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A critical illness policy pays out a lump sum should you be diagnosed with a serious illness that may prevent you from working again. This would ensure that any financial commitments could be repaid, or it could help fund the cost of specialist treatment or drugs to help the condition. For single people with no dependants, critical illness cover that pays off the mortgage is more important than having life cover, as it means you have fewer bills or a lump sum to play with if you are very unwell. It is also advisable if you are part of a couple as it will provide a welcome financial boost at a time of emotional stress and financial hardship. The majority of critical illness providers will also include children's critical illness cover at no additional cost to provide additional cover for all of the family.
Like life cover, critical illness can be paid out in various forms, level term, on a decreasing basis or it can be paid out as a regular income. In general critical illness providers will cover all required illnesses to comply with the association of British insurers (ABI) model definitions which include core conditions such as cancer, coronary artery bypass, heart attack, kidney failure, major organ transplant, multiple sclerosis and stroke and will also pay out if a policyholder becomes permanently disabled as a result of injury or illness. The full range of diseases covered by most providers has now increased to more than 30 illnesses, however care needs to be taken when deciding on a critical illness provider and selecting a policy as different companies offer different definitions regarding illnesses being covered