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Cancer Health Insurance

Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the world, more so, because it does not have a proven cure. Cancer cases have been on the rise in India – one of the highest in the world. Cancer is an expensive ailment. The best way to tackle cancer expenses is to buy a cancer health insurance plan.

What are cancer health policies? Cancer health insurance plans are specifically designed to cover the expenses of treating cancer. There are different types of cancers and insurance companies provide plans that cater to specific cancers, too. Looking at the rise of cancer and the rise of its treatment expenses, many health insurers introduced special cancer health plans.

Life is uncertain. Today, even the healthiest of people are prone to lifestyle diseases; and cancer is one of the examples. Urbanization, pollution, toxic air, processing of food and unhealthy lifestyle are among the most common reasons for the rise of cancer. Anyone can get cancer; even the healthiest of persons. The best way to tackle the disease is to be prepared for the treatment and financial burdens that the ailment brings with it.

What is cancer health insurance?

Cancer health insurance plans are specifically designed to meet the expenses of cancer treatments. Cancer health plans are critical insurance plans and offer a lump sum payout upon the diagnosis of the disease. While it is important to have a general comprehensive health insurance plan, having a cancer health plan ensures coverage for cancer, which the general health plan might not cover.

Features of Cancer Health Insurance Plan

  • In-patient hospitalization expenses
  • Pre- and post-hospitalization expenses
  • Day-care treatment
  • OPD (out-patient) expenses
  • Chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • Ambulance expenses
  • Organ donor expenses
  • Alternative treatment
  • No-claim bonus or NCB
  • Free health check-up
  • Second opinion costs
  • Coverage for a wide range of cancers

Additional benefits of cancer insurance

Many people tend to erroneously believe that cancer insurance plans are expensive and hence a waste of money. But that’s not the right approach to planning one’s healthcare needs. Even though a person might be healthy today, they could suffer from cancer a few years down the line. Cancer insurance can be a safety net and the actual cost of insurance is much lower than the cost of treating the ailment.

The incidence of cancers is on the rise among Indians

Cancer occurrence and death due to cancers have been increasing in India. Moreover, there is a rising trend of cancers in young people; especially in the age group of 30 years to 70 years. Some cancers are directly related to lifestyle and working conditions. Studies show that compared to other people the world over, Indians are prone to cancers that tend to be fatal. Moreover, India has seen rapid urbanization and advancement in the last few decades, which has also been responsible for the spread of cancer.

Cancer insurance helps meet the high cancer treatment costs

The cost of cancer treatment is quite step. Even the simplest of procedures can cost a few lakhs. The more severe the condition; costlier will be the treatment. Moreover, hospitals in cities are more expensive than those in towns. With the advancement of medical technology, treatments of such ailments are becoming costlier by the day. Cancer requires quality care and treatment on a sustained basis. To meet these rising costs and medical inflation, it is important to buy cancer health insurance.

Be stress-free and avail the required treatments

Cancer health insurance plans can provide special benefits specific to cancer treatments and come to the rescue of the policyholder when the need arises. Insurance can help policyholders live a life free of financial stress and make it possible for them to get quality treatment as and if the need arises. Moreover, they can also choose the treatment route.

Cancer health insurance plans



Care Cancer Insurance Plan

  • Sum insured Rs.10 lakh to Rs.2 crore
  • Entry age: 5 years to 50 years
  • Pre- and post-hospitalization expenses
  • Day-care treatment
  • OPD expenses
  • Chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • Ambulance charges
  • Organ donor expenses
  • Alternative treatment
  • No-claim bonus
  • Free health check-up
  • Second opinion expenses
  • Coverage for a wide range of cancers
  • Lifelong cover

HDFC Life Cancer Care

  • Sum insured: Rs.10 lakh to Rs.50 lakh
  • Entry age: 5 years to 65 years
  • 3 plan options: Silver, Gold, Platinum
  • Flexible premium payment options: monthly, quarterly, yearly
  • Lump-sum payout benefit
  • No-claim bonus or NCB
  • Tax benefits
  • Regular income for 5 years under Platinum plan
  • Waiver of premium benefit in case of diagnosis of early stage cancer

ICICI Pru Cancer/Heart Insurance

  • Sum insured up to Rs.20 lakh
  • Low premium starting at Rs.160 per month
  • Loyalty benefit of 5% to family member of policyholder
  • Plan includes coverage for critical insurance
  • Lump sum payout on diagnosis
  • Income benefit 1% of sum insured
  • 10% increase in cover with every no-claim year

Max Life Cancer Insurance Plan

  • Comprehensive protection against all stages of cancer
  • Payout on diagnosis, regardless of the stage of cancer
  • Sum insured increased by 10% for the first five claim-free years
  • Income benefit in case of advanced stage cancer
  • Age : 25 years to 65 years
  • Sum insured: Rs.10 lakh to Rs.50lakh

