Safeguarding and protecting our loved ones is the primal nature of all beings. But as human beings, we can fulfil this nature across diverse aspects - physically, mentally, socially, and financially. While for the first 3, we require to be surrounded by our family and friends who would be understanding towards our issues, for the latter, we just need to ensure that we make smart financial choices.

Now, while an individual stays alongside their family, the financial security part comes a bit easy. However, what if the sole bread-earning individual faces an unfortunate demise or is affected by some critical ailment that takes a substantial bite out of one’s savings? That mere thought is terrifying and surely is a reason for a worrisome frown.

This is where term insurance plans come into play. A term insurance policy from one of the best term insurers coupled with an appropriate critical illness rider - that’s the perfect combination of financial security that offers coverage across the critical ailment and death aspects. However, now the question is what exactly is a critical illness rider in term insurance? Is this rider at all effective? And which term insurance provider would offer you the best critical illness rider with your term insurance plan? Let’s find out all about it!

What is Critical Illness Rider in Term Life Insurance Plans?

Critical Illness Riders, the valiant companions to term insurance policies, provide an added layer of comprehensive coverage against major health adversities. They are designed to offer financial support and protection in the face of critical illnesses that could potentially shake our lives to the core. For example -

  1. Kidney failure
  2. Stroke
  3. Bone marrow/ major organ transplant
  4. Major burns
  5. Loss of limbs, etc.

(Please note that the list of critical ailments differs from one term insurer to another. So it’s always best to go through the policy documents before you avail of a plan.)

By adding this rider to your term insurance policy, you fortify your armour, ensuring that you are armed and ready to battle any formidable health challenges that may arise, across the financial aspect.

How do critical illness riders complement term insurance policies?

While term insurance policies shield loved ones in the event of untimely demise, critical illness riders extend their wings of protection even during the lifetime of a policyholder. They provide a living benefit, granting a lump sum payout upon the diagnosis of a covered critical illness. This infusion of funds can help you seek the best medical treatments, cover expenses, and ensure a stable financial foundation while you focus on your recovery.

Key Features of Critical Illness Riders in Term Plan




ICICI Life Prudential

MAX Life

Brand Name of Rider

HDFC Life Critical Illness Plus Rider

ICICI Pru iProtect Smart

MAX LIFE Insurance

Type of Benefit

Diagnosis > 1/19 critical illnesses > Lump sum amount

Diagnosis > 1/34 critical illnesses > Lump sum amount

(Gold Variant) Diagnosis > 1/22 critical illnesses > Lump sum amount

(Platinum Variant) Diagnosis > 1/64 Critical illnesses > Lump sum amount 


Critical Illness benefit for 19 mentioned diseases

Accelerated critical illness rider

1) Gold Variant (22 CIs)

2) Gold Plus Variant (22 CI plus TPD)

3) Platinum Variant (64 CIs)

4) Platinum Plus Variant (64 CI plus TPD)

6) Accelerated Critical Illness (40CI - doesn't offer TPD)

Entry Conditions

18-65 years

18-65 years

18-65 years


whenever the person is diagnosed with the illnesses that are mentioned under the policy wordings

whenever the person is diagnosed with the illnesses that are mentioned under the policy wordings

whenever the person is diagnosed with the illnesses that are mentioned under the policy wordings

Claim Waiting Periods

90 days

6 months- fresh application

3 months - after revival

No waiting period in case of accidents

90 days- Major CI/TPD

180 days- Minor CI

Survival Period

30 days from diagnosis

Zero days

14 days

Max Payout

Equal to or less than the base policy sum assured subject to rider premium cannot be more than the base premium

(Min 50k, Max-1.5 Cr)

Equal to or less than the base policy sum assured 

(Max 1Cr)

30 lakhs as per the new update(after covid)

above age 35> - only 20 Lakhs, 50>  = 10 Lakhs

Accelerated / 50 lakhs (40 CI add-on option)

Minor CI/ 5 Lakh or 25% of the SA (Lower) 

Rider Duration

40 years or until 75 yrs, whichever is early.** / Policy payment term

30 policy years or until 75 yrs, whichever is early.**

-Gold Variant (22 CIs) 85 years

-Gold Plus Variant (22 CI plus TPD 75 years

-Platinum Variant (64 CIs) 85 years

-Platinum Plus Variant (64 CI plus TPD) 75 years

-Accelerated Critical Illness 75 years

Benefits of Critical Illness Riders in Term Plan

  • Financial protection against major illnesses

Critical illness riders act as a financial shield, protecting you and your loved ones from the potentially devastating economic consequences of a severe health setback. The lump sum payout provides a safety net, covering medical expenses and allowing you to focus on your recovery without worrying about the financial burden.

