*Based on £150,000 of level-term cover for 25 years for a 30-year-old non-smoking male with no pre-existing medical conditions (March 2023)
Critical illness cover is a type of sickness insurance that could help protect your future and your loved ones.
If you have critical illness insurance and are diagnosed with a serious illness, you receive a tax-free payout.
It's useful to cover the gap between life insurance, which doesn't pay unless you die, and illness or injury preventing you from working long term.
If you have enough savings to cover your outgoings, should you not be able to work, you may decide you don’t need critical illness cover. The same might apply if your partner could pay for everything, or if you have cover as part of an employee benefits scheme.
But critical illness insurance might be worthwhile if you’d struggle financially – particularly if state benefits wouldn’t cover all your outgoings if you weren’t to work. Many policies also cover your children should they be diagnosed with a critical illness.
When you get a quote, check how much you could claim – every insurer has a limit. Usually, cover starts at £25,000.
Critical illness insurance usually covers just one person, but you can find joint policies which cover yourself and a partner. There are also family policies, which cover yourself, your partner and your children.
If you have a joint policy, it’s likely to only pay out once, for whoever is diagnosed with a critical illness first.
To find the best critical illness cover, there are a few things to think about:
Conditions covered: all policies cover strokes, cancer and heart attacks, but some cover more than 100 health conditions
Length of policy: every insurer has a maximum policy term, such as 50 years
Your age: the older you are, the harder it is to get critical illness cover; some insurers don’t sell cover to people over 59, with others the cut-off points is higher
All of this also affects the price of your insurance, so remember this when you do your comparison. You pay premiums throughout the term of your policy.
If you want cover that’s unlimited or ends when you reach a certain age, you could look into whole-of-life critical illness cover instead.
A payout from your insurer could help to support you and your family in a life-changing situation.
Your illness could leave you unable to work, and a sickness insurance payout could help towards your outgoings. You might choose to spend it on:
Private medical treatment
School or university fees
Critical illness insurance gives you a lump sum if you’re diagnosed with one of the illnesses listed on your policy. It doesn’t pay out for existing conditions or if you die suddenly.
If you want insurance that covers most causes of sudden death, you need life insurance.
Life cover pays out a lump sum when you die and the money goes to someone you’ve chosen.
It’s a way to protect your loved ones when you’re no longer around, providing a financial safety net if you’re the main earner. Compare life insurance policies here.
Some life insurance policies offer critical illness cover as an added extra, so compare life and critical illness insurance when looking for a policy. You can follow this link to compare life and critical illness cover.
If you have life insurance and add critical health insurance to it as an extra benefit, you may get a payout on both if you’re diagnosed with a critical illness and when you die."
The insurer gives you a critical illness insurance quote based on the information you share, which includes:
Your health and medical history
The cover you’ve chosen and how much you want
The amount you’re happy to pay each month
How long you want the policy to last
Any terms and conditions
If you need further guidance on the type of policy to apply for, you can speak to an independent financial adviser.
Here’s some more information on critical illness cover.
Most insurers offer cover starting from 16 to 19 years old. Each insurer also has limits on the age up to which you can apply. Some insurers have a maximum age of 59 or 60, with others it’s 80.
Yes. Most insurers offer joint policies for you and your partner, and some will cover your children as standard or for an extra premium.
That depends on the condition. Speak to each insurer to see if they can offer you cover that excludes your condition but will cover others.
No, it only pays out when you are diagnosed with a condition covered by your policy. This is unlike life insurance, which pays out when you die.
This depends on the insurer. Some may offer you cover with an increased premium, while others may withhold cover for hereditary conditions.
Critical illness cover only pays out once. The policy ends when you’ve lodged a successful claim, so it’s important to find a policy that would take care of all your financial needs if the worst happened.
If you have life insurance and add critical health insurance to it as an extra benefit you get a payout both if you’re diagnosed with a critical illness and when you die.
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