Difference between three kinds of Illnesses: Terminal, Critical and Serious


Difference between three kinds of Illnesses: Terminal, Critical and Serious

Illnesses are often measured according to their severity, and it is imperative to understand the difference between the kinds of illnesses to buy the right kind of health insurance. It becomes easy to go for adequate treatment when you understand the type of illness you are going through. There are three kinds of illnesses, terminal, critical and serious and contrary to the general understanding, they are not the same as each other.

To choose the health insurance and additional benefits, it is essential to understand what you exactly need in terms of health insurance. An ideal coverage suiting your needs will help you know your premium better as you are charged a premium on your health insurance according to your health. 

This article explains how these three kinds of illnesses differ from each other.

Difference between Serious, Critical and Terminal Illness

There is a thin line between these illnesses that make them different from each other. Every illness varies according to its criticality and the kind of treatment it involves. Let’s know the fundamental difference between these three to categorise them better.

Serious Illness

Serious illness doesn’t always require hospitalization, as it may or may not undergo any surgery. Serious illness doesn’t really put your life at risk but does create discomfort and require medical assistance. It is curable once you get it treated well. 

Critical Illness

Serious illness often turns into critical illness if it is not treated timely.  However, serious illness is not always the cause of critical illness. It has the scope of being controlled and cured, but at times it gets life-threatening. Illnesses like heart attack, cancer, kidney and liver diseases are critical illnesses and may turn terminal if not diagnosed in time.

Terminal Illness

Terminal illness is the fatal kind of illness, as it can be life-threatening and is likely to put life at risk. This illness is usually incurable, and chances of survival are really bleak. It basically refers to the diseases or illnesses that do not have any known cure or have progressed to a stage where they can’t be cured or controlled. 

Terminal Illness vs Critical Illness

As many of you are aware, critical and terminal illnesses are not easily curable but once can only be treated to subside the pain and symptoms. Refer to the table below to understand more about terminal and critical illness-

Critical Illness Insurance

Coverage: Critical illnesses such as stroke, cancer, kidney failure, organ transplant,  heart attack, etc are covered under health insurance for critical illnesses.

Claim Availability: If you are diagnosed with a critical illness, irrespective of the life expectancy, you can get a claim after our claim team verifies your case.

Benefit: The policyholder gets a financial benefit only when the policyholder suffers from any critical illness.

Terminal Illness Insurance

Coverage: Terminal illnesses such as paralysis, brain tumours, organ failure, 3rd degree burns, Alzheimer's disease, severe, etc are covered under health insurance for terminal illnesses.

Claim Availability: If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, you can get a claim if the patient's life expectancy is less than 12 months.

Benefit: Family holders get financial support after a policyholder's demise. One may also receive 25% of the sum assured if the policy holder’s life expectancy is below 12 months.


It becomes really important to decipher the difference between these three illnesses and choose your health insurance according to the category you may fall in. Considering the high medical costs, one should opt for a health insurance plan. Care Health Insurance offers health insurance as well as critical health insurance that can help you cover these three kinds of illnesses as and when you need assistance for your expenses, day-care treatment, and annual health check-ups. If you have not opted for health insurance yet, it is suggested to opt for one at the earliest.

Disclaimer: The information given in this article is only for reference purposes. Underwriting of claims is subject to policy terms and conditions.

View Our Editorial Policy


+91 verified
Please enter a valid mobile number
Please enter a valid Full Name
I have read and agree to the Terms & Conditions
Please select terms and conditions
Get updates on WhatsApp

Articles By Category

Health Insurance Articles
Family Family
Senior Citizens Senior Citizens
Maternity Maternity
Surgery Surgery
Heart Heart
Tax & Investments Tax & Investments
Lifestyle Lifestyle
Awareness Days Awareness Days
Child Care Child Care
Money Saving Tips Money Saving Tips
Festive Days Festive Days
Covid-19 Covid-19
Travel Insurance Articles
International International
Student Student
Travel Tips Travel Tips
Visa Visa
Passport Passport
Insurance Guide
Health Health
Travel Travel
Reach out to us
Whatsapp Chat 8860402452



Chat with Us

Please Select Chat Option ×
Buy New policy To explore and buy a new policy
Existing policy enquiry for assistance with your existing policy