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What is Critical Illness Insurance?

Critical illness insurance supports you financially with a lump sum of money, in the event of a serious critical illness diagnosis.

Should you suffer a critical illness during your working life, critical illness insurance can help you keep on top of your finances, such as paying off your mortgage.

Before taking out a new policy, consider whether you need it.

Is critical illness cover right for you?

Critical illness cover is designed to help you deal with financial pressures that come as a result of a critical illness, such as a stroke or cancer.

It can be particularly important if you have family who rely on you financially, as you could use the proceeds of a successful claim to cover your mortgage, bills, or rehabilitation costs.

Other potential costs include childcare during and sometimes after treatment, adaptations to your home, heating bills while you recover and numerous hospital trips.

What illnesses are covered by critical illness insurance?

The most common conditions covered by critical illness cover, include:

  • stroke
  • heart attack
  • heart bypass
  • multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • cancer, excluding less advanced cases


Having critical illness insurance won’t stop you getting ill, but it can help you and your family cope, financially, at a very difficult time.  

Do you already have critical illness cover?

  1. If employed, it’s worth checking your employee benefits as you may already have cover in the event you couldn’t work due to serious illness or disability.
  2. You may also have critical illness cover as part of an existing policy, such as life insurance.
  3. Sometimes your mortgage insurance also covers you for critical illness.


If none of these apply to you, then critical illness insurance could be worth looking into.

What affects the cost of critical illness cover?

The cost of critical illness insurance can vary depending on certain factors, such as:

  • your age when you take out the policy – the younger you are, the cheaper your quote will be, as the risk of getting ill increases with age
  • your health – if you’re fit and healthy, this can reduce the cost of your policy
  • your lifestyle – heavy smokers, for example, are likely to pay more than non-smokers
  • your occupation – insurers may consider some jobs to be higher risk than others, which can increase the cost of a policy
  • the amount of cover you need and how long you need the cover for

How much critical illness cover do you need?

The amount of critical illness insurance you take out is a personal choice and depends on your situation.

It’s a good idea to look at your current monthly outgoings and consider how much you’d need as a payout if you were unable to work for a period of time.

Your outgoings may include:

  • your rent or mortgage
  • other debt payments
  • childcare
  • food and household bills
  • possible medical expenses


Once you’ve added it all up, it’s worth considering any savings or other forms of income you could potentially use – to give you a rough estimate of how much you’ll need. 

Exclusions from critical illness insurance cover

Not every type of illness is covered by critical illness insurance policies, so it’s important to check the small print before you sign up.

For example, some common types of cancer could be excluded – at least in their early stages. Certain illnesses, which you or your family have had before, may not be covered either.

It’s important to be honest about your health, including you and your family’s medical history. If you miss out important details, your insurer could refuse to pay out if you try to make a claim.