What counts as a critical illness

Critical Illness refers to long-term and serious health conditions. The types of illnesses can include strokes or heart attacks. It can also involve terminal illnesses such as cancer or Parkinson’s disease.

As you know, these conditions can severely impact your ability to work. If the worst does happen, you still want to provide for your family.

What is critical illness cover?

This specialist insurance policy will provide significant financial support to your loved ones, if you’re unable to.

It will help to minimise the financial cost on you and your family, should you be diagnosed with a critical illness. Prepare for your future by combining critical illness cover with a life insurance or income protection policy. Or, take it out independently. 

Relieve the burden by investing in a unique protection policy to protect you in your time of need.

How does critical illness cover work?

Critical illness cover provides maximum support, with minimal stress. Similar to life insurance, should a claim be made, the policy provider will pay out a tax free, lump sum to you or someone of your choice. Unlike life insurance, the policy pays out on diagnoses of a critical illness.

Of course, the type of illness must fall under the ‘critical illness’ category stated in your policy.

What the benefit payment is used for is completely up to you or your loved ones. Most use the benefit to reduce debt which allows for lifestyle to remain the same even if income has reduced or stopped completely due to your diagnoses.

Wondering about the kids? Don’t panic. Most policies also cover critical illness for your children. If this is a priority for you, we will only present you with relevant insurers who can offer this as standard.

The cost of cover will depend on:

  • your age
  • smoker vs non-smoker
  • health history
  • occupation
  • level of cover

As with all Insurance policies conditions and exclusions will apply.

What’s the difference between critical and serious illness?

Whilst they sound similar, serious illness insurance covers a far more exhaustive list of conditions. Typically critical illness insurance covers around 75 conditions, whereas serious illness policies cover up to 182.

With critical illness cover, after the lump sum has been used, you are unable to claim for further support. Whereas, serious illness cover pays out a percentage of your cover amount, depending on the level of impact on your lifestyle.

Should your condition worsen, you can claim again until the entire amount has been used up.

Not sure which one’s for you? Our advisers will be at hand to compare both cover types and ensue your chosen policy is suitable for your needs.

Who needs critical illness cover?

We recommend that everyone looks into critical illness cover, as a diagnosis could happen when you least expect it.

However, it is especially important for families who:

  • don’t have enough savings to tide them over
  • don’t have access to a reliable employee benefits package

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances. The fee is up to 1%, but a typical fee is £495 depending on your circumstances.

For insurance business we offer products from a choice of insurers.

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    Top questions about critical illness cover.

    Lendese have hundreds of policy solutions. With our expert advice and guidance on which type of protection is right for you, we can make sure you every angle is covered.


    Although a lot of the main conditions are covered by all providers (e.g. cancer), there are some conditions that only some providers cover.

    Fortunately, our expert advisers have years of experience in this field and can guide you on what providers cover which conditions and at what stage.

    This will depend on the reasons for wanting cover. There is no right or wrong answer but a full protection review with one of our advisers will highlight your needs and offer a greater understanding of a suitable cover amount.

    Serious illness is a form of critical illness cover however rather than it paying out a full amount on diagnoses, it pays out based on a severity basis meaning on a less severe diagnoses, as an example, you may receive 50% of your benefit.

    With these policies, if a payment is made, the policy can still continue to run depending on the choices you make when taking out the policy.

    For a small increase in your monthly premium, you may include a waiver of premium. This will mean that your premiums will be covered if you are ever unable to work due to an accident or sickness. This can be handy to reduce your outgoings when there is a reduction in income.

    Critical illness cover can pay out in the event of a serious illness which may not be fatal, whereas terminal illness cover would pay out in the event you are diagnosed with an illness you are not expected to recover from.

    This will depend on your circumstances or what the insurance is intending to cover. Level cover will ensure that you receive the same pay out at any time during the term. Decreasing cover will reduce during the term, which can be cheaper and particularly useful should you be covering a mortgage or reducing commitment or need.

    Yes, if you smoke or have a higher alcohol consumption your premiums will likely be more expensive. This is because a life insurance provider prices their premiums based on risk.

    As soon as possible!

    It doesn’t matter whether you are in the process of obtaining a mortgage or simply looking to protect your family. There are plenty of scenario’s where critical illness cover is required so get in contact to arrange a free, no obligation appointment to discuss your circumstances, need and options.

    In many circumstances providers can cover existing conditions for a slightly higher monthly cost, and if this is not achievable they may exclude this condition from your cover. However, this will be dependent on the severity of the condition and the likelihood that it could cause you future significant health issues. We can discuss these with you and let you know before you apply. 

    BMI is one of many factors providers consider when offering terms and pricing a policy. Having a high BMI doesn’t necessarily rule you out of being able to have a policy and may not actually make any difference at all.