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June 20, 2024
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Health Insurance: Add-on Covers and Riders Have Different Purposes

Oftentimes, a base or standard health insurance policy may not offer adequate medical coverage for various reasons. It may leave you needing additional coverage that can safeguard you during medical emergencies, and that is when you choose riders and add-on covers.

If you are looking for a health insurance policy or have already purchased one, you might have heard about them. Although they both aim to provide better coverage at affordable prices, they are not the same, especially in health insurance.

Add-on covers in health insurance offer security to customers and can come into play when a standard plan does not meet the policyholder’s demands. In contrast, riders add extra value to the base medical insurance plan. In the article below, we shall learn more about both these aspects, their differences and how they can help you to decide among the best health insurance plans.

 What are Health Insurance Riders?

A rider is an extra benefit to the basic health insurance plan that can help to expand the coverage of the existing policy. The terms and conditions of the existing policy are amended to add riders without any need to purchase a different policy.

Acting as insurance endorsements, riders can be purchased anytime, at the time of purchase of the policy, mid-term or renewal. A health plan rider may not only help to enhance coverage but also restrict or limit them.

For example, you purchased a health insurance policy from one of the leading providers, and you keep renewing the same regularly. After a few years, you realise that your policy does not include a medical condition or cost. Purchasing a new policy to meet a specific need may be very expensive. This is when riders can be helpful. With a slight increase (typically, lesser than purchasing a new policy) in your premium, you can enhance your coverage with the available riders.

●        Common Types of Riders

The types of riders available depend solely on your insurance provider’s offerings. However, here are some common types of riders available in health insurance.

  • Room rent waiver: This health plan rider means you can choose any hospital room without capping. Purchasing this rider helps you choose a room as per your comfort with a higher or no sub-limit.
  • Maternity cover: One of the most common types of riders, a maternity coverage rider is designed to cover all maternity-related expenses. The extent of this coverage may vary from one insurance provider to another. Still, it mainly aims to cover various expenses arising during pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Hospital cash: If you buy this rider during hospitalisation, you can receive a daily cash allowance. This allowance varies from insurer to insurer and the type of hospitalisation (ICU or regular).
  • Accidental disability rider: Under this rider, if the insured is disabled due to an accident, the insurance company will pay the policyholder total or partial sum insured for the rider depending on the severity of the injury.

 What are Add-on Covers in Health Insurance?

Add-on covers are additional covers that can provide a policyholder with additional security against medical emergencies. You can buy an optional or top-up cover on your base policy. To buy a health insurance add-on, you must pay an additional premium typically lower than the cost of purchasing a new insurance policy. Sometimes, you can buy an add-on from a different insurance provider than the one you have a base plan with.

●        Common Types of Add-on Covers

Some of the common health insurance add-ons are:

  • Critical illness cover: This add-on provides coverage against critical ailments like cancer, kidney failure, liver failure, tumours, etc. If diagnosed with any of the listed critical illnesses, a lump sum amount is given to the policyholder.
  • Top-up or super top-up cover: These covers typically upgrade the sum insured of the base plan. They are affordable and an excellent alternative to alternate health insurance coverage.

 Difference Between Add-on and Rider

Health Insurance Rider Health Insurance Add-on
Amends the terms and conditions of the base health policy Not necessarily make amendments to the base health insurance policy
No new policy document is issued New policy document is issued
Can be purchased from the existing insurer Can be purchased from a different insurer
Associated with a specific health insurance plan Not associated with a particular plan and can be purchased with any policy


Add-on covers and riders are crucial in offering you adequate and enhanced coverage. They are an excellent alternative to buying a health insurance plan with a higher sum insured and annual premium. Rider and add-ons from a reliable health insurance provider like Tata AIG can offer comprehensive coverage with affordability and ease in the transaction.

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