Critical illness cover pays out a tax-free lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a serious medical condition during the term of your policy. This cash sum can be used to maintain your standard of living if you can’t work, pay household bills, or pay for specialist medical care.
Note that it is not the same as life insurance, which pays a lump sum to your dependents if you pass away.
Critical illness cover can be taken on a stand-alone basis, or you can often add it to a term life insurance policy.
At Life Insurance Quotes, we’re here to make the process of buying critical illness cover as quick and easy as possible. As independent specialists, we can help you to find the right cover at the right price.
- Compare Critical Illness insurance quotes from a range of leading insurers with one simple form
- Find the cheapest quotes online and reduce the cost of your monthly
insurance premiums. We intentionally take a lower commission than the
standard rate, meaning you get a discount on your premium
- Fast, free and secure
Table of Contents
Why Choose Us?
We are independent and work closely with many of the UK’s leading providers to make sure you get the protection you need at a cost you will love.
Comparing critical illness quotes and applying for cover is quick and easy. Just complete one simple online form and we’ll do the rest.
As independent experts, we can help you if your application is out of the ordinary – for example, if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
Why I need critical illness cover?
Being diagnosed with a serious illness can happen to anyone at any time. In the UK, someone is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes. There are more than 100,000 hospital admissions each year due to heart attacks, equivalent to one every five minutes. And, strokes cause around 36,000 deaths in the UK each year and are the biggest cause of severe disability.
If you’re diagnosed with a serious medical condition you may be unable to work or care for your children. So, critical illness cover gives you the peace of mind that there is financial support in place at a time that is likely to be incredibly stressful.
This tax-free lump sum can be used to:
• Pay off your mortgage
• Replace your income
• Make necessary adjustments to your home
• Pay for specialist or private medical treatment
If you’re eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) it is currently less than £100 per week, and only paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. If this is not enough to replace your income or to maintain your standard of living, a critical illness policy could be right for you.
Examples of occasions when you may want to benefit from the additional security of critical illness cover include:
• Buying a home – if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness your policy could provide a tax-free lump sum to enable you to pay off some or all of your mortgage
• If you have dependents – if you get married or have children, a lump sum could give your family financial support when it is needed most
• A new job – if your new employer doesn’t have a comprehensive benefits package you may want to take out your own insurance to ensure your future is secure
“Insurers in the UK paid almost 18,000 critical illness cover claims in 2019, with an average payout of £67,573. Thousands of families received a tax-free lump sum at a hugely stressful time, enabling them to worry about their loved one recovering from illness, not about whether their bills will be paid”
– Gwilym Pugh, I’m Insure
What illnesses do critical illness policies cover?
• Heart attack
• Multiple sclerosis
• Organ transplants
Critical illness 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 will depend on the specific details of the policy that you take out.
The more comprehensive critical illness policies generally cover around 40 to 50 conditions. These illnesses will be listed on their policy documents, so it’s always important to read the small print before taking out you cover.
Single or Joint Life Cover?
- Single life – the policy covers one person. Some couples take out an individual life insurance policy each so that their dependents potentially receive two lump sum payouts.
- Joint life – the policy covers two people, but it will only pay out once. It will typically pay out when the first person dies, and then will cease.
66% of all claims were for cancer, followed by heart attack at 11% (rising to 21% amongst males).
What type of critical illness cover do I need?
You can normally choose between:
• A stand-alone critical illness policy
• Combined critical illness and life insurance
If you take out critical illness cover on top of a life insurance policy, you’ll be able to choose between:
• Additional cover – your policy will payout if you’re diagnosed with a critical illness and when you pass away
• Combined cover – your policy will pay out once – either on diagnosis of a critical illness or when you pass away
How much Critical Illness Cover Do I need?
When you think about the level of cover you need, you should start by thinking about how much support your dependents would require if you couldn’t provide an income. Consider the following:
- How much is outstanding on your mortgage or other debts
- How much income your dependents would need if you couldn’t go to work and earn
- Your income, and the income o
A note about children’s critical illness cover:
Many policies automatically include children’s critical illness cover. This means that, if your child is diagnosed with a critical illness covered under your policy, you could benefit from a lump sum payout. This is typically a percentage of the overall cover or a fixed amount.
We can help you to work out how much cover you need.
What Does Critical Illness Cover cost?
The cost of cover will depend on:
- How much cover need – the higher the cover, the more your premiums will be
- Term of policy
- Health, and your medical history
- Lifestyle (i.e. Do you have any risky habits or hobbies?)
As there are different factors that affect the cost of cover, comparing critical illness quotes online is the easiest way to find the cheapest available deal. This ensures you’re getting the amount of cover you need for the best price possible.
What You need to compare Critical Illness quotes
Comparing the many critical illness insurance quotes is easy when you use I’m Insure. To get a quote you’ll need to supply:
- Personal details, such as date of birth
- Medical history to help insurer establish whether you are eligible for cover
- Previous conditions details, dates of diagnosis, medications taken, etc
- Any medication you currently take
- How much cover you want
- Term of the policy
To get a joint quote, you will need the above information for both applicants.
We can help you to work out how much cover you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does critical illness typically not cover?
A stand-alone critical illness cover policy will typically not pay out on death. If it is a combined life insurance and critical illness policy the life insurance element will likely pay out in this instance.
If you stop paying your premiums your cover will typically end 30 days after the first missed premium.
Critical illness cover will also not pay out if you’re diagnosed with or undergo a medical procedure for a critical illness that doesn't meet an insurer’s definition. Even some cancers or heart attacks may not be included in your cover if they are mild and non-terminal.
If some elements of your cover are restricted based on the information you provide to the insurer, they will tell you what they have excluded in your specific policy documents.
Are all critical illness cover policies the same?
No. Critical illness definitions vary from provider to provider. This is why it’s really important to compare critical illness policies carefully and to be sure you know what is and isn’t covered by your policy.
Am I eligible for critical illness cover?
Criteria differ from insurer to insurer, but eligibility may depend on:
· Your age (there may me a maximum age limit when taking out the policy or on expiry)
· The minimum or maximum term of the policy
· Whether you are UK resident
· Pre-existing medical conditions that you have had. Note that insurers will highlight any illnesses that are excluded in your policy documents
Is critical illness cover the same as terminal illness cover?
No. Critical illness cover tends to pay out if you suffer a serious illness that may not be life threatening. The insurer will generally pay the tax-free lump sum once their life-threatening condition, such as cancer, has been confirmed by a medical professional.
A terminal illness is an incurable disease where you are not expected to live longer than 12 months of your diagnosis. Most insurers include terminal illness cover as part of their life cover. It means that, if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, your life cover may pay out immediately, rather than on your death.
If I don’t make a claim during the term of my policy, do I get anything back?
If you reach the end of the term and you haven’t made a claim, it is very likely your policy would have a cash-in value. Think of it in the same way as your annual car insurance – if you don’t make a claim during the policy term, you don’t get anything back.
Are there restrictions on what I can use my critical illness payout for?
No. While many people use their payout to pay off their mortgage, replace earnings, or pay for additional support, you are free to spend your lump sum in any way that you wish. =
Can I get cover if I have a pre-existing condition?
Possibly. Not every insurer will offer critical illness cover if you have a pre-existing condition and, if they do, your premiums for the cover you want may be higher. Alternatively, the insurer may exclude your pre-existing condition from any claim.
If you do have a pre-existing condition you should always declare it, or your insurer might refuse any future claims you make. We can help by obtaining bespoke quotes for you – get in touch for details.
Have additional questions? Get in touch with us. We’re here to help.