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What is Survival Period in Health Insurance Meaning?

Published On Aug 18, 2023, Updated On Sep 22, 2023

In today's rapidly changing world, though we all try to keep ourselves physically fit, serious illness or injury can occur anytime or to anyone and can cause severe financial strain. With the rising medical costs such as hospitalisation costs, medicines, emergency surgery, etc., the stress in unfortunate times is real; thus, health insurance is the option which makes the entire process of receiving emergency medical care easier.  

The table shows various types of health insurance and for whom they are suitable - 

Individual Health Insurance


Family Health Insurance

Self, Spouse, Children & Parents

Critical Illness Insurance

Used for funding expensive treatments

Senior Citizen Health Insurance

Citizens of age 65 and above

Group Health Insurance

For a group of employees

To learn about the survival period in health insurance, out of all the types, it is important to understand critical illness insurance in detail. Heart attacks, kidney failure, and cancer are covered in critical illness. With rising conditions, more health insurers are now providing health insurance specifically designed for critical illness. Such policies, unlike regular life insurance plans, give the policyholder a lump sum in the event of a diagnosis of critical disease according to the terms and conditions of the policy. 

What is Survival Period in Health Insurance? 

A critical illness health insurance policy's survival period is an important factor to be considered when opting for a critical illness insurance plan. It is the amount of time one must survive after being diagnosed with a critical illness to avail of the benefit under the plan. You are eligible for benefits under the policy once you have passed the survival period, subject to its terms & conditions. 

The length of the survival period varies from insurer to insurer. However, it typically ranges from 14 days to 30 days. If you survive the minimum period after the diagnosis of a critical illness, the insurer pays for the treatment as mentioned in the policy.

What is Survival Period in Health Insurance Meaning?

The list of critical illnesses covered varies from company to company and policy to policy. 

Survival Period and Critical Illness Policies

The survival period in health insurance, specifically critical illness or life-threatening disease coverage, is designed to ensure that a policyholder's mere diagnosis doesn't immediately render them eligible for a payout. This precaution is to manage potential liabilities for the insurance company, which could be excessive if payouts were triggered simply by diagnosis.

In essence, the policyholder must survive for a specified period following their diagnosis before the critical illness insurance initiates the payout. Once this survival period is successfully completed, the insurance policy will disburse the predetermined lump sum amount covered under the policy. This structure is intended to provide financial support to individuals navigating the complexities and costs of critical illness treatment and recovery.

Let us understand this with an example:

Mr Bhushan purchased a health insurance policy that covers critical illness fund assured of INR 4 lakhs. In the policy, the survival period is for 30 days. Four months later, Mr Bhushan is diagnosed with lung cancer. Suppose he was diagnosed on 14th March 2023; he will receive the lump sum amount only if he survives beyond 13th April 2023 (keeping in mind that the survival period is 30 days). In case he passes away before 13th April 2023, no benefits will be paid.  

Important- A critical illness policy will pay a lump sum benefit irrespective of whether the policyholder is hospitalised or not and whether he/she incurs any expenses for the medical treatment.

Difference between Survival Period and Waiting Period 

While a survival period is the duration that a policyholder needs to survive after he/she has been diagnosed with a critical disease, the waiting period is the period that the policyholder needs to wait before he/she is eligible to take the benefit of the policy.  

Usually, a survival period is generally shorter than a waiting period. A critical illness insurance policy generally comes with a waiting period of 90 days and a survival period of 30 days. 

A survival period is only included under a critical illness insurance policy, and a waiting period is present in all types of health insurance plans, including critical illness insurance plans. 

A survival period is applicable after a person gets diagnosed with a critical illness, and a waiting period gets activated as soon as a person purchases the policy. 

Is it important to look for a survival period while buying a critical insurance policy? 

The answer is absolutely yes. To avail the benefits faster and easily, it is recommended to opt for a critical illness plan that has a shorter survival period. A shorter survival period will help decrease the financial and mental stress that comes with the illness. Understand the terms and conditions of the policy carefully and choose a plan wisely. 


The survival period in a critical illness insurance policy represents the time a policyholder must endure post-diagnosis before receiving the policy benefits. This period generally ranges from 14 to 30 days, and it helps insurers manage their liabilities. Understanding this factor, alongside the waiting period, is crucial when buying a policy. Choosing a plan with a shorter survival period can alleviate the financial strain during difficult times. However, remember that these policies serve as living benefits and don't usually offer premium returns upon death.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the other details pertaining to critical illness health insurance plans that one should know? 

ANSWER- Apart from the survival period, as an insured, one should also know the amount of premium and coverage provided before purchasing any critical illness health insurance policy. He/she should make sure to read all the terms and conditions before purchasing.

  • Do beneficiaries get a return in case of the policyholder's death in the survival period?

ANSWER- No, in case the insurer passes away during the survival period, the beneficiaries or family members do not get any coverage amount. 

  • Can one file for a claim during the survival period?

ANSWER- 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.

  • Can one file a claim during the waiting period?

ANSWER- No, if you file a claim before the completion of the initial waiting period, except in the case of accidental hospitalisation, it will be denied by the insurance company. 

  • If diagnosed with a Critical Illness, can I claim for the illness both under a Health Insurance policy and Critical Illness Cover?

ANSWER- Yes, you can. The health insurance policy will pay for your medical and hospitalisation costs, whereas a critical illness policy will pay you a lump sum when you are affected by a critical illness after the survival period.

  • Can I transfer my critical illness policy from one insurance company to another? 

ANSWER- Yes. As per the rule passed by IRDAI - Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India, effective from 1st October 2011, which allows transfer from one insurance company to another insurance company without losing any renewal benefits.

Also Read: 

List of Diseases Covered by Care Health Insurance Plans


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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