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Critical Illness Cover

Helping to protect you and the ones you love

  • Protection for life’s ups and downs
  • Enjoy peace of mind once you're covered
  • Personalised quotes, suited to your needs

Compare critical illness cover across 13 life insurance providers

We’re dedicated to helping you get the right policy, to give you and your family the peace of mind you deserve. That’s why we work with 13 leading life insurance providers, including:

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What is critical illness cover?

Critical illness cover is a form of insurance that offers protection should you be diagnosed with a critical illness during the term of your policy.

How does critical illness cover work?

Critical illness cover pays out a tax-free lump sum if you’re diagnosed with an insured medical condition. It’s not the same as life insurance, which pays money to a person or people you name if you pass away.

You can spend the money how you wish. You can use it to clear debts, pay medical bills or adapt your home to your particular needs.

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Do I need critical illness insurance?

Critical illness cover can offer valuable financial support if you become seriously ill – which can be particularly helpful if you don’t have significant savings to fall back on. You can use your pay out for costs such as:

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    Household bills

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    Private healthcare

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    Rent or mortgage payments

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    Specialist medical treatment

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    Lost earnings

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    Provisions for your dependants

What conditions are covered by critical illness cover?

The specific conditions covered by a critical illness policy will depend on the type of cover you take out and what your insurer offers, but certain core conditions are always included. The most comprehensive policies can often cover between about 40 and 50 conditions – so always read the terms of the policy before you take it out.


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    Core conditions

    Heart attacks, strokes, some types of cancer

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    Sometimes covered

    Multiple sclerosis, alzheimer’s, deafness, blindness, loss of limbs, organ failures, permanent disabilities, traumatic head injuries, parkinson’s

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    Not covered

    Pre-existing conditions, hereditary illnesses, temporary illnesses

What types of critical illness cover are available?

If you take out critical illness cover on top of a normal life insurance policy, you’ll be able to choose from the following options:

Additional cover

This means you’re insured for a payout both when you pass away and if you’re diagnosed with a critical illness

Combined cover

Pays out once, either when you pass awayor are diagnosed. MoneySuperMarket does not list combined policies

Joint cover

One policy covered two people in a couple. These usually only pay out once, to whoever dies or falls ill first

1Average costs based on MoneySuperMarket customers searching for level-term single or joint life insurance, with critical illness cover as an additional policy, and a sum insured of £150,000 to £200,000, between July and December 2020

what type of critical illness cover do i need

How much does critical illness cover cost?

The cost of critical illness cover will depend heavily on your age – premiums generally climb as you get older, due to the increased risk of illness.

Age Group

Monthly cost of level term life insurance policy for single policy2

Monthly cost of level term life insurance policy plus critical illness cover2
















2Average costs based on MoneySuperMarket customers searching for level-term single life insurance, with and without critical illness cover as an additional policy, and a sum insured of £150,000 to £200,000, between July and December 2020

What affects the price of critical illness cover?

  • type of policy

    Type of policy

    Whether you choose to take out a single or joint policy – buying a joint policy could be cheaper

  • age

    Your age

    The earlier you take out critical illness cover, generally the cheaper the premium

  • occupation

    Your occupation

    Insurers ask about your job to help calculate how likely you are to make a claim – as some occupations carry a higher risk of health problems 


  • Health

    Your health and medical history

    Insurers will assess your medical history to determine the risk of you becoming ill

  • Lifestyle

    Your lifestyle

    Some lifestyle habits, such as smoking, will also affect what you pay for critical illness cover

  • Level cover

    Your level of cover

    The more cover you add to your policy the higher the premiums will be

We're 100% independent, working only for our customers

Unlike some of our competitors, MoneySuperMarket is not owned by an insurance company. So we can offer the best value, with savings delivered straight to you.

We combine independence, so we can negotiate the best prices, with excellent technology, to find the best value products and services.


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Am I eligible for critical illness cover?

Some providers may have maximum age limits on their policies, and some conditions may also be excluded from cover based on your medical history 

– you should be informed of these when you apply.

Generally speaking you’ll need to be a UK resident to take out critical illness cover.

How much cover do I need?

When you consider the level of cover you take out on your critical illness policy, you should factor in the level of financial support your dependants would need if you weren’t able to provide an income as a result of your illness. For example, you should think about:

  • How much your household would need without your income
  • How much remains on your mortgage or any other debts
  • How much you can afford to pay every month for cover


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Why compare critical illness insurance with MoneySuperMarket?

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    Large provider panel

    We work with 13 of the biggest life insurance providers in the UK to bring you some of the best deals on the market

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    Get covered immediately

    80% of our customers have the option to ‘buy now’, without medical exams or additional documentation, for the price quoted

  • home insurance icon

    Helping families across the UK

    MoneySuperMarket has helped over 200,000 families feel financially protected with life insurance over the past four years

Neal Cross

Our expert says

"Critical illness cover protects you when you are diagnosed with a serious illness such as cancer, or suffer a heart attack or stroke. The lump sum payout can provide valuable financial support and could be used to pay household bills, cover loss of earnings or pay for private medical treatment. The value of the cover can be tailored to suit your personal needs."

- Neal Cross, senior commercial performance manager of life insurance

What do I need to get a quote?

Finding the right critical illness cover is quick and simple – you’ll just need to give us a little information about yourself, so be sure to have these details to hand:

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    Information about your health

    We’ll need some details about you and your family’s health and medical history, including any pre-existing medical conditions.

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    Information about your lifestyle

    You’ll also need to tell us about your lifestyle, such as your drinking habits, and whether you smoke.

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    Your age and your job

    The younger you are when you take out life insurance, the cheaper it tends to be. The type of work you do can also affect the price.

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    Your partner’s details

    If you’d like joint cover, you’ll need to have information to hand about your partner’s health, lifestyle and work.

Phone lifesearch

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 8am to 8pm
  • Saturday 9am to 2pm
  • Sunday 10am to 3:30pm 

Do I need protection for my business?

Losing someone important to you is never easy, and if you’re a business owner you will also have to consider the impact losing a key person can have on your operations.

Taking out a key person insurance policy can protect your business in the short term by providing a cash boost. So if someone key to the operation of your company passes away or becomes unable to work as a result of their health, it can help you survive in the short term and give you more time to make long-term plans.


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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.

When you consider the level of cover you take out on your critical illness policy, you should factor in the level of financial support your dependants would need if you weren’t able to provide an income as a result of your illness. For example, you should think about:

  • How much your household would need without your income
  • How much remains on your mortgage or any other debts
  • How much you can afford to pay every month for cover

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 pay-out – which means if you claim for a critical illness your life insurance policy will end.

However, if you have additional critical illness cover with your life insurance policy, you’ll get a 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.

Your chosen insurer will have a list of all the critical conditions covered on your policy on their website. The conditions covered can vary significantly between insurers and policies, so read the small print.


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


Not all insurers will offer critical illness cover if you have a pre-existing condition, and you may have to pay more in premiums for the policy. If you do have a pre-existing condition you should always declare it, or your insurer might refuse any future claims you make.


Terminal illness cover is different to critical illness cover, and is usually included as 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.

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But you might have other questions. Do we provide access to all the companies operating in a given market? Do we have commercial relationships or ownership ties that might make us feature one company above another?

We commit to providing you with clear and informative answers on all points such as this, so we have gathered the relevant information on this page.

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