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What is the best critical illness cover in 2024?

Critical illness cover is a type of insurance which provides a tax-free pay out if you’re diagnosed with a certain illness. When receiving a pay out, you can use this money to pay monthly bills if your illness incapacitates your ability to work, or it can used to fund private treatment. Scroll down to compare providers.

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Featured critical illness providers

  • LifeSearch
    • LifeSearch are the largest independent and most awarded Life Insurance Advice broker in the UK
    • LifeSearch have protected over 1.5 million people since 1998
    • LifeSearch offer no obligation quotes for life insurance, critical illness insurance, income protection and other protection products
    • LifeSearch offers online compare and buy as well as fee-free advice over the phone that is tailored to your circumstances
    • LifeSearch helps you protect the life you love with prices from £5* per month for Life Insurance and £10* per month for Critical Illness Cover
    • LifeSearch will arrange your cover with one of the UKs leading insurers such as Legal and General, Aviva and Zurich to name a few
    • LifeSearch are there when it matters most and support you with an exclusive Care & Claims Service

    *Supporting information available here.

  • Watts Mortgage & Wealth Management Ltd
    • Protection you can trust. Watts Mortgage and Wealth Management has been ‘Moneyfacts UK Protection Adviser of the Year’ 2019 - 2022.
    • Experienced advisers. Our friendly, Cheshire-based team have been helping people like you find the right mortgage protection for over 25 years
    • No call centres. You’ll have your own personal adviser (with a direct phone number) supporting you every step of the way
    • Fee-free financial advice and no obligation quotes on all policies
    • Whole of market search. We can search far and wide to find the best cover for your situation because we’re not tied to specific insurance providers
    • Specialist medical knowledge. If you have pre-existing medical conditions our experts will help you find the best protection available

    All policies written into trust (where applicable)

Note

Links to third parties on this page are paid for by the third party. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting their site. Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will receive a small payment either if you click the links or if you use their services after you click through to their site. All information is subject is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions.

Disclaimer

The list of critical illness providers on this page is a selection of services available and gives you an idea of the kind of options available. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting any of the providers listed. All information is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions. This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfactscompare.co.uk recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

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How do we review which policies get the best rating?

Moneyfacts Product Experts undertake an annual review of all the critical illness products available in the UK. They take a whole-of-market look at critical illness cover, collecting over 70 fields of information for each individual product before analysing and comparing them to produce ratings. Those that offer the best range of features and benefits are awarded a top rating of five stars.

The chart below shows a selection of those awarded four and five stars. View the full list of winners at the end of this page.

 

How does a star rating help me find the best critical illness cover?

Consumers can have total confidence that the Moneyfacts Annual Star Ratings, carried out by our team of experienced product experts, are both independent and impartial. We provide consumers with an expert analysis of the whole market, so they can feel assured that the critical illness policies that we score highly really are the best on offer.

What elements of critical illness cover do we look at?

Numerous areas are considered when assessing the ratings for critical illness cover. Some of these include:

  • Range and number of illnesses covered
  • Age of entry
  • Minimum and maximum terms
  • Ceasing ages
  • Policy terms
  • Minimum and maximum ages
  • Rate types
  • Total and permanent disability
  • (TPD) options
  • Conditions including:
    • Cancer
    • Heart attacks
    • Kidney failure
    • Major organ transplant
    • Terminal illness

  • Range and number of illnesses covered
  • Age of entry
  • Minimum and maximum terms
  • Ceasing ages
  • Policy terms
  • Minimum and maximum ages
  • Rate types
  • Total and permanent disability
  • (TPD) options
  • Conditions including:
    • Cancer
    • Heart attacks
    • Kidney failure
    • Major organ transplant
    • Terminal illness

  • Range and number of illnesses covered
  • Age of entry
  • Minimum and maximum terms
  • Ceasing ages
  • Policy terms
  • Minimum and maximum ages
  • Rate types
  • Total and permanent disability
  • (TPD) options
  • Conditions including:
    • Cancer
    • Heart attacks
    • Kidney failure
    • Major organ transplant
    • Terminal illness

Critical Illness Decreasing Term and Level Term Star Ratings 2022

Click the headings below to see the full list of star ratings awarded.

