Covid-19 is not considered a critical illness, so it won’t be covered. If you were to develop a secondary illness, like kidney or lung failure, you would be.
If you have life insurance as part of your cover, and the worst were to happen because of coronavirus, you would be covered.
For new policies, you’ll be asked more questions by insurers about where you’ve travelled abroad recently, and about any pre-existing symptoms or confirmed but recovered cases of Covid-19.
Find out more about insurance, your money and coronavirus
Critical illness cover is a type of life insurance that pays out a tax-free lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a condition that’s listed on your policy. You can use it however you like. Whether that's to help cover health-related costs, monthly expenses, or lost income while you get better.
Your provider will have a specific list of illnesses that are covered. If you’re diagnosed with any of these conditions, your critical illness cover will usually pay out. If you get an illness that’s not on the list, you won’t receive the money.
It’s a lot like life insurance in that you choose how much life insurance cover you need and how long you want your policy to be in place for (the term). The main difference is critical illness cover pays out on diagnosis, whereas life insurance pays out if you pass away.
It can either be added to your life insurance policy for a little extra cost to your premium (integrated cover), or bought as an independent policy.
You pay a monthly or annual premium for the cover. If you buy it as part of your life insurance, the cost is included in your life insurance premiums, but you can see how much more it’s costing you.
You can compare life insurance and buy critical illness cover through us as a standalone policy with life insurance. We only offer critical illness cover with level-term life insurance. It isn’t available to buy with decreasing-term policies.
You can either buy standalone cover on its own or with life insurance. When you buy it with life insurance, both bits of your cover pay out if you die. If you get a critical illness, your critical illness cover pays out and your life insurance continues.
You can buy critical illness cover integrated with life insurance – usually it’s level term. With an integrated policy, you get a payout if you die or if you get a critical illness. There’s only one payout, so it tends to be a more affordable option.
With decreasing term life cover, your payout decreases over time as the size of your mortgage, or other debts, decreases too. For that reason, it tends to be cheaper. You can’t buy critical illness cover with decreasing-term life insurance through us.
You need to understand what your critical illness policy covers. Not all policies cover the exact same illnesses and injuries, but there are some core conditions that are covered by all policies.
Your policy documents will explain what’s covered so make sure you’ve read and understood them before you buy your policy.
|Covered||Possibly covered||Not covered|
|Most common critical illnesses||Children’s critical illnesses||Pre-agreed conditions|
|Types of cancer||Multiple sclerosis||Drug and alcohol abuse|
|Stroke||Loss of limbs||Hereditary diseases|
|Heart attack||Blindness||Temporary illnesses|
|Total permanent disability|
Each insurer will define what illnesses they cover, so it varies a little – what’s covered will be outlined in policy documents.
For your insurer to pay out, your illness also needs to be severe. Again, your policy documents should explain how severe an illness needs to be for the insurer to pay out.
Common conditions included in critical illness cover:
You can get pretty extensive cover, which includes a wide variety of conditions. Some policies will also cover your children if they’re diagnosed. But expect it to cost more. Read the policy documents carefully to get a good idea of what’s covered before you buy.
You might want to consider family income benefit. It's a cost-effective option that can cover your monthly income for a pre-set period of time.
You choose how long you want to be covered for, say 20 years, and if you make a claim within that period your monthly income is covered for the remainder of the term your policy is in place for.
It can be a cheaper option than standard life insurance.
Income protection pays out if you’re too ill to work (either short or long-term). It'll pay a monthly amount based on your income and expenditure so you can pay your bills and debts if you can’t work.
You may have to wait for a set time before you start getting the payments and they’ll usually continue until you’re back at work, when you retire, or when the policy expires.
To apply for critical illness cover, you’ll need to tell us:
How much it costs very much depends on your personal circumstances. How old you are, whether you’re in good health or not and your lifestyle and occupation all make a difference to your premiums.
Generally speaking, the more cover you want, the more expensive it’ll be. So an extensive option, that doesn’t decrease the payout alongside your debts, will cost a lot more.
Anyone can be diagnosed with a critical condition and it can have a huge impact on daily life, for example by preventing you from working.
Just check you’re not already covered under an existing life insurance policy, or as part of your work’s employee benefits.
Some critical illness policies now include cover for your children if they’re diagnosed with a listed serious condition. It could be offered as part of your policy at no additional cost.
You might want to consider critical illness cover if:
Here are a few ways you can reduce the cost of your critical illness cover:
Give up smoking, exercise regularly, achieve a healthy weight and eat well
Buying cover as an integrated policy with life insurance can keep costs down
Because the amount of cover you have decreases over time, it can be a more affordable option
Whether you’re buying an integrated or independent policy, it’s a good idea to shop around and compare prices to find the right policy for you
If you take out critical illness cover as an integrated policy, it will last as long as the term of your life insurance policy. Remember that if you make a critical illness claim on an integrated policy bought through us, the life insurance sum paid out when you pass away will be reduced.
Yes, the type of illnesses covered by different insurers and policies can differ. You may also find that some insurers will pay out for less severe illnesses where others won’t.
Critical illness cover will pay out for a non-life threatening illness, whereas for terminal illness cover, you will need to prove that you're not expected to live longer than 12 months. Check your life insurance policy though as some policies will cover your for terminal illness.
This is dependent on your circumstances, but the right income protection (IP) policy can be valuable as a stand-alone product or as an addition to life insurance/critical illness cover. Life insurance won’t cover you if you cannot work due to illness or disability. Some IP policies include an element of death cover.
Generally if you miss a payment your critical illness cover will come to an end after thirty days - but check your policy wording, and make sure you can afford your monthly payments.
In order to be eligible for critical illness cover you need to be a UK resident when you apply.You may also find that there are maximum and minimum age limits.
No, if you make a successful claim on your critical illness policy, you will receive a one-off, tax-free lump sum.
No your policy will have a detailed list of illnesses that are covered for, and there are some types of illness that are not covered unless you have permanent symptoms from the illness so make sure you know what you’re covered for before you buy your policy.
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Your cover will depend on your individual needs, circumstances and the premium you choose to pay