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Critical illness cover

Compare quotes on cover for serious illnesses

  • Protect what is important to you with critical illness cover

  • Compare tailored quotes from leading UK insurers

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Compare life insurance quotes from 20 leading providers3

Find tailored life cover at the right price by comparing deals from leading UK insurers, all in one place.

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*Accurate as of November 2023

What is critical illness cover?

Critical illness cover is a form of insurance that pays out a tax-free lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a serious medical condition. It is typically available as an add-on to life insurance policies.  

It’s designed to help you deal with the financial implications of your illness, such as having to pay medical bills, debts, loss of earnings, or to adapt your home to your changing needs. 

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How does critical illness cover work? 

If you're diagnosed with a critical illness, your insurance provider will pay out a tax-free lump sum. Make sure you check your insurer's criteria and exclusions before committing to a policy.

  • 1

    Select a policy

    You can use our comparison tool to buy a life insurance policy including critical illness cover. Simply answer a few questions to find out which policies meet your needs and compare quotes 

  • 2

    Pay your premiums

    You can choose to pay for your insurance on a monthly or annual basis. As long as you keep up with your premiums, you will remain covered until the end of your policy's term

  • 3

    A diagnosis

    If you are diagnosed with a critical illness that is covered in your policy you will have to make a claim with your provider. You will have to provide evidence of your diagnosis, including medical or test reports

  • 4

    Use your payout

    Your provider will assess your claim and pay a tax-free lump sum if your claim is valid. With a combined life and critical illness policy, your insurance cover will end once you have made a claim for either critical illness or death

Is critical illness cover worth it? 

Critical illness cover can be a valuable financial safety net for both you and your family. However, it’s important to weigh the costs and benefits of your policy carefully before you decide what policy is right for you. Some factors that may influence your decision are: 

  • Your health and age

    If you are at a higher risk of developing a condition, critical illness cover can be particularly valuable

  • Financial situation

    Adding critical illness cover to your policy can increase the price of your premiums

  • Any existing cover

    You might already have a level of cover with an existing life or health insurance policy 

What conditions are covered and not covered?

Critical illness insurance covers a range of conditions but the full list of conditions and the severity of each illness you're covered for can change depending on your provider or the level of cover you choose.

Here are some of the most common conditions that are covered, sometimes covered, and not covered with critical illness insurance:

  • Tick

    Core conditions

    Critical conditions recognised by UK insurance providers typically include:

    • Cancer

    • Heart attacks

    • Strokes

  • Plus

    Sometimes covered

    Common conditions covered by critical illness insurance policies include:

    • Multiple sclerosis

    • Alzheimer's

    • Loss of limbs

    • Organ failures

    • Permanent disabilities

    • Traumatic head injuries

    • Parkinson’s

    • Permanent disability.

  • Cross

    Conditions not covered

    • Pre-existing conditions

    • Hereditary illnesses

    • Chronic conditions

    • Temporary illnesses

    • High blood pressure

    • Broken bones

    • Alcohol or drug abuse

    • Injuries as a result of hazardous sports or similar pastimes

Benefits of comparing life insurance with MoneySuperMarket?

  • Tailored to you

    We work with leading UK life insurance providers to match your needs to some of the best deals on the market

  • Get covered today

    You can click through your chosen provider and get cover on the same day you buy your policy

  • Reassurance for your family

    Your life insurance can help your family when you no longer can. Compare with MoneySuperMarket today

How much critical illness cover do I need?

When  working out how much cover you need, you need to think about the following: 

  • Consider current earnings

    Evaluate your current earnings and the required level of financial cover you'd need if you were unable to work.

  • Confirm your outgoings

    Assessing your monthly bills and essential expenses is crucial when determining what amount of cover your outgoings if you become critically ill.



  • Factor in your mortgage and debts

    Take into account outstanding mortgages or debts while calculating the necessary level of critical illness cover, ensuring comprehensive financial protection.

  • Consider your budget

    When assessing the required coverage, it's crucial to consider your budget and strike the right balance between the amount of cover you need and the affordability of your premiums.

What factors affect the price of critical illness cover?

