Protecting you and your estate
Serious and critical illness insurance
Serious and critical illness insurance is something everyone should consider as, unlike life insurance, it’s not just for those of us who have dependants. Succumbing to a serious illness may mean having to take time off work, either because you can’t work or because you’re receiving treatment. If the illness is life-threatening, and possibly terminal, there’s a greater probability that you may not be able to work, either for an extended period of time or, quite possibly, ever again. Depending on the symptoms of your condition, and the prognosis you receive, you may find it either necessary, or desirable, to change your job.
Having a serious or critical illness is stressful enough without the additional burden of trying to pay the bills. You may be lucky and work for an employer who continues to pay your wages or salary, but what would happen if they don’t? What would happen if you had to give up work completely or were forced to change the nature of your employment? How would you pay the mortgage and household bills, buy clothes and food?
Serious and critical illness insurance policies are similar: ‘serious illness’ policies cover conditions considered ‘serious’ but are not critical or terminal, whereas ‘critical illness’ policies cover potentially ‘life-threatening’ conditions. Typically, most insurers list around four times more ‘serious’ conditions than ‘critical’ conditions.
Serious illness insurance pays a tax-free lump sum if you’re diagnosed with one of the many serious medical conditions listed in the insurer’s policy documents, the amount you receive often reflecting the severity of the condition you have.
Critical illness insurance pays a tax-free lump sum if you are diagnosed with one of relatively few potentially life-threatening conditions: heart attacks, strokes and cancer being the usual conditions most insurers list.
Both types of policy are available either individually or as a combined policy. Insurers usually offer a variety of policies based on the number of conditions they cover, which conditions you’re insured against and how much you’ll receive if you need to make a claim.
Taking out a policy will mean completing a lengthy questionnaire about your health and lifestyle. Your GP may be asked to verify your application, provide further details and possibly provide further information about any medical conditions they are aware of. This information is then used by the insurance company to assess the level of risk you present, determine the level of cover they’re prepared to offer you and set the premium you’ll have to pay. Not surprisingly, your risk level increases with age and smokers are seen as presenting the greatest risk. Most policies have a list of exclusions, the usual being for ‘pre-existing’ conditions, ie: conditions that exist when you apply for cover.
Becoming seriously or critically ill is surprisingly common. In the UK, someone has a heart attack every three minutes, a third of which are fatal; more than one-in-two of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some time, and one-in-six will have a stroke.
Given these sobering statistics it’s surprising that so few of us take out serious and critical illness insurance policies. Should the worst happen, the payout could ease the inevitable worries about money, make life slightly more tolerable and make a huge difference to the lives or both you and your dependants.
How can One Financial Solutions help you?
‘Hope for the best but plan for the worst’ is a common maxim – but many of us just ‘hope for the best’ and then don’t do any planning at all.
One Financial Solutions is here to help you. As a firm of independent financial advisers we can provide impartial advice to help you identify the potential risks you face and develop a strategy that provides protection from their consequences. We’ll recommend the best products from across the whole of the financial services market and help put in place the safeguards you need to protect both you and your dependants.
We can also provide a comprehensive estate planning service to complement the financial advice we give you. Helping you preserve everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve and ensure that it’s passed on to who you want is a natural extension of what we do.
So, if you’re looking for help with any aspect of protecting either yourself or your estate, please call us on 020 3714 9565 or ask us to call you by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.