Critical illness insurance

Get critical insurance coverage today to protect yourself and family in case the unexpected happens

Last updated:

Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

Critical illness insurance provides you with a lump sum benefit if you suffer a serious medical condition. This lump sum benefit can be used to ease your financial strain during an already stressful time. What’s covered in each policy varies by provider, but some can cover up to 40 different medical conditions including:

  • Compare multiple providers
  • Calculate how much coverage you need
  • Get a quote in 2 minutes

Get a FREE life insurance quote

What's Your Birthdate?
Where Do You Live?
What Is Your Gender?

More info





Heart attack

Critical illness insurance can either be bought as a standalone policy or bundled with your life insurance policy. Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of critical illness insurance.

    What does critical illness insurance cover?

    Critical illness insurance provides you with a lump sum benefit when you’re unable to work due to a listed condition. Listed conditions can vary from provider to provider but some conditions that can be covered are:
    • Alzheimers disease
    • Aortic surgery
    • Aplastic anaemia
    • Benign brain tumour
    • Blindness
    • Severe burns
    • Cancer
    • Cardiomyopathy
    • Coma
    • Coronary artery angiography
    • Coronary bypass surgery
    • Deafness
    • Dementia
    • Diplegia
    • Encephalitis
    • Hemiplegia
    • Heart Attack
    • HIV accidental infection
    • HIV occupational acquired
    • Kidney failure chronic
    • Loss of limbs or eye
    • Loss of speech
    • Loss of independent existence
    • Lung disease
    • Major head trauma
    • Major organ transplant
    • Motor neurone disease
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Out of hospital cardiac arrest
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Peripheral neuropathy
    • Pulmonary hypertension
    • Quadriplegia
    • Stroke
    • Terminal illness

    There’s no restriction on how you use the payout from a critical illness insurance policy claim. You can use it to pay your mortgage, medical expenses, for a long rehabilitation vacation, to clear yourself of debt, to pay for childcare services or to hire help around the house.

    A major point to keep in mind is that the benefit is only payable should you survive.

    Some insurance providers have a survival period of just 14 days while others require at least a month. To get around this, some insurers will let you combine your life insurance and critical illness insurance into one policy.

    When will a critical illness insurance policy pay out?

    Some of the main requirements for a payout when it comes to critical illness insurance include:

    • Diagnosis of a covered condition. The conditions covered are listed in the terms and conditions of your policy. Depending on the condition, you can either receive a full or partial pay-out.
    • Your diagnosis occurs after the waiting period. This is typically after 30-90 days from when you first purchase your policy.
    • You live through the survival period. This is typically set at two weeks from when you’re diagnosed with an illness. The reason behind a survival period is because critical illness coverage is designed to pay if you survive a traumatic event and not in the event of death.

    Before taking out a life insurance policy, read the contract from the insurer to understand when claims will be paid or rejected.

    Why would a claim not be accepted by an insurer?

    Some of the common reasons why an illness claim wouldn’t be paid out include:

    • Pre-existing medical conditions Many policies will not cover illnesses that arise from pre-existing medical conditions.
    • The exact illness is not covered. Most critical illness policies will have a set list of what conditions are covered. If you don’t check the exclusions in your policy, you’ll be in the dark if it comes time to make a claim — always know what is and isn’t covered.
    • Nondisclosure. Your claim can be declined if you failed to disclose a pre-existing medical condition, meaning if the sickness or injury started or was diagnosed before the insurance was purchased.
    • Self-inflicted. Any injuries that were caused by the person insured from attempted suicide or any other situation would typically result in a rejected claim.

    What are the key features of critical illness insurance?

    Critical illness insurance is a policy that pays a lump sum in case of serious illness so that you can concentrate on recovery instead of finances. Common features include:

    • Coverage for common critical conditions and illnesses. Some policies have coverage for over 40 different illnesses. If you receive a diagnosis, you can begin the claim process.
    • Access to premium treatment. Some insurers will also provide access to medical specialists, as well as financial help for treatment and procedures.
    • Lump sum payment. This can range from $20,000 to $500,000 (if fully underwritten) depending on the illness.
    • Wider range of coverage. With higher premiums, the range of covered conditions increases to include things like organ failure, HIV, intensive care or loss of senses.
    • Children can be insured. Some insurers bundle the policy with added coverage for your children.

    Are critical illness premiums tax-deductible?

    Premiums paid are not tax-deductible, however the benefits paid from the claim are tax-free.

    When would a critical illness policy be canceled?

    Consult the terms and conditions for your plan for a full list of circumstances, but be aware that your policy will end if:

    • The policy is canceled.
    • You are paid out the full amount of insurance benefits.
    • The life insurance coverage that the critical illness insurance is attached to ends.
    • Non-disclosure of important details (a pre-existing medical condition) when you apply.
    • Premiums aren’t paid.
    • The termination date is reached — either as part of the policy or age of the insured.
    • A fraudulent claim is made.
    • The individual dies.

    Traps to look out for when it comes to critical illness insurance

    • An added cost. If you’ve been looking at general insurances, you may find that critical illness insurance is added in as an extra. This means you should consider if you really need this supplemental protection so you’re not over extending your finances.
    • Pre-existing conditions. If you’re already in poor health, or you’re a smoker, then odds are good you’ll be paying high premiums — that’s if you can even find coverage. So, if you’re already suffering from a critical illness, this type of insurance may not make the most sense because you won’t be eligible to claim for a pre-existing condition.

    Life insurance vs. critical illness insurance

    Life insurance and critical illness insurance work differently, and many people use both to make sure they and their family are fully protected. You can purchase polices separately or bundle them together to save money.

    Life insuranceCritical illness insurance
    DefinitionAn insurance policy that pays out when someone dies or is diagnosed with a terminal illnessAn insurance policy that pays out when someone is diagnosed with a serious illness that they’ll likely recover from
    Who gets paid?The policyholder’s named beneficiaryThe policyholder
    When do they get paid?After showing proof of a terminal illness or a death certificateAfter being diagnosed with a serious illness
    What is the money used for?Final expenses, debts, supporting children and providing for loved onesReplacing lost income, nursing care, home modifications for disabilities and medical copays

    Is critical illness insurance worth it?

    Critical illness insurance is important to consider for multiple reasons. It can help you cover the costs of bills, childcare, groceries and other expenses like mortgage payments or rehabilitation while your incapacitated.

    Essentially, critical illness is a useful form of life insurance that can protect your assets and allow you to continue with your way of living if you’re ill and unable to work.

    Find a life insurance policy today

    Use our magical comparison tool to find the best rates in your area.

    Your information is secure.


    Ask an Expert

    You are about to post a question on

    • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
    • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
    • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
    • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

    By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

    Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
    Go to site