How much you pay for critical illness cover will depend on factors including:

  • Plus

    Age

    The younger you are, the less you should pay, so it can be worth it to purchase insurance sooner

  • Plus

    Occupation

    Some jobs are seen as higher risk and will increase your premiums

  • Plus

    Lifestyle

    Certain habits such as excessive alcohol consumption or smoking will push your premiums up

  • Plus

    Medical history

    Having a clean bill of health with no serious health scares will reduce your premiums

  • Plus

    Policy type

    Choosing individual or joint cover will affect the cost of your policy

  • Plus

    Cover level

    The level of cover will have an obvious effect on cost, with greater cover being more expensive

Alicia Hempsted

Our expert says

"

Many life insurance policies with critical illness cover will also offer some level of cover for children. If one of your children has been diagnosed with a condition covered by your policy, you may be paid a lump sum to help you support your family. Some policies even offer a hospital benefit, which will pay out an amount per day while your child is receiving hospital treatment as an inpatient. Check your policy to find out what extra benefits yours will give you.

"
- Alicia Hempsted, Insurance Expert

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Receive a gift card when you buy life insurance

Take out life insurance online through MoneySuperMarket and receive an Amazon.co.uk Gift Card* worth up to £200.

The gift card is redeemable within 40 days of the 6th life insurance payment. Gift Card value varies based on the first monthly premium of policy and will be confirmed on the results page. Terms and conditions apply. Not available to those who’ve received a voucher with life insurance purchased after the 1st of May 2022. One voucher per person.

*Restrictions apply, see www.amazon.co.uk/gc-legal

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How to compare Life Insurance with MoneySuperMarket

Our comparison service makes it quick and easy to find the right life insurance policy, with or without critical illness cover.

  • Tell us about yourself

    We just need a few details about you, your medical history, and the level of protection you want for your family.

  • We browse the market

    We’ll browse the market for deals from leading UK insurance providers to find the cover you require at our lowest possible price.

  • Choose the deal you want

    Choose the policy for you and click through to complete the provider’s application process.

Need advice on life insurance?

We run our life insurance service with our partner, LifeSearch. If you’d like some guidance about what kind of cover you need, you can talk to them free of charge. Give them a call on 0800 197 3178.

Their opening hours are: 

  • Monday to Friday 8 am to 8 pm

  • Saturday 9 am to 2 pm

  • Sunday 10 am to 3:30 pm 

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You and your partner can take out a joint critical illness cover policy. Think carefully about how you want the policy to work. With most joint policies you will only be allowed a single claim. So, for example, if you were to be diagnosed with a critical illness and then claimed on the plan the policy would end and your partner would no longer have the cover. In some cases, however, you can buy joint policies that continue to cover the second person – even after a partner has claimed.

Some insurers offer automatic cover for your children under their critical illness policy, while others may add family cover at a lower cost – either way, you should check beforehand if you think it’s something you might need.

What you should keep an eye out for is the amount of cover your child will get – it could be a range, a set amount or even a specific percentage of the amount of cover you have for yourself.

Some providers may offer standalone critical illness cover. However, most people take it out alongside life insurance because it’s generally cheaper to buy the two types of cover together.

Most insurers will let you adjust the level of cover you have with your policy, as well as the duration of the policy term and any extras you might want to add or remove. However, you shouldn’t automatically assume this is the case – check with your insurer to be certain.

Your critical illness policy is unlikely to have a cash-in clause, either during or at the end of the term.

If you have combined critical illness cover as part of your life insurance policy you’ll only get one payout – which means if you claim for a critical illness your life insurance policy will end.

However, critical illness cover can also be added to a life insurance-only policy for an extra cost.

If you have the additional critical illness cover with your life insurance policy, it will pay out both when you’re diagnosed with the illness and when you pass away.

The purpose of the lump sum is generally to pay for medical costs or treatment to improve your quality of life, but you’re free to spend it however you would like.

No. Once you have claimed and a lump sum is paid out your coverage under the policy automatically ends.

Terminal illness cover is different to critical illness cover and is usually included as a standard in life insurance policies. It means your insurer pays out if your doctor has confirmed you have a terminal condition and you’re likely to pass away within 12 months.

While both critical illness insurance and income protection insurance support you financially if you are unable to work, they do so in different ways. Critical illness cover will typically provide you with a one-off lump sum payment if you are unable to work because of a health condition. Income protection insurance works differently by covering your loss of earnings for a fixed period or until you can return to work. Different types of income protection insurance are available that can either cover a set portion of your salary, or your mortgage or loan repayments, for example.

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