Critical illness cover
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Critical illness insurance can protect you in the event that you become critically ill. What this type of insurance does is provides you with a cash lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness.
This type of cover protects you for illnesses like heart attacks, cancer and other serious conditions.
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Save money on critical illness cover
There may well come a time in all of our lives in which we have to face up to being diagnosed with a critical illness. Although great strides are constantly being made in the medical research profession to find better methods of dealing with certain life-changing and threatening critical illnesses – and perpetually striving to find cures for various diseases which can affect anyone of us at any time – the fact of the matter is they are largely unavoidable.
While you might deliberate over whether fate, destiny, luck or chance dealt its cards and struck you down, there’s often very little time to worry about how those around you might subsequently fare should you be dealt a critical illness blow out of the blue.
All anyone can really do when control is wrestled from our everyday lives through the random and unpredictable selection process which maps out our fates behind the scenes, is to plan ahead. Plan for an eventuality before it happens, so that procedures are in place well ahead of its uninvited appearance.
It’s half the battle knowing who – or indeed, what – we can turn to for help and support during difficult times in our lives, and while networks of familiar family and friends work tirelessly for the most part, there are limitations to even what your nearest and dearest can ultimately achieve, despite the best wills in the world.
Which is where insurance steps up to the table and plays its role, affording you and your loved ones an extra framework and potential safety net for when things go wrong, and to ensure that financial matters are taken care of on your behalf.
After all, when you’re fighting a critical illness the last thing either you or those around you will be thinking about is how financial ends will continue to be met.
However when you get the opportunity to stand back from the big picture long enough and draw breath, you quickly realise that it pays to have been single-minded and objective with regards to critical illness policy-arranging from the outset.
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What is Critical Illness Insurance?
In essence, critical illness insurance provides a mutually agreeable solution to problems arising from the onset of serious illness, whereby benefactors of the previously arranged cover will receive a tax free lump sum in the event of life-changing or threatening condition or illness.
It exists to provide much-needed and instantly accessible funds to settle mortgages and other outstanding debts or meet the costs of subsequent medical bills and/or property alternation to potentially accommodate wheelchairs.
In terms of the serious conditions and personal health prognosis which would trigger a one-off critical illness pay-out, and historically we’re talking about such devastating and quality of life-compromising illnesses like the advent of cancer (certain types and stages of), strokes, heart attacks, benign brain tumours, coronary artery bypasses and multiple sclerosis in the main (which, incidentally, are responsible for the most claims).
Also, if you are classed as permanently disabled in the aftermath of injury or illness, then most critical illness insurance policies will honour the early settlement. But critical illness insurance pay-outs aren’t just exclusive to the aforementioned and will need to be discussed (probability factors, etc..) in detail prior to any individual policy being ratified by both parties.
What constitutes a good critical illness insurance polucy is open to debate, but from our perspective we’d expect it to include all of the aforementioned in addition to at least 20 other critical illnesses outlined by the Association of British Insurers for good measure.
Also we would like to think it would extend to a terminal illness clause, meaning that if you were diagnosed with a terminal illness which resulted in your life expectancy being reduced to an approximate 12 months, then you’d be in line to receive a policy pay-out.
Unfortunately in some instances if the life-threatening diagnosis comes within the last few months of an existing policy, the insurer may not be obliged to disburse the policyholder.
Do I Need Critical Illness Insurance?
Unless you can safely say that you have enough savings to rely on should you receive a diagnosis that you’re suffering from a serious and life-altering illness, or a working partner who is in a position to support you with and sustain any outstanding financial commitments, in joint names or otherwise, in the short to medium term, then critical illness insurance is definitely something to be overlooked at your peril.
None of us can determine that we won’t be affected by some form of debilitating illness at some juncture in our lives, so to be prepared in advance for the likelihood is key.
While a lot of people may opt for life insurance as a viable alternative to a critical illness policy safeguard, implying that the former guarantees them a return at some juncture, the inescapable fact of the matter is that life insurance will only ever see fruition when the policyholder dies. By contrast critical illness insurance starts making a difference as and when you first learn of your serious health plight and helps you (and your loved ones) in the journey ahead from the very start.
How Much Does Critical Illness Insurance Cost?
According to research the chances of you being diagnosed with some of the qualifying and serious health-implementing conditions cited above are very slim when compared to being struck down with less life-impinging conditions.
Remember that critical illness insurance can be expensive, especially if linked to an average 25-year mortgage plan, which they tend to be in many cases; and sometimes suggested by mortgage lenders as a back-up plan to preserve maintenance of mortgage repayments.
This joint monthly premium could prove quite a strain on the purse strings on a regular basis.
Despite these words of caution, critical illness insurance can make all the difference between financial survival and going under for many people who would otherwise struggle should they be beset with serious illness and not have such a contingency plan in place.
As you might expect, critical illness insurance will cost more the older you are when you organise the policy as your risk of illness (as perceived by the insurance provider) is statistically higher. Even gender could play a part, with men apparently – and according to research – making more claims than women.
Employment-wise, and if you hold down what’s considered a risky job, expect to pay more for cover (so somebody regularly working at heights or exposed to chemicals for example).
The same methodology applies if your interests outside of work are deemed as potentially harmful to your health and wellbeing, while smokers will also find themselves asked to cough up more for monthly premiums.
What Can I Do To Reduce The Cost Of Critical Illness Insurance?
The healthier the lifestyle you advocate and adhere to the greater the chance of you minimising your critical illness insurance premiums.
Providers of such policies like to see evidence of a healthy individual who isn’t necessarily showing signs that they might succumb to the advances of a particular condition, and with smoking especially historically linked to certain cancers then if you live a nicotine-free existence at least it looks like you’re doing your bit to avoid anything in later life.
Again, if you’re classed as morbidly obese, the chances are critical illness insurers will consider you a greater risk from the off, and quote increased premiums as a consequence of what they see as risk management. There’s little you can do about advancing years –again, the older you are the less favourable the premiums offered will be – however there’s a fair bit you can do about an advancing stomach.