8 things you need to check before buying critical illness insurance

4 min Read Published: 10 Nov 2020

8 things you need to check before buying critical illness insurance

Buying the right critical illness policy can be tricky and unlike life insurance, where cheapest is often the best, critical illness cover requires a little more research to ensure that you get the policy that is right for you and your family. While the price of a policy should be a key factor, it is important to consider all of the options available before making your decision and so we have created a critical illness checklist that highlights eight things you should check before buying critical illness insurance.

Checklist for choosing the right Critical Illness Insurance

Cost (£)
  • Is it affordable? Choosing a level of cover that you can maintain is sensible.
  • Is the cost fixed for the term of your policy and if not, will you be able to afford any future increases?
  • Tip - speak to an independent specialist who can compare quotes on your behalf and make a suitable recommendation.
Level of Cover (£)
  • Consider what difference the money will make. 
  • Is it enough to cover an interruption to your earnings and give you some breathing space?
  • Is it enough to pay off some or all of your debts?
Term of Cover (years)
  • Will your policy run for as long as you’re working and you stand to lose out on your income due to the illness?
  • If it is to pay off debts, match the number of years with the years left until the debts are repaid.
  • Tip - you can cancel a cover if you don’t need it anymore but buying it again (or trying to buy additional cover later in life) will be more expensive as the price increases with age.
Joint or Individual
  • Joint policies are usually only around 10% cheaper than 2 single policies.
  • Joint policies usually only pay out for one claim and then the policy will end. 
  • If you select individual policies and if one of you has to claim, the other person’s insurance will be unaffected and can continue.
  • If you’re both unfortunate and need to claim, you’ll get separate payouts so that’s double the money.
  • If your child suffers a critical illness covered under the policy, each policy will pay out, doubling the money. 
Critical Illness with Life Insurance
  • Will your life insurance end if you make a critical illness claim?
  • Tip - it's difficult to arrange life insurance after suffering a critical illness; if you need it to continue then ensure that is how it is set up.
  • Have you considered how much critical illness and life insurance you need separately?  
  • Critical Illness insurance costs around 5 times more than life insurance and so it’s not always affordable to take the same amount of each.
Illnesses Covered
  • Do you have an option to choose an enhanced range of illnesses?
  • Compare policies that are all within the same price range - a small increase to cost may be worth it if you are covered for more illnesses.
  • Does your insurance include Total and Permanent Disability Cover so that if you could never return to your job/life regardless of the illness or injury that caused this, you would be protected?
  • If you want to be able to claim some of your benefit if you suffer a less serious form of cancer or other illness, check this is included.
Children’s Cover
  • If your children have grown up or you don’t plan to have them, this won’t benefit you - don’t pay more for it.
  • Check what ages of children are covered by the policy.  
  • Policies can start covering a child from birth but some start when they’re 30 days old.
  • Policies can also cover a child up to the age of 23 but some will stop at 18 years old. 
Additional Features
  • Is remote GP access provided?
  • Is access to mental health services provided?
  • Is there access to second medical opinions?
  • Is there access to a nurse to help and guide you?


Cost inevitably makes up a large part of anyone's decision-making process. It needs to be affordable and so there is no point in putting an insurance policy in place that you'll inevitably cancel because you can't afford it. Critical illness insurance comes with added features that will appeal to some people more than others and so paying extra will make financial sense to some. A little like when you buy a car; the heated seats might be worth the extra cost for some, but others will find this an unnecessary expense that doesn't add any value for them and so it is often down to personal preference.

What is the best way to buy Critical Illness Insurance?

Looking online and comparing quotations across various comparison sites will give you some idea of costs. However, selecting the right insurance company, product and parameters of the policy can be difficult. I would suggest having a chat with a specialist personal insurance adviser. You'll be able to use what you've understood through reading this article to stipulate what you want and the adviser will steer you towards the best choices for your budget. Your health, occupation and hobbies will all play a part in the price of the policy and an adviser will recommend the insurance company that is the best fit for you.

We have vetted the services of LifeSearch* an independent critical illness specialist that provides advice for free. An adviser at LifeSearch will take the time to understand what you need and has access to the whole market so they can select the best price and policy for you. They will help you tailor your policy to suit your circumstances and your budget. There will be many considerations that will be personal to you and it's helpful to take the time to discuss these with someone who is trained to provide impartial advice. As a Money to the Masses reader, you'll receive £50 cashback when you arrange a policy too.


If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. The following link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses and do not wish to qualify for the cashback referred to in the article - LifeSearch