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4 Jul 2022

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Critical Illness Insurance Explained

Critical Illness Cover

Critical illness insurance pays out either a lump sum or regular monthly income if you are diagnosed with a qualifying illness during the term of the policy.

This type of cover can be taken as part of a level term insurance, decreasing mortgage life insurance, standalone cover or as part of a family income benefit policy.

The types and range of critical illnesses covered vary from company to company, so we always recommend you read the insurance companies key facts document before you apply for your critical illness insurance policy.

You can choose both the term of the policy and the level of cover, although some restrictions may apply.

Critical Illness Insurance Pros & Cons


  • It will be useful if you would like to protect yourself or your families financially if you are diagnosed with a critical illness.
  • It is up to you how you spend the money.
  • You can have the pay out as a lump sum or a monthly income.



  • Not all critical illnesses will be covered under the policy, so compare the key facts document of the critical illness providers before you buy.
  • You are sometimes not covered for pre existing conditions.
  • Critical illness policies can be expensive.


Critical Illness Protection Explained

If you suffer a qualifying critical illness your policy will pay out either a lump sum or a regular monthly income. When you make a claim you are allowed to keep the policy pay-out even if you make a full recovery.

They policy can be built into another life insurance policy on a level term, increasing term, decreasing term (mortgage life insurance) family income benefit (pays a monthly amount) or as a stand alone critical illness policy. Once you have made a claim it is normal that you policy will cease and other benefits will therefore cease

Critical illness protection policies vary but nearly always include the following illnesses;

Heart attack, certain forms of cancer, a stroke, and kidney failure, coronary bypass or transplant. For full details on the cover provided it is advisable to compare the Key Facts document for each providers quotation produced.

Not all Providers of Critical Illness Cover are the same

With critical illness cover the types and range of illnesses covered vary between the providers with Vitality covering 69 illnesses compared to Aegon's 41. (Source Webline 11/06/2016). Some providers will also make partial payments for less server cases's of an illness, which can be beneficial if you want to stand a higher chance of being able to claim on your policy.

As the differences between providers policies can be so greatly we recommend you read the plans key facts document or speak to one of our advisors before you apply for your critical illness policy. We have produced a typical list of the illnesses covered by a critical illness policy to give you a guide as to whether this type of plan is right for you. Some people fined that an income protection policy can provide the cover they are looking for at a lower premium.

Critical Illness Insurance Guide

Critical illness protection policies can be split into three types :

Death or Earlier Critical Illness  pays on either death or critical illness but not both.

Death AND Critical Illness  pays on critical illness and death. Once a claim has been made against a critical illness, further critical illness claims cannot be made.

Stand alone critical illness pays out once on diagnosis of a qualifying critical illness during the policy term.


Additional options and areas for consideration include:

  • Stand alone Critical Illness: with stand alone critical illness insurance quotes in some cases the premiums can be higher than that of a comparable life and critical illness policy quotation.
  • Waiver of Premium: if illness prevents you from working your monthly premiums are paid on your behalf for after a set deferment period. Check the quotes Key Facts documents for each quotation produced.
  • Survival Period: most policies require you to survive for a specified period following a critical illness diagnosis, typically 14 days to 3 months. Check the quotes Key Facts documents for each quotation produced.
  • Permanent Total Disability: if this is not included you will be unable to claim if an illness or accident leaves you unable to work. Also, check the definition of 'permanent total disability'. Some policies define it as being unable to perform any job whilst others define it as being unable to continue in your previous occupation. Check the quotes Key Facts documents for each quotation produced.
  • Children: some policies will pay out a fixed lump sum should one of your  children be diagnosed with a critical illness. The terms and conditions of policies vary, check the quotes Key Facts documents for each quotation produced.

The Critical Illness Mortgage Protection

  • Peace of mind
  • Mortgage is cleared on diagnosis of a qualifying critical Illness
  • Protect your family from the event that you are unable to work

Critical Illness Insurance Quote

Our online critical illness insurance quote tool allows you to compare the leading insurance companies critical illness premiums and illnesses covered. What's more Go Direct guarantee that at the time of application you will not get cheaper like for like cover as we rebate 50% of the initial commission the provider pays us back into your critical illness insurance policy.

Do you want advice on Critical Illness insurance?

After looking through the critical illness insurance information if you would like Critical Illness Insurance Advice, complete our enquiry form and we will contact you to discuses your protection needs.

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Go Financial Services is a trading style of Go Direct UK Ltd which is an appointed representative of Personal Touch Financial Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England & Wales Company 5703224. FCA Number 456600