Our Critical Illness Calculator is here to help you answer some of the most common questions that everyone asks when considering taking out cover:
With this tool, you can weigh up the different policy options and see the impact it will have on your monthly premiums by comparing instant online quotes from the top UK insurers.
Critical Illness Cover is a type of insurance that will pay out a lump sum if a policyholder is diagnosed with a specified critical illness listed in the policy.
The insurers each have their own list of critical illnesses and injuries that they will cover and if you are diagnosed with one of them by a medical professional, you will be able to claim on your policy. The most common and serious medical conditions you can expect to be covered include:
Critical Illness Insurance is designed to provide you with financial stability during such difficult times whether that be through paying off your outstanding mortgage balance or providing funds to help with lifestyle changes.
The cover that you get from Critical Illness Insurance is not tied to your earnings, which means that you can choose to have as much cover as you want, similar to a Life Insurance policy.
Please be aware insurers’ lists of conditions covered can differ dramatically. Some insurers may not cover milder cases of severe conditions, even though they can be equally as debilitating.
For that reason, it is advised that you review the list of conditions that insurers cover before choosing the provider that’s right for you.
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry
To figure out how much Critical Illness Insurance you need you’ll firstly need to establish what the payout is for. Some of the most common expenses our clients use their payout for include:
It’s important to consider the consequences of becoming critically ill and what that would mean for your finances. While your mortgage might be your biggest worry, if you only cover the outstanding balance you may not have anything left to live on if your illness stops you working.
If you know the level of cover you require you can use our critical illness cost calculator to compare premiums from the top UK insurers including Aviva, Vitality and Royal London 😊
Insurers base the cost of Critical Illness Insurance on both personal factors about you as an individual as well as on various policy factors, such as the size of the payout.
You can’t change most of the personal factors that determine your Critical Illness Insurance premiums. To calculate the cost of cover, your insurer will look at your:
Older adults are more likely to develop critical illnesses, so the older you are when you take out cover the more expensive it will be.
Your insurer will want to know factors such as your height and weight when you apply for cover. They’ll also want to know about any health conditions you have, or any serious and / or hereditary conditions that your immediate family (parents and siblings) might suffer from.
If you have a health condition, an insurer might:
This will depend on the condition, its severity, your overall health and the insurer’s appetite for this risk.
Smokers can pay almost twice as much in monthly premiums as non-smokers. This is due to the greater risk of them developing critical conditions, especially cancer, heart attacks and strokes, which make up the vasty majority of Critical Illness Insurance claims.
Most insurers ask about your lifestyle, such as your alcohol consumption and whether you take part in dangerous hobbies (for example rock climbing, motocross racing or regular skydiving).
If any aspects of your current lifestyle increase the risk of you being critically ill or suffering a critical injury, your insurer may place an exclusion on your policy for injuries resulting from hazardous hobbies or increase your premiums.
As well as the above personal factors, there are some policy options which impact your premiums. These are choices you make about your insurance, so you can use them to adjust the cost of Critical Illness Cover to fit protection to your budget. They include your:
How much you’ll get as a tax-free payout if you become critically ill. It’s perhaps the most important factor insurers use when calculating Critical Illness Insurance premiums for you.
The higher your benefit, the higher your premiums.
The relationship between the level of cover and its cost is fairly linear — premiums for a policy insuring you for £200,000 are likely to be roughly double those of a policy with £100,000 of cover.
How old you’ll be when the policy ends.
As you get older, the risk of serious illness grows. Premiums therefore become more expensive the longer you run a policy for. While many insurers offer cover all the way into your 70s (providing you take out a policy before a certain age), this will be costly.
You can lower your policy’s cease age to reduce your premiums. However, think carefully about this. It may not be worth ending cover early just to save money — you could find yourself without protection when you need it the most.
You have two options with Critical Illness Insurance:
Level protection is best for covering interest-only mortgages, where the outstanding capital balance doesn’t fall over the life of your loan so you need protection for the full value across your entire mortgage.
You might also use it where the policy is to provide financial security, such as replacing lost wages or providing funds to adapt your home.
Decreasing protection is better for straightforward repayment mortgages, where the amount you owe the lender falls over time as you make repayments. You set decreasing cover to match the rate at which your outstanding mortgage reduces each month.
With decreasing cover, the risk to the insurer in terms of the size of the payout falls over time. That makes decreasing Critical Illness Insurance the cheaper of the two options.
