Critical illness insurance
What is the difference between critical illness insurance and medical insurance?
What is the coverage of critical illness insurance?
Is cancer covered?
There is a common misconception that critical illness insurance is the same as medical insurance. However, the two products are completely different. Critical illness insurance provides a lump-sum benefit if the insured person is diagnosed with a critical illness covered by the policy. Unlike medical insurance, which covers medical expenses on a reimbursement basis, critical illness insurance provides an accelerated death benefit, which provides the policyholder with a cash advance against the death benefit. There is no limitation on the use of the benefit. The insured person can decide how to use the advance: to pay for daily expenses or cover medical costs, for example.
Product features

Understand the definitions
  • The definition of the predetermined list of critical illnesses varies among insurers. Compare the coverage of different products and make sure you understand the definitions before taking out a policy.
  • The policy terms contain specific descriptions of the medical conditions of critical illnesses, such as cancer and cardiomyopathy. Read the relevant terms and conditions carefully to determine whether the coverage suits your personal needs.
Pay attention to the restrictions on multiple benefits
  • The design of products with multiple benefits is relatively complex. The terms and conditions vary among products, including the definitions of new diseases, recurrence and waiting periods. Read the relevant terms and conditions carefully, and consult your insurer or intermediary if needed.
Be aware of the non-guaranteed dividends or bonuses
  • If you have purchased a participating policy, be aware that the cash value may comprise non-guaranteed dividends or bonuses, which will be affected by the insurers’ investment strategy and performance, claim experience, operational expenses, etc. The final payout may be higher or lower than the projected payout illustrated in the benefits illustration. Refer to the Understanding a Participating Policy webpage on the Insurance Authority website to learn more about how to choose a participating policy and points to note when interpreting fulfilment ratio and benefits illustrations.
Disclose your conditions honestly
  • Your health condition and history are critical information for a fair and reasonable underwriting process. Disclose them to the insurer actively and honestly, or the insurer may reject your claim or even declare your policy invalid on the ground of non-disclosure of material facts.
  • Some insurers may request that you undergo a medical examination to confirm what you have disclosed. Bear in mind that the insurer may reject your claim or even declare your policy invalid on the ground of non-disclosure of material facts if you fail to disclose your health condition and history honestly.
  • Pre-existing conditions are normally excluded from coverage of critical illness insurance. For instance, if you were diagnosed with cancer before the policy takes effect, it will not be covered.