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Critical Illness

Critical Illness Rider vs. Standalone Critical Illness Policy – What’s Better?

With an upsurge in life-threatening diseases, having Critical Illness insurance by your side has become important. A Critical Illness policy will take care of life-threatening (cancer, major organ transplant, multiple sclerosis, third-degree burns, aorta graft surgery) and lifestyle-disabling (heart valve replacement/repair, coma of specified severity, total blindness, end-stage renal disease) illnesses.

However, here you have three different options to choose from:

  1. Standalone Critical Illness policy
  2. Critical Illness rider with a health insurance product
  3. Critical Illness rider with a life insurance product

Let's first understand the difference between a standalone policy and a rider. A Critical Illness plan is a standalone policy while a Critical Illness rider is what you can buy along with either a health or a life insurance policy. Often, the policy seeker gets confused as to what to go with, a standalone policy or a rider? An easy way out here is to get a fair view of both these options to ascertain what is more suitable of the two. In this article, we have done that for you. The following is the list of the components of an insurance policy under which we have first given a fair view of each option (that is, a rider and a standalone plan) and then later we have suggested what you should choose on the basis of your needs.

The Coverage Amount

The coverage amount in case of a rider depends on the base policy with which you are opting for an additional rider. Hence, it cannot exceed 30% (IRDAI rule mandates no more than 30%) of the coverage amount of the base policy. However, the coverage amount in case of a standalone policy is up to you.

Our Suggestion: If you want a higher cover, then a standalone policy, where you get to choose the coverage amount, is the right fit. Also, given the expenses that one incurs on the treatment for a critical illness, the higher the cover, the better it is.

The Premium

The premiums of a standalone policy remain the same unless you reach a specific age. However, although the premiums of a rider taken with a life insurance policy remain constant throughout, the premium of a rider taken with a health plan increases with the increase in age. But the premium amount you would pay in a standalone policy will be slightly higher compared to a critical illness rider.

Our Suggestion: You can either choose to pay lesser premiums and get a lower coverage amount or pay higher premiums for a higher cover. But, as told earlier, critical illnesses are very prevalent. You don’t know when you could be next. And, once contacted, it can easily empty your bank account and all your savings. So, it is always a wise decision to have a higher cover, which you would get with a standalone policy.


A standalone Critical Illness policy can be renewed lifelong while a Critical Illness rider is renewed with the base policy. So, if the base policy becomes invalid, the rider also stands invalid.

Our Suggestion: Quite obviously, a standalone Critical Illness policy is a clear winner here. Given the rise in the number of people being affected by life-threatening illnesses, one needs to have a valid standalone Critical Illness policy.

Number of Critical Illnesses Covered

The number of diseases covered in a standalone Critical Illness plan is comparatively higher than a Critical Illness rider. For example - Apollo Optima Vital covers 37 critical illnesses.

Our Suggestion: A standalone plan is better if you wish to play safe and get yourself covered against as many diseases as possible. 

Read here to know the myths around a critical illness policy


In all the aforementioned parameters, a standalone Critical Illness plan comes out as the winner. Ultimately, it solely depends on your requirements and affordability. If you think your current income is not sufficient to pay a higher premium amount at the moment, then it is advisable to at least get a rider with your life or health plan. You can also consult our experts at OneInsure, who can assist you in coming to a reasonable decision. You can contact them directly at 86559-86559 or drop an email at




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