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Critical Illness Cover


Many people insure themselves in case they die, but what about if you survive after being diagnosed with a critical illness or undergo a serious medical procedure?

The financial consequences of suffering a critical illness can be far greater than dying. You may lose one or both your incomes if either of you have to give up work to care for the other, however you will still have all the normal costs of living, even the possibility of additional costs for medical treatment or carers.

Critical Illness Cover is designed to help protect you and your family and dependants from the financial hardship that a serious illness can cause.

By paying a tax-free lump sum if you are diagnosed with or undergo a medical procedure for one of the specified critical illnesses covered by the policy, it can help relieve the financial worry, allowing you to focus on your recovery. It can be used to repay debts such as a mortgage, for home alterations or specialist equipment, pay for private treatment, or simply provide an income whilst convalescing.

The most common claims on critical illness polices are for cancer, heart attack and stroke.

  • There are around 367,000 new cancer cases in the UK every year, that’s around 1,000 every day (2015-2017).
  • In females in the UK, there were more than 179,000 new cancer cases in 2017.
  • In males in the UK, there were around 187,000 new cancer cases in 2017.
  • Every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer.
  • Breast, prostate, lung and bowel cancers together accounted for more than half (53%) of all new cancer cases in the UK in 2017.

Statistics from Cancer Research UK

  • There are over 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK.
  • Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability. More than a third of all stroke survivors are left dependent on others for everyday activities.
  • There are over 100,000 strokes in the UK every Year. That’s more than one every five minutes
  • People of working age who have had a stroke are two to three time more likely to be unemployed 8 years after their stroke.
  • Stroke is the fourth biggest killer in the in the UK. Fourth in England and Wales, and the third biggest killer in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Statistics from Stroke Association

  • Cardiovascular (heart and circulatory) disease causes more than a quarter (26 per cent) of all deaths in the UK; that’s nearly 160,000 deaths each year – an average of 435 people each day or one death every three minutes.
  • Around 42,000 people under the age of 75 in the UK die from CVD each year.
  • Since the BHF was established the annual number of deaths from CVD in the UK has fallen by half.
  • In 1961, more than half of all deaths in the UK were attributed to CVD (320,000 CVD deaths).
  • Since 1961 the UK death rate from CVD has declined by more than three quarters. Death rates have fallen more quickly than the actual number of deaths because people in this country are now living longer lives.
  • There are around 7 million people living with cardiovascular disease in the UK: 3.5 million men and 3.5 million women.

Statistics from the British Heart Foundation

Below are some examples of the types of Critical Illnesses that insurance companies include in their policies. However, some companies cover many more conditions and have additional features such as “Children’s Critical Illness Cover”. These would be discussed with you and detailed in the providers Key Facts Documents.

Alzheimer’s disease – resulting in permanent symptoms

Aorta graft surgery – requiring surgical replacement

Aplastic anaemia – with permanent bone marrow failure

Bacterial meningitis – resulting in permanent symptoms

Benign brain tumour – resulting in either surgical removal or permanent symptoms

Blindness – permanent and irreversible

Cardiac arrest – with insertion of a defibrillator

Cancer – excluding less advanced cases

Cardiomyopathy – of specified severity

Coma – with associated permanent symptoms

Coronary artery by-pass grafts – with surgery to divide the breastbone or anterolateral thoracotomy

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) – resulting in permanent symptoms

Deafness – permanent and irreversible

Dementia – resulting in permanent symptoms

Encephalitis – resulting in permanent symptoms

Heart attack – of specified severity

Heart valve replacement or repair – with surgery

HIV infection – caught from a blood transfusion, physical assault or accident at work

Kidney failure – requiring permanent dialysis

Liver failure – of advance stage

Loss of hand or foot – permanent physical severance

Loss of speech – total permanent and irreversible

Major organ transplant – from another donor

Motor neurone disease – resulting in permanent symptoms

Multiple sclerosis – where there have been symptoms

Multiple system atrophy – resulting in permanent symptoms

Open heart surgery – with median sternotomy

Paralysis of a limb – total and irreversible

Parkinson’s disease – resulting in permanent symptoms

Primary pulmonary hypertension – of specified severity

Progressive supranuclear palsy – resulting in permanent symptoms

Removal of an eyeball – due to injury or disease

Respiratory failure – of advance stage

Spinal Stroke – resulting in symptoms lasting at least 24 hours

Stroke – resulting in symptoms lasting at least 24 hours

Systemic lupus erythematosus – with severe complications

Third degree burns – covering 20% of the surface area of the body or 20% of the face or head

Traumatic brain injury – resulting in permanent symptoms

Please note that not all forms of cancer, heart attack and stroke are covered by a critical illness policy.

As with all insurance policies, conditions and exclusions will apply.

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