Critical Illness Guide

Make sure your loved ones are taken care of in the unfortunate event of critical illness. Learn whether you need critical illness cover with our expert guide. 

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An Expert's Guide To:

Critical Illness Cover

Critical Illness Cover: Protecting Your Future

In our guide, we answer some of the common questions, including what is Critical illness insurance cover, what illnesses does it include and how can you make a claim? With this information, you’ll be better prepared to take out a Critical illness policy that meets your requirements and offers financial protection in the event that you become too ill to work.


1. What is Critical Illness Insurance?

In the first section of our Critical illness cover guide, we explain what is critical illness over, and how to ensure that you and your loved ones are taken care of if you’re unable to work.

2. Getting Critical Illness insurance during Coronavirus

How might the pandemic affect your Critical illness insurance application? In the first section of our guide, we explain what you can expect when applying for cover during the pandemic.

3. How much Critical Illness cover do I need?

Working out how much of a pay-out you’d need if you get ill can be difficult. We’ve put together some of the key questions you should ask yourself in order to work out how much cover you may need.

4. Getting Critical Illness insurance for a mortgage

What are the benefits of taking out Critical illness insurance for your mortgage and why should this be an additional premium to your life insurance cover? We explain how the two policies differ and why both are necessary.

5. What illnesses are covered by Critical Illness insurance?

It’s important to know precisely what is covered by your Critical illness insurance policy, so that you’re prepared for the future. We highlight some of the most common diseases and conditions which are typically included in critical illness policies.

6. Making a claim on Critical Illness Insurance

What happens when you need to make a claim and how long does it take to go through? We outline each stage of the claims process so you know what to expect in the event that you develop an illness and require financial support.

7. How much does Critical Illness Insurance cost?

One of the most common questions regarding this type of insurance is ‘How much does Critical illness insurance cost?’ We highlight some of the factors that can impact the price of this cover.

1. What is Critical Illness Insurance?

A Critical illness is a serious, and often life-changing, condition or disability which affects every part of your life, including your ability to work. Anyone can develop a critical illness at any time in their life, and this unpredictability makes it difficult to prepare for. Critical illness cover is one way to ensure that you and your loved ones are taken care of if you’re unable to work. 

Critical illness cover is designed to provide financial security in the event that you are diagnosed with one of the specific illnesses listed in the policy terms. Upon diagnosis of a critical illness, this cover typically offers a lump-sum payment, which can be used to alleviate the financial strain associated with such illnesses. This may include covering medical expenses, making necessary home modifications, or ensuring that everyday living costs are met during a period where you might not be able to work.

It is a safety net that allows you to focus on recovery without the added stress of financial pressure.

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2. Getting Critical Illness insurance during Coronavirus

The pandemic affects Life insurance and Critical illness policies in several ways, from the type of scenarios you’ll be protected against to the financial commitments you will need protection for. More people are taking out insurance policies to protect them in light of the pandemic. 

However, COVID-19 is not a specified illness on many providers’ policies and, thankfully, the majority of people who contract the disease make a full recovery. So, in this regard, most policies would not pay out if you were to contract COVID-19. 

However, if you developed a severe complication as a result of developing coronavirus, such as kidney failure or a stroke, then you would be able to make a claim if these conditions were defined as a critical illness in your policy. 

You may find going forward that there are coronavirus-related questions on applications for critical illness insurance and providers will consider claims on individual circumstances in many cases, based on your medical history related to this disease. 

3. How much Critical Illness Insurance do I need?

You may be considering taking out an insurance policy to protect yourself financially against illness, but wondering ‘How much critical illness cover do I need?’ This can be a difficult figure to work out, as it varies from person to person.

Working out how much critical illness cover you need depends on a few factors, namely what costs you’d need to pay for if you required treatment for a serious condition and were unable to work. These could include:

  • Mortgage or rent
  • Loans or credit agreements
  • Childcare costs
  • Regular bills, such as utility bills and living costs
  • Medical expenses as a result of your condition, such as travelling to hospital or adapting your property


You also need to consider any savings you may have that you could use, whether you’d be eligible for state benefits, and whether you have an employee benefits package through your employer. This will give you a rough estimate of how much you’d require as a pay-out, which can be used to get a quote from your insurance provider.

4. Getting Critical Illness insurance for a mortgage

If you have a mortgage, there’s a good chance you will have taken out a life insurance policy as well. So you may be wondering ‘Why do I need Critical illness insurance as well?’ But critical illness insurance for a mortgage offers advantages that Life insurance can’t. With today’s medical advances, people who are diagnosed with a critical illness have a far higher chance of surviving. 

But this can cause problems if you only have Life insurance cover, as you still need to pay your mortgage each month, even if you can’t work. Critical illness insurance for mortgage loans can ensure that if you do develop a serious illness, your monthly repayments will be covered. It’s added peace of mind that whatever happens in the future, your dependents and loved ones will be protected financially from the impact. 

5. What illnesses are covered by Critical Illness Insurance?

So, what does Critical illness insurance cover and what’s excluded? It’s important to do your research when choosing a policy as when it comes to what illnesses are covered by critical illness insurance, the exact list will vary between providers. But certain illnesses are covered by most insurers, including:

  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Organ failure
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease


Many providers will also allow you to add other illnesses to your cover at an extra premium. 

There are certain illnesses that won’t be covered by your critical illness policy. Some providers won’t cover certain forms of cancer, for example, because they are more easily treatable. Others won’t pay out for cancer unless it’s reached a certain stage. Likewise, a mild heart attack or stroke may not be covered on the basis of the severity of the condition.

6. Making a claim on Critical Illness Insurance

It’s a good idea to know in advance how to claim critical illness insurance, so that you’re prepared if you fall ill and are unable to work. The first step is getting a diagnosis from your doctor so you can contact your insurer as soon as possible. 

You will require a medical diagnosis, as any claims made based on self-diagnosis will be cancelled. Every policy will have its own set of conditions which are included, so ensure that your illness is included or your claim won’t be accepted. 

Your insurer will confirm if your condition is covered by your policy and will outline the steps you need to follow for your claim. You need to inform them of your condition even if it’s not covered by your policy, as they will need to update your details – not telling them could invalidate your policy. 

You will need to provide your insurer access to your medical records so they can see how severe your illness is. They will send you paperwork for you to complete which you will need to sign before they will begin processing the claim. How long a critical illness claim takes depends on the provider, but it typically takes between 4-6 weeks. 

If the claim is accepted, you will receive your pay-out and you’ll have the chance to state which account the money will be paid into when you complete your forms. 

7. How much does Critical Illness Insurance cost?

So, how much is Critical illness cover and what can you expect to pay each month? The exact figure depends on your age, gender, your lifestyle and the likelihood of you developing a serious condition. Those who smoke, for example, can expect to pay a higher premium for their policy as this impacts the likelihood of being diagnosed with illnesses or conditions. 

The monthly cost of critical illness cover can vary from less than £10 per month to over £50 per month, depending on your circumstances. It may be cheaper to take out critical illness cover as an added premium to your life insurance policy, but this is something you can discuss with an insurance specialist to determine if this suits your needs.

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