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Insurance: Personal, Family & BusinessCritical Illness Cover

Critical Illness Cover

Critical illness cover is a comparatively new concept. The idea of paying a lump sum in the event of a plan holder contracting certain illnesses (or undergoing certain operations) started in South Africa. It was introduced to the United Kingdom in the late 1980’s.

Typically, before the capital sum is paid, the plan owner has to survive for a certain period of time following diagnosis or undergoing an operation, for example, 14 days.

It was originally provided as an optional additional benefit to unit linked whole of life plans.  These days it is available in stand-alone form (that is, without conventional death only life assurance), in both whole of life and term assurance versions.

Need for critical illness protection

With advances in medical science, many of the illnesses incurable ten or twenty years ago can now be treated. It is now quite normal for sufferers of heart attacks, cancer or strokes, for example to survive for several years. However, an individual’s financial situation is often badly affected post critical illness as although an individual might return to work, it is very common to opt for a less stressful career or a job that requires working fewer hours.

As well as the need for income, there is invariably a separate need for a cash lump sum to bolster financial plans:

  • Clear the balance of a mortgage
  • Pay for specialist medical care (perhaps abroad)
  • Convert a home (e.g. to accommodate a wheelchair)
  • Purchase a more suitable vehicle
  • Purchase specialist medical equipment
  • Provide the option for a person to give up work to take care of them
  • Provide cash resources for single people to retain their independence from their parents.

Conditions covered

The range of conditions varies from one provider to another.  Some of the conditions include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease – resulting in permanent symptoms
  • Angioplasty
  • Aorta graft surgery – for disease
  • Aplastic Anaemia
  • Bacterial Meningitis
  • Benign brain tumour – resulting in permanent symptoms
  • Benign spinal cord tumour
  • Blindness – permanent and irreversible
  • Cancer – excluding less advanced cases
  • Carcinoma in-situ of the cervix uterius
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Coma – resulting in permanent symptoms
  • Coronary artery by-pass grafts – with surgery to divide the breastbone
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
  • Crohn’s disease – treated with surgical intestinal resection
  • Deafness – permanent and irreversible
  • Degenerative organic brain disease
  • Dementia – resulting in permanent symptoms
  • Emphysema
  • Encephalitis – resulting in permanent symptoms
  • Heart attack – of specified severity
  • Heart valve replacement or repair – with surgery to divide the breastbone
  • HIV infection – caught from a blood transfusion, a physical assault or at work in an eligible occupation
  • Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
  • Kidney failure – requiring dialysis
  • Liver failure
  • Loss of independent existence
  • Loss of speech – permanent and irreversible
  • Major organ transplant
  • Mastectomy benefit for DCIS
  • Motor neurone disease – resulting in permanent symptoms
  • Multiple Sclerosis – with persisting symptoms
  • Open heart surgery
  • Paralysis of limbs – total and irreversible
  • Parkinson’s disease – resulting in permanent symptoms
  • Primary Pulmonary Hypertension – of specified severity
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy
  • Low Grade Prostatectomy
  • Pulmonary Artery Surgery
  • Respiratory failure
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Severe crohn’s disease – with persisting symptoms
  • Severe lung disease
  • Stroke – resulting in permanent symptoms
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Terminal illness
  • Third degree burns – covering % of the body’s surface area
  • Traumatic head injury – resulting in permanent symptoms
  • Ulcerative colitis


We can advise and recommend on an appropriate level of cover to suit an indvidual’s circumstances. Our fully equipped brokerage service compares all available plans on the market from all life offices to ensure the best possible plan is selected for a client’s needs. We compare and consider metrics such as:

  • Payout statisitics
  • Number of ABI conditiions
  • Number and scope of ABI+ conditions
  • Financial Strength of the Insurer
  • Underwriting Policy of Provider
  • Trusts Available

Contact us today if you would like advice on Critical Illness Cover.

No guarantee can be given that the information provided is accurate in the present or the future. It is not intended to constitute either a statement of applicable law or financial advice, and responsibility cannot be accepted for any subsequent loss following activity or inactivity by any individual or organisation. Indeed, such information should NOT be acted upon without first receiving appropriate and specific professional advice.