Updated: July 29, 2019

Critical Illness Cover Costs in The UK

Thinking about critical illness cover, but concerned about cost? In this article we'll look at factors that affect policy costs, and how to balance costs against benefits

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: July 29, 2019

Every week, we receive multiple enquiries relating to critical illness cover.

Many people want to know how much they can expect to pay for this type of product, but there is no set cost of critical illness insurance as there are a number of variables that play a role.

This article is going to be covering some of the most common factors that will impact the price to help give you an idea of rough costs for critical illness cover in the UK:

Is there an average cost of critical illness insurance?

There is no typical cost of critical illness cover, as quotes will vary by insurer, what type of cover you require, and how high risk you are deemed as a customer. This refers to how likely you are to become critically ill during the policy term.

Generally speaking, critical illness policies that cost the least are those which have the fewest conditions covered and the tightest constraints over when it will pay out for a claim.

The number and range of conditions covered can vary considerably by insurer, but there are seven key conditions that are usually covered by all critical illness policies:

  • Some types of cancer
  • Coronary artery bypass
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney failure
  • Major organ transplant
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke

Permanent disability caused by illness or injury is also usually covered by most policies.

If you’re looking to take out critical illness cover, it’s important to select a policy that is suited to your needs rather than basing a decision on cost alone. For advice and assistance in selecting the most suitable insurer for your needs, get in touch.

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How much does critical illness insurance in the UK cost?

There are five key elements that will impact how high you can expect your insurance premiums to be…

  • The sum assured
  • The type of cover
  • The premiums selected
  • The policy length
  • Personal factors

How does the “sum assured” affect my critical illness insurance monthly cost?

“Sum assured” refers to how much money your insurance policy guarantees to pay out in the event of you being diagnosed with a critical illness.

Essentially, the larger the sum assured, the more the policy is likely to cost you.

If you suffer from a less severe form of a critical illness, such as early-stage cancer or a minor stroke, some critical illness policies may not pay out the full sum assured.

Again, this reiterates the importance of checking the terms and conditions thoroughly before taking out a policy.

How does the type of cover impact how much I pay for critical illness cover?

When it comes to critical illness cover, you can select either “level” or “decreasing” protection:

  • Level term cover pays out a fixed amount throughout the policy term.
  • Decreasing cover pays out an amount which reduces over time, meaning your premiums will be cheaper than level cover because the risk to the insurer in terms of the size of the payout gradually decreases.

How does the type of premiums I select affect critical illness insurance costs?

There are two main types of premiums for critical illness cover, “guaranteed” and “reviewable” premiums:

  • “Guaranteed” or “fixed” premiums generally work out cheaper over a full policy term, and also provide you with the peace of mind that your insurer will not unexpectedly increase the cost of your cover during the period.
  • “Reviewable” premiums are fixed for a certain amount of time, usually for the first five years, after which time the insurer may decide to review your premiums on a regular basis. While this option may appear cheaper at the outset, costs usually increase over the course of the term.

How does policy length impact the cost of critical illness insurance?

The majority of critical illness insurance policies cover you until the age of 70. The longer you’re covered and the older you are at the end of the policy, the more expensive it will be.

Considering that the cost of critical illness cover increases the longer the policy is held, it’s important to carefully consider when the best time to take out cover is, and how long you require the term to be.

Speak to a critical illness specialist for further advice on the best time to take out a policy.

How do personal factors affect the cost of critical illness insurance?

While you have the ability to adjust certain elements of your policy to decrease the price, there are a number of personal circumstances that affect how much your critical illness cover costs which are out of your control:


The older you are when you take out a policy, and the older you will be when the policy ends, the more critical illness cover is likely to cost.

This is because the older you are, the greater the risk you pose to your insurer because you’re more likely to develop a serious illness later in life than you are when you’re young.

How will my health and medical history affect the rough cost of critical illness cover?

When you take out any form of health insurance, your current state of health is a key consideration.

Most quotes you receive online are based on the assumption that you’re in good health, which is why it’s important to speak to an expert before committing to anything.

If you take out a policy under false pretences, it may end up being invalid and the provider can refuse to pay out.

If you have current health conditions, the cost of your critical illness insurance will probably be higher, or exclusions may be applied.

Insurers will also ask questions about the medical history of you and your family.

As a result of this, they may either:

  • Decline your application.
  • Offer the policy on its standard terms.
  • Place an exclusion on the policy relating to an existing condition.
  • Cover pre-existing conditions but charge a higher premium to compensate.

How lifestyle affects the typical cost of critical illness cover

When you apply for critical illness cover, insurers will ask you certain questions about your lifestyle. Again, the greater risk you pose, the higher you can expect the cost of your premiums to be.

So if you have a high risk job or partake in a regular hobby which is deemed dangerous, insurers may place an exclusion on your plan, or increase the premium accordingly. Again, this will depend on the activity and the insurer.

Other lifestyle factors, such as level of alcohol or drug consumption, will also be taken into consideration when you apply for critical illness cover.

How smoking can impact the average cost of critical illness cover

Smokers are more likely to suffer from a critical illness, including cancer, heart attacks and strokes – of which make up around 80% of all critical illness insurance claims.

Therefore, if you’re a smoker you should expect to pay more for this type of cover to reflect the increased risk taken on by your insurer.

Speak to an advisor to find out what the cost of critical illness insurance will be for you

Taking out a critical illness policy is not something that should be rushed into. For informed, up to date advice, get in touch and we’ll refer your enquiry to a critical illness insurance specialist.

The experts we work with will discuss your individual circumstances and requirements with you, and recommend the most suitable critical illness cover for your budget.

You can give us a call on 0808 189 0463 or submit an enquiry. We only work with accredited advisors, we don’t charge a fee, and there are no obligations on your part.

Ask a quick question

We can help! We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with brokers who are experts in critical illness cover. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Pete Mugleston

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Expert

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

FCA Disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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