Critical Illness Cover provides a tax free lump sum pay out, if you are diagnosed with one of the Critical Illnesses covered on the policy. It provides excellent peace of mind that if you were unable to earn due to a critical illness, you would be protected financially and would have one less thing to worry about. How do you know which is the best Critical Illness insurance for you though? 

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How to Determine the Best Critical Illness Insurance?

Each year one million workers suddenly find themselves unable to work due to serious illness or injury. Critical Illness cover provides the peace of mind that should you be unable to earn due to such a diagnosis, you would be protected financially. Critical Illness Insurance policies pay out a tax-free lump sum to the policyholder, should they be diagnosed with a critical illness listed in the policy.

There are a wide variety of companies providing Critical Illness insurance, as well as types of policy available. The best policy for one person’s circumstances, might not be the same as someone else's. The most important thing is to ask an expert, to ensure you have the best policy for you. Below are some ways to measure the policies though, to determine the best Critical Illness Insurance for you.

Which Critical Illnesses Are Covered

Every Critical Illness policy has a definitive list of the exact critical illnesses which are covered, which the policy will pay out for. All Critical Illness policies cover the following illnesses, providing they are of a certain severity:

  • Cancer
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke

There are normally many more critical illnesses covered beyond this, but there can be a wide range, from as few as 10 conditions, to as many as 100 in some policies. An average policy would cover around 40 critical illnesses, but it is very important to compare the lists.

Other conditions that may be covered:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Aorta graft surgery
  • Benign brain tumour
  • Blindness
  • Coma
  • Coronary artery by-pass surgery
  • Deafness
  • Heart valve replacement or repair
  • Kidney failure
  • Loss of hand or foot
  • Loss of speech
  • Major organ transplant
  • Motor neurone disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Paralysis of limbs
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Third degree burns
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Total Permanent Disability

What Isn’t Covered

It’s also important to compare what isn’t covered. Some causes of critical illness may be excluded from policies, but these exclusions can vary. Some examples my include:

  • Unreasonable failure to follow medical advice
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Hazardous sports and pastimes

A Combined Life Insurance and Critical Illness Policy

Whilst it is possible to purchase a standalone Critical Illness Insurance policy without Life Insurance, it is usually more cost-effective and better value to purchase the two as a combination.

Finding the Best Policy For Your Circumstances

The following circumstances can affect the premiums and suitability of various policies. It is important for an adviser to understand your own individual circumstances in order to recommend the best policy to suit you. Circumstances which affect Critical Illness policies:


The younger you are when you take out a policy, the less likely you are statistically to become critically ill; so your premiums will be cheaper.

Current Health

Pre-existing medical conditions will be considered when calculating the cost of your critical illness premiums. Those with no pre-existing conditions will have cheaper premiums. Insurance companies can also take into account your height and weight to predict your health.

If you Smoke

Smoking increases your chance of developing many deadly illnesses and as a result, smokers may pay higher premiums than non-smokers.

Do I Really Need Critical Illness Cover?

The chances of a critical illness are higher than that of death and - if you think about it - the financial implications could be worse. A critical illness diagnosis could still mean losing your salary, but you would not only have to support your dependents, but yourself as well. There could be additional costs also, for your treatment, or alterations to your property to factor in.

Each year one million workers suddenly find themselves unable to work due to serious illness or injury. (ABI Welfare Reform)

Yet according to the Department for Work and Pensions Family Resources Survey, around 54% of households have either no savings or less than £1,500 savings and 76% have less than £10,000. According to sick pay statistics in a government Health In The Workplace report: only 42% of small organisation employers offer any Occupational Sick Pay, which means the remainder would be left with Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) alone. This means employers would pay you £95.85 a week after the initial four days of illness, up to 28 weeks.

Critical Illness is not something anyone wants to think about, but sadly it is a reality for many people and a lump sum payout can be a real lifeline at such a testing time.

The reality is:

  • 1 in 2 UK people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime (Cancer Research UK)
  • 280 per day are admitted to hospital with a heart attack (that’s one every 5 minutes). (British Heart Foundation)
  • There are more than 100,000 strokes in the UK each year (one every five minutes) (British Heart Foundation)
  • Around 100,000 individuals in the UK suffer from multiple sclerosis. This is a disease that attacks the young (20 – 30 years old)


Do I need Income Protection?

Income Protection cannot be packaged together with Life Insurance in the same way Critical Illness cover can. It would cost extra as a separate policy, but none-the-less it is relevant as another form of cover for illness and injury.

Income Protection is designed to cover any medical reason why you cannot do your job and provides a percentage of your wages (before tax) while you are unable to earn. This is paid in the form of a monthly income, compared to a lump sum as it is with Critical Illness.

Why Compare Health & Life Insurance with us?

Here at Usay Compare, we can help you to compare prices and coaver from the market leading UK health and life insurance companies such as Aviva, AXA and Bupa. Our service is completely free of charge and we are totally independent and impartial.

Our unparalleled team of friendly, expert advisers are on the end of the phone, ready to guide you easily through the whole process. They will get to know your unique individual requirements, do all the hard work comparing prices and policies for you; then advise on the best and most cost-effective quote.

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