Critical Illness Cover

Safeguard your finances if you become critically ill.

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What is Critical Illness Cover?

Critical illness Cover pays out a tax-free lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness. This lets you focus on getting better instead of worrying about if the bills are paid.

  • Protect your family and home.
  • Covers you for up to 125 illnesses.
  • Includes cover for children (up to £25,000).

Why do I need critical illness cover?

Every 5 minutes someone in the UK is admitted to hopsital due to a heart attack.  It’s stats like this that make critical illness cover essential. It ensures that if you face a serious health condition, you can focus on your recovery without worrying about financial strain.
This can help manage expenses not covered by traditional health insurance such as rent, utilities, or even modifications needed at home.
"In 2021, the UK insurance industry paid out 91.3% of critical illness cover claims, totalling over £1.22 billion. This underscores the value of critical illness cover in managing the financial implications of serious health issues ."
~ Chris, Cover Direct

What’s the difference between Critical Illness & Terminal Illness Insurance?

The difference between these two is simple. Critical Illness Cover pays out as soon as you’ve been diagnosed with a specific condition.

Terminal Illness Insurance only pays out if you get diagnosed & your doctor expects you to die in the next 12 months (you have to be terminally ill). This makes critical illness cover a more comprehensive option.

Conditions that are commonly covered:
  • Cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease

^The specific conditions covered can vary between insurers, so it’s crucial to check the policy details.

Considerations Before Buying

  • Understand the Terms: Be sure you understand what is and is not covered. Critical illness policies vary, and not all conditions are covered.
  • Disclosure: Be honest about your medical history when applying for cover. Failure to disclose relevant details could invalidate your policy.
  • Premiums: Premiums can vary based on your age, health, and the level of cover. It’s essential to find a balance between affordable premiums and adequate coverage.


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We’re not biased towards any one insurer. We just recommend the right policy.

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Common questions about Critical Illness Insurance

Yes! Loads of people do & we think it’s a great option. This means you’ll be covered if you get seriously ill or die. Meaning you’ve got double the protection.

Most of our insurers included their own extra perks alongside Critical Illness Cover. Our expert advisers always keep their eyes peeled for these, to make sure you aren’t missing a trick. Some perks you might find are: - Private medical support - Discounts & rewards at select retailers - Best doctors (Get a second medical opinion to make sure - you’ve got the right diagnosis)

Most critical illness policies include a waiting period, which is the time you need to wait after purchasing your policy before a claim can be made. Additionally, there might be a survival period post-diagnosis, typically around 30 days, during which you must survive after being diagnosed to be eligible to claim the payment. Check your policy details for specific information.

Yes. Most of our insurers include up to £25,000 of cover for your children as standard. This means if one of your children is diagnosed with a serious illness you can make a claim.

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We've helped thousands of people find the right cover. Read their stories:

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Every day people are making life changing decisions.

A young customer, in her early twenties, living with her mother and without children, faced the reality of minimal sick pay from her job as a marketing manager earning £30k annually.

Aware of the need to safeguard her earnings and savings, especially for future life events like homeownership, she opted for Income Protection. Understanding that being signed off work due to illness could jeopardise her financial plans, she embraced the policy.

Just six days after activating her income protection, she experienced an unexpected fainting incident on the London underground, resulting in hospitalisation and a diagnosis of fatigue, exhaustion, and vitamin D deficiency. Despite the distressing news, knowing she had the right cover in place provided a sense of reassurance.

Every day people are making life changing decisions.

A customer, aged 58, suffered a stroke four years ago, leaving him with residual effects such as loss of function in his right arm and leg.

Additionally, he was diagnosed as borderline diabetic with elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, and a high BMI. His family history, including his sister’s stroke at 58 and his brother’s benign brain tumour at 54, made it challenging to secure insurance from the broader market.

Despite numerous attempts by brokers over the years, only The Exeter was willing to consider his case. Finally, he obtained life insurance, bringing him immense relief. We plan to review his coverage annually to seek better rates.

Every day people are making life changing decisions.

A client faced challenges securing insurance due to his occupation as a pilot, limiting options to only three providers, one of which offered coverage at a high cost and required further medical underwriting due to his extensive flying hours.

However, as a whole-of-market provider, we successfully obtained coverage for him without additional underwriting, and at a significantly lower cost than previously quoted by other brokers.

Every day people are making life changing decisions.

In April 2024, Sam, the wife of our founder’s oldest friend Greg, contacted us after being diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a rare blood cancer. This diagnosis was particularly hard-hitting for us, as we had set up Sam’s Scottish Widows critical illness policy.

Throughout 2024, Sam faced intensive treatment and weeks of isolation from her two-year-old daughter. However, the financial burden was eased when her policy paid out within two weeks of her claim. Sam expressed her gratitude: “This lump sum isn’t for a holiday; it will literally pay the mortgage while I am on SSP during my treatment.”

Sam’s story underscores the importance of having the right protection in place, turning abstract statistics into a personal reality.

Every day people are making life changing decisions.

Carlo, one of our dedicated advisors at Cover Direct, recently assisted a client who needed to reassess his life insurance. The client believed he required more coverage due to changing circumstances. Carlo thoroughly reviewed his existing policy and advised an extension rather than purchasing a new, more expensive one, adding only £3 per month.

Carlo went further, recommending placing the policies in trusts for the client’s children to ensure they wouldn’t be included in his estate. He guided the client through all the paperwork, providing exceptional service. Thanks to Carlo, the client now has the right coverage at a reasonable cost and plans to return to us for future insurance needs.

Every day people are making life changing decisions.

As a business owner realised they lacked coverage for key personnel, they found Cover Direct online. Our thorough approach resonated with them. We took the time to educate them on various protection products, helping them choose Key Person Insurance to safeguard vital employees.

Our reasonable pricing also allowed them to opt for Relevant Life Cover, benefiting their employees and families. The peace of mind provided was invaluable, and the gratitude from their staff was unexpected. Our commitment to understanding and meeting their needs made all the difference.