illness can attack any of us at any point of time so it is wise to be safeguarded to combat such disasters

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Bharti AXA General Insurance Company Ltd is a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises, a leading Indian business group and AXA, a world leader in financial protection.

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