When we’re asked what is the best critical illness cover, there’s no simple answer. That’s because it requires a unique response for every individual client.
Insurers specialise in different risk areas and the best Critical Illness Insurance for you will not necessarily be the same as for anyone else.
Below is a list of the best known UK Critical Illness Insurance providers, some are household names where others are more specialist.
For more on these top providers take a look at our table of top Critical Illness Insurance providers below.
Each insurer has their own definitions of the various serious illnesses they cover. Fortunately, we have a tool to compare each illness definition side-by-side for both current and legacy critical illness plans to ensure you are able to make an informed decision when it comes to your own cover.
Although no two policies are the same, there are still a number of factors to look for that can help to determine the quality of a policy, such as:
Most policies cover around 40 conditions, including:
However, some may stretch to over 100 conditions. Others will cover fewer than 10 conditions, so you need to do your research to ensure that you’re getting the best coverage.
While a high number of conditions covered can be a decent indication of the quality of a product, perhaps even more important is to look into the level of that cover, including whether ‘minor’ instances of things like heart attacks and strokes will prompt a payout.
For example, some policies include breast cancer but may exclude ‘non-invasive’ forms; this may be the definition even when a lumpectomy or mastectomy is required.
Cover for early stage illnesses such as cancer can be particularly important, especially as around 60% of all critical illness claims relate to cancer.
With modern medicine, people can recover from a wide range of conditions, but their lifestyle and ability to earn can be affected. A policy that can help them through these difficult times can provide the financial breathing space they need.
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry Insurance
The ABI provides model definitions of critical illness conditions, intended to give clients clear understanding of policies and to help them compare products from different insurers.
Following this ABI best practice is optional for insurers so, when you look for a policy, don’t just look at the number of conditions listed – consider how many ABI definitions are used.
You’ll see such enhanced definitions referred to as ‘ABI+’, so a policy with a large number of ABI+ definitions is suggestive of a high-quality product.
The cost of Critical Illness Cover depends on a number of personal factors including:
Where you can’t control your age there are some policy factors you can control to help manage the cost of your plan:
It’s often the same price – if not cheaper – to get Critical Illness Cover with Life Insurance attached than it is to get standalone Critical Illness Insurance.
Effectively, Life Insurance is ‘thrown in’ with Critical Illness Cover for minimal extra cost, so we generally recommend individuals take this opportunity to protect their lives as well as their health.
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry
A policy with reviewable premiums is likely to be cheaper when taken out, but don’t let that persuade you that it’s the ‘best’ one; over time you generally find that guaranteed premiums are the cheaper option.
Reviewable premiums can change year-by-year with little way of working out what they’ll be from one year to the next. There could be a hike in the cost of Critical Illness premiums if, for example, the insurer experiences a spike of claims in that particular year.
Guaranteed premiums, on the other hand, are totally fixed at the outset of the policy. Although they are more expensive to start with, this does mean that they remain fixed at that rate throughout the life of the policy.
Aegon’s Scotland-based UK operations are wholly owned and operated by Dutch insurer Aegon N.V.
Aviva was founded in 1797, but the Aviva brand as it is today was formed in 2000 by the merger of Norwich Union and CGU PLC.
Guardian can trace its history back to 1821 when it was founded as Guardian Fire & Life.
It looks at Critical Illness Insurance differently, offering payouts for any form of malignant cancer with histological confirmation as diagnosed by a UK oncologist, including malignant skin cancer. Guardian also features a simplified claims process for heart attacks that only requires confirmation from a consultant that a heart attack has occurred to pay a heart attack claim, rather than needing extensive medical evidence to assess the severity of the attack.
L&G was formed as an insurance company for lawyers, by lawyers in 1836. It has since grown to become one of the country’s best-known financial services companies.
LV is the UK’s largest friendly society, with more than 5.8 million customers, 1.1 million of whom are members.
Royal London previously operated Scottish Provident and Bright Grey as separated brands providing Critical Illness Insurance under the Royal London umbrella. From 2016, both have been merged into the main Royal London brand.
Founded in 1812, Scottish Widows is today part of Lloyds Banking Group.
Zurich is a Swiss-based global insurance giant, operating in more than 170 countries. It employs around 55,000 employees worldwide, including 4,500 in the UK.
If you need any help please don’t hesitate to pop us a call on 02084327333 to speak with one of our experts.
If you are still researching you get instant critical illness quotes comparing the best 10 UK insurers here. It will show you payout levels, policy terms, the number of conditions covered, whether premiums are guaranteed or reviewable and the monthly cost.
Josh was very helpful and not pushy at all. I would highly recommend Drewberry.