What is Critical Illness Cover?
Critical illness assurance pays a tax-free lump sum on diagnosis of any one of a list of serious illnesses, some of the most common illnesses being cancers, strokes and heart attacks.
The unexpected cost of critical illness*
Suffering from critical illness has a huge impact on everyday life. Almost two thirds (62%) of people who were diagnosed with a critical illness were working at the time. And nearly a third (32%) of those who took time off/are taking time off estimate they will be off for up to three months, while nearly a fifth (19%) said it will be up to six months.
65% of those who took time off work when diagnosed with a critical illness were off for over three months.
On top of coping with being diagnosed with a critical illness, people are faced with additional financial pressure from unexpected bills. In fact, around 3.5 million people diagnosed with a critical illness in the last five years were unable to cope financially.**
In addition to day-to-day living costs that need to be covered if unable to work, the average additional cost of being ill or caring for someone who is ill equates to £1,623.
For over two-thirds of people facing a financial burden, the most common reason for extra expenses was transport to the hospital, doctor or chemists, costing on average £391 over the course of the illness. And people who drove or were driven to hospital appointments paid on average £216 in parking.
Costs can quickly add up
A third faced higher utility bills as a result of their illness (or the illness of the person they cared for) paying an extra £675 on average. While not as a common, the two things that caused the biggest financial burden were getting outside help in such as a carer or home help (23%) costing £1,738 on average and making alterations to the home like adding railings or ramps (16%) costing £1,764. And the financial impact can be long lasting - one in seven of those who suffered an illness and faced financial burden said they had to pay extra expenses relating to their illness for over a year.
*Source: BRP8PD0004-critical-illness-report from Royal London 01.12.2017
**Source: 208 of 3007 respondents faced a burden = 6.917% x 51,767,543 (UK adult population – ons.gov.uk) = 3,580,823
Scary as that may sound, the good news is that medical advances mean more people than ever are surviving conditions that might have killed previous generations. The problem is how do you pay for the treatment or time off work if you don’t have any cover in place?
Why have Critical Illness Cover?
We never think a critical illness is going to happen to us, especially when we feel fit and healthy, but it can and does happen!
If you stop and think about it for a moment, you will probably realise you know of at least one family member or friend who has been directly or indirectly affected by one of these life changing events.
The scary thing is most home buyers purchase life assurance when they arrange a mortgage, but only a minority obtain another form of financial protection that they are more likely to need before they reach retirement.
Critical Illness Cover can provide that desperately needed cash support to allow people and their families to pursue a less stressful lifestyle while they recover from illness, buy more specialist medical care, or for any other purpose like paying off their mortgage.
In a Report by Royal London (*Source: BRP8PD0004-critical-illness-report from Royal London 01.12.2017) Cancer was the most common reason for a claim and made up over 63% of the claims they received, followed by heart attack (10%), stroke (6%), children’s critical illness (4%) and multiple sclerosis (3%).* (*Source: Royal London UK protection business claims paid (1 January to 31 December 2016)
While looking at these numbers reminds us how widespread critical illness is – It doesn’t emphasise enough the true impact this has on an individual and their family.
What sort of reality are people facing? How long will they be off work? Are they single and have just one income to rely on? Do they need someone to care for them? Or are they married with children who need to be looked after? If so, will their partner be able to continue working? And what about the lifestyle changes they’ll need to make and additional costs they’re likely to face?
It’s hard to imagine how people can cope with all of this at a point in time when money cannot and should not be the main concern but it’s a reality that many people are facing.
If you have a family, did you know that if you take out life cover and critical illness cover, some insurance providers include an element of cover for your children for free?
Many people expect to be automatically accepted for this cover, but age and ailments can create exclusions or even cause you to be declined for cover altogether.
So the best bit of advice we will ever offer you around critical illness is: "Whilst you are young, fit and healthy, get your critical illness cover in place!"
Why use a Broker for Life Assurance Needs?
The price you are first shown on a price comparison website may not always be what you end up paying. There are concerns that aggregator websites are providing quotes for the most basic cover to ensure that a company appears at the very top of the results page. However, once you go through and add in all of the extras to get the cover that you need, you might not actually be getting good value for money.
'Cheap’ isn’t always best
It’s all in the name. Price comparison websites aim to find insurance based on the price not on quality of cover!
‘Cheap’ insurance can cost you more in the long term if you do not have the right cover in place when making a claim. It is important to check the quality of the cover to ensure you are protected should the worst happen.
Price comparison sites
Because policies vary widely in the cover they offer, the best way to buy Critical Illness Insurance is through a financial adviser or a broker specialising in protection insurance.
Not only will a specialist adviser be able to trawl through various policies on the market, they will also be able to advise you on whether a critical illness policy really is appropriate for your needs.
An adviser will also be able to help you decide how much cover you need, how long the policy should last and whether you should combine critical illness and life cover.
Having access to some of the UK’s top insurance providers, we can advise you on comprehensive products at prices that won’t break the bank. Don’t delay, give an experienced JF Financial Associates Insurance Broker a call today on 0345 508 8588
JF Financial Associates will never sell you something you don’t want. We offer advice on what you need!