Benefits of cancer insurance

  • Affordable premium combined with high coverage
  • Lump-sum payout on diagnosis
  • Income benefit (in certain plans only)
  • Long-term policy offering lifelong renewal
  • Policyholder can choose treatment
  • Alternative treatment (AYUSH) included
  • Tax benefits under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act
  • Helps beat medical inflation
  • No financial stress

Types of cancer covered under cancer insurance

  • Breast Cancer
  • Oral Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer

Some of the key exclusions from a cancer policy are

  • Cancers and complications arising out of self-inflicted injury are not included
  • Expenses arising out of or attributable to alcohol or drug abuse leading to cancer or complications are not included
  • Sexually transmitted diseases AIDS/HIV leading to cancerous conditions
  • Any congenital conditions
  • Nuclear or chemical contamination

Factors to consider when buying cancer insurance plan

Policyholders must consider several factors when buying cancer health insurance plans. Here are some key points to consider:

Types of cancers covered: When buying a cancer health insurance plan, it’s essential to choose one that provides maximum coverage. One must take into consideration the number of cancers and cancer-related expenses covered in a plan as different insurers offer coverage for a different number of and different types of conditions. Hence, the more cancers/conditions covered in the insurance plan, the better it is for the policyholder.

Built-in extra coverage options: Many health insurance companies provide the option of built-in coverage. It includes coverage such as personal accidents, child education benefit, free health check-up, among others, within the cancer insurance policies. It should be noted that built-in coverage might add to the premium amount of the Mediclaim for cancer patients, but in tough times it is surely worth it. Hence, if opting for this feature, one must make the necessary premium calculations before buying the policy.

Pre-existing diseases: It is essential to check the pre-existing diseases clause in the cancer insurance policy. While some plans provide coverage for all or some pre-existing cancers after a prescribed waiting period, some plans might not cover pre-existing ailments at all.

Waiting period: Most health insurance plans have a default waiting period. Cancer health insurance plans also have a waiting period that ranges from a few months to a few years. It is advisable to buy a plan that has a shorter waiting period. Many cancer insurance policies have normal waiting period of three to four years.

Free-look: Many insurance companies provide the free-look option, which allows the buyer to cancel the cancer policy within 15 days, if you are not satisfied with the policy. Suppose the policyholder cancels the policy within 15 days of purchasing the policy; they are eligible for a refund in full or part, depending on the pre-specified terms mentioned in the cancer insurance policy document.

Tax benefit: Policyholders of cancer care plans are eligible to avail of income tax benefits under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act. While those under the age of 60 years can claim exemption of up to Rs.25,000 per financial year, senior citizens above the age of 60 are eligible to claim tax benefits of up to Rs.50,000. It is advisable to confirm that the policy provides tax benefits.

Claim settlement ratio: Claim settlement ratio is the number of claims that the insurance company has paid as against the number of claims that were made to the company in a year. By knowing the claim settlement ratio of an insurance company, one can understand the insurer’s capacity to pay and reliability. Typically, a claim settlement ratio of over 90% is said to be a good starting point. It is crucial to know the claim settlement ratio history of the insurer when buying cancer insurance.

Sum assured: The treatment for cancer conditions could be expensive. Moreover, such ailments might lead to a loss of income due to the inability of the policyholder to work. That is why it is essential to buy a heart insurance plan that offers a high sum insured or the desired sum assured. All health insurers do not provide plans of the desired sum insured and have options that might be limited to the needs of insurance seekers.

Standalone cancer insurance or rider: Many health insurance companies offer the option of adding cancer insurance to the existing comprehensive health insurance plans as a rider. This comes at an added premium. It is essential to make a thought-through choice when planning to buy cancer insurance cover.

Sub-limits: Many heart insurance plans include sub-limit clauses. Sub-limits are limits to claim towards some types of expenses. Sub-limits might lead to high out-of-pocket expenses by the policyholder.

Inclusions and exclusions: Every cancer insurance plan has a set of inclusions and exclusions. It is vital to have a thorough understanding of these clauses to avoid any surprises at the time of claims.

Age: Age is a critical factor when buying any health insurance, including cancer insurance plan. Ageing leads to a higher probability of diseases and hospitalization. Cancers are more common among people in the higher age group; hence the premium for their insurance policy is usually higher.

Maximum renewal age: The renewal age clause of insurance policies is different. It is essential to understand the renewal clause of a plan before making a purchase.

Who should buy a cancer insurance plan?

