Compare Synergy Critical illness Cover
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What is Critical illness Cover?
If you're worried about the risk of being unable to work through serious illness then critical illness cover could be right for you. With critical illness cover you'll get a cash lump sum paid to you on diagnosis of a critical illness as defined in your policy. You can use the money to pay for whatever you need whether it's to pay off your mortgage, make changes to your home or to provide for your loved ones.
Critical illness Cover provides a lump sum of money should the policyholder be diagnosed with having one of the insurer's specified Critical illnesses during the term of the policy.
Critical illness Cover can be used to provide protection in a number of ways. Like Life Insurance, it was primarily designed to help protect immediate family members and possibly other dependents from financial hardship by providing the means to pay off the mortgage on the family home and/or by providing income for the family to maintain their standard of living.
With the improvements in modern medicine leading to higher recovery rates, particularly for cancer which will affect 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women by retirement age, Critical illness Cover can also be used simply as funding to cover expensive treatments or an extended period of convalescence before the policyholder returns to work.
As the chances of developing a critical illness are far greater than the chance of dying, Critical illness Cover tends to be 3-4 times more expensive than Life Insurance. Typically, however, a combined policy will work out much cheaper than separate Life Insurance and Critical illness Policies, so much so that often adding a Life Insurance element to a Critical illness policy may add no more than a small increase in the monthly premiums, if any.
What Critical illnesses are covered?
Whilst most common major illnesses are covered by insurers, not all companies cover the same illnesses, so it is important that the policyholder is familiar with the inclusions and exclusions before any documentation is signed. The illnesses usually covered are:
Alzheimer's Disease before age 65
Aorta graft surgery
Benign brain tumour
Cancer (most malignant types)
Coronary bypass surgery
Heart valve replacement or repair
HIV/AIDs (named groups only)
Loss of limbs
Loss of speech
Major organ transplant
Motor neurone disease before age 65
Parkinson's disease before age 65
Permanent Total Disability (PTD) before age 65
Pre-senile dementia before age 65
Third degree burns
What type of Critical illness Cover is required?
If the policy is to be used solely to cover a repayment mortgage, then a decreasing term critical illness product is usually the best choice, as the amount of money the policyholder has been insured for decreases in line with the value of the outstanding mortgage balance.
Conversely, a level term critical illness product is usually the best choice for an interest-only mortgage, where the value of the outstanding mortgage balance remains constant during the term of the policy.
Level term critical illness is also the preferred choice for the other main usage for term life insurance, namely providing family protection until the children leave home, or until the surviving spouse has retired. It is often advisable to consider an index-linked policy in this instance to counteract the effects of inflation on the value calculated to provide sufficient protection for the family. This is also sometimes known as Increasing Term Assurance.
Where you are looking to cover a repayment mortgage AND provide additional family protection, the best option may well be to apply for two policies, one decreasing term to cover the repayment mortgage and one level term to provide the additional family protection. The other option is to simply apply for a level term policy on the basis that over time the policy will be increasingly geared towards the additional family protection element as the value of the outstanding mortgage loan decreases, and at the same time it will cover increases in inflation.
How much Critical illness Cover is required?
The amount of cover required is always going to depend on an individual's circumstances. Essentially, you need to work out the financial impact to your family in the event of you becoming critically ill, and how much money they would need to survive until you recover.
You are covered for as long as you pay the monthly premiums. If you stop paying the premiums, the policy stops. Premiums depend on a number of factors including the amount of lump sum chosen, the length of term, the applicants age, gender, and if you are a smoker.
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*Figures are indications of savings only and based on a £100,000 life insurance policy for a female aged 30, non smoker and without a pre-existing medical condition. The rate is based on a 25 year level term policy, sourced on a guaranteed basis. Correct as at September 2017.