Critical Illness


Are you unsure about critical illness cover and what it does? Here's our guide to understanding critical illness insurance – what it is, how it works and how it differs from life insurance.

Critical illness cover or CIC is a type of insurance that pays out a tax-free lump sum if you're diagnosed with, or undergo surgery for, a critical illness that meets the policy definition during the policy term.  It's designed to help support you and your family financially while you deal with your illness – so you can recover without worrying about how the bills will be paid.

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Some Guidance



Think about the costs you'd need to cover if you were to fall ill and couldn't work (this might include regular outgoings, such as energy bills and food shopping).

​If you have children, you’ll want to ensure that your family is provided for, in case you can’t work due to health problems. Level cover can offer financial security for you and your loved ones.

Or you may need a policy to make sure that your mortgage can be paid off – this is often a requirement of mortgage applications. Decreasing cover helps to pay off debt, like a repayment mortgage, that's reducing over time.

For extra protection, you can usually get critical illness cover and life insurance at the same time. This way, you'll be protected against different circumstances and be able to choose how much cover you need for each policy. 

How much cover do you need? 

Do I need Critical Illness cover?


  • You depend heavily on your salary to support yourself and your family

  • You don’t have enough savings to live on if you were to become seriously ill or disabled

  • Your job won’t cover you for a long period off work due to sickness (employee benefits package)


Unemployment benefits come in at around £50-£70 per week, depending on your circumstances. If you don't feel this is enough to cover your outgoings, you might want to consider critical illness cover.



Critical illness cover helps to protect you and your loved ones financially if you've been diagnosed with a specified illness.  You'll receive a lump sum payment that could help cover the costs of your treatment, or  help pay the bills.

Critical illness insurance usually doesn't pay out if you pass away. This is where life insurance comes in.  In most cases, life insurance only pays out if you pass away during the term of the policy. It's designed to help your family to maintain their lifestyle after you've gone (for example, by covering mortgage payments or children's university fees).

What is the difference between critical illness cover and life insurance?
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