  • Those who have a history of cancers in their family, in the region they live or if any such trends are visible; then they must opt for cancer insurance early as it would come at a cheaper premium.
  • Those who live an unhealthy lifestyle, high-pressure jobs, lead sedentary lifestyles and have poor eating and exercise habits should opt for cancer insurance as it gives financial security and peace of mind.
  • People above the age of 40 must ideally buy cancer insurance. Ageing increases the probabilities of falling prey to cancers. People over the age of 40 years must buy cancer plans as a safety net for a healthy future.
  • Those who are into professions that expose them to toxic and harmful substances, radiation etc must buy a cancer insurance plan.

Eligibility for cancer insurance plans

Different insurance companies may have different eligibility criteria for buying cancer Mediclaim plans. However, there are some key criteria that are more or less common.

Entry age: The entry age for cancer insurance plans is usually between 18 years and 65 years. Many health insurance companies offer cancer health insurance plans for children starting age 5 years.

Pre-existing diseases: Some health insurers do not include pre-existing cancer conditions in the insurance plans and have a waiting period of a few months to a few years. Many cancer insurance plans include pre-existing cancer diagnosis patients.


How does cancer health insurance work?

Cancer health insurance is specially designed to provide coverage for cancer and its related ailments. Usually, these plans provide a lump sum payout upon the diagnosis of the disease. Different insurance companies offer different coverage and may have different clauses in the policy. Cancer insurance plans might also have waiting periods.

How will I know if my policy is about to expire?

Cancer insurance plans are long-term plans. The continuity of your cancer insurance policy would depend on the payment of the premium on the decided frequency - monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annually. The insurance company intimates the policyholder when the due date is nearing and when the policy is going to expire. Some insurance companies also offer grace periods for the payment of premiums after the due date.

Is there any sub limit in the cancer insurance policy?

Like regular health insurance plans, cancer insurance plans, too may have sub limits. Sub limits are pre-specified limits on the coverage of some kinds of expenses. E.g., sub limit on room rent or ICU charges. Typically, a sub limit is a pre-specified fixed amount or a
percentage of the sum insured.

How do I buy a cancer insurance plan online?

All insurance companies have their own websites that provide the option of buying insurance online. All websites have a request or make a purchase section. Customers can fill in all the necessary information and complete the process of purchasing online in few clicks.

Most insurance companies have online premium calculators on their websites. This makes it easy for customers to first calculate the premium of a plan based on their individual requirements and then make purchase decisions. These calculators provide very credible
approximations. This process eliminates options that are out of one’s budget immediately.

What are the special features of cancer health insurance policy?

Different cancer plans have different features. Here are some common features: In-patient hospitalization expenses, pre- and post-hospitalization expenses, day care treatment, OPD expenses, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, ambulance charges, organ donor expenses, alternative treatment, no-claim bonus, free health check-up, second opinion expenses, and
coverage for a wide range of cancers.

What are the benefits of having a cancer insurance plan?

There are many benefits to buying cancer insurance. Let us outline a few of them. Even though people think cancer insurance is more expensive, it is not. Cancer insurance plans are available at affordable premium with high coverage. Cancer plans give our lump-sum
payout on diagnosis and also provide income benefit (in some plans). In addition, it is a long-term policy and has lifelong renewal option and the policyholder can choose the treatment they want to take. It also includes alternative treatment, provides tax benefits, helps beat medical inflation, and relieves one from financial stress related to the steep costs of cancer treatment.

How do I claim my cancer health insurance plan?

Cancer insurance is a form of critical illness insurance. Like most critical insurance plans, cancer insurance policies also pays out the lump-sum insured upon the diagnosis of the cancer. The policyholder is required to provide all the required documents to the insurance
company. Upon which, the insurer pays the lump sum amount to the policyholder.

How do the payouts work for cancer insurance?

Cancer insurance policies also payout the lump-sum insured upon the diagnosis of the cancer. The policyholder is required to provide all the required documents to the insurance company. Upon which, the insurer pays the lump sum amount to the policyholder. Many
cancer plans have a regular income clause in the policy under which the policyholder may receive a regular amount as income.

Do I get any tax benefit under cancer insurance plans?

Policyholders of cancer care plans are eligible to avail of income tax benefits under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act. While those under the age of 60 years can claim tax benefits of up to Rs.25,000, senior citizens are eligible to claim tax benefits of up to Rs.50,000. It is essential to check the fine print of the policy for details on tax benefits.

Can I get insurance for a pre-existing cancer condition?

It is a common misconception that people already diagnosed of cancer or treated for cancer are not eligible to get cancer insurance. But this is not true. Many health insurance companies offer cancer insurance plans to pre-existing cancer conditions too

What is the minimum and maximum coverage in a cancer insurance plan?

The sum insured range depends on the insurance company. Typically, cancer health insurance plans sum insured ranges from Rs.2 lakh on the lower side to Rs.3 crore at the higher end.