How to choose between disease-specific and critical illness insurance plans?


12 Jun 2023

Understanding the differences and benefits of disease-specific and critical illness insurance policies

Over the past few months, the health insurance sector has undergone some major changes. As more and more people now realise the significance of having a health insurance plan, there has been an increase in the types of health insurance plans in the market too. While this gives a health insurance seeker more options, it can often cause confusion too. A lot of people find it difficult to choose between disease-specific and critical illness insurance policies. Read on to understand both these policies and know what disease-specific and critical illness cover so that you can choose the more-suited one.

Disease-specific insurance plan

As the name suggests, a disease-specific health insurance plan offers coverage for a specific illness. The entire cost of treatment, from diagnosis to advanced treatment, is covered under such a plan. Another striking feature of a disease-specific plan is that when an insured is diagnosed with the specified disease, the future premiums are waived. In case there is a hereditary disease in your family or a disease that you feel you may be prone to, such as cancer, cardiac problems, kidney failure etc., you should opt for a disease-specific policy.

Critical illness insurance plan

A critical illness is a fixed benefit plan, where if the insured is diagnosed with any of the listed diseases, a lump sum amount is paid out. 100% of the sum insured chosen at the time of policy inception is paid out to the insured, which can then be used for the required treatment, for recuperation or as a source of income. Once the benefit is paid out, the policy comes to an end. Kotak Secure shield covers 18 critical illness, refer policy wording for more details. Some commonly included illnesses are cancer, multiple sclerosis, end-stage lung disease, paralysis, stroke, end-stage liver issues etc.

Disease-specific insurance or critical illness insurance

While disease-specific and critical illness insurance policies may appear to be similar, their differences are striking. They are not synonymous and thus, you need to understand the factors such as coverage and costs to be able to make a well-informed decision.

Critical illness insurance plan


Disease-specific insurance Plan

Kotak Secure shield covers up to 18 illnesses in one policy


Offers coverage for one specific disease

Due to more comprehensive coverage, the premium is higher


As only one disease is covered, the premium is comparatively cheaper

Most critical illness plans come with a waiting period of up to 90 days

Waiting Period

Most disease-specific insurance plans have no or a very short waiting period


The last few years have seen various innovations in medical sciences. The quality of treatment has improved, and there has been a steady increase in life expectancy. However, the world has also witnessed many new diseases that can prove to be deadly. While following a healthy lifestyle is imperative, having the right kind of health insurance plan is also crucial. Weigh the pros and cons of a critical illness cover and a disease-specific policy, and choose a policy that best suits your requirements.

Know why buying critical illness coverage at an early age is vital in our blog.

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Team Kotak GIC

The content of this blog has been created and carefully reviewed by the esteemed team at Kotak General Insurance, with the sole purpose of providing valuable guidance and sharing insights on the importance of general insurance. Our objective is to assist users in making informed decisions when purchasing or renewing insurance policies for their cars, bikes, and health. Our expertly curated information aims to empower our readers with the knowledge they need to protect their valuable assets and financial interests.