What is critical illness cover?

Critical illness cover pays out a fixed amount if you're diagnosed with any of the conditions included in the policy.

A different range of conditions are covered by each provider, but they'll almost always include heart attacks, strokes, organ disease and cancer.

Some will pay out straight away if you're diagnosed, whereas others will only pay when you've lived with the condition for a set time or shown that it's permanent.

Most pay out a lump sum, but there are also policies that will pay a monthly amount instead.

The payout can help you cope financially if your illness means you're unable to work for a long period. It can be especially important if you have any financial commitments or other people that depend on your income.

Can I get critical illness cover for diabetes?

Not all policies will include diabetes among the conditions they cover. If you developed diabetes (or your pre-existing diabetes worsened) and you weren't able to work, these policies wouldn't pay out.

It can also be hard to get cover for other illnesses if you have pre-existing diabetes, as insurers believe the risk of strokes or heart attacks is higher for diabetics.

However, some providers do now offer critical illness for diabetics, especially if your condition is well managed.

What to look for

The cover you choose will need to pay out enough if you claim. If you take out the policy to cover a debt or mortgage, make sure it will pay off the full amount if you do fall ill.
If you want an amount to live off in case of illness, make sure the lump sum or monthly payment will be high enough for you and your family's living expenses.

Make sure the list of conditions it covers is extensive enough, as each one will exclude lots of illnesses.

Watch out for any exclusions too, as some will impose a maximum age limit and refuse to cover people with a particular pre-existing condition or family history of an illness.

You'll also need to decide between whole of life or term cover. Whole of life cover will protect you for your entire lifetime as long as you keep up with paying the premiums.

Term cover will only apply if you're diagnosed with an illness during the term's policy, which will last for a set number of years. Once the policy has ended, it will no longer pay out if you're diagnosed afterwards.

You'll also have to decide how to pay for your policy. Guaranteed premiums are fixed for a set time, meaning the amount you have to pay won't go up. However, you can also get reviewable premiums, which often start out cheaper but can rise based on your current health and lifestyle

Compare critical illness cover with diabetes

You'll need to decide on if you want guaranteed or reviewable premiums, how much cover you need and over what term.

Work out what conditions you want covered too, so you can exclude any policies that won't provide what you need.

Our comparison states what conditions are included and only includes policies that cover diabetes. It also shows the maximum cover amount and the maximum age you can take each policy out.

Use it to get several quotes for critical illness cover that includes diabetes, then pick the cheapest policy that fits the bill.