Critical Illness Insurance Pros and Cons

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Posted 18th May 2021 by

What is Critical Illness Cover?

Critical Illness Cover is an insurance policy which pays you a tax-free lump sum payout if you’re diagnosed with an eligible serious illness or injury. The policy will last for a predetermined period of time, with most people choosing to be protected until their children have left home or their mortgage is fully paid off.

The conditions that Critical Illness Insurance will pay out for varies depending on the insurer, with some insurance companies protecting you against 60+ conditions. However, all Critical Illness Policies should include cover for:

  • Cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

A successful claim does, however, depend on the severity of the condition, so check with the insurance provider or broker before making your decision. Other common medical conditions that Critical Illness Insurance might pay out for includes: kidney failure, major organ transplant, multiple sclerosis, and coronary artery bypass. Many major insurers will also provide financial protection for loss of limbs, blindness, major burns, Parkinson’s and Crohn’s disease.

Critical Illness Cover can either be part of your life insurance policy or sit alongside it. Alternatively, you can get Critical Illness Insurance without having Life Insurance. The main difference between the two policies is that Life Insurance pays out to your beneficiaries if you die within the policy term, whereas Critical Illness pays out to you if you become seriously ill during the policy term.

What are the Advantages of Critical Illness Cover?

1) Protects you and your family

Unless you have a substantial savings pot to fall back on, Critical Illness Insurance is a brilliant type of cover that can shield your loved ones from the financial impact of loss of income because of disability or medical treatment. Many policies provide free cover for your children as standard too, meaning that if your child was to get an eligible illness whilst you held the policy, you’d get a critical illness pay-out.

2) Freedom to spend

If you make a successful claim, you will be able to spend the tax-free cash at your will. Just like nobody tells you how to spend your income, nobody will tell you how to spend your insurance pay-out. You may choose to pay the rent or mortgage whilst you cannot work, pay off debts and loans, take a holiday with your loved ones or invest for your family’s future.

3) Likelihood of claiming

With 1 in 2 people being diagnosed with Cancer during their lifetime, it’s easy to understand why many British people see the benefit of Critical Illness Cover. When compared to Life Insurance, you’re 4x more likely to make a claim on a Critical Illness Insurance policy and you will be around to see how the money benefits you and your loved ones.

What are the Disadvantages of Critical Illness Cover?

1) Limited number of conditions covered

Every insurer has a different list of conditions they’ll pay-out for and their definitions of severity may not match your expectations. However, some insurers will pay partial payments for less serious conditions, such as certain types of cancer. It’s worth asking these questions to a broker so you’re well informed when purchasing your Critical Illness policy.

2) It’s usually more expensive than Life Insurance

Because you’re 4x more likely to claim on Critical Illness Insurance than you are on Life Insurance, the monthly premiums are more expensive. The price you pay is also based on personal factors such as your age, health and lifestyle. Therefore, if you have a pre-existing condition the price will likely be affected.

3) You may only be able to claim once

You should also consider that most insurance providers will only pay out for one claim, even if you are diagnosed with numerous serious illnesses. However, there are some insurance providers that will pay out multiple smaller sums after previously paying out for a claim.

How do I get Critical Illness Cover?

Critical Illness Protection is not as simple as Life Insurance cover, with each insurer being unique with what they cover and their definitions of severity. As the monthly premium is often higher, you’ll want to be sure the level of cover is appropriate for you. It’s therefore a great idea to speak to a fee-free protection broker who can talk you through all your options and help you make the right decision.

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Critical Illness plans may not cover all definitions of critical illness. The definitions vary between product providers and will be described in the Key features and Policy Document if you go ahead with a plan.

James Holden

Experienced marketing specialist within Financial Services, having managed hundreds of effective digital marketing campaigns for numerous UK insurance and mortgage brands since 2016.

From creating the world’s first Pokémon Go insurance, to launching a new product category within the appliance insurance space, to designing chat-bots which compare homeowner loan rates… I enjoy making consumer finance accessible to all and fun where possible!

I joined Protect Line in early 2020, a time when a lot of people started to seriously consider life insurance for the first time. Our lives can change in an instant, often without warning, and I love working in an industry which supports families during their most difficult times.