Critical Illness Decreasing Term - Five Star

AEGON - Personal Protection
AIG - Critical Illness Choices - Core
AIG - Critical Illness Choices - Enhanced
Aviva - Life Insurance+ and Critical Illness+
Guardian - Critical Illness Protection
LV= - Life and Critical Illness
LV= - Life and Enhanced Critical Illness
Royal London - Critical Illness Cover
Vitality Life - Personal Protection Plan Mortgage Serious Illness Cover
Vitality Life - Personal Protection Plan Serious Illness Cover
Vitality Life - Personal Protection Plan Serious Illness Cover Plus
Zurich - Personal Protection - Life cover with Critical Illness
Zurich - Personal Protection - Life cover with Critical Illness Select

Critical Illness Decreasing Term - Four Star

Legal & General - Life Cover with Critical Illness Extra

Critical Illness Level Term – Five Star

AEGON - Personal Protection
AIG - Core Critical Illness Cover
AIG - Your Critical Illness Choices - Enhanced Cover
Aviva - Life Insurance+ and Critical Illness+
Guardian - Critical Illness Protection
LV= - Life and Critical Illness
LV= - Life and Enhanced Critical Illness
Royal London - Critical Illness Cover
Vitality Life - Personal Protection Plan Mortgage Serious Illness Cover
Vitality Life - Personal Protection Plan Serious Illness Cover
Vitality Life - Personal Protection Plan Serious Illness Cover Plus
Zurich - Personal Protection - Life Cover with Critical Illness
Zurich - Personal Protection - Life Cover with Critical Illness Select

Critical Illness Level Term – Four Star

Legal & General - Life Cover with Critical Illness Extra

Critical illness cover explained

At a glance

  • Critical illness insurance can include cover for heart attacks, strokes, and certain types of cancer
  • It can often be bought together with a life insurance policy
  • The cost of your policy will depend on a variety of factors which includes your age, medical history, and lifestyle.

What illnesses are covered by critical illness insurance?

There are some conditions that tend to be included as standard in a critical illness policy, examples of which include:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Organ failure/transplant

Things like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s are often included too, as well as permanent disabilities because of illness or injury. The exact conditions covered will vary between providers – the most comprehensive of which can cover around 50 conditions – though it may be possible to add specific illnesses to your policy for an additional charge.

Things that are not covered include hereditary illnesses, pre-existing conditions and temporary illnesses. Bear in mind too that some policies will require you to be exhibiting permanent symptoms before you’ll be able to claim. It’s vital to compare critical illness cover before you make your decision so you can be confident you’re getting the cover that’s right for you.

 

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What is life insurance with critical illness cover?

Critical illness and life insurance cover are often bought as a package, with critical illness either being an add-on feature or a standard part of the policy. Having both forms of cover means you’ll be protected in the event you’re diagnosed with a covered medical condition, and/or when you pass away, depending on your policy’s specific terms.

For example, you might have what’s known as additional cover, in which case you (or your loved ones) will receive a payout on your death as well as if you’re diagnosed with a critical illness beforehand. Combined cover will only pay out in one instance, so if you’re diagnosed with a critical illness, you’ll receive the pre-agreed payout but the policy ends, with no life insurance payout on your death. Similarly, you may be able to choose between joint and single life cover, with the former usually only paying out once, to whoever falls ill or dies first.

 

Get peace of mind with life insurance

Life insurance can provide peace of mind that your loved ones will be financially secure in the event of your death. Find out more about this kind of cover by reading our life insurance guide.

Do I need critical illness cover with a mortgage?

There’s no legal requirement to have mortgage critical illness cover, though for many, it’s worth considering, for the simple reason that if you fell ill and were unable to work it could be difficult to meet the mortgage repayments. This is why people often like to arrange enough cover to pay off the mortgage balance.

Bear in mind that life insurance is often taken out alongside a mortgage, in which case critical illness cover may already be included.

How much is critical illness cover?

This depends on a whole range of different factors, including:

  • The type of policy you choose (a single or joint policy, for example, or whether it’s an add-on to life insurance or a standalone policy)
  • Your age (typically speaking, the earlier you take out cover, the cheaper the premiums will be)
  • Your health/medical history
  • Your occupation (some occupations carry higher risk of developing health problems)
  • Your lifestyle (including whether you smoke)
  • The level of cover you take out.

Your policy will always be tailored to your individual needs and will be priced accordingly. The best critical illness cover isn’t necessarily the cheapest, so it’s worth comparing the options thoroughly to make sure you’re getting the protection you need.

What are the disadvantages of critical illness cover?

The main downside to taking out critical illness insurance is that not all conditions are covered, and if you happen to be diagnosed with an illness not included in your policy, you could find yourself in financial difficulty yet unable to fall back on your insurance plan. Premiums can be expensive, too, and some policies can be particularly complex, while in some cases you may not even need it – if you’ve got an employee benefits package that pays out compensation should you fall ill during your service, you may already have a financial fallback.

That said, for many people, critical illness cover can provide valuable peace of mind – but it’s vital to choose wisely. 

 

Other insurance policies you may want to consider

Mortgage protection

Private medical insurance

Life insurance

 

Compare other insurance policies

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Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will never contact you by phone to sell you any financial product. Any calls like this are not from Moneyfacts. Emails sent by Moneyfactscompare.co.uk will always be from news@moneyfacts-news.co.uk. Be ScamSmart.