Critical illness cover is an insurance policy that can help cover your debt repayments and household bills if you fall seriously ill.
Critical illness insurance typically pays out a lump sum if you are diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer or kidney failure, for example.
Each provider will have policies that may exclude certain illnesses or conditions, so there is no guarantee over what it will specifically cover until you get a quote from the provider.
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Critical illness cover can be bought with life insurance or on its own and can be used to pay off large debts like a mortgage. Here we explain what critical illness insurance covers and who it’s suitable for.
What is the difference between life insurance and critical illness cover?
Critical illness cover pays out a tax-free lump sum if you are diagnosed with one of a list of life threatening illnesses.
Life insurance pays out a lump sum if you die and anyone with dependants should have some life insurance to protect their family.
Read on to learn more before you compare life and critical illness cover.
What does critical illness insurance cover?
Critical illness insurance policies pay out a lump sum if you are diagnosed with a life threatening illness, like cancer or kidney failure.
Critical illness policies typically cover heart attack, multiple sclerosis, heart bypass surgery, cancer, kidney failure, stroke and major transplant surgery. Critical illness insurance policies normally last for a set period or until retirement.
You should read the policy document to see exactly what illnesses it covers as less serious illnesses may not be covered, for example, skin cancer.
Although the initial premium will be more expensive, choose a critical illness policy that has guaranteed premiums, which remain the same for the length of the policy.
Critical illness cover with reviewable premiums is cheaper initially, but will increase over time. Critical illness insurance policies normally only pay out one lump sum so are not a replacement for an income.
Who is critical illness insurance suitable for?
Critical illness insurance is useful cover to have as it pays out a lump sum if you are diagnosed with one of a list of life threatening medical conditions.
However it won’t pay out if you are unable to work because of many illnesses, like a bad back or stress and an income protection policy might be a better bet.
It’s more important to have life insurance than critical illness insurance if you have dependants.
How to buy critical illness and life cover
It’s essential that you disclose your medical history fully as failure to do this could leave you without cover or with limited cover.
You should shop around for cover as there is a big difference between the cheapest and most expensive critical illness and life insurance policies.
You need to work out how much money you would need to live on if you were diagnosed with a serious illness and need to make adjustments to your home because of your disability if necessary.
It’s important that you check what insurance you already have in place and decide if critical illness insurance is right for you. As with all insurance read the key facts document to make sure you understand what you are covered for.
- Life insurance guide Learn all about life insurance, including where to find it and what it covers
- How much life insurance do you need? How to choose the right level of cover
- Over 50s life insurance If you’re over 50 you may find you are limited to a smaller choice of life insurers
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