Shopping around for insurance can be a challenge. With so many different insurers and types of protection available, how do you know which one is right for you?
If you want to make sure you receive valuable financial support if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness, you might be considering Critical Illness cover.
This valuable protection provides a tax-free lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a serious condition such as cancer, or if you have a heart attack or stroke. It can replace income if you have to take time off work, help you to repay your mortgage, or simply to provide a safety net at a stressful and emotional time.
So how do you choose which is the right cover for you? With so many options it can feel like a minefield – but we’re here to help!
Read on to discover three important factors to consider before you choose a Critical Illness cover provider.
The quality of the cover
When it comes to choosing Critical Illness cover, it’s important to remember that the quality of cover, and the range of illnesses covered by a policy, can differ from provider to provider.
The most comprehensive policies cover more than 50 different conditions while others are much more limited.
While individual policies will each have their own list of illnesses covered, you can typically expect a Critical Illness policy to cover you for:
Certain types and stages of cancer
- Heart attack
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- A major organ transplant
- Loss of a limb or eyesight
- Permanent disability as a result of injury or illness.
Some policies will also make a smaller payment for less severe conditions. Others will have specific definitions for when a claim can be made – for example, your cancer might have to reach a certain stage or a heart attack may have to be serious.
It’s important to note that, even with the most comprehensive policies, not all conditions will be covered. Common exclusions include:
- Non-invasive cancers
- Hypertension and abnormally high blood pressure
- Covid-19 (although complications arising from Covid-19 could be serious enough for a claim)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Injuries such as broken bones.
In addition, many insurers will now include children’s Critical Illness cover as an additional benefit. Here, a smaller sum (perhaps 10% of the adult sum assured or up to £25,000) will be paid if one of your minor children contracts an illness covered under the policy.
This can be a really valuable additional perk, as you might use the money towards:
- Travel and accommodation expenses while your child has hospital treatment
- Childcare costs, perhaps if you have other children
- Replacing income if you have to take an extended period off work.
So, when you are considering your options, look out for whether an insurer offers this additional perk. You can also find out more about Critical Illness cover and children in our handy guide.
Their claims payout record
The point of taking out any insurance is that is steps in to protect you when things go wrong. This is as true for Critical Illness cover as it is for home insurance – if you fall seriously ill you want the reassurance that the insurers will pay your claim.
So, when comparing Critical Illness cover, it’s useful to look at the claims payment record of the providers you are considering.
Overall, providers do pay the vast majority of Critical Illness claims. In 2021, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) report that insurers paid 91.3% of all claims, with more than £1 billion paid to more than 18,000 claimants.
Here are some highlights from individual insurers about their claims payment record:
- Legal and General paid 93% of all Critical Illness claims in 2021, totalling almost £210 million. The average family received support of £72,473.
- In 2021, Aviva settled 98% of all claims received, paying a total of 53,713 claims across individual Critical Illness cover, life insurance and income protection. The insurer paid the equivalent of £3 million every day in 2021.
- LV= paid out more than £28 million in Critical Illness claims in 2021 to 362 individuals and families.
- Royal London paid 91.7% of claims in 2021 totalling £136 million. The average payout was £70,228 and the average age of claimant was 51. In addition, the insurer supported 102 families by paying £2.3 million in children’s Critical Illness claims.
- In 2021 Scottish Widows paid 1,391 Critical Illness claims, equivalent to 93% of all claims received. A total of £74.9 million was paid.
- Over the last three years Aegon have paid an average of 93% of Critical Illness claims. Overall, the insurer paid a total of £34.5 million for Critical Illness claims with an average claim value of £79,071.
When shopping around for cover, make sure you choose an insurer who has a reliable record of paying claims. Read our comprehensive guide for more information about the claims payment record of the UK’s major insurers.
Of course, when it comes to any insurance, the monthly cost will be a factor. Making sure you benefit from the most competitive premium for the cover you need can save you a significant sum over the life of your cover.
One of the easiest ways to ensure that you can make sure you don’t pay any more than you need to is by working with a life insurance expert.
For example, I’m Insured work with dozens of the UK’s leading insurers and so we can compare the cost of Critical Illness cover across the market. We can search the various providers on your behalf to make sure you’re paying the most competitive premium for the cover you need.
And, unlike some other firms, we also take a lower than normal commission from the provider, so we can reduce the cost of your cover even further.
One final point to make is that simply looking for the cheapest price may not always be the right decision for you. You might find that the cheapest policy doesn’t cover the same range of conditions, or has important exclusions that might mean you can’t make a claim in the future.
Additionally, some of the cheaper quotes you see online might be because the insurer is offering a “reviewable” premium.
Reviewable premiums usually change after a certain period of time, typically every five years. At each review point, they’re likely to increase. Consequently, while they might seem cheaper initially, you may pay more overall then if you had chosen a “guaranteed” premium from the outset.
Balancing the cost and the quality of the cover is vital if you want the peace of mind that you’ll receive financial support when you need it.
Get an online Critical Illness cover quote now
Alternatively, if you’d like to have a chat about your requirements, get in touch with one of our experts.
We’re rated 5 out of 5 by customers on independent review site Feefo and so we’re ideally placed to help you to protect your income and your family.
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