What does critical illness cover include?

Critical illness cover includes a wide range of illnesses. What you’re covered for will vary between providers.

Typically it includes heart attack, stroke and some forms of cancer but cover can be more or less comprehensive depending on how much you pay and who you secure cover with.

To find out the full list of what you’re covered for you should contact your insurer or refer to the terms and conditions of your policy.

At Reassured, we can help arrange critical illness cover as part of a life insurance policy, which protects you in the event you become ill or if you pass away during the policy term.

Get in touch with a member of our award-winning team to compare quotes and find a policy that suits all your needs.

Keep reading to find out what illnesses you’ll be covered for when taking out critical illness cover...

What are the 30 critical illnesses?

See below the 30 conditions commonly covered by critical illness protection.

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Coronary artery by-pass surgery
  • Heart valve surgery
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Kidney failure
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Severe dementia
  • Liver failure
  • Lung disease
  • Motor neurone disease
  • HIV
  • Coma
  • Loss of limbs
  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Major burns
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Viral encephalitis
  • Benign brain tumour
  • Aplastic anaemia
  • Fulminant hepatitis
  • Surgery to aorta
  • Major organ/bone marrow transplant
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Angioplasty
  • Primary pulmonary hypertension
  • Loss of speech
  • Muscular dystrophy

Regarding life insurance, a critical illness refers to a life-changing, but not terminal, illness that can leave you unable to work.

These mostly include but aren’t limited to, the conditions listed above.

When diagnosed with a serious illness you may need to:

  • Make adaptations to your home
  • Pay for a carer
  • Pay for private medical treatment

A critical illness pay out can provide the funds to help cover these expenses, as well as helping to cover your lost income.

The most common illnesses covered by critical illness cover include:


A stroke is when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, causing serious damage.

There are more than 100,000 strokes each year in the UK, (roughly one stroke every 5 minutes)[1].

This highlights the need to have protection in place to help cover any lost income if you’re left unable to work.

Heart attack

In the UK around 95,000 hospital admissions per year are due to heart attack[2].

Following a heart attack, you may need a period of cardiac rehabilitation which could require you to take time off of work.

A critical illness pay out could help to cover your family’s living costs during this time.


It’s estimated that around 3 million people are living with cancer in the UK[3].

Statistics show that 50% of cancer patients survive the disease for 10 years or more.

During this time, you may need to take time off of work and pay for private medical treatment – a pay out from critical illness cover could help fund this.

It’s important to be aware that each insurer will have a different list of illnesses covered under their critical illness cover.

Each insurer will also have different definitions of each illness so you need to be aware of exactly what you’re covered for.

It’s important to shop around to find the most comprehensive cover, for a price that’s right for you.

At Reassured we can compare quotes from some of the UK’s leading providers to help you find the right cover for you.

Is heart attack covered by critical illness cover?

Yes, as stated above, a heart attack is one of the most common illnesses covered by critical illness cover.

In order for a claim to be accepted, and a pay out to be made, the heart attack must be of a certain severity and there must be evidence of acute myocardial infarction.

Does critical illness cover cancer?

Yes, critical illness cover includes some forms of cancer.

If you’re diagnosed with cancer after taking out a policy, you could be eligible to receive a pay out.

You’ll need to check your policy to see which types of cancer are specified as this will vary between insurers.

Typically, critical illness cover will cover cancer that has been diagnosed as being malignant, (this often includes Leukaemia and lymphoma, as well as some tumours).

Cancers that are in the early stages (or are less advanced) tend to not be covered within critical illness.

However, if you’ve previously been diagnosed with cancer, it’s likely an exclusion for cancer will be written into your policy.

This means if you’re diagnosed with cancer during the term, you won’t be able to make a claim.

Critical illness cover also won’t pay out if you’re diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 12 months or less to live.

In this instance, a terminal illness cover claim can be made, which will provide you with an early pay out from your life insurance policy, if you have combined critical illness and term life insurance cover. If you have taken out standalone critical illness cover (not available through Reassured) you won't be able to make a claim for this.

