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ActiveQuote Global Reach, Dunleavy Drive Cardiff South Wales CF11 0SN 0800 862 0373

Critical illness cover

Compare critical illness cover online

  • Lump sum paid if diagnosed with a major illness
  • Cover includes cancer, heart attack, stroke
  • Children’s cover included at no extra cost
  • Lump sum paid if diagnosed with a major illness
  • Cover includes cancer, heart attack, stroke
  • Children’s cover included at no extra cost

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Compare critical illness cover online from the top UK’s insurers.

Have you considered how you would cope financially if you were diagnosed with a debilitating critical illness? It’s important to have a backup plan in case the unthinkable happens.

That’s what critical illness cover provides; a tax-free lump sum that will help to cover essential costs in the event of a critical illness preventing your return to work and threatening your financial security.

What is critical illness cover?

Critical illness insurance is designed to cover you if you are diagnosed with one of several predefined conditions. These conditions usually include cancer, coronary artery bypass, heart attack, kidney failure, major organ transplant, multiple sclerosis and stroke, although it is always advisable to check the wording of your policy carefully to ensure that you understand the full extent of your cover.

What’s the difference between critical illness cover and income protection insurance?

People often confuse critical illness cover with income protection insurance. Whereas a critical illness cover typically pays out in one lump sum, income protection insurance pays out in the form of a monthly payment, with the amount received depending on the salary you earned before you were forced to stop working.

How does critical illness cover work?

Critical illness cover is often bought as part of a wider life insurance policy. If you are diagnosed with one of the policy’s predefined conditions, you will receive a tax-free lump sum to cover things such as loss of income, outstanding mortgage payments, therapy costs, private health care and modifications to your home, such as ramps and rails.

According to the Association of British Insurance, in 2021  the average payout  for critical illness insurance was £67,500(1)  – a reassuringly large sum ensuring adequate cover for anyone affected by a critical illness.


Can I get critical illness cover without life insurance?

When you buy critical illness cover, you will be asked whether you want your cover to be integrated with or independent from your life insurance policy. If you choose an integrated policy, your provider will only pay out once. This means that if you need to claim for critical illness cover, you or your family will not be able to make a life insurance claim on the same policy.

Independent critical illness cover tends to cost more, but does allow you to specify an amount independent of your wider life insurance policy. This means that if you need to claim your critical illness cover, it will still be possible for a life insurance claim to be made following your death.

Do I need critical illness cover?

Despite advances in medicine and technology, no one is invulnerable to life-altering critical illnesses such as cancer, heart attacks or organ failure. Unless you have substantial savings or another means of income to meet your monthly outgoings in the event of a serious illness, critical illness cover remains an important and worthwhile investment.


What illnesses does critical illness insurance cover?

A critical illness is a major condition, for example a heart attack or cancer. Common medical issues included within critical illness cover can include:

  • Cancer
  • Coronary artery bypass
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney failure
  • Major organ transplant
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke

 However, it’s worth comparing the policies between different providers to understand the full picture.

What isn’t covered by critical illness insurance

Some policies will have exclusions or limitations to their coverage. Insurance providers will differ in how they define the severity of critical illnesses, for example, heart attacks can differ in how severe they are, and different insurers define this severity differently.

How much does critical illness cover cost?

The amount your critical illness cover costs will depend on a number of factors, including your age, the amount paid out in the event of a claim, the range of critical illness conditions covered and personal health details, such as whether or not you smoke and whether your family has a history of serious illness.

What our expert says

“One in two people will develop cancer at some point in their lives, according to the NHS in 2022. While no one likes to think about a critical illness affecting them or their family, critical illness cover can provide peace of mind and financial protection if you develop a life-changing disease.”

How do I compare critical illness insurance?

To find the right policy at the right price for your circumstances, you can compare critical illness cover using ActiveQuote’s free online comparison tool. And don’t forget that, as the UK’s leading comparison site for health and protection insurance, our unbiased, specialist advisors are there to provide extra support over the phone should you need it.

Critical Illness Cover FAQs

FAQ: Can I get critical illness cover for my partner too?

You can get joint critical illness cover. Because critical illness cover is almost always a single pay out, if one of you makes a claim, that will typically mean that you can’t claim again, so it’s worth understanding how your policy will work. 

FAQ: Can I get critical illness cover for my children?

Some insurers will add this automatically under critical illness cover, however, it’s worth checking. It’s also worth finding out what the amount of cover your child will receive as it can be different from if you were to make a claim.

FAQ: Can I change the level of cover I have during the policy term?

Many insurers will let you change the level of cover and the policy term. This isn’t a given, however, so it’s always good to check the policy, as there are often conditions attached to such changes.

FAQ: What is terminal illness cover?

Terminal illness cover differs from critical illness cover in that your insurer will pay a lump sum if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, and your doctor confirms that you’re likely to pass away within a year from that illness. It’s often included as part of your life insurance policy.

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