Cancer is one of the most dreaded health conditions in the world today. As reported by Economic Times, a recent study revealed that the number of incidents of cancer is expected to go up from 14 lakh in the year 2016 to 17.3 lakh in the year 2020 in India. Various factors can lead to cancer. While genetics is one of the factors, environmental factors are said to be the major cause of all types of cancer.
Treatment of cancer, depending on the stage of cancer and the type of treatment opted for can turn into a costly affair. Hence, if you think you might be diagnosed with cancer in the near future due to genetic or environmental reasons, you should buy a cancer insurance policy immediately.

What is a cancer insurance policy?
A cancer insurance plan is a special type of insurance plan that provides financial aid to individuals who suffer from cancer. The benefits offered by such plans are plenty ranging from hospitalisation expenses to chemotherapy expenses. Certain lump sum payment amounts on diagnosis at various stages are also provided to the insured. Many insurance companies such as HDFC Life, ICICI Prudential, Future Generali, Aegon Life, among others offer cancer insurance plans.
Factors to focus on while purchasing a cancer insurance plan

  • Sum insured
  • : The cost of providing medical treatments has gradually increased over the years and further inflation of such treatments is expected in the future. Therefore, you should get a sum insured that not only covers treatment expenses but also provides protection against inflation.

    A few cancer insurance policies provide an extra feature called the indexation benefit that increases the sum assured by a certain percentage annually. This will help tackle inflation as well as rising needs.

  • Policy term
  • : Check the policy term options offered by the company. You should ideally pick the one that provides protection for a wider term. However, if you choose the longest policy term, remember to make sure that the premium amount payable is affordable to you. It is best to pick a wider policy term the very first time than upgrading the plan at a later point in time as the premium amount could differ if the policy term is extended after many years. The insurance company may have hiked the premium rate by then.

  • Coverage of all stages
  • : Cancer is classified into 4 different stages based on the severity of the condition – Carcinoma In Situ, early stage, major stage, and critical stage. Opt a plan that offers coverage for all three stages. Insurance companies generally offer 100% of the sum assured when diagnosed with the critical stage of cancer and about 20%-25% of the sum assured at the early stage. Pick an insurance policy that provides such payouts as well as covers other allied expenses without causing any inconvenience to the insured person.

  • Waiting period mentioned
  • : Insurance companies generally have a waiting period clause that policyholders are required to complete before making claims. The waiting period clause differs based on the insurance company. The insurer may ask you to complete an initial waiting period which could last between 90 days and 180 days or complete the survival period which could last for around 7 days. The initial waiting period typically starts from the day the policy was issued. The survival period, however, begins once the insured is diagnosed with cancer. You will have to complete the survival period in order to register claims under the policy.

  • Additional benefits
  • : Check if the cancer insurance policy has any benefits apart from the lump sum benefits and hospitalisation expenses benefit. Some insurance companies offer the income benefit wherein 1% to 2% of the sum assured is provided on a monthly basis to make up for the loss of income suffered by the insured. Another benefit provided under cancer insurance plans is the Waiver of Premium cover that waives off all future premiums when the insured is diagnosed with cancer. Since the earning capacity of the insured would reduce when he/she is being treated for cancer, such benefits will help him/her manage regular expenses. Though such benefits may cost extra premium, they will be worth paying for.
    Since a cancer insurance plan focuses on expenses related to the treatment of cancer, it can be treated as an additional plan along with your primary health insurance plan. Getting yourself covered under a comprehensive health insurance cover is absolutely necessary as you would require financial aid in times of other medical emergencies

Author's Bio: 

Senior Financial Analyst at Farmer's Insurance