Does critical illness cover MS?

Yes, Multiple Sclerosis (or MS) is one of the common illnesses covered under critical illness cover.

If you’re diagnosed with MS during the term of your policy, it’s likely you’ll receive a pay out.

As with all illnesses, you’ll need to check the definition listed in the policy to make sure your condition matches for your claim to be accepted.

If you’ve been diagnosed with MS before taking out a policy, it won’t be covered. This is due to the condition being pre-existing.

Does critical illness cover kidney disease?

Yes, end stage kidney disease or kidney failure that will require on-going dialysis is often covered within critical illness cover.

As long as your condition isn’t pre-existing and it matches the definition outlined in your policy, you’ll be eligible to make a claim.

Is epilepsy a critical illness?

No, epilepsy isn’t considered a critical illness in terms of life insurance.

Therefore, you won’t be able to make a claim for this if you’re diagnosed during your policy.

We have written a dedicated epilepsy life insurance article if you require additional information »

Is cardiomyopathy a critical illness?

Yes, cardiomyopathy is often on the list of illnesses covered by critical illness cover.

This means if you’re diagnosed with the condition during the term of your policy, and it meets the specified severity, you’ll be able to make a claim.

However, if you’ve declared any previous heart problems on your application, there may be an exclusion for this (and other heart conditions) written into your policy as the likelihood of you developing the condition is greater.

Is Crohn’s disease a critical illness?

Yes, some providers include Crohn’s disease in their critical illness cover.

Your condition will need to meet their definition and, often, will need to be of a certain severity for you to be able to make a claim.

If you’re suffering from Crohn’s disease at the time of application, you won’t be able to make a claim for it on your critical illness cover due to it being a pre-existing condition.

Is diabetes a critical illness?

No, diabetes isn’t considered a critical illness. Therefore, you won’t be able to make a claim for this condition.

In the case of type 1 diabetes, this is often a condition that you’re born with and would be considered a pre-existing condition at the point of application.

In the case of type 2 diabetes, the condition often linked to obesity and poor health/diet. With good management of the condition, it can have minimal impact on your day to day life.

With medical advancements, both types of diabetes can be easily regulated with medication and therefore, the condition isn’t considered to be a critical illness.

Does critical illness cover appendicitis?

It’s unlikely that critical illness cover will include appendicitis.

While appendicitis can often result in hospitalisation and surgery to remove the inflamed appendix, the condition isn’t seen as life-changing.

Recovery is often quick and you won’t be left unable to work for prolonged periods of time.

The definition of critical illness is a life-changing illness, hence why this condition won’t be covered.

Does critical illness cover death?

No, your loved ones won’t be able to make a critical illness cover claim when you pass away.

Instead, if you’ve taken out combined critical illness and life insurance, your loved ones can make a claim on your life insurance.

Will critical illness cover my children?

Most critical illness policies will allow you to make a claim if your child is diagnosed with a serious illness listed in the policy.

Typically, children will be covered under their parent's policy until the age of 18/21 and the pay out amount will usually be up to 50% of the parent's sum assured, or up to £25,000.

The money paid out can be used to help pay for any private medical treatment or used to replace lost income if you need to take time off of work.

Please note, the amount of cover offered to children will vary between insurers and some may charge a premium.

When can I make a critical illness claim?

You can make a claim on your critical illness cover if you’re diagnosed with one of the illnesses listed in your policy.

If your condition matches the insurer's definition and your premium payments are up to date, you’ll be able to make a claim and receive a pay out.

In order to do this, you’ll need to contact your provider and provide evidence of the illness which has taken place.

When critical illness won’t pay out

There are some instances when a critical illness cover won't pay out. These include:


If you have a pre-existing medical condition and you declare this during the application, it’s likely the insurer will write an exclusion for the illness into your policy.

For example, if you’ve previously had cancer, an exclusion for cancer will be written into your policy – meaning if you become ill with cancer again, you won’t be able to make a claim.

Equally, if you suffer from a pre-existing medical condition you may have exclusions written into your policy which will prevent you from making a claim due to related illnesses, i.e. diabetes type 1 sufferers may have an exclusion for high blood pressure or heart attack written into their cover.

