What is critical illness insurance?

By: Healthinsurance  19/08/2011
Keywords: health insurance, private medical insurance, Critical Illness Insurance

We are all aware of insurance cover for holidays, motor cars, homes and belongings, but critical illness insurance is possibly one of the most important policies you can possess. If the unthinkable were to happen and you were struck down with a serious illness, who would pay your mortgage, bills or support your family? One in four men are struck down with a heart attack and one in three people will be affected by cancer in their lives, so considering an insurance policy that will take care of your needs in such an unfortunate circumstance is a sensible course of action. Critical illness cover pays out a lump sum on the diagnosis of one of the many serious illnesses covered in your policy. In the early years, these illnesses were extremely limited but as the popularity of critical illness cover has increased, so has the number of illnesses that are covered. It is still imperative that you examine everything you are covered for when taking out a policy, as there are still some conditions that will not result in a payout. There are seven ‘core’ conditions which will be covered by nearly all policies: cancer, kidney failure, heart attack, coronary bypass, organ transplant, stroke and Multiple Sclerosis. Some policies have very strict conditions regarding heart-related illness; however, conditions such as angina are not necessarily covered by all policies, unless you have agreed this with your insurance provider when taking out the policy. Policies can be beneficial to single people as well as those with family, particularly young children. A single policy holder will find a cash payout beneficial with mortgage payments and general outgoings for example, while the family of someone diagnosed with a critical illness will find a cash payout comforting in their time of need. Most policies can be taken out at any age and it is vital that you are honest with your insurance provider regarding existing medical conditions. Failing to do this may lead to a company not making a payout when an illness is detected. You can also opt for cover over a designated period of time, the duration of your mortgage or the amount of years until your retirement, for example. There is a huge range of critical illness insurance cover on the health insurance in UK market, with over 200 different policies in existence. So, it is well worth taking some time to find the best policy for you that will deliver the most effective pay out. It is also worth noting that critical illness protection is very different from an income protection policy. Unlike income protection, which pays a regular wage if temporarily disabled, critical illness cover only pays out a lump sum. Though they may sound similar, the circumstances for which you can claim are very different. A bad back or broken leg, which could keep you out of work for months, would not generate a payout under a critical illness insurance policy.

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