More men have critical illness cover than women, we’ve discovered - even though it could be argued that women need it more.

Recent research from ActiveQuote has uncovered a ‘gender guarantee gap’, with more than one third of men having the protection insurance in place compared to just one in five women*. What’s more, 36% of men receive the insurance via their employer in comparison to just 22% of women, yet more women than men give as their reason for having critical illness cover in place the fact that they wouldn’t be able to meet basic living costs if they became seriously ill, at 32% compared 19%.

Critical illness cover is paid out in the form of a tax-free lump sum on the diagnosis of a serious or chronic condition listed in the policy. It takes away the worry of paying the mortgage or rent and bills, as well as helping you to afford therapies and any modifications you might need at home.

But it appears that women in particular don’t have the cover they might require to pay these basic expenses and outgoings, leaving a large number of UK households at serious financial risk. ActiveQuote critical illness team leader Ben Sparey said: “What our research has uncovered is a ‘gender guarantee gap’, where women are still being undermined in the quest to protect themselves fully against a potential loss in income due to ill health.

“These figures tell us that critical illness cover is still seen as more of a priority for men in employment than it is for women, even though the need for women to protect themselves is evidently as pressing as it is for men - if not more so. Clearly, this is an outdated perspective which is leaving UK households wide open to a number of risks financially should any one of their major wage earners find themselves unable to work due to ill health, not least the ability to meet the cost of basic household bills.”

In the UK, the number of women aged 16 to 64 in employment has continued to rise over the past 40 years, while the percentage of men in the same bracket has fallen**. Yet ActiveQuote’s research shows that 15% of men take out critical illness protection due to a family history of poor health, but only 10% of women do the same.

Ben added: “We know that increasing numbers of women continue to contribute to the UK labour market, and yet they are evidently still failing to view – and, more importantly, protect – themselves as key earners within your typical UK household. It’s not uncommon in this day and age for both genders under one roof to be contributing either partially or wholly to the costs involved in living there, and ActiveQuote is working to raise awareness of the benefits involved in securing critical illness cover for all.”

A recent report found that around 17m Brits would find it hard to recover from a financial shock or setback, such as losing their income if too ill to work. And our partner Scottish Widows revealed earlier this year that more than half - 60% - of mums have no life insurance, while just 13% have critical illness cover in place!

If you’d like to find out more about getting the best cover for you and your family, compare insurance quotes online or speak to our team on 0800 862 0373.

* One Poll conducted a survey of 2,000 randomly selected UK adults in June 2018

** Office For National Statistics figures