To properly compare Critical Illness Insurance quotes, we’ve made a number of assumptions about the individual the policy will cover. For instance, we’ve assumed that they are:
The monthly Critical Illness Insurance premiums in the table below represent the cheapest quotes for an individual matching these criteria.
Level Life and Critical Illness Cover
30 years old
40 years old
50 years old
Decreasing Life and Critical Illness Cover
30 years old
40 years old
50 years old
Critical Illness Insurance is a very competitive market. Not only are there multiple insurers, but each one has a slightly different offering. You should look out for the following factors when you compare Critical Illness Cover:
Each provider varies slightly in terms of how many critical illnesses they cover.
Most policies cover between 35 and 40 critical conditions as standard. However, some providers protect you against more than 100 conditions while others cover fewer than 10, so it pays to check carefully.
Depending on your insurer, you might also be able to enhance your policy for an extra premium each month. This entitles you to a payout for a larger number of illnesses / injuries.
Insurers also vary in terms of the definitions of the illnesses they cover. These definitions are important as you must meet the criteria for an illness detailed in the policy documents to make a successful claim.
We use a sophisticated in-house tool which examines each insurer’s definitions of critical illnesses. The tool can then match you with a provider that’s most likely to pay out for an individual just like you based on its analysis of those definitions.
Independent Protection Expert
Some insurers pay out on a sliding scale depending on the severity of the illness you develop. So, for example, if you develop a low-grade, in-situ cancer and catch it early, you might not get your entire benefit because you don’t meet the full definition for cancer in your policy documents.
Other insurers pay out a proportionate benefit (commonly the lower of £25,000 or 25% of your benefit) if you develop a less serious, or ‘additional’, illness that isn’t quite as severe as the main conditions the policy covers.
Most insurers have a survival period. This requires you to live for a certain number of days after receiving a critical diagnosis before becoming eligible for a payout. Survival periods can vary between 10 days to 2 weeks or more, so check carefully.
It’s becoming increasingly tricky for insurers to compete in terms of the number of conditions they cover as the industry has added more and more conditions to Critical Illness policies over time.
In light of this, one of the key ways insurers now try to differentiate themselves instead is in the additional benefits they offer.
These are services that come with your Critical Illness Insurance policy and are almost always free. Some of the best include:
Some policies also include children’s Critical Illness Cover for free, while others require you to pay an additional premium. This pays out if a child develops one of the adult critical illnesses listed in the policy, as well as based on a set of child-specific illnesses / injuries.
Drewberry compares Critical Illness Insurance quotes from the following leading providers in the UK market:
Most people understandably want to choose cover by picking the insurer that’s the most likely to pay a claim when they need it the most.
However, it’s actually fairly hard to distinguish one provider from another in this area. Payout rates across the industry are not only higher than many people assume but are also fairly uniform.
As you can see in the table below, in 2019 almost all insurers paid out on more than 90% of the claims they received.
Legal & General
There is another option to protect against illness or injury you might want to consider: Income Protection Insurance.
Rather than paying out on diagnosis of a critical illness, Income Protection pays out for anything that medically prevents you from doing your job. This can mean it covers you for a wider number of conditions, including those insurers don’t deem ‘critical’, such as bad backs and mental health problems.
Income Protection also pays a regular monthly income (a proportion of your earnings) instead of a single lump sum. This can make it easier for you to manage your finances if you can’t work rather than trying to stretch a single lump sum payout over an unknown period.
The best Income Protection pays out for any accident or sickness which stops you doing your specific job. It can also pay out until retirement if you can’t ever return to work depending on the policy you choose.
To get a better understanding of the difference between these two types of insurance, read our Income Protection vs Critical Illness Cover Guide.
Working out the best Critical Illness Cover for your circumstances can be a bit of a minefield. There’s a lot to think about when you start taking into account all of the different insurers, the number of illnesses they cover and the definitions of those illnesses each provider uses.
On top of this, you also need to research the best policy to fit with your own personal circumstances, health and lifestyle.
Fortunately, the team at Drewberry has all the tools and know-how to find you the best Critical Illness Insurance.
We started Drewberry™ because we were tired of being treated like a number.
We all deserve a first class service when it comes to issues as important as protecting our health and our finances. Below are just a few reasons why it makes sense to talk to us.
For help and fee-free advice, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 02084327333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve held a policy with Drewberry for several years now. They are always friendly, insightful and offer great service.