If you were suddenly affected by a serious illness like cancer, heart attack or stroke, it would have a significant impact your ability to maintain your lifestyle and provide for your dependents.
Apart from the shock and confusion on diagnosis, a serious illness may affect your ability to work again or you may have to reduce your work hours significantly, leading to a substantial drop in income. This drop in income could in turn impact on your ability to continue meeting your day to day expenses and overheads, such as mortgage and other loan repayments. If you are an employee and pay PRSI, the social welfare Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension may replace part of this lost income. However, the benefits are low and if you are self-employed you are not covered for these benefits at all.
A serious illness policy could offer you financial stability if you were to experience a sharp drop in income due to a serious illness.
Serious illness cover pays you a tax-free lump sum if you are diagnosed with a specific illness covered by your policy. This lump sum can be used to pay living expenses, your mortgage, short-term debt and your medical expenses, if necessary. On the diagnosis of certain illnesses covered in your policy the full capital sum insured is payable and for other, less serious illnesses, part of the capital sum is payable.
Serious illness cover can also be called ‘critical illness cover’ and ‘specified illness cover’. Though it is often sold as an optional extra on a life insurance or mortgage protection policy, it can also be sold as an insurance policy on its own.
Every insurance company is different and will cover different illnesses. The precise definitions of each illness that qualifies for a pay-out will also likely differ, as will decisions on whether the full or partial sum insured is payable on a confirmed medical diagnosis of that illness.
Because of that, your Financial Broker will explain it in easy-to-understand language outlining the nature of the cover and what benefits are payable under different circumstances.