A long-term insurance which covers a range of specific medical conditions or injuries that will be specified within the policy. Examples of specified critical illnesses that might be covered include strokes, heart attacks, certain types and stages of cancer, multiple sclerosis and permanent disabilities resulting from injury or illness.
Critical Illness Insurance will pay out a one-off, tax-free, lump sum amount if you get one of the conditions covered by your policy.
As Critical Illness Insurance provides a one-off payment, it is often combined with a Life Insurance policy so that you’d still have life cover to benefit your dependants.
Income Protection (sometimes known as Permanent Health Insurance) is a long-term insurance policy designed to help you if you can’t work because you’re ill or injured and would be unable to survive on savings or sick pay from work – or are self-employed. It’ll provide a regular income until you retire or can return to work.
Depending on the type of policy, it covers most illnesses that prevent you from working and you can claim as many times as you need to – for the duration of the policy.
Income Protection is not the same as Critical Illness Insurance which is designed to pay out a one-off, lump sum if you develop a specific serious illness.
Life Assurance or Life Insurance? There is a difference!
Life Assurance (also known as Whole of Life Cover) will provide cover if you die at any time and guarantees a pay-out. So in many respects it can be regarded as an investment product. It could for example cover, or partially cover, the future cost of Inheritance Tax liability.
Life Insurance (also known as Level Term Insurance) pays out if you die within a set, agreed policy term. If no death occurs within that term there is no pay-out. Clearly the purpose of Life Insurance is to provide money for your family if you were to die during the agreed term. The payment will be a fixed amount.
The NHS is a wonderful institution but if you fall ill, Private Medical insurance (also known as Private Health Insurance) can help you avoid waiting lists, get treatment quicker and hopefully speed up your recovery.
Private Medical insurance is designed to meet some or all of the costs of private medical treatment. There are two main types of Private Medical Insurance policy:
Indemnity policies meet the costs of having private medical treatment for an acute illness or injury on a short-term basis. This could include a private room in a hospital, surgeons' and other specialists' fees, outpatient treatment like physiotherapy and day care treatment including surgical and diagnostic procedures.
Cash plan policies provide a lump-sum benefit payment in certain situations. Generally you’ll pay a monthly premium in return for cover, for up to 100% of costs for treatment like an inpatient stay in an NHS hospital, or dental or optical treatment. These may not be included under an indemnity policy.
Policies available are many and varied and there are many pitfalls to avoid to ensure you understand exactly what you are paying for – or not as the case may be!