What is critical illness cover?
Critical illness cover is a type of life insurance policy that offers protection in the event of a serious illness or injury. If a policyholder suffers from a specific illness or injury, a pay-out is made by an insurance provider in the form of a lump-sum, which can be tax-free.
A critical illness can include heart attacks, strokes and non-terminal cancer. Critical illness insurance can also cover you if you’ve suffered a physical disability following an injury, such as after a serious accident at work. Exactly what’s covered by critical illness insurance will depend on the specific details of the life insurance that you take out.
Frequently asked questions
How is critical illness different to terminal illness cover?
Critical illness tends to pay out if a person suffers a serious ailment that’s not life threatening. Terminal illness is an incurable disease where a person is expected not to live longer than around 12 months after diagnosis. A policyholder is typically paid out a lump sum once their life-threatening condition, such as cancer, has been confirmed by a medical professional.
It's worth being aware that most insurance providers will include terminal illness – which also could include illness or injury resulting in total and permanent disability (TPD) – as part of their life cover.
Where can I buy critical illness insurance?
There are providers who offer standalone critical illness policies, but this cover type is typically bought as an add-on to a standard life insurance policy. You can’t buy this type of cover as a standalone policy on our site, but you can opt-in to critical illness insurance as an add-on once we’ve offered you a list of quotes.
If you have any further questions you can call our partner LifeSearch, a specialist adviser for life insurance, on 0800 197 8912 (Mon-Fri: 8am - 8pm, Sat: 9am - 2:30pm).
Are all policies the same?
No. What defines a critical illness varies from provider to provider. This is why it’s really important to know what is and isn’t covered by your policy. It’s likely that your policy will pay out different amounts depending on the type of condition you’re diagnosed with.
The policy you’re offered will depend on lifestyle factors and other considerations, such as any pre-existing medical conditions you might have. Learn more about what is normally included in a pre-existing medical condition.
Am I eligible for an insurance policy?
As long as you’re a UK resident and over 18, then you should be eligible for critical illness cover. As with all life insurance policies, this is subject to other factors, including your lifestyle and medical history.
You’ll also need to have a UK bank account so you can pay the monthly premiums via direct debit. It’s important to make sure that you can afford the monthly premiums when you take out cover.
How long does a critical illness cover policy last?
The length of a critical illness policy varies depending on personal circumstances and how long you decide to take out a policy for. You may decide to get a policy that will run for the same length of time as the term of your mortgage.
Alternatively, you could calculate the length of cover based on how long your dependents will need financial support from you should you become ill.
How much is critical illness cover?
The amount that your critical illness insurance will cost depends on:
- The amount of cover you’re looking for
- Any pre-existing medical conditions you have
- Your current personal circumstances
- The terms of your policy
It can be quick to add critical illness insurance on to a life insurance policy quote.
Where can I compare prices for life insurance?
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