Serious Illness Cover

Serious Illness Cover

Serious illness insurance pays you a tax-free lump sum if you are diagnosed with one of the specific illnesses or disabilities that your policy covers. It is also sometimes called ‘critical illness cover’. It is often offered as an extra benefit on a life insurance or mortgage protection policy, but it can also be taken out as an insurance policy on its own.

Serious illness insurance will only pay out if the illness is covered by the policy. Many illnesses that would prevent you from working may not be covered by your policy. Even when the illness is covered, the policy pays a once-off lump sum and not an ongoing income.


Not all policies will cover the same illnesses, or common illness, such as angina, back injury and treatable cancers. You should check with your insurer or broker for details of the illnesses covered before you take out a policy.

The list of illnesses varies between insurers but usually includes stroke and heart attack, some types of cancer, coronary artery disease, multiple sclerosis, kidney failure, motor neuron disease, blindness, major organ transplantation (including being on a waiting list for transplantation), a benign brain tumour and severe burns.

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Benefits of Serious Illness Cover

  • Provides a tax-free, cash lump sum to you if you are diagnosed with a specific serious illness.
  • Covers a wide range of illnesses.
  • Innovative cancer-only option available.
  • Your policy can cover more than one person.
  • You can increase cover at times when you need it.
  • Gives you time to focus on what really matters, getting better

What affects the cost of Serious Illness Cover?

Frequently Asked Questions

Your serious illness cover can be for one or two people; i.e. a Single Life​ Basis, Joint Life​ Basis or Dual Life​ Basis.

It is cover that merits serious consideration when one considers statistics like the following:

– There is a 1 in 4 chance of females getting cancer and that rises to 1 in 3 for males.

– Each year in Ireland there are over 20,000 new cases of cancer.

– 60% of patients diagnosed with cancer in 2008 were still alive 5 years after diagnosis.

– Each year approx. 10,000 Irish people have a stroke.

– An estimated 30,000 people are living in the community with disabilities as a result of a stroke.

Some insurance companies offer benefits on top of the policy, though generally you’ll pay more for them. Extra benefits include:

  • Broken bones payments.
  • A conversion/convertible option that lets you convert your cover into a new policy down the line or extend your policy without needing to provide medical information.
  • Personal accident benefit – where you receive a weekly payment for a limited period of time or if you’re out of work due to an accident.
  • Hospital cash – essentially, it’s a daily payment that’s ‘spending money’ while you have to stay in hospital. It usually includes a waiting period before the cover kicks in.
  • One‑to‑one personal support from your own Nurse Adviser – supports you and your family through serious illness

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