Critical illness cover: What you should know

Critical illness cover is one of the most common types of insurance, but you may have wondered what it is and whether or not you need it. Here's a brief guide to critical illness cover to help you make a more informed decision when buying insurance.

What is critical illness cover?

Critical illness cover is a long-term insurance policy that offers financial support if you're diagnosed with a serious illness – although it has to be one of the illnesses covered by your policy. The pay-out comes in the form of a tax-free one-off payment and is designed to pay off your mortgage, debts or any alterations you might need to make to your home, such as for wheelchair access.

What does it cover?

Critical illness insurance pays out if you get one of the medical conditions or injuries listed in your policy. A critical illness could be a heart attack, a stroke and certain types and stages of cancer. The illnesses and conditions covered will be listed in your specific policy.

Do I need it?

As with any type of insurance, critical illness cover is designed to protect you in certain scenarios; you hope you'll never need it, but it's useful to know that you have a plan in place if the worst should happen. The money you get from a critical illness policy can be used to pay for medical bills, to pay off a mortgage or for anything else you might need should you become critically ill. The Money Advice Service suggests that critical illness cover could be a good choice for you if you don't have any savings that would tide you over if you were ill or you don't have a good employee benefits package to cover a significant period of time off work.

You can read more about different types of insurance and explore your options on InsureMe-on-Line.

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