Non-disclosure of existing illness

If you have a pre-existing medical condition (such as diabetes, cancer, HIV) and you do not declare this on your application it is known as non-disclosure.

This means that if it’s found that you’ve become ill due to your pre-existing condition, the policy will become void and the insurer isn’t obligated to provide the pay out.

Do I need critical illness cover?

Whether you need critical illness cover or not will be completely dependant on your own personal circumstances.

Statistics show that you’re more likely to fall seriously ill than to pass away during your working life.

If you were to fall ill and couldn’t work as a result, could your loved ones afford to:

  • Continue to pay the mortgage?
  • Cover family living costs?
  • Pay off large debts?
  • Make adaptions to your home?
  • Pay for carers?

A pay out from critical illness cover could help cover this and alleviate any financial stress at an already stressful time.

We believe that anyone who provides an income for their loved ones would benefit from some form of protection.

At Reassured, our award-winning team can take you through the entire application process and compare quotes to help you find the right cover at the right price.

How much critical illness cover do I need calculator.

Enter your financial commitments to understand the level of cover you require.


£137,934 is the estimated mortgage debt per household in the UK.

The purchase of a home is likely to be the largest financial commitment any of us will make in our lifetime. Your life insurance should cover your remaining mortgage balance to allow your loved ones to stay in the family home should anything happen to you.

Source: Moneynerd.co.uk


The average monthly household budget in the UK is £2,548 (that’s £30,576 per year), which is spent on transport, food & drink, utilities (gas, electricity, water etc), clothing, council tax and leisure activities.

With energy prices hitting a record high and the cost of living rising sharply in the UK, you may wish to factor in utility bills and family living expenses into your cover.

Source: Nimblefins.co.uk


The average personal debt of UK adults has risen to £34,566 (not including mortgage debt), with credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts being the most common forms of debt.

Factoring in any debts into your life insurance cover means that, if they need to be paid back from your estate after your passing, your loved ones won’t miss out financially.

Source: Money.co.uk


According to SunLife, the average cost of a funeral in the UK is £3,953 (with the overall cost of dying at £9,200).

Funeral costs have increased by 116% since 2004 and are a significant cost which should be factored into the amount of life insurance you secure.

Source: SunLife.co.uk


When factoring in cover for your children, you may wish to calculate the amount based on how long it is until they reach financial independence.

This could include childcare (£7,000 per year for part-time care), school expenses (£1,519 per school year for uniforms, lunches, stationary etc), as well as an additional sum for further education (this could be a contribution of up to £5,000 per year).

Sources: Daynurseries.co.uk, Primarytimes.co.uk & Savethestudent.org


2 in 5 adults say they are relying on an inheritance to fund their retirement.

Factoring in an inheritance to your sum assured could allow loved ones to live a more financially comfortable life. Alternatively, you could leave a cash gift to a charity of your choosing.

Source: Moneyage.co.uk


If you’re lucky enough to have your own savings or are part of the 30% of UK residents who already have a life insurance policy in place, this can provide financial protection for loved ones.

By entering your current cover, savings or death in service amount you can reduce the sum assured you require.

Source: Scottishbusinessnews.net

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Compare critical illness cover

Critical illness cover will vary between insurers, as will the price you pay.

It’s best to compare quotes to ensure you’re getting the right cover for the right price.

At Reassured, we can help you compare quotes for life insurance combined with critical illness cover as one policy.

This will ensure that you and your family are financially protected in the event you become critical ill or if the worst should happen.

Prices start from just 33p-a-day º , so why not get in touch and get your free, no-obligation quotes today?


[1] https://www.stroke.org.uk/what-is-stroke/stroke-statistics

[2] https://www.bhf.org.uk/-/media/files/for-professionals/research/heart-statistics/bhf-cvd-statistics-uk-factsheet.pdf

[3] https://www.macmillan.org.uk/_images/cancer-statistics-factsheet_tcm9-260514.pdf

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