Top 5 Critical Illness Policies in the UK 2024

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Top 5 Critical Illness Policies in the UK 2024Top 5 Critical Illness Policies in the UK 2024

I think that’s it’s important to start with the disclaimer that there is no one insurer that has the ultimate most amazing critical illness policy in the UK. 

There are fantastic critical illness contracts available with most insurers and there has been a huge drive in focusing upon quality rather than numbers. In the past insurers were competing to say “Look at me, I have 10 more critical illness conditions than that insurer over there”.

Obviously being covered for more critical conditions is good, as you are insured against more things, but is it actually better for you? With critical illness cover you are most likely to claim for diagnosis of cancer of a specified severity. The next most likely claims are heart attack, stroke and multiple sclerosis. All of these conditions are covered by most UK insurers’ critical illness contracts so that they meet the Association of British Insurers minimum standards for critical illness insurance.

So if you take out a critical illness policy with a mainstream UK insurer, it’s very likely that you are covered for the main things that you need. So what makes some insurers stand out more than others?

Guardian Critical Illness Cover

Guardian featured in our list last year and they definitely deserve to be on here again. 

  • Heart attacks – Guardian will pay out a claim if you have had a heart attack, regardless of how strong it’s been. Most other insurers will only pay a claim if your heart attack has met their definition of ‘severe’.
  • Automatic waiver of premium – this basically means that if you can’t work for a period of 6 months or more due to ill health, Guardian will not ask you to pay your premiums until you are back to work, and they will keep your policy live for you during this time. The amazing part about this is that a lot of people with health conditions can have exclusions or be declined waiver of premium due to their health, with Guardian you are covered!
  • Policy Updates – most of the time when you take out a critical illness policy you agree to be insured based upon the insurer’s contract on the specific date that your policy starts. If an insurer updates their policy you don’t get the updates. Guardian have taken the amazing step of improving existing policyholders’ critical illness policies, when they do a refresh of their critical illness cover for new customers.


AIG Critical Illness Cover

AIG also made the list last year and again definitely deserve to still be here. It has been announced that AIG are being bought by Aviva, so if you do like the sound of this unique quirk it’s worth looking at setting up a critical illness policy sooner rather than later, as these might not be taken on by Aviva.

  • Any neurological condition – insurers usually specifically list medical conditions that they cover on a critical illness policy, and there isn’t wiggle room if you don’t meet the definition. As an example you usually have stroke, Parkinsons, Alzheimers, listed as individually claimable events. AIG have scrapped this for part of their policy and chosen to say they will pay a claim for  ‘Any neurological condition’ of a specified severity. This massively opens up the claims potential as not only does it cover the critical conditions that I just mentioned, it opens it up to so much more. They’ve changed the focus to not be on medical definition and more on the affect on life.


Zurich Critical Illness Cover

Zurich are here again too with their very unique take on not only providing security for their policyholders, but also taking into account the future generations. Many insurers offer a certain amount of critical illness cover for children, on their parents policy, but Zurich have taken this one step further.

  • Children’s cover – many insurers allow you to add children to your critical illness policy, so that if the worst happens you have some funds to help you get through that time. Modern critical illness policies tend to offer this at a maximum 25% or £25,000 per child that you have, until their early 20s. Zurich have recognised that whilst this is amazing, once your kid is in their 20s going through the process of setting up their own critical illness policy probably won’t be top of their to do list. We’re invincible at that age! So Zurich have set up their critical illness policies to give your children the option to set up their own critical illness cover with them from the age of 16, without the need for full medical underwriting. A great way to encourage them to take out this valuable policy without much fuss.


Scottish Widows Critical Illness Cover

Scottish Widows have a couple of unique features to their critical illness contract that are worth knowing, again making them feature on this list for the second year.

  • Carcinoma in situ – most insurers tend to list specific locations e.g. carcinoma in situ of the breast. By not naming a specific location, Scottish Widows significantly open the possibilities for making a claim.
  • Automatic life insurance – Scottish Widows automatically include life insurance if you take out critical illness cover with them. Standalone critical illness cover has something that is known as a survivability clause. It means that if you are diagnosed with a critical illness but die within the next 14-28 days the policy will not pay out. By automatically including life insurance, if you do die the policy would pay out a claim if you do die.
  • Automatic children’s cover – many insurers give you the option to include or not include children’s critical illness cover, with it costing more to include it. Scottish Widows don’t charge you extra to have children covered on your policy and they are regularly one of the cheapest providers for critical illness cover.


VitalityLife Serious Illness Cover

This is different to critical illness cover, but still does the same kind of thing. VitalityLife are certainly the quirkiest option when insuring yourself for cancer, heart attack, stroke and many more.

  • Serious Illness Cover – claims are based upon how severe your diagnosis is, with claims being paid from 5-100% of the policy sum assured. With critical illness contracts offered by other insurers payments are 100% for full claims or 25% for partial payments.
  • Amount of conditions – VitalityLife have the largest amount of claimable conditions on the market with up to 174 conditions offered, depending upon the level of cover that you take.
  • Optimiser – you can choose VitalityLife’s optimiser route to start your policy on cheaper premiums, that you can keep lower if you keep fit and active and record your exercise with them.
  • Multiple Payouts – VitalityLife offer you the option to set up the policy so that you claim 100% of the policy sum assured, on up to 3 separate occasions.
  • Dementia and FrailCare cover – you are automatically given standard access to these benefits, even after your policy ends.

Our award winning advisers will talk you through your insurance options and help you decide which critical illness cover best suits your needs.

All details in this blog are accurate as of April 2024, the policies might change over time and you will need to check the terms and conditions for your critical illness cover on the date that you arrange your policy.

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Top 5 Critical Illness Policies in the UK 2024
Top 5 Critical Illness Policies in the UK 2024
Top 5 Critical Illness Policies in the UK 2024
Top 5 Critical Illness Policies in the UK 2024
Top 5 Critical Illness Policies in the UK 2024