  • Coverage for medical treatments and related expenses

With the rising costs of healthcare, critical illness riders offer a lifeline by providing coverage for medical treatments, surgeries, therapies, and associated expenses. This coverage ensures that you can access the best possible medical care, regardless of the financial implications, enabling you to prioritize your well-being.

  • Supplementing income during illness and recovery

A critical illness diagnosis often brings about a disruption in income due to the inability to work. The payout from a critical illness rider can serve as a much-needed replacement for lost income, enabling you to maintain your financial obligations, support your family, and focus on your recovery with peace of mind.

  • Peace of mind and reduced financial burden

Knowing that you are shielded against the financial upheaval of critical illnesses brings a profound sense of peace. Critical illness riders alleviate the worry and anxiety associated with medical emergencies, allowing you to focus on your health and well-being without the added stress of financial concerns.

Limitations and Considerations for Critical Illness Rider in Term Plan

  • Specific illnesses covered by the rider

Each critical illness rider has a defined list of covered illnesses, and it's essential to carefully review this list. Understand the specific diseases included and excluded to ensure that the rider aligns with your health concerns and provides the desired protection.

  • Pre-existing conditions and waiting periods

Pre-existing conditions may not be covered by critical illness riders, or there is usually a waiting period from the policy inception before your claim can be settled. It's crucial to understand these factors and their implications to set realistic expectations and plan accordingly.

  • Claim process and documentation requirements

Familiarize yourself with the claim process and documentation requirements for critical illness riders. Ensure that you understand the steps involved and the necessary paperwork to expedite the claim settlement process during a challenging time.

  • Policy renewal and termination conditions

Be aware of the renewal and termination conditions of the critical illness rider. Understand the terms, premium adjustments, and potential policy modifications upon renewal to ensure continuous coverage and uninterrupted protection.


Comparison with Standalone Critical Illness Policies

Pros and cons of critical illness riders vs. standalone policies

  • Critical illness riders offer the advantage of being bundled with term insurance policies, providing a comprehensive coverage solution.
  • Standalone critical illness policies, on the other hand, offer more flexibility and can be tailored to specific requirements. Consider the pros and cons of each option to determine which best suits your needs.

Cost-effectiveness and convenience factors

Critical illness riders are often more cost-effective compared to standalone policies, as they leverage the existing term insurance framework. Additionally, the convenience of managing a single policy and premium payment simplifies the administrative aspects, saving time and effort.

Suitability based on individual needs and circumstances

The choice between a critical illness rider and a standalone policy depends on your individual needs and circumstances. Assess factors such as budget, desired coverage, and long-term financial goals to make an informed decision that aligns with your specific situation.

Tips for Choosing and Utilizing Critical Illness Riders

  • Assessing personal health risks and family medical history

Evaluate your health risks and consider your family medical history when selecting critical illness riders. This assessment will help you choose the most relevant and impactful coverage options.

  • Evaluating coverage options and policy terms

Carefully evaluate the coverage options and policy terms offered by different insurance providers. Compare the sum assured, covered illnesses, waiting periods, and claim settlement records to choose a reliable and comprehensive critical illness rider.

  • Understanding claim procedures and requirements

Familiarize yourself with the claim procedures and documentation requirements for critical illness riders. Understanding the process beforehand will facilitate a smoother and more efficient claim settlement experience during challenging times.

  • Regular policy review and updates

Regularly review your critical illness rider and overall insurance portfolio to ensure they align with your evolving needs. Life changes, such as marriage, the birth of a child, or changes in health, may require adjustments to your coverage levels or the addition of new riders.

Best Term Plans with Critical Illness rider

Some of the best-term plans for critical illness disorder in India:

  • Max Life Smart Secure Plus
  • HDFC Click 2 Protect Life
  • IPru iProtect
  • Tata AIA Sampoorna Raksha Supreme

These plans offer a variety of benefits, including:

  1. High sum assured
  2. Low premiums
  3. Flexible payment options
  4. Wide range of critical illnesses covered
  5. The easy claim settlement process

It is important to compare different plans before choosing one that is right for you. You should consider your individual needs and circumstances, such as your age, health, and financial situation.


In the realm of term insurance policies, Critical Illness Riders emerge as the stalwart guardians, providing an added layer of protection against life's most formidable health challenges. By fortifying your financial armour with a critical illness rider, you can face the uncertainties of tomorrow with confidence and peace of mind. So, embrace this transformative power, enhance your term insurance policy, and stride forward knowing that you are prepared for whatever lies ahead. Together, we can conquer the unpredictable and safeguard our health, wealth, and dreams.