Illness Protection is a type of insurance that covers you in case you should need treatment for a serious illness. Also commonly known as critical illness cover, this is essentially an agreement between you and your insurer whereby if you should fall ill with one of the conditions named on your policy, your insurer would pay all or some of your medical bills for the duration of your treatment.
The main types of illness that are covered are cancer, heart attacks, major organ transplants, multiple sclerosis and strokes, and whichever policy you choose should cover at least seven conditions. There are a number of conditions that insurers do not cover, including some 'non-invasive' cancers, and the restrictions on what could and count not be claimed for were tightened in recent years. As with private medical insurance policies, pre-existing medical conditions (that is, those for which you have already started experiencing symptoms and received medical treatment or advice at the time of taking out the policy) may not be covered.
Therefore, it is essential that you thoroughly read the small print on all policy documents before making a decision - tedious though this process may be, your policy decision could be extremely important if you should come to rely on the financial assistance in the future. It is also crucial that you reveal all the necessary medical information when applying for illness protection insurance. The reason for this is that if you contract a critical illness and the insurer discovers after the event that you once received treatment for a related symptom or illness, they may take the decision not to pay out.
The illness protection cover would pay out a lump sum of cash, tax-free, in the event of you being diagnosed with one of the conditions that is included in your policy document. This money is to help you to meet your living expenses and financial commitments as well as to help you fund your treatment, but there are no guidelines or restrictions about what the money can be used for so you would have the freedom to decide this. In most policies it is stipulated that you must survive for one month at least beyond the date when you claim on your policy before the insurer will pay out.
Illness protection can be expensive because of the size of the payout that the insurer is liable for in the event of you contracting a critical illness. However, when you consider the ever-rising costs of medical treatment, particularly in fields where costly scans and drugs are required, illness protection could be a prudent choice. In addition to the financial assistance that you would receive at this very difficult time, you would also have the peace of mind of knowing that you and your family have one less thing to worry about.
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