Compare Critical Illness Cover

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Critical Illness Cover provides financial protection when you need it the most. Insurance isn’t just about covering financial losses, it’s about giving peace of mind. That’s never more so than with critical illness cover, which pays out if you get a serious illness. It’s a complex affair however, which is why we offer both a comparison service and a personal quote.

The main principle of critical illness cover is that you pay premiums for a set period; in return, the insurer pays out if you are diagnosed with a critical illness. Exactly what this covers can vary widely. Every insurer covers common conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and most forms of cancer, with 50 or more stated conditions not being an unusual number, but the precise list can vary.

In many cases, your policy will also payout if your child is diagnosed with one of the cover conditions. Usually the payout amount will be around half of the cover amount that applies to you.

For the most part, critical illness policies also pay out immediately if you are diagnosed with a terminal condition that means you are likely to die during the cover period. Most policies can also cover one or both of a couple of other forms of life insurance: level term, which pays out a flat amount if you die (whether or not its from a critical illness); and mortgage life insurance, which pays off your outstanding mortgage if you die.

There’s also a range of possible add-on benefits that relate to illnesses. These include payments to cover the time you spend in hospital, childcare costs while you are ill, and accommodation costs for your family if your child is in hospital away from your home area. Bear in mind that these add-ons only cover the listed critical illnesses, rather than general ill health or accidents.

Given there’s so much complexity, we’ve tailored our comparison service to give you the best possible information while keeping things simple. To use the service, you only have to answer a few questions about yourself (job, age, gender, whether you smoke) and a few questions about your required cover (payout amount, term duration, single or joint policy, whether you want the payout amount to rise each year in line with inflation) and you’ll get a list of quotes in about 30 seconds.

This includes an at-a-glance guide to whether the premium is guaranteed (meaning it is unchanged throughout the cover period) or reviewable (meaning the insurer could increase it at some point and give you the choice whether to continue with the policy.)

You can also easily access a list of the key points of each policy. These include the list of conditions covered by the policy (including any specific requirements such as the medical effects of a condition), the add-ons to the policy, and any specific conditions that might affect you getting a payout. It may take a little time to read through these than with simpler types of insurance, but it’s important to do so.

A couple of other things you may notice about the list of results for quotes: Firstly, there’s a cashback payment with most quotes. Secondly, you may find our quoted price is lower than you’ll get if you approach the insurer for a quote directly. That may sound odd, but it’s simply that insurers offer commission to comparison sites for bringing them customers; we only take a small chunk of this commission and the rest gets knocked off your quote to give you the best deal possible.

As an alternative to using the comparison tool, you can always come to us directly for customised quotes. This is a particularly useful option if you have complicated circumstances or pre-existing conditions. Of course, we’re also happy to help if you are confused by the range of options available, or want to talk through your possible choices. Just follow the “Talk To Us” link on any page.

Before buying critical illness cover, please always read the terms and conditions. It’s important that you understand it isn’t a savings or investment product. You’ll only get a payout if you are diagnosed with a covered illness (or meet other covered criteria), so it’s possible you won’t get any money back from the policy, or that it will payout less than you’ve paid in premiums.

You should also be aware that you must keep up the premium payments and that failing to do so could mean the policy is cancelled any you get nothing back. One exception is with premium waiver options, which is where some policies will give you a break from paying premiums if you are incapacitated. Again, there are strict terms and conditions about how this works, so make sure you understand before you buy.