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Critical Illness Cover

What is it?

Critical Illness Cover turned 30 this year. It has developed in many forms over the years but the aim remains the same.  Critical illness pays out a lump sum in the event of you suffering from a life changing specified illness such as some forms of heart attack, cancer or stroke (Not all forms of cancer, heart attack and strokes are covered by Critical Illness Insurance). Thirty years ago it was four conditions now there is over 40 and even one provider that covers over 160. Find out more…

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Do I need it?

Imagine you have shooting pains in your arm and are being rushed to hospital.  The Paramedic in the ambulance tells you that you're having a heart attack.  What is going through your mind?

The good news is, with medical advancements today, you will probably survive and make a full recovery.  In fact, illnesses such as cancer, heart attack and strokes are not necessarily the death penalty they were 20 years ago. 

  • How do you cope when your GP tells you are going to have to give up work because of your heart attack? 
  • Do you think your mortgage lender will stop asking for money because you are ill?

In today’s society, many forms of cancer have a survival rate as high as 95%.  Medical advancements have made conditions such as a heart attack, stroke and diabetes survivable.  What is not often talked about is how long before people are fit and well again.  Cancer, heart attacks and strokes still have an impact on your body the same as they did years ago.  You may find that your lifestyle radically changes; you may not be ready to go back to work straight away, you may have to give up work completely.  However your mortgage and bills still need to be paid.

Just at the time when you need it least, you are faced with finding money to rebuild and continue with your everyday life.  Critical illness cover pays out on the diagnosis of a specified life changing condition, allowing you to cover the bills, take time off work to recuperate or clear the mortgage. 

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How does it work?

On diagnosis of a specified critical illness the insurer pays a lump sum.  No plan is identical and the numbers of conditions that are covered differ from one insurer to the next.  The insurers cover all major illnesses such as cancer, heart attack and stroke. However, how they define the conditions varies from company to company. 

When the money is paid out you can use this to clear the mortgage, which means potentially your biggest bill every month is eliminated.  You can take a year off work to recover and go back when you feel fit, healthy and ready and not when the bills start coming in, so there is less pressure on you.

In fact you can do whatever you wish with the money and that is the point of Critical Illness Cover;  It gives you options when you thought you had none.  It gives you complete peace of mind.

It is important to speak to an adviser to find out what you are covered for as every company is different.  You may not have time to study a twenty paged Key Feature Document, take notes on the print out and then compare it to all the others. We do, this is our job.  A Proadvice adviser will help you make the correct decision when choosing the right plan for you.

Could it happen to me?

Most people seem to think they are never going to suffer from a critical illness or if they do, they will soon be dead anyway.

Just because you have suffered from a critical illness, it no longer means you are going to die. Our great grandparents were lucky to live to 50, now the average life expectancy is 78 for men and 82 for women.  In general, we are all living longer but many peoples’ attitudes seem to be in the past, for example, when a heart attack would mean a death sentence. We are no longer living in the past and therefore, it is time to stop thinking in the past when it comes to Critical Illness cover.  By taking out just life insurance, you are protecting your family if you are not here but by doing this, you are only doing half a job.

By just taking out life insurance, if you were to fall ill then your family could suffer the same financial hardships you were looking to protect against by taking out life insurance. You are 6 times more likely to claim on a critical illness plan than to die during the term of a life plan. (1)

1. http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/dec/07/critical-illness-insurance-bad-reputation

The truth is no one in this world has a certificate from god that they will not get ill. If you suffer from a critical illness the chances are you will survive, but unlike the people below you may not have the money to support yourself while you recover. Many Critical Illness plans cover the types of illnesses suffered in our celebrity examples in the next section.

(Source: 2010 www.ons.gov.uk)


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anastacia steve redgrave halle berry bill clinton
christopher reeve michael j fox montel williams kylie minogue
sharon osbourne delta goodrem robert de niro billy connolly
lance armstrong john hartson michael douglas rod stewart
stiliyan petrov jade goody darren fletcher michael c hall


The Facts

Last year Critical Illness Cover had its best year ever; more claims were paid across the UK than any other year before. This is down to improved enhancements of the illness and definitions and a clear, medical understanding which has kept in trend with medical advancements.  Critical illness providers now cover more and understand more about the illnesses people face every day.  However, some people seem unconvinced.  Typically, we hear these three reasons as to why people do not want to look at a critical illness policy.

·         It never pays out

·         It is too expensive

·         It is too confusing

It never pays out?

The first one is a common misconception as unfortunately, bad news travels better than good.  So, for all the stories you read in the news and online of cases not paying out, these are the only stories you hear about, especially high profile cases spread by celebrities on social media sites like Twitter. This is dangerous as it changes people’s perceptions and may stop someone who needs protection to not take it out.   The real statistic of this is life cover pay outs in 2012 honoured 98% of claims, 6 million a day was paid out in the UK for protection. (1)  This is an industry that wants to pay out. 

1. https://www.abi.org.uk/News/News-releases/2013/05/Insurers-pay-out-6-million-every-day-to-help-families-deal-with-death-serious-illness-or-injury

It is too expensive?

In real terms, the cost of life insurance is actually coming down. For many people, critical illness insurance will never be cheaper for them than it is today.  The longer you put off getting the insurance, the more you have to pay.  Speak to our Proadvice advisers today. 

It is too confusing?

People who come to Proadvice are assured that when they take out a protection plan through us, it is not only the best price, but they will also know exactly what it is they are taking out.   We can advise you of the plans most suited to your circumstances and let you know what you are covered for and also what is not covered.   We have spent years reading the small print and explaining to our customers the finer details of a policy in jargon free, easy to understand language.  

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The following videos are created by a third party and neither Pro Advice Financial Services Ltd nor Sesame Ltd are responsible for the accuracy of the content.

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