Please note for these insurance products, terms and conditions apply. This information is a summary only. You will receive a full policy document upon application. This policy will set out the terms, conditions and limitations of cover provided under the plan

Critical illness cover provides a lump sum payment should you suffer a critical illness such as heart attack, cancer or stroke. Most policies cover over 40 critical illnesses, all of which are defined within the insurer’s terms.

What is Critical Illness Cover?

Critical illness cover is a type of insurance that pays out a tax-free lump sum if you’re diagnosed with, or undergo surgery for, a critical illness that meets the policy definitions outlined by the recommended insurance provider.

It’s designed to help support you and your family financially while you deal with your diagnosis — so you can focus on your recovery without worrying about how the bills will be paid.

What’s the difference between critical illness cover and life insurance?

Critical illness cover helps to support you and your loved ones financially if you’ve been diagnosed with a specific condition.

You’ll receive a lump sum payment to help cover the costs of treatment, or to help pay the bills, if you’re not able to work.

Critical illness insurance usually doesn’t pay out if you pass away. This is where life insurance comes in.

In most cases, life insurance only pays out if you pass away during the term of the policy. It’s designed to help your family to maintain their lifestyle after you’ve gone, like covering mortgage payments or children’s university fees.

Many insurers will offer both types of cover at once, so make sure you understand what each policy offers before you buy.

Bear in mind that life insurance and critical illness cover policies only pay the full cover amount once, on a valid claim, and end after that. They have no cash value at any time, and if your payments stop, so does your cover.

What is a terminal illness benefit?

Some insurers will provide what’s called a terminal illness benefit as part of their life insurance cover.

This means you can receive your life insurance payout before you pass away if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness that meets the policy definition, and you’re not expected to live longer than 12 months.

How does critical illness cover work?

Your cover will be based on many different factors depending on your circumstances. It may be specific to covering mortgage debt or up until a set age where you feel the cover would no longer be needed. You may also be working to a budget where the finer details of the cover are adjusted to suit this requirement.

Who needs critical illness cover?

As critical illness cover is designed to support extra costs if you fall ill, you might want to consider it if:

  • You depend heavily on yours or your partners salary to support yourself and your family
  • You don’t have enough savings to live on if you were to become seriously ill or disabled
  • Your job won’t cover you for a long period off work due to sickness (employee benefits package)

How much cover do you need?

Again, think about the costs you’d need to cover if you were to fall ill and couldn’t work (this might include regular outgoings, such as energy bills and food shopping).

If you have children, you’ll want to ensure that your family is provided for, in case you can’t work due to health problems. Level cover can offer financial security for you and your loved ones.

Or you may need a policy to make sure that your mortgage can be paid off — this is often a requirement of mortgage applications. Decreasing cover helps to pay off debt, like a repayment mortgage, that’s reducing over time.

For extra protection, you can usually get critical illness cover and life insurance at the same time. This way, you’ll be protected against different circumstances and be able to choose how much cover you need for each policy.

Which Illnesses are covered?

It’s important to understand that critical illness policies don’t cover all illnesses.

We cover a range of conditions, including all standard conditions set out by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), including Alzheimer’s disease, heart attack, stroke, and some types of cancer.

Childrens critical illness cover can also be included.

Can you get cover after being diagnosed?

Most insurers will ask you for your medical history when you take out critical illness cover.

If you do have a pre-existing condition, make sure you let your insurer know when you apply for your policy.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to get cover, but as some conditions can make you more likely to suffer from further illness, your insurer could decide not to accept you for critical illness cover.