Critical & Serious Illness Cover

0808 169 1090

What is serious illness cover?

If you’re diagnosed with a serious illness we cover, serious illness cover pays out a lump sum. The payout is tax-free and can cover your expenses while you take time to recover.

How does serious illness cover work?

For the duration of your plan, you’ll pay monthly premiums. If you’re diagnosed with one of the conditions covered, you’ll get a payout. 

Cover pays out based on the impact that the condition has on your lifestyle. This means you could receive a payout at an earlier stage of your illness, even if it’s not life threatening. The policy willpay out 100%, 75%, 50%, 25%, 15%, 10% or 5% of your cover depending on the severity of your condition. 

Should your condition get worse, or you suffer with another condition, you can claim again. You can keep doing this until you’ve used up your whole cover amount.

How much cover do I need?

Call us on 0808 169 1090 to speak to an adviser, or get a quote

What conditions are covered?

Critical illness insurance policies typically cover only 75 conditions, serious illness plans cover up to as many as 182 conditions including:

Do I need serious illness cover?

Illness can impact our lives at any time. On average, people are £570 worse off each month due to cancer diagnosis6. Insurance cover can reduce the financial impact of this. Consider serious illness cover if:

1 in 2

people in the UK will develop some form if cancer in their lifetime.

7 Minutes

every 7 minutes, someone will have a heart attack.

12 Minutes

every 12 minutes, someone will have a stroke.

Serious Illness Cover and Critical Illness Cover - FAQ's

You can choose a cover amount of between £15,000 and £100,000 for your children. If your child gets diagnosed with one of the illnesses we cover, we give you a cash lump sum. Your child is covered from one month old. If they stay in full-time education. We’ll cover them until the plan anniversary after their 23rd birthday. Your cover will include a children's hospital benefit that pays £100 a day if your child goes to hospital.

Life insurance pays a lump sum to your loved ones if you die or develop a terminal illness.

With serious illness cover, if you’re diagnosed with an illness we cover, the payment goes to you.

Most insurers will pay out 100% of the cover amount and then stop your plan. So if you need to claim again, you're not covered. It could be expensive – or impossible – for you to buy the same amount of cover again.

Even after you make a claim, our plans can protect you because we let you claim more than once. You won't get your whole lump sum if you don’t need it. So, if you claim for a condition that’s less severe, we pay out part of the cover amount for that condition. This leaves you the rest to keep protected in the future. 

  • Advanced Cancer
  • Advanced Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
  • Advanced Hodgkin’s disease
  • Advanced Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Borderline Ovarian Cancer
  • Cancer excluding less advanced cases
  • Carcinoma in-situ
  • Carcinoma in-situ - treated with surgery to remove the tumour
  • Carcinoma in-situ of the Oesophagus, requiring surgery
  • Desmoid-type fibromatosis
  • Low Grade Prostate Cancer
  • Lumpectomy for Ductal Carcinoma in-situ of the Breast
  • Mastectomy for Carcinoma in-situ of the Breast
  • Moderately Severe Aplastic Anaemia
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Myelodysplasia
  • Non Melanoma Skin Cancer
  • Squamous Cell and Basal Cell Carcinomas of specified severity
  • Severe Aplastic Anaemia

See all conditions covered – apply Vitality literature

  • You’re more likely to get a payout
  • Peace of mind for you and your family if you become ill
  • Claim more than once

There's no 'one size fits all' for what a good amount of cover is. The amount of serious illness cover you will need depends on many variables. Consider things like:

  • How much you and your family need to get by
  • Mortgage payments
  • Any savings you already have
  • Any ongoing debts

It’s because serious illness cover covers all other conditions in the market (Defaqto 2019).

Serious illness cover, covers early stages of certain conditions. In some cases, you will get a partial payout when you are diagnosed. This means you don't need to wait until you have surgery or develop permanent symptoms to get a payout.

Critical illness cover pays out for a smaller number of conditions, and will end once the plan has paid out in full.

Serious illness cover pays out an amount based on the severity of the condition. It covers a wider number of conditions and can pay out earlier than Critical illness cover.

Take eyesight for example. Critical Illness insurers will typically pay out in full on blindness in both eyes, and the plan will end. Serious illness cover will pay out part of the cover earlier on for blindness in one eye. We'll increase your payout as the condition progresses.


This comparison is based on the differences between serious illness cover and other covers.

This cover comparison information is for personal use and is guidance only. It isn’t a contractual representation, warranty or obligation about the: Completeness; Accuracy; Reliability; Suitability; Or availability of the comparison.

Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, 2017 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association.
State of the Nation Stroke statistics, February 2018.
Cancer Research UK, 2017.
Macmillan Cancer Support Research.

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