Do I need Critical Illness cover?

We never know what’s around the corner when it comes to our health.

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Have you considered what expenses you would need to cover if you were critically ill and were unable to work? What impact would that have on your standard of living? Could you cover the cost of your mortgage/rent and utility bills, instalments on a loan or other regular outgoings? Critical Illness cover can take the financial worry away if you don’t have adequate savings to fall back on.

Being young, fit and healthy can mean that Critical Illness cover isn’t something you think about straight away, but it’s a vital insurance policy to ensure you are better prepared financially, should you need it. Would you be surprised to learn that the average age of a claim related to open heart surgery was 35, motor neurone disease was 45 and stroke was 50? [1]

What is Critical Illness cover?

Critical Illness cover is an insurance policy that pays out a lump sum payment if you are diagnosed with a serious/critical illness. It covers many conditions but the main 3, which are also the most claimed for, are cancer, heart attack and stroke. Most insurers also give you the option to add Children’s Critical Illness cover to your policy for an additional fee. This cover also pays out a lump sum if your child is diagnosed with an illness that’s covered by the policy.

Why should I get Critical Illness cover?

  • It is estimated that around 1.4 million people alive in the UK today have survived a heart attack – around one million men and 380,000 women. [2]
  • 1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. [3]
  • Stroke strikes every five minutes in the UK. It can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time. [4]

Having Critical Illness cover in place can be a financial lifeline during your recovery, helping to cover health-related costs, monthly expenses, or lost income if you need to take time off work, or if a partner needs to take time off work to look after you.

How much Critical Illness cover would I need?

Flexibility is important and how much cover you need will very much depend on your individual circumstances. It is essential to think about how much of a financial safety net you need if you were diagnosed with a life altering illness, how long you need cover for and what your monthly budget is.

Critical Illness cover might not be right for everyone and your eligibility for cover will depend on your personal circumstances. That’s why it’s important to speak to a Protection Adviser so they can understand your situation and determine which type of protection is right for you and your family.

If you would like help understanding if Critical Illness cover is right for you, get in touch with the friendly team at Downton Mortgages and Financial Services to have a chat through about your options.


Please note for these insurance products, terms and conditions apply. This information is a summary only. You will receive a full policy document upon application. This policy will set out the terms, conditions and limitations of cover provided under the plan.

The information contained within was correct at the time of publication but is subject to change.


[1], 2023

[2] British Heart Foundation, 2023

[3], 2023

[4] The Stroke Association, 2023