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What is critical illness insurance - do I need it?

Critical illness insurance can help you rest easy, knowing that you'll be covered in the event of a serious diagnosis.

Nobody likes thinking about this stuff, but you’re more likely to suffer a severe illness during your working life than you are to die. Should that happen, critical illness insurance can help you continue to manage your finances, including paying off your mortgage, for example.

But before taking out a new policy, you need to make sure you need it.

Is critical illness cover right for you?

Critical illness cover pays you a lump sum if you suffer a stroke or heart attack or are diagnosed with a specified illness. You could then use this to cover your mortgage and rehabilitation costs. 

It could be particularly important if you have family who rely on your salary.

These are some of the most common conditions covered by our critical illness cover:

  • cancer - excluding less advanced cases

  • heart attack

  • stroke

  • heart bypass

  • multiple sclerosis

Critical illness cover is designed to be a living benefit to get you back on your feet again. Because a diagnosis doesn’t just affect your health, it can come with a hefty price tag, too.

It’s not just time off work, there are also potentially costs for childcare during treatment, adaptations to your home, heating being on more during your recovery, new clothes due to weight loss/gain/surgery and numerous trips to hospitals.

Having a critical illness policy won’t stop you getting ill. But it can certainly help with the financial pressures which always come as a result of a serious illness.  

See what you're already covered for

Here are some things consider to help you feel confident that you wouldn't be paying for something you didn't need. 

  1. Depending on what your job is, you might already have a benefit from your employer that would cover you if you couldn’t work as a result of serious illness or disability.

  2. You might also have some kind of illness insurance as part of an existing policy such as life insurance.

  3. Sometimes your mortgage insurance also covers you for critical illness.

  4. In some cases, you might feel you have enough savings to cover any loss of earnings instead of insurance.

If none of these applies to you, then critical illness insurance could be worth looking into.

Check what exclusions there are

Not every type of illness is covered by critical illness insurance policies, so it’s important to check the small print to find out what is and isn’t included before you sign up.

Some common types of cancer are also likely to be excluded, at least in their early stages. Certain illnesses which you or your family have had before might not be covered either.

You must be honest about the medical history of you and your family. If you miss out any important details, your insurer might refuse to pay out if you try to make a claim.

What critical illness cover do we offer?

We offer Critical Illness Cover as an add-on when you apply online for our Life Cover. In 2021, HSBC Life paid 95.5% of Critical Illness Cover claims it received.

If you'd like to buy a standalone Critical Illness Cover policy without life cover, you could speak to our protection advisers. They are available via video or phone call to help you find the policy that’s right for you from a range of providers. 

HSBC Life Cover and Critical Illness Cover is provided by HSBC Life (UK) Limited. As with all insurance policies, certain terms and conditions, exclusions, and limitations apply.