Critical Illness Cover is protection that’s designed to pay a lump sum if you’re diagnosed with one of a list of specified critical illnesses.
Most Critical Illness Cover providers have a list of 40 plus conditions covered, but the big four are Heart Attack, Cancer, Stroke and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Most companies offer children’s cover as an additional benefit and will pay an amount if any of your children are diagnosed with one of the listed conditions. Sadly, this is one of the biggest claim areas.
It doesn’t matter what happens after the diagnosis, it’s the diagnosis that triggers the claim on Critical Illness Cover (provided you survive more than 28 days after diagnosis). You don’t have to be terminally ill, off work for long periods of time, and you can make a complete recovery.
I’ve been a Financial Adviser for nearly 30 years and for much of this time I’ve been advising people to take out a range of protection insurance policies. For all of this time, I’ve been almost evangelical about the benefit of Critical Illness Cover.
Critical Illness Cover has been around for over 40 years. Most people now know somebody who has benefited from a Critical Illness Cover claim. If you don’t and you’re reading this – well – now you do. Whilst not unique, I’m unusual in that I not only advise on, and arrange critical illness policies for clients, I’ve also claimed on my own.
So what benefit does it really give?
You might just think it’s a lump of money – you can use it to reduce or pay off your mortgage and other debts, provide for additional health care and adapt your home if you need, but it also goes much deeper than that.
I was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. It goes without saying that it’s a pretty uncomfortable conversation that you have with your Consultant at this point. There’s shock, fear and even a bit of panic. The most difficult thing to deal with, in my view, is the uncertainty. Cancer, its treatment and subsequent hopeful recovery is a long road to travel and you ask yourself lots of questions. Will I make a recovery, will I be able to work, how will I react to treatment, if I do go into remission will it come back?
My NHS treatment was superb and with that, brilliant support from family and friends and a bit of luck I have made full recovery. The initial stages were very difficult with an endless round of hospital visits, surgery and chemotherapy which lasted around 6 months. Then you have regular checks and scans, hopefully to confirm that you are still clear. After 5 years, the big day when they tell you that you’re still clear and apart from for the occasional check every 5 years thereafter, they don’t want to see you again.
I made a claim on my Critical Illness Cover the day after I was diagnosed and within a month both policies had paid out.
I was doubly lucky in that I didn’t actually have to have too much time off work. I was able to work knowing that I didn’t have to if I wasn’t up to it. I knew that if I didn’t respond well to treatment that financially I was fairly secure. Believe me when I say that having that safety net is a massive comfort. I was able to concentrate on recovery without financial worries.
When you’re dealing with any critical illness you can count on superb care of the NHS. Hopefully you can rely on help from your family, friends and work colleagues, but in addition you need to be able to focus completely on the job at hand – recovery. To be able to do that you need to be free from financial worry. You need every possible advantage you can get. I know money isn’t everything, but it really does help. That’s the real point behind Critical Illness Cover and I truly believe that my policy helped me get to the stage I am at today.
About Critical Illness policies
Critical Illness Cover has evolved over the years and the modern policy offers flexibility with a much wider range of coverage. These include numerous additional benefits designed to aid recovery including, in some cases, specialist second opinions, access to complementary treatments and psychological support.
In 2017 (the latest full year statistics) 15,962 critical illness claims were paid in the UK with a total value of £1.16 billion paid. 92.2% of all claims made were paid by the insurers. (source: Association of British Insurers Claim Statistics 30/04/2018).
If you have existing policies, they are worth reviewing to make sure that the cover meets your current needs. If you don’t already have cover you can speak to an Independent Financial Adviser and see what’s available. It doesn’t need to break the bank.
If you’re ever in the unfortunate position that you need to claim on your Critical Illness Cover, you’ll think it’s the best money you’ve ever spent.
Critical Illness plans typically have no cash in value at any time and cover will cease at the end of term. If premiums stop, then cover will lapse. Plans may not cover all the definitions of a critical illness. The definitions vary between product providers and will be described within the Key Features and policy documentation if you proceed with the plan.
For more information on Critical Illness Cover, or any other protection needs, contact Simon Ereira at Temple Wealth Management on 01305 213150 or firstname.lastname@example.org