According to the ABI, or Association of British Insurers, critical illness cover is essentially an insurance that pays out when the criteria on the policy is met on what it specifies as a critical illness, including advanced cancer, a heart attack of specified severity and strokes resulting in permanent problems. As with all insurance policies the wording is key and the reading of the small print vital.
While the three aforementioned illnesses are undoubtedly critical, these should be on the policy as the minimum illnesses covered, not the only ones. If you are considering taking out critical illness cover you need to spend time doing your research to ensure that you get the best possible policy that covers a wide range of critical illnesses, and not just the big three.
Whilst, admittedly, these are more prevalent, that doesn’t mean to say that you or a loved one won’t be struck down by anything else. Under-insuring yourself is a big problem due the wording of policies, as many have found to their detriment. The list of critical illnesses that this kind of policy covers will greatly differ between providers, and if you find yourself struggling, a word with an independent adviser is often your best bet.
According to the ABI, there are 23 different conditions that fall under the definition of a critical illness, including cancer, strokes and heart attacks. The full list of illnesses is a vital tool when shopping around for your critical illness cover, and is as follows.
- Alzheimer’s Disease that develops before a designated age
- Aorta Graft Surgery to deal with a disease
- Benign Brain tumours that result in permanent impairment
- Blindness that is permanent
- Cancer except cases that are classed as non advanced
- Coma that results in permanent impairment
- Coronary bypass that involves surgery that divides the breastbone
- Deafness that is permanent
- Heart Attack of a pre-designated severity
- Heart Valve repair or replacement involving surgery that divides the breastbone
- HIV that was caused in the UK by a physical assault, working in an eligible occupation or through a blood transfusion
- Kidney Failure that requires dialysis
- Loss of Speech that is irreversible and permanent
- Permanent severance of hands or feet
- Transplant of a major organ
- Motor Neurone disease that develops before a specified age and results in permanent impairment
- Multiple Sclerosis with persistent impairment
- Paralysis of the limbs that is irreversible
- Parkinson’s Disease before a specified age with permanent impairment
- Strokes that result in permanent impairment
- Terminal Illnesses
- Third Degree Burns that cover at least 20% of the surface area of the body
- Traumatic head injuries that result in permanent impairment
When you are looking for critical illness cover and comparing providers, you should check out both their key features and the list of illnesses they cover against this list. If you find a policy that names all these illnesses it is more than likely a comprehensive policy. If you find a policy that seems to list more illnesses than are listed above then it is likely the insurer has played around with the words so to speak and should be investigated.