A guide to mortality and critical illness coverage in Singapore

The Life Insurance Association, Singapore (LIA Singapore) unveiled findings of the Protection Gap Study (PGS) 2017, which found that economically active individuals in Singapore have a combined S$893bn mortality and critical illness (CI) protection gap. This means they have inadequate financial coverage to support themselves and their loved ones should something unexpected happen to them.


What is mortality protection?


Mortality protection coverage typically protects against financial loss by paying out a death benefit when the insured passes away. It usually also covers Total and Permanent Disability or Terminal Illness.


Types of coverage

  • Term Insurance
  • Whole Life Insurance
  • Investment Plan

When assessing your needs and suitability, consider the following: 

  • age
  • coverage duration
  • exclusions
  • number of dependants


What is Critical Illness protection?


Critical Illness protection coverage provides you with financial protection if you are diagnosed with a major illness, and ensures that you and your family's needs continue to be met during the assumed CI recovery period of five years.


Types of coverage

  • Standalone Critical Illness plan
  • Rider (Supplementary benefit from a Mortality plan)

When assessing your needs and suitability, consider the following:

  • conditions covered
  • coverage duration
  • exclusions (including family and medical history)
  • personal financial standing

What should I look out for when choosing a policy?


Is mortality protection necessary?




Mortality protection is necessary in financial planning as the payout is usually used for:

  • Expenses incurred upon the insured's death (e.g funeral expenses)
  • Mortage loan for family's home
  • Financial security for family and protection for their standard of living


What is the difference between these plans?


MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) vs. Critical Illness Plan


MediShield Life & IPs
Hospitalisation and surgical plans that provide coverage for inpatient, pre- and post- hospitalisation expenses

CareShield Life / ElderShield
Severe disability insurance scheme providing monthly payout for Singapore citizens and PRs

* "Severe disability" is the inability of an individual to independently perform at least three of the six Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) which are washing, dressing, feeding, toileting, walking and transferring, with or without mobility aids (e.g walking aids, wheelchair). This means that the individual will require the physical assistance of another person for the ADL. Source Ministry of Health (MOH).

Source: LIA Protection Gap Study 2017

Critical Illness Plans
Provide a lump-sum payout that can help cover all financial needs and obligations not covered under hospitalisation plans in the event of critical illness


Protection priorities at different life stages

Young adults

Mortality and CI protection is of moderate priority.

It's recommended to start getting coverage early when one is healthy and premium is most affordable as premium rates increase with age.

Sandwiched population

Mortality & CI protection is of heightened priority with increased liabilities and family commitments.

Sufficient coverage required to support aged parents as well as growing family priorities such as home loans or childrens' education costs.

Sole breadwinners

Mortality and CI protection is of critical priority to safeguard family from unexpected loss of income.

It's important to ensure that family savings will not be wiped out should an unfortunate event happen to the breadwinner.


CI coverage is of high priority due to increased health issues that come with age.

Having adequate health protection cushions the cost of medical treatment, ensuring one's quality of life without having to dig into their savings.

Mortality Protection coverage vs. CI Protection coverage: Which is more important?

Both mortality and CI protection are equally important as they meet different financial security needs.


Mortality coverage


Provides financial support for the family to sustain their lifestyle without major disruption


CI coverage


Alleviates financial distress in the event of major illnesses which can result in loss of income

What can I do for a start?


Talk to a financial consultant

Talk to a financial consultant to map out your protection needs and gaps.


Check your mortality protection gap

Check your mortality protection gap using the Protection Gap Calculator available here.


Find out what suits you

Compare and find life insurance products suited to your financial objectives here

Want to find out more about Critical Illness insurance?

Leave your details below to find out more about critical illness insurance.

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