Buying a critical illness health insurance plan is idyllic; however, just like a health insurance plan comes with a waiting period, the critical health insurance plan comes with a survival period. What does the survival period mean? How does it affect your plan? Let's understand this in detail;

Introduction - What is the survival period?

The survival period refers to the time that the insured must survive once diagnosed with any critical illness. It involves the time period after being detected for diseases such as cancer or cardiovascular ailments. This is a crucial clause under a critical illness health insurance plan as the insurer does not pay any coverage amount unless the insured survives this period. Generally, a survival period ranges from 14 to 90 days, depending on the terms and conditions of different insurance providers.

So, as you opt for critical illness health insurance, your insurer will settle the claim and pay for treatments or cover medical expenses till the survival period. Remember, insurers do not pay any death benefit to the family members. Simply put, if the insured survives the survival period, they get the medical expenses covered for treatments; if the insured does not survive the survival period, the insurer will not pay the family members.

To add, you will not get any return of premium as well if, as an insured, you do not survive the survival period. Such a feature is available only on selective life insurance plans by a few insurance companies.

To get the benefit of a critical illness health insurance plan, opt for a policy that has a shorter survival period. This will help you get the coverage amount faster and reduce your financial burden. You can compare different plans from different insurance providers to choose the critical illness plan that suits you best.

Difference between waiting period and survival period

While the survival period refers to the time that the insured must survive once diagnosed with any critical illness, the waiting period is the time to wait out before raising an insurance claim for any other health insurance plan. Let's look at some chief differences between the two;



Waiting period

Survival period


It is the time you need to wait before you can make a claim for benefits of any health insurance plan taken

It is the time that you need to survive post you have been diagnosed with a critical illness before you can get the monetary benefit from your critical illness health insurance

Time of period

Waiting period is longer, it ranges from 15 days to 4 years

Survival period is shorter than waiting period. It ranges from 14 to 90 days depending on the terms and conditions of different insurance providers

Applicable to

Is present in every health insurance plan

Is applicable only to critical illness health insurance plan

Gets activated when

Policy gets activated as soon as plan starts

Policy gets activated only once insured is diagnosed with critical illness


Applies to pre-existing diseases like hypertension, diabetes and so on

Applies to any critical illness only like kidney/ heart failure or cancer

Depends on

Waiting period depends on the health insurance plan taken and the insurance provider

Survival period depends on the critical illness of the insurer and the specific critical insurance plan taken






In conclusion, it is essential to know all the terms and norms of any health insurance you opt for.

Keep in mind that all health insurance plans have a waiting period, and the survival period is only applicable to critical illnesses health insurance plans. Moreover, waiting periods are longer than survival periods in general. The survival period of a critical illness health insurance plan should be as short as possible so that the medical expenses of the treatment are not borne by the insurer in case of an emergency.

Make sure you read all the conditions of your health insurance plan to make the right choice as per your needs. This way, you can choose the policy that is best for you and provides you most benefit.

FAQs – Frequently asked questions

Let's take a look at some frequent queries on Survival period in Critical illness health insurance;

Q1. Should one know other details pertaining to critical illness health insurance plans?

Yes, apart from the survival period, as an insurer, you should also know the amount of premium and coverage provided before purchasing any critical illness health insurance policy. Make sure to read all the terms and conditions beforehand.

Q2. Do beneficiaries get a return in case of the death of the insurer in the survival period?

No, in case the insurer passes away during the survival period, the beneficiaries or family members do not get any coverage amount. Such feature is available in selective life insurance plans.

Q3. Can I file a claim during the survival period?

No, once you are diagnosed with critical illness, on completion of your survival period, you shall be given a lump sum coverage amount for medical expenses or treatment by the insurance provider.

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