Critical Illness

Whether you have a mortgage or not, being diagnosed with a serious illness is life changing.  The main focus everyone has when finding out they have a critical illness should be getting better but quite often the stress of financial difficulty can make this a hard thing to do.

Taking out a critical illness plan should be a key consideration when taking on a mortgage but also for those with no debts as it can make all the difference to the journey to recovery.  It can help pay the monthly bills, clear debts or fund private medical treatment.  The insurer does not determine what you use the money for.

‘I’ll leave it at the moment and take it out when I have a bit more money’.  This is a common response to thinking about this cover.  As with all types of personal protection though, the premiums you pay are based on the age you are when you take the policy out and more importantly your health history.  Therefore the earlier you look at this the cheaper it will be.  As you get older the premiums to take out a new policy are higher and, if you have had a deterioration in health, this could also mean paying more or worse still, being declined.

Get in touch today and we can advise you on what level of cover you can get within your budget so you have that peace of mind that a critical illness will not leave you dreading the next bill.

Insurance FAQ
    • I am buying a house/flat. Do I need home insurance?

      When getting a mortgage on a property there is always a legal requirement to have buildings insurance. This would definitely be your responsibility if you are buying a freehold property (house or bungalow) but is generally not the case when leasehold (a flat or maisonette).

      If you are responsible for buildings insurance your solicitor will let you know. There is no legal requirement to have contents insurance but replacing all your belongings in the event of a fire or break in is costly so is always worth considering.

    • What are the optional extras for home insurance?

      A home insurance policy will start out as a standard level of cover and then you can opt to add on additional types of cover to suit your needs.

      These include full accidental damage cover to buildings and/or contents, personal possessions cover (for items taken outside the home), expensive items worth more than £1,500, home emergency cover and legal expenses. All of these can be explained by your adviser so that you get a quote tailored to your needs.

    • I have protection cover with work. Is there any reason to get personal cover?

      Whilst having work cover is clearly a good thing, it will be important to properly establish every element of what you have and then determine if there are gaps in the cover that should be filled with personal insurance.

      It is common for larger firms to have group income protection and death in service but critical illness cover is rare with a work scheme. The first thing to do is speak to Human Resources and get a breakdown of all the benefits you have got and then we can advise on what else would be useful to run alongside it.

    • How long does it take to get personal protection in place?

      In most cases, if you have a clean medical history the processing times for protection cover can be quite quick with a policy being able to start within one week.

      The potential delay to that will be any previous medical condition that could mean the insurer wanting to know more prior to making a decision on the cover. If the insurer needs to write to your GP for more information this can add significant time to the process of getting the cover as your GP has to treat patients first so responding to requests for information can take time.

      It will be worth starting the process of applying for cover earlier thereby allowing for the potential processing times rather than leaving yourself without protection.

    • I am buying a property on my own so what is the point in having cover?

      The most common thing we hear when discussing protection cover is if something happens then the property can just be sold to repay the debt.

      Whilst this is always an option it is not always best and in some cases it could be problematic. On death selling a property can take time with all the other legal duties of the estate and the mortgage is still there. This is easily solved with a life insurance policy.

      Then there are the situations where an illness or injury strikes. You may not want to sell your home and move in with family. For this reason, taking out income protection and/or critical illness cover is there to avoid having to sell up if you no longer have an income from work or just would not want the stress of an ongoing mortgage.

    • In the event of illness I can always fall back on family.

      This is always seen as an option when deciding on whether to take out protection cover but is it a reliable one?

      Your family have their own costs of living and taking on your mortgage would be unexpected. If you feel that this is viable we advise you to discuss this with them to ensure they are aware. For the sake of a payment which will be a fraction of what you will be paying to the mortgage lender, you can avoid the need to rely on family or friends to support you in the event of a loss of income and they will be happier with you for that as well.

    • What illnesses are covered by a critical illness policy?

      This varies from insurer to insurer. With a conventional critical illness policy the number of illnesses is between 50-70 with the main ones being cancer, heart attack, stroke and multiple sclerosis.

      There is also the option with one insurer to take out a serious illness cover. This differs from critical illness in that it is designed to pay out a percentage of the cover based on the severity of the illness. With this in mind the number of illnesses covered can be over 160 with the most comprehensive level of insurance. We can discuss these with you.

      Whichever one you go for it will give much greater peace of mind than just taking out life cover.

    • What is the difference between critical illness and income protection?

      With the first of these the policy is designed to pay out on diagnosis of a defined critical illness. If what you have is not in the list of illnesses of the insurer it will not pay out although the cover will stay in force for the future. In most cases these policies are set up to provide a lump sum but they can also give an income instead.

      An income protection policy is a regular monthly income in the event of being off work with either an illness or an injury for a prolonged time. You can set the time at which the insurer will start to pay you which can be 4, 13, 26 or 52 weeks (the deferred period). You cannot set this time as less than the time your employer will pay you full salary.

      As it does not have a defined list of illnesses, income protection can pay out for more eventualities but only for those things that keep you off for more than the deferred period you have chosen. It will then stop paying you when you can return full time to work.

      It is often a good idea to look at taking a combination of both elements of cover to provide a greater spectrum of benefits.