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Difference Between Waiting Period And Survival Period Explained

Published On Jan 09, 2021, Updated On Apr 23, 2021

While buying health insurance may not be compulsory, it is a vital financial investment that can save individuals from the financial and mental stress of a medical emergency. One can purchase health insurance for themselves or their complete family. Individuals can also select if they want the insurance company to pay back their medical bills or provide cashless treatment at a hospital.

Health insurance is a great way to stay safe from any unexpected medical emergency which can involve a lot of expenditure. This is the reason for its increasing popularity among the masses. Yet, a health insurance plan is meant to offer cover for unpredictable emergencies only. It is not meant to act as a way to pass on existing medical expenditures. This is the reason that health insurance companies have built safeguards like survival and waiting period in their insurance plans.

Difference Between Waiting Period And Survival Period Explained

What Is a Survival Period?

The concept of survival period only applies to critical ailments. It is usually found in a serious illness policy, which caters to critical issues, such as cancer, heart failure, kidney failure, etc. It is applied only after a critical illness is diagnosed and can last anywhere between 30 to 180 days. If the policy owner survives this phase, they become entitled to a lump sum expense that can be used for covering treatment price.

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What Is the Waiting Period?

It provides a cushioning duration after an individual takes a medical insurance plan and the insurance firm starts taking over the risk included. The waiting period is of several kinds. The initial waiting period usually lasts between one and three months and anything except industrial or road accidents is not covered during this time. This is usually followed by a sickness-specific waiting period. It can be between one to three years and covers illnesses with expensive treatments, such as transplants, etc. The waiting period for pre-existing diseases is also of the same duration but covers any conditions, which the insured person may have earlier, such as, diabetes.

Difference Between Waiting And Survival Period

The concepts of a survival period and a waiting period may appear the same, but they are completely different. Some of the common differences between them are mentioned below:

  • While all plans have a waiting period, all insurance plans may not require a survival period.
  • For regular health insurance plans, the waiting period begins as soon as the policy is issued, but the survival period only begins from the time the critical disease is detected.
  • While a waiting period is applicable irrespective of the nature of the disease, the survival period only applies to critical illness cases.
  • Cover persists to be their post-waiting period after any payments as long as the payment is made on time; however, any lump-sum payment post-survival time results in policy termination.

You may like to read:

Exclusions and Waiting Period: Know Them Before Choosing a Health Policy

Top Health Insurance Plans with Regard to the Waiting Period!


In brief, the waiting and survival period are protection systems to keep the insurance firm safe from unnecessary risks and frauds so that they stay in excellent financial health and can carry on to serve more individuals for a longer time duration.

Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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