Personal Insurance

The critical factor: Do you have a financial safety net?

May 18, 2023
Information published was correct at the time of writing

Protecting against the financial impact that a serious illness can cause...

Critical illness cover is important for anyone who has a mortgage, as it can provide much needed financial protection in the event you become seriously ill. It offers an essential safety net for those who are unable to work due to a serious medical condition or illness. With critical illness cover, you can receive a lump sum payment which could help to pay off your mortgage should you be diagnosed with a specified critical illness.

This type of insurance is designed to protect you and your family’s financial security if something unexpected were to happen and could make all the difference when it comes to covering costs such as mortgage repayments, medical bills or living expenses.


More people are becoming increasingly concerned about the possibility of being affected by a critical illness such as cancer, stroke or heart attack, according to new research findings[1]. This is reflected in the fact that searches for ‘critical illness insurance’ have skyrocketed, with, on average, 6,800 people searching for ‘critical illness cover’ every month, mostly asked on Google.

With rising rates of serious illnesses like cancer (one in two chance of getting it at some point in one’s lifetime, according to NHS estimates), people are becoming more aware of their need to be covered and secure proper protection against critical illnesses.

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions around critical illness cover:

Q: What is critical illness cover?

A: Critical illness cover provides a tax-free lump sum of money – or income – if you become seriously ill from a specified condition or suffer from a life-altering injury. This type of insurance usually covers very serious and long-term conditions such as heart attack, Parkinson’s disease or cancer. It supports you financially if you’re diagnosed with one of the conditions included in the policy. The tax-free, one-off payment can help pay for your treatment, mortgage, rent or changes to your home, such as wheelchair access, should you need it.

Q: How much critical illness cover do I need?

A: The cost and amount of critical illness insurance can vary depending on a number of factors, including age, health, smoking status, policy length, coverage amount and the kinds of illnesses included in the policy. Generally speaking, the more expensive and comprehensive the cover is, the higher likelihood there is of making a claim on it. Therefore, purchasing a policy at an earlier age and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can result in lower premiums.

Q: Do I need critical illness cover?

A: Finding the right critical illness insurance policy is especially important for those with families to protect.

Before deciding on any policy, it’s important to ask yourself a few key questions such as:

  • What would happen if my family lost my income due to an illness?
  • What financial changes would need to be made if I could no longer work because of an illness?
  • Do we have any savings or other assets that can support us financially? Are we comfortable using them?

By answering these questions, you will be able to better understand your family’s current and future financial context and choose a policy accordingly.

Q: What does critical illness insurance cover?

A: Critical illness insurance can be a great way to help protect yourself and your family in the event of an unexpected illness. Insurers offer a variety of policies that cover different illnesses, with some even offering coverage for less serious or earlier stage illnesses.

Additionally, many insurers offer multiple levels of payout depending on the severity of the illness, ensuring full coverage if you are faced with a really serious health condition. Furthermore, almost all policies also provide cover for children against certain illnesses. This protection can provide your family with financial support in difficult times, such as when extra costs may be required for private treatment or lost income during periods of caregiving.

Q: What illnesses are covered by critical illness insurance?

A: When it comes to critical illness insurance, most policies will cover cancers, heart attacks and strokes as a minimum. Depending on the insurer, you may be able to get coverage for more than 50 additional illnesses such as organ transplants, blindness and deafness. It is important to obtain professional advice to make sure you obtain the right policy that provides the best coverage for your and your family’s specific needs.

Q: What cancers are covered by critical illness insurance?

A: There are over 200 different types of cancer, and some may be excluded from critical illness cover. Before recommending a policy, we’ll explain the details of your cover to ensure you understand what illnesses you are covered for. Even if you don’t have dependents or family members who rely on you financially, critical illness insurance can still be beneficial. It can provide financial relief when you’re unable to work due to an illness but still need to keep up with household bills.

Q: Do I need critical illness cover as a renter?

A: Even if you rent your home, critical illness insurance is essential for those who have dependents relying on them financially. A tax-free cash payout from a critical illness policy can provide much needed support in the event of an illness or injury during the policy period.

Source data:

[1] Data Collection from Semrush and Google Trends in September 2022 – LifeSearch


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