What is Critical Illness Cover?

Critical illness insurance will pay out if you get one of the specific medical conditions or injuries listed in the policy. It can pay a lump sum or monthly amount.

But be aware that not all conditions are covered, and a policy will also state how serious the condition must be.
Don’t confuse critical illness cover with life insurance, although they are sometimes arranged together.
Examples of critical illnesses that might be covered include:

  • Stroke

  • Heart Attack

  • Cancers

  • Other conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis

Most policies will also consider permanent disabilities as a result of injury or illness.


It only pays out once and then the policy ends.


Some policies will make a smaller payment for less severe conditions, or if one of your children has one of the specified conditions.

What isn't covered?

Some serious illnesses might not be covered, for example, some cancers and conditions not listed in the policy.

You probably won’t be covered for health problems you knew you had before you took out the insurance, and this type of insurance doesn’t pay out if you die.

What’s covered and what’s not, will be set out in the policy details so make sure you’re fully aware of them and that they cover your needs.

Do you need critical illness cover?

State benefits might not be enough to replace your income if something goes wrong and you can’t work because of long-term sickness or disability.

If you’re eligible, Employment and Support Allowance ranges from around £70 to just over £100 a week, depending on your circumstances and the seriousness of your illness or disability.

  • You don’t have enough savings to tide you over if you become seriously ill or disabled

  • You don’t have an employee benefits package to cover a longer time off work due to sickness.

  • You have a mortgage that you would like paid off 

You should look at getting critical illness cover if: