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Critical Illness Cover Explained

Life has become very fast moving and we face a lot of uncertainties in our day to day life. Most of us make plans to achieve the things we want in life and work hard to get those. Despite all our plans sometimes lives get turned upside down. Accidents, critical illnesses and sudden deaths are just a few examples of life changing events. In this uncertain world it has become absolutely necessary to have some kind of life insurance for peace of mind.

Most forms of life insurance will cover your family in case of your death. The alarming fact is that you are four times more likely to be diagnosed with a critical illness and die before the age of 65. The lives of families have drastically changed as these families end up with huge debts to treat their loved ones in cases like this. This is the primary reason many people also take out a critical illness cover when buying a life insurance policy for their family.

There are many different insurance providers who provide ">critical illness cover and the policies differ by providers. It is a must to go through the policy details to know what illnesses are covered under the insurance policy. Usually, a policy covers diseases like defined types of cancer, heart attack, brain stroke, brain tumours, blindness, lung diseases, kidney failure, loss of limbs etc.

Traditional critical illness cover policies pay out the full sum regardless of the severity of the disease. But there are also severity based covers. As an example if you are diagnosed with and early stage of cancer, you will receive a smaller payout, but the good part is in these cases the policy will keep on covering you so it is possible to make multiple claims. Both the traditional and severity based plans have their own pros and cons and you should seek advice before choosing any one.

Critical illness cover will help you out immensely if one of your family members is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. When diagnosed with a defined serious illness critical illness cover pays the benefactor a tax- free lump sum which can be very crucial this time of worry. From our experience, we have seen most of the families without critical illness cover end up in debt in events like this. So it is best to get your family insured.

Do I Need A Critical Illness Cover?

Ever wondered what would happen if diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening illness like heart disease or cancer? There would arise many unexpected financial liabilities like mortgage or debts. In extreme cases, you might be unable to continue working or alterations may be required to provide wheelchair access in the house.

Here is a good article to read on the website

Why Do I Need a Critical Illness Cover?

A Critical illness cover is designed to meet medical contingencies. The cover provides a tax-free, one-time payment if diagnosed with any of the illnesses covered by the policy. The illnesses usually covered include loss of limbs (legs or arms), heart attack, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cancer. Interestingly, even early stages of cancer are now covered unlike a decade ago when only final stage cancer was covered under the policy. In fact, the list covers more than 50 types of illnesses and disabilities, unlike the shorter list of fewer than 10 illnesses that were covered earlier.

You can use the cover to pay for private medical services and concentrate on the 3 R’s. Now rest, recuperate and regain your health without having to worry about your inability to work. Not only is the lump sum amount received non-taxable, there are no restrictions on how to spend the monies. The critical illness cover is a less expensive option for protection of income in cases of illness or disability. A critical illness cover is advised in addition to life insurance since most such policies only pay out in the event of death and usually do not include critical illness cover.

How to Select a Critical Illness Cover

Ensure that you know all important details about the policy, including the claim value; the illnesses covered and claim process. Deciding the allocation of funds is important as the payout from a critical illness cover is usually a large lump sum and the spending needs to be carefully monitored to stretch it for the maximum possible time period.

Advantages of Critical Illness Cover

The Critical illness cover is a practical choice as it makes provision for injuries and illnesses that act as a deterrent against your work. Unlike traditional policies, a critical Insurance Cover is not linked to earnings and you can decide the insurance value. The lump sum payment receivable under the policy is tax-free.

Main Draw-Backs of Critical Illness Cover

A critical illness cover expires as soon as the claim is made. In case the policy is linked to a life insurance policy, then no further payouts shall be receivable on death. The insurer decides the medical conditions and illnesses covered by the policy and the severity is assessed before settlement of claim.

YouTube Videos About Critical Illness Cover

This Canadian videos is a short must-watch video to understand how these policies work.

Here is a short video from Humana which explains how their policies work.

Alternatives to Critical Illness Cover

This type of plan is designed to pay out if the insured person gets one of the specific illnesses or medical conditions mentioned in the policy documents. Yet a critical illness cover is not as essential as it is made out to be. You would not need a critical insurance cover under certain circumstances.

What are the Alternatives to Critical Illness Cover

While circumstances might negate the need for a critical insurance cover, you could consider alternatives that will not only be helpful in the same circumstances, but also give better returns without imposing conditions similar to those listed under the critical insurance plan.

The factors that need to be considered when considering alternatives to a critical illness plan include:

  • Having dependents, including children or partners
  • Being diagnosed with illnesses not covered under a Critical Illness Plan like cancer, heart attack and so on.
  • Making provisions for dependents on death of the insured as critical illness does not cover death.

Some of the alternatives to critical Illness cover are

  1. Life Insurance- A typical life insurance policy is paid out on the death of the insured. It may be paid as a lump sum or in installments as per the terms of the policy.
  2. Income Protection Insurance- This type of policy will pay a tax-free income in case of inability to earn as a result of illness or accidents. This policy covers stress and back pain, two conditions not listed in a Critical Illness Policy.
  3. Mortgage Payment Protection- This policy is designed to meet mortgage payments when the insured is unable to do so owing to factors like inability to earn due to illness, or death.

Need to Consider Alternatives to a Critical Insurance Cover?

You would not need a critical insurance policy if:

  • You have a substantial savings that will help you tide over the situation
  • You have other means to cover your mortgage payments
  • You have a partner who is capable of covering living costs as well as meeting other shared commitments independently
  • Pre-existing illness

The Benefits of Choosing Alternatives to a Critical Insurance Cover

The major benefit of choosing an alternative is that dependents are provided for in the event that the insured is diagnosed with illnesses not covered under a critical illness policy or on the death of the insured.

Draw-backs of Choosing Alternatives to a Critical Insurance Cover

Payouts received under a critical illness cover are received as completely tax-free lump sum payments. They have no conditions attached to the manner in which they can be spent. On the other hand, money received under Life Insurance Policies, Mortage Protection Insurance and Income Protection Plans may be taxable. They may also be disposed of in installments with riders regarding their spending.

How to Get a Quote

A critical illness cover provides a lump sum payment in the event that the insured is diagnosed with any of the illnesses listed in the policy. The lump sum received is tax-free and can be used according to the discretion of the receiver. The policy ceases with the pay-out.

Before deciding to get a quote for critical illness cover, the applicant needs to know the benefits being offered by the employer in case of disability or major illness. He needs to know the coverage of existing policies, including the pay-outs receivable from each. He also needs to know if the payouts and savings together are sufficient to meet all present financial liabilities.

Many insurance providers offer critical illness policies, both online and through their agents. It is easy to get a quick quote by following the steps listed below.

  1. Call the agent / log into the appropriate website
  2. Provide required details like
    1. Date of birth
    2. Value of pay-out in case of a claim
    3. Policy tenure
    4. Tobacco usage in the last 12 months
    5. Post code
    6. State if policy is single or joint ( as the case may be)
    7. Personal medial history
  3. Details of previous insurance policies
  4. Receive quote
  5. All quotes make the following assumptions with regard to the applicant-

    • Is in good health
    • Does not have any adverse medical history in the family
    • Is not in a high risk job
    • Does not participate in hazardous sports
    • Is a UK resident


    Some of the alternatives to critical illness include income protection insurance, mortgage insurance, life insurance and private medical insurance. Each type of policy has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, the policy should be selected, after a careful study and based on the needs and expectations of the insured.


    Quick quotes are extremely helpful in arriving at an approximate value for the insurance cover. Usually used as a guide or a budgetary tool, these approximate figures help the applicant to make decisions regarding type and duration as well as expected payouts based on his premium payment capability.


    Since the quick cover makes some basic assumptions, it has the following drawbacks. The policy offered is a level term cover unless expressly stated otherwise. The quick quote is not binding and all changes to the basic assumptions given above will reflect in the final policy being offered by the insurance provider.

    Critical Illness Insurance Companies UK

    Critical Illness cover is a type of insurance policy that provides a lump sum if the insured person is diagnosed with any of the illnesses or conditions covered under the policy. This lump sum can be used to cover unexpected expenses during the period the insured person is unable to work.

    Critical Illness Insurance Companies UK

    There are many insurance companies in the UK that provide critical illness Insurance. These companies cover a list of 30-50 illnesses and medical conditions. The exact cover varies from company to company and needs to be verified when choosing the policy. The most popular covers are offered by Liverpool Victoria, AEGON, AIG Direct, BHSF, Bright Grey, Connells, HSBC, Friends Life, ESMI, and National wide, Old Mutual Wealth, Legal and General, NFU Mutual, Prudential and Foresters. Some of the popular covers are listed below

    • Connells Critical Illness insurance covers up to 67 medical conditions and offers a maximum cover of £3,000,000.
    • Foresters Critical Illness covers up to 22 medical conditions and offers an unlimited cover.
    • Liverpool Victoria Critical Illness insurance covers up to 59 medical conditions and offers a maximum cover of £3,000,000.
    • AEGON Critical Illness insurance covers up to 52 medical conditions and offers a maximum cover of £3,000,000.
    • Bright Grey Critical Illness insurance covers up to 50 medical conditions and offers a maximum cover of £3,000,000.
    • Legal and General Critical Illness covers up to 41 medical conditions and offers a maximum cover of £3,000,000.
    • AIG Direct Critical Illness insurance covers up to 3 medical conditions and offers a maximum cover of £ 100,000.
    • BHSF Critical Illness insurance covers up to 8 medical conditions and offers a maximum cover of £25,000.

    Choosing between a clubbed or independent Critical Illness cover

    Critical Illness cover can be availed along with a life insurance cover or separately. If clubbed with a life insurance policy, the life cover will cease as soon as the lump sum is paid out. An independent Critical Illness Cover is a better option since it will ensure a payout during illness while a separate life cover will continue to protect even after the critical illness cover ceases.

    Main Benefits of Critical Illness Insurance

    Critical Illness Insurance provides a lump sum payment that is completely tax-free. This lump sum may be utilised as per the recipient’s wishes to cover a mortgage, medical expenses and so on, or be set aside for anticipated future expenses. Some policies allow you to add medical conditions to the basic policy making the cover more comprehensive.

    Main Draw-Backs of Critical Illness Insurance

    The pre-decided lump sum is receivable only if diagnosed with an illness listed in the policy. Existing medical conditions need to be declared and relapses are not covered. Some policies may have illness exclusions. These exclusions need to be verified when purchasing the policy so as to avoid complications at a later stage.

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