Critical illness is an insurance product, similar to life insurance except that it pays when the life assured is diagnosed of any one of the critical illnesses stipulated in the policy.
The purpose of a critical illness policy is to cushion any financial hardship a person would experience in the event of a serious illness. Unlike in countries like UK where healthcare is free, critical illness insurance is especially useful to people living in places where they have to pay for medical care. Critical illness insurance is designed to help as an income replacement in the event of a critical illness, pay for additional costs of treatment like specialists treatment or overseas treatment, to pay off any debt especially if the policy is attached to mortgage payment and to fund any changes in the way of life.
It saddened me to hear stories of some insurance companies trying to deny claims. When stories like this surface, it gives the product a bad name and take away its original intention that is supposed to be good and beneficial for people.
I believe strongly in the benefits of critical illness insurance and the relief it would bring to the insured. However, I also believe that the insurance broker, the insurance company and perhaps we as the life insured play an important part in the understanding of how the critical illness policy work.
I would like to share some pointers to note when deciding to buy critical illness insurance; these are my personal opinion based on my personal experience:
1. Try to get an insurance advisor who can explain clearly the feature of the critical illness insurance. Make the advisor explain each one of the critical illness stipulated in the policy, what is cover and under what circumstances is the critical illness claimable. For example, a transient stroke which lasts for less than 24hr is not claimable, what is their definition of a heart attack and what are the test required to proof the condition and what constitute total and permanent disability. Do not be afraid to ask the advisor to go through every single critical illness and question when in doubt.
2. If you are concern about a medical condition you once had or still suffering from, disclosed them to the company. When you disclosed everything, make sure it is recorded so that the company cannot default your claim.
3. Be prepared to have a medical examination if you are not sure of your existing medical condition. After a medical examination requested by the insurance company, you could be accepted under normal term or at a higher premium. Once you are issued the policy the company cannot refute any claims based on your medical condition.
4. It is good to look around for the best quote. It is also important to look around for the good service. Good services from the insurance advisors and insurance companies include being clear and detailed in explaining the terms of the insurance, patience with your queries and being able to honestly give you the pros and cons of the cover.
5. Different insurance company have different definition of the critical illnesses and how a claim can be made. Be sure to clarify this when doing your search.
I have seen critical illness claims being made and it is a relief to the family and the claimant. The last thing you want to do when you are not feeling well is to worry about your medical costs. Critical illness insurance serve a good purpose and as it can be quite intricate and technical, we should always find more information before making the decision to buy.