Do I Need Critical Illness Cover in the UK?

August 28th, 2023
Do I Need Critical Illness Cover in the UK?

In today’s uncertain world, protecting yourself and your loved ones against the unexpected is more important than ever. While traditional health insurance plans provide coverage for a range of medical treatments and services, they often fall short when it comes to covering the high costs associated with critical illnesses and this is where a critical illness policy would become valid

Critical illness cover is a form of supplemental health insurance that helps bridge the gap between your primary health insurance and the financial burden of a critical illness diagnosis. It provides a lump sum payment upon diagnosis of a qualifying medical condition, giving you the flexibility to use the funds as needed. But is critical illness cover necessary for everyone? Let’s explore the key aspects of critical illness cover to help you make an informed decision.

Tell Me More About Critical Illness Cover

Critical illness cover is a type of insurance policy designed to provide financial protection in the event of a serious illness. It offers a lump sum payment that can be used to cover medical expenses, living costs, or any other financial obligations that may arise during your illness.

The specific illnesses covered by critical illness insurance can vary depending on the policy you choose. However, some common covered conditions include cancer, heart attacks, strokes, organ transplants, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. It’s important to review the policy’s list of covered illnesses to ensure it aligns with your needs and concerns.

Should I be Considering Critical Illness Cover?

  • Financial Protection: Dealing with a critical illness can be emotionally and financially draining. Critical illness cover provides a financial safety net, allowing you to focus on your recovery without worrying about the burden of medical bills or other expenses.
  • Coverage Gaps: Even with a comprehensive health insurance plan, there may be gaps in coverage, such as high deductibles or out-of-pocket expenses. Critical illness cover can help fill these gaps, ensuring you have the necessary funds to cover unexpected costs.
  • Flexibility: Unlike traditional health insurance, critical illness cover provides a lump sum payment, giving you the freedom to use the funds as needed. Whether it’s paying for medical treatments, modifying your home for accessibility, or taking time off work to focus on your health, the choice is yours.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that you have financial protection in the event of a critical illness can provide peace of mind for both you and your loved ones. It allows you to navigate your health journey with a sense of security and confidence.

While critical illness cover is not a substitute for comprehensive health insurance, it can serve as a valuable supplement to provide additional financial support during challenging times.

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Assessing Your Need for Critical Illness Cover

Ultimately whether you need critical illness cover or not will depend on your individual circumstances, priorities and budget. Here are some important points to consider:

Existing Health Insurance Coverage

Start by evaluating your current health insurance plan. Take note of any coverage gaps, such as high deductibles or limited benefits for certain conditions. If your existing plan leaves you financially vulnerable in the face of a critical illness, considering critical illness cover may be a wise choice.

Financial Situation

Assess your financial situation and consider how you would cope with the financial impact of a critical illness. Do you have sufficient savings to cover medical expenses and other costs? Would your income be affected if you were unable to work during your illness? Critical illness cover can provide a financial safety net when you need it most.

Family Dependents

Consider the impact a critical illness would have on your family. If you have dependents who rely on your income or if you want to ensure their financial security in the event of your illness, critical illness cover can offer valuable protection.

Medical History and Genetic Predisposition

Take into account your medical history and any genetic predispositions to certain illnesses. If you have a family history of critical illnesses or are at a higher risk due to genetic factors, critical illness cover can provide added peace of mind.


Evaluate the cost of critical illness cover and assess whether it fits within your budget. Consider the premiums, coverage limits, and any waiting periods associated with the policy. It’s important to find a balance between the level of coverage you desire and what you can comfortably afford.

Understanding the Limitations of Critical Illness Cover

While critical illness cover offers valuable protection, it’s important to understand its limitations, these are outlined below:

  • Specific Illnesses: Critical illness cover only provides benefits for the specific illnesses listed in your policy. If you are diagnosed with a condition that is not covered, you will not be eligible for a payout. Review the policy’s list of covered illnesses carefully to ensure it aligns with your concerns.
  • Pre-Existing Conditions: Most critical illness policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. If you have a pre-existing condition, it’s important to carefully review the policy terms and conditions to understand the coverage limitations.
  • Waiting Periods: Some critical illness policies may have waiting periods before you become eligible for coverage. This means that if you are diagnosed with a critical illness during the waiting period, you will not be eligible for a payout. Be sure to understand any waiting periods associated with the policy before making a decision.
  • Exclusions and Limitations: Critical illness cover may have specific exclusions and limitations outlined in the policy. These can include restrictions on coverage for certain stages of an illness or limitations on coverage for recurring illnesses. Read the policy terms and conditions carefully to understand these limitations.

Is Critical Illness Cover Worth It?

This answer will be different for 2 people and will depend on your individual circumstances and priorities, some people will see great value in critical illness cover because they have seen someone personally affected, whilst someone else may not see a value in the add on. While it may not be necessary for everyone, it can provide valuable financial protection for those who want additional peace of mind.

Consider the potential financial impact of a critical illness on your life and the lives of your loved ones. Evaluate your existing health insurance coverage, financial situation, and family dependents. Assess your risk factors and genetic predispositions to critical illnesses. With this information, you can make an informed decision about whether critical illness cover aligns with your needs and budget.

Keep in mind that critical illness cover should be seen as a supplement to comprehensive health insurance, rather than a replacement. It’s also important to review and compare different policies to find the best fit for your specific needs.

If you have a life insurance policy with no dependents then a critical illness policy is something to seriously consider. Ultimately, you will not benefit from your own life insurance policy and you are just preventing any debt being passed on to family members or maximising your assets for them, however, what would happen if you could not work due to a terminal condition, could you still afford your outgoings, would you have somewhere else to live? In this instance, critical illness cover is an insurance that you can benefit from as it gives you peace of mind as a single person that you are financially supported when you may have to step back from work and have no other income coming in to pay any monthly living costs bills.

Do All Life Insurance Policies Offer Critical Illness cover?

No, not all life insurance policies offer critical illness coverage. It is also worth noting that critical illness is not a blanket coverage and only pays out the lump sum if the policy holder is diagnosed with a specific critical illness listed in the policy. This payout is usually designed to help cover medical expenses and other costs associated with the illness.

While some life insurance policies do include an option to add critical illness coverage as a rider or add-on, it’s not a standard feature of all life insurance policies. Life insurance policies primarily provide a death benefit to the beneficiaries of the insured person upon their death. Critical illness coverage is a separate type of insurance that focuses on providing financial support in case of a serious illness diagnosis.

When shopping for life insurance, if you’re interested in critical illness coverage, make sure to inquire specifically about whether the policy includes this option or if it can be added as a rider. It’s important to carefully read and understand the terms and conditions of any insurance policy you’re considering to ensure that it meets your needs and expectations.


Critical illness cover provides financial protection in the face of a serious medical diagnosis. It can help bridge the gap between your primary health insurance and the high costs associated with critical illnesses. Assessing your need for critical illness cover involves evaluating your existing health insurance coverage, financial situation, family dependents, and risk factors. It’s important to understand the limitations of critical illness cover, such as specific illnesses covered, pre-existing condition exclusions, waiting periods, and policy limitations. Ultimately, the decision to get critical illness cover depends on your individual circumstances and priorities.

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