Critical Illness Cover

What is critical illness cover?

Critical illness cover is a type of life insurance that pays out a lump sum if you suffer from a serious illness or injury that’s listed on your policy. It doesn’t cover you in the result of your death and when it’s paid out once, the policy ends.

What types of critical illness cover can I get?

There are two types of critical illness cover: 

  • Integrated critical illness cover – this is taken out alongside your life insurance policy at an additional cost to form one policy. It will cost more than an independent life insurance policy but it’s cheaper than taking out the two policies separately. However, insurers will only pay out once for integrated life and critical illness cover, either if you’re diagnosed with a qualifying condition or in the event of your death.
  • Independent critical illness cover – this is taken out as a standalone policy. You can specify the amount of cover you want and it doesn’t affect the amount of life insurance cover that you have. If you have to make a claim, your critical illness policy will come to an end but you can still claim on your life insurance. 

What does it cover?

The specific illnesses that are covered will differ depending on the life insurance that you take out, but critical illness cover typically includes heart attacks, strokes and non-terminal cancer. It can also protect you if you’ve become permanently disabled following an injury. Be aware that not all illnesses are covered and most policies will state how serious the condition must be for you to make a claim.

What’s not covered?

Some serious conditions and advanced cancers are often excluded from critical illness cover. Like most insurance policies, it’s unlikely that you’ll be covered for any pre-existing conditions. Make sure you thoroughly read through your policy and the terms and conditions so you know exactly what is and isn’t covered.

Critical illness cover

What are the pros and cons of critical illness cover?


  • If you have to make a claim, you get a lump sum of money that can be spent however you like
  • Some policies allow you to cover your children for free alongside yourself


  • Not all illnesses and injuries are covered
  • Most insurers will only pay out for one claim
  • The premiums can be expensive
  • Your age, lifestyle and health can have an impact on your ability to get a policy

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