Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide*. It can affect anyone at any age, regardless of their lifestyle choices. When a cancer diagnosis is made, the financial burden of treatment could be overwhelming. Enter critical illness cover.

Many people are unaware of what critical illness cover is and how it works. Essentially, it’s a form of insurance that pays out a lump sum if you are diagnosed with a serious illness. However, not all policies cover all illnesses, and your diagnosis will need to meet your insurer’s terms & conditions. With all that in mind, it’s understandable that it can be pretty confusing. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, you may be wondering if critical illness cover will provide financial assistance during this difficult time. In this article, we will explore the question, and break down the complexities of this type of insurance policy.

* Source accessed December 2023:

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Is cancer considered a critical illness?

In terms of severity, the definition of what is considered “critical” can vary from insurer to insurer. Generally, if your cancer is advanced, inoperable, or life-threatening, it should be considered a critical illness.

The answer to whether or not cancer is covered by critical illness insurance depends on the policy you have and the type and severity of the condition.

However, all critical illness plans must include certain conditions by default as set by the Association of British Insurers. You can find the requirements here

Does critical illness insurance cover all cancer?

Most policies will cover common cancers, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and bowel cancer.

It’s important to remember that even if you are covered for a certain type of cancer, there may be certain conditions attached to the payout. For example, the payout may only be made if you have been diagnosed at a certain stage.

It is important to review your policy’s terms & conditions and to contact the insurer if you have any questions regarding potential claims.

What IS covered by critical illness insurance?

Generally, they cover major illnesses such as cancer, stroke, heart attack, organ transplants, loss of limb, sight or hearing and certain types of paralysis. It can also cover conditions that may not be life-threatening, but still require significant treatment or recovery time, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

However, not all insurers offer the same cover, so it’s necessary to read the fine print of your policy to know what is covered.


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What is NOT covered by critical illness insurance?

While this type of policy can cover many medical expenses associated with critical illness, there are certain things that are not covered.

In some cases, critical illness insurance does not cover conditions considered pre-existing or things that run in your family.

If you have pre-existing medical conditions or a family history with critical illness, then you may want to consider speaking to an adviser. Each insurer may offer you a different decision, and an adviser can help you decide which is best. 

Advisers also have access to a wider panel of insurers and products and may be able to find you an insurer that has a more favourable decision than what is offered online.

There may be certain treatments that are excluded, such as some experimental therapies. It's also important to remember that most critical illness policies will not cover mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety.* 

In addition, if you do not meet the policy’s definition of a “critical illness”, then you will not be eligible for payment.

*Note: If you are looking to protect yourself from mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, stress, burn out or bereavement, you may want to consider Income Protection. 

Can I buy life insurance if I have cancer?

The key factor in determining if you can get life insurance after cancer is the prognosis. Insurers want to know the likelihood of you surviving, and that the cancer is not likely to reoccur or spread.

Some types of cancer, such as early stage skin cancers, can be deemed less serious. These cancers may be accepted for cover immediately after successful treatment. Other forms of cancer may require a waiting period before you are eligible for cover.

If you have had any form of cancer, or currently have any form of cancer please speak to our experienced advisers. They can help you determine which option(s) is available to you, and carefully guide you through the process.

If you are facing financial difficulty, please contact your insurer before cancelling your policy or letting it lapse. They may have options available to help you remain covered.

Get covered today

While critical illness insurance doesn't lower your risk of getting sick, it provides financial security for you and your family and/or loved ones in case of unexpected health issues. Therefore, it's considered one of the most important and beneficial insurance products* available.

Thanks to Cavendish, you can now get an online quote in minutes! With access to many of the leading insurers throughout the UK, you can find competitive premiums. We understand that life and illness insurance is an important decision, and we want to ensure you have all the information necessary to make an informed choice.

That’s why our experienced team of life insurance advisers is available to answer any questions you may have. Get covered today and help protect yourself and your family/loved ones from any financial hardship.

*Please note: The insurance products offered by Cavendish Online have no cash-in value at any time. If you stop paying your premiums, your cover will stop, your policy will end, and you will receive no benefit. If you have not claimed before the end of your chosen policy term, the policy will end, and no benefit will be paid.

Speak to the experts...

Give our advisers a call today.

Our team of friendly and professional advisers are on hand to help with any questions you may have regarding Life Insurance, Critical Illness Insurance and Income Protection.

The advisers can also make recommendations tailored to your current situation and will research the market on your behalf, ensuring you secure the cover you need and supporting you every step of the way. 

01392 43 61 93(Monday to Friday, 9am - 5.30pm)

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