A quick and easy set of tips to getting the most out of your Critical Illness Cover
Published: 1st Jan 2009
Confused by all the options available with your Critical Illness Insurance quotes? The world of critical illness cover can be a confusing place with a wide variety of options which are designed to make the cover highly adaptable but can at times make it difficult to understand.
The insurance policy is designed to pay you a cash lump sum in the event that you are diagnosed with a critical illness. A critical illness is defined as one of the illnesses on the particular insurance companies list and includes things like heart attacks, strokes and advanced cancers.
Follow our top ten tips to critical illness harmony:
Always combine your Life and Critical Illness insurance
Combining your life and critical illness into a single policy can save you large amounts of money and can effectively mean you get your life insurance for very little.
As an example:
- For a 40 year old non-smoking Male looking for £100,000 over 20 years:
- Standalone Critical Illness Cover - £45.63 (Bupa Reviewable Premium)
- Life and Critical Illness Cover - £46.12 (Bupa Reviewable Premium)
In our example, our 40 year old man would effectively be getting his life cover for only 49 pence!
Check the key features to make sure you getting the best cover
The key features document is an essential part of any insurance policy you take out and you should read it thoroughly before accepting any new cover. In our tip the reason we strongly recommend you check your key features is to compare the number of illnesses actually covered by the policy.
Each company covers different illnesses so its important that you know exactly what you are protected against and also that you have a policy that is covering the most comprehensive set of illnesses. Insurers are bound by regulations which require them to cover the following basic illnesses but a lot of companies will also cover extra conditions.
- Aorta Graft Surgery
- Benign Brain Tumour
- Advanced Cancers
- Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts
- Heart Attack
- Heart Valve Replacement
- Kidney Failure
- Loss of Hands or Feet
- Loss of Speech
- Major Organ Transplant
- Motor Neurone Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Paralysis of Limbs
- Terminal Illness
- Third Degree Burns
- Traumatic Head Injury
Match your policy to your mortgage
Just like life insurance, critical illness insurance comes with a variety of options to allow you to tailor the policy to your circumstances. Three of the main options affect how your payout changes over time. Called level term, decreasing or increasing policies, these options vary in suitability depending on your mortgage type. The differences are explained below:
Level Term Critical Illness Cover
Similar to its level term life insurance counterpart, this type of cover offers a constant sum assured so that you always know what your policy is going to pay. This type of cover is suitable if you don't have a mortgage or if you have an interest only mortgage.
Decreasing Critical illness insurance
Again similar to its life insurance namesake, this variety features a sum assured that reduces over time to reflect the reduction of your mortgage balance as you pay it off. This reducing benefit is generally cheaper than the level option but is only suitable for those with Capital and Repayment mortgages.
Increasing Critical Illness Cover
This type of cover is designed to offset the effects of inflation and is a step up from the normal level term critical illness policy. Here, the sum assured increases a small amount each year inline with the retail price index so that your policy retains its real world value. This type of cover is only suitable for those with no mortgage or those with an interest only mortgage.
A lot of focus is paid to insurance companies refusing to pay claims out but in a vast majority of cases, the refusal to pay a claim is because of non-disclosure.
Because of this risk it is vitally important that full information be disclosed to insurance companies or at the very least if you are unsure about a question you should tell the insurance company you are unsure.
Ensuring that insurance companies are fully aware of your background gives you the peace of mind that in the event of a critical illness, your claim will be paid in full.
Some cover is better than no cover
The cost of critical illness cover can be far higher than life cover by itself and as a result it is not always possible to find a quote that is suitable for all budgets. In these cases, one way to reduce premiums is to look at a reduced amount of critical illness insurance so that you have at least some cover instead of nothing.
For example you may choose to cover the whole of your mortgage with life insurance but only two years worth of your salary in critical illness cover. Using this logic means that if you were to die your family would be able to pay off the mortgage and whilst you wouldn't be able to pay it off if you suffered from a Critical Illness, you would at least be able to maintain your financial security for a number of years.
Like with most subjects, insurance comes with its own language which can include its own confusing terminology. Our Jargon buster aims to help you clarify what some of the terminology you might find on our website means so that you can fully understand the policies and covers you are considering.