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Exclusive Riders to Strengthen Your Health Insurance

By Vikas Chandra Das
14 November 2022, 11:25 AM

Most basic health insurance plans come with certain permanent exclusions and do not cover every potential medical contingency that one may be exposed to. This is often the case with group health insurance plans as well. The good news however, is that this basic health insurance plan can be strengthened with the help of riders available.

Here below are some of the riders that could significantly strengthen your basic health insurance plan and protect you from both mental and financial stress during a medical emergency.

1. Rider on Room Rent Limit Waivers

Most basic health insurance plans have a cap on the per day hospital room rent that one can avail of during hospitalisation. Some may specify that your policy only permits you to a shared room or a general ward. This limit on room rent is often dependent on the premium paid and the total sum insured. Any expense incurred on room rent that exceeds the limit prescribed by the basic plan you are covered under, will have to be paid by you personally, unless you are covered with a room rent waiver rider or a top-up policy. Thus, if the kind of room specified by your policy is below the standard you are accustomed to, this rider will be beneficial. It will take care of any additional room rent charges not covered by your basic policy, subject to capping by the total sum insured by the rider.

2. The Hospital Daily Cash Rider

During health emergencies that require hospitalisation, the basic health insurance plans will take care of hospitalisation expenses as specified by the policy. They are also likely to cover expenses on medicines and pre and post hospitalisation costs on a reimbursement basis. However, there are several associated out-of-pocket expenses that require to be paid – transportation of family members to and from the hospital, special diet not provided by the hospital, etc. In some cases, hospitalisation may mean loss of income for not just the person hospitalised, but for one or more family members. The hospital daily cash rider ensures that a daily cash allowance is available to take care of these additional expenses during the time of hospitalisation.

3. The Critical Illness Cover Rider

A basic or standard health insurance plan usually has some permanent exclusions. If you study the wording of your basic health insurance plan, in most cases you will find that there are some or several diseases or surgical procedures that the health insurance policy does not cover – this may be cancer, heart surgery, hospitalisation due to kidney failure or many others. So if you think there is a significant probability of you or any of your family members covered by the basic health insurance policy, likely to need medical attention related to any of the diseases or procedures specified as not eligible for cover, it will be good to consider adding a critical illness cover rider to your basic health insurance policy. This may be purchased from either the same service provider from whom you have purchased the basic health insurance policy or a different service provider altogether. Since there are several such riders available in the market, you will need to find the one best suited to your needs. Often the critical illness insurance cover also provides a lumpsum amount to take on expenses related to lifestyle changes that need to be made or loss of income.

4. The Maternity Cover Rider

If the health insurance plan you are covered under does not provide cover for maternity expenses, and you plan to bear children of your own, this is a rider that is definitely worth considering. Depending on the service provider and the rider selected, this rider may provide coverage for pre and post hospitalisation expenses as well as emergency health care for the newborn up to a certain period of time, in addition to covering hospitalisation expenses during child-birth. The maternity cover rider usually comes along with a waiting period of 9 months to twenty-four months. In some plans the waiting period may be even longer.

5. Personal Accident Disability Rider

Considering that India has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the world, this is a rider which is especially relevant to the Indian consumer. More than half these accidents result in loss of income, either temporarily or permanently. Some may even result in death. This rider pays the policy holder either a part of the sum assured or the entire sum assured as per the level of disability sustained. In case the accident results in death, it may also pay the nominee the entire sum.


Taking a rider to suit a specific need you anticipate, in addition to your basic health insurance plan is a good way to keep your health insurance costs down. The premium against each rider depends on several factors such as the cover offered by the rider, the conditions attached, the age of the insured, the cover provided by the basic health insurance plan and the service provider. You may like to purchase one or more riders depending on your needs. Read the fine print of both your basic health insurance plan as well as the rider before you decide what is best for you.


1. What is a rider?

A rider is an added benefit that can be purchased with your basic health insurance policy. It is often purchased to cover any potential health emergency or cost not covered by the basic health insurance plan.

2. What is the waiting period?

This is the period between the start of the policy and the time before you can avail any benefits from the policy. 

3. What is a permanent exclusion?

Permanent exclusions are treatment categories or costs which will never be covered during the lifetime of the health insurance policy. These could be genetic disorders, chronic diseases, dental treatment or consumables, etc.

4. What is a critical illness?

A critical illness is generally meant to be an illness which is life-threatening, as a result of which the person diagnosed with it may need to make several lifestyle changes, adjustments and adaptations from the lifestyle he or she enjoyed previous to diagnosis.

5. What is a group health insurance plan?

A group medical insurance is an insurance that covers a group of people that are bound by some commonality. A group here would be members of an organisation or company who come together for some common activity, not simply for the purpose of availing health insurance.

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