Serious Illness

Compare serious illness cover to find the best cover for you.There are different types of serious illness insurance policies to choose from depending on your cover needs, health and budget. Below we help you to examine your policy needs, as well as to explore the types of policies on offer, how they work and what affects their price.

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Serious Illness Cover top-tips
Serious Illness Cover

Serious Illness Cover top-tips

  1. When it comes to serious illness cover, not all policies are the same, so make sure to check the range of illnesses covered and their claims definitions.
  2. Even if you already have a life insurance policy, it often makes financial sense to check out the cost of having a combined life and accelerated serious illness policy, rather than 2 separate policies.
  3. If serious illness cover proves a bit too expensive, talk to us about adding cancer cover only, to your life insurance policy.


Compare Serious Illness Cover

Consider Your Needs

It’s important to understand that serious illness cover costs more than life insurance, as the likelihood of a claim occurring is much higher!

However, having 2 separate life and specified serious illness policies will always cost more than an accelerated serious illness policy and even if you feel that you only need serious illness cover at this time, including life cover on the same policy does not actually add to the price!

Accelerated Serious Illness Cover offers both life insurance and serious illness benefits on the same policy with a serious illness claim pay-out acting as an advance payment of the life cover amount.

The second very important fact to be aware of is that in Ireland not all specified serious illness cover is the same, meaning the claims definitions may differ, as well as the number of specific illnesses covered under the policy. It’s, therefore, imperative to seek out not only the cheapest price but the most comprehensive cover too – our recommended quotes do both!

Specified Serious Illness Cover – Your Policy Options

Everything you need to know about getting “specified serious illness cover” including automatic and optional policy features & benefits.

The Policy Term

The term can run from 10 years to a maximum of 40 years, but not go beyond age 75 next birthday.

To keep the cost down and to provide the right coverage amount when it’s needed most, the general recommendation is to take out your cover up to your normal retirement age but to also include a continuation option to allow the choice to extend cover later.

The Cover Level

It is generally recommended to opt for a sum assured of between 1-2 times your annual income or if a homemaker a sum of in the region of €30,000 to €50,000, subject to affordability.

The Cover Basis

Single cover – covers one person under the policy.

Joint cover – allows you to have 2 people on the one policy, but it only has 1 cover pay-out, on the first claim.

Dual cover – allows for 2 people on the same policy, but provides pay-outs on both people, under separate claims.

If including 2 people on the one policy it allows different levels of cover on each if required and always offers better value than a joint cover policy.

The Price

The price is based on your age, smoker status, and your current health. So, you will need to answer some medical questions when making an application. Once your policy commences, the price is fixed. It is highly recommended that you compare both standalone serious illness quotes with serious illness quotes that include the same level of accelerated life insurance because of the prices seldom differ!

Serious Illness Cover – Automatic Benefits & Features

Policies can vary amongst the different insurance companies, but most usually include the following policy benefits and features:

Automatic Benefits

Children’s Cover
Your children may be covered for all of the illnesses listed on your policy, and sometimes for other child-related illnesses, such as meningitis. The maximum benefit for a child’s claim depends on the policy, but it is usually no more than 50% of your cover, up to a maximum of about €25,000.

Waiting list and overseas surgery benefit
Under this benefit, the insurance company pays out part of the serious illness benefit, if you are put on a waiting list for certain major types of surgery, or if it is essential for you to have major surgery outside of Ireland.

Any Occupation PTD Cover

If you become permanently, totally disabled (PTD) from an illness, or condition that is not otherwise covered by the policy, you could claim the serious illness benefit cover under any Occupation PTD.

This means you can only claim if you are not able to work at any job. It means you are permanently unable to do many normal daily activities, such as walking, lifting, bending, writing, or speaking. The risk of this happening to you is quite low so, any-occupation PTD is often included in the standard illness list, under Serious Illness Cover.

Terminal Illness Benefit – If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness your full serious illness sum assured will be paid out.

Automatic Feature

Guaranteed Insurability
Allows you increase your original cover amount by the lower of 50% or €100,000, without having to provide evidence of health, within 3 months of a mortgage increase due to moving house; getting married, or having or adopting a child. The max increase over the term of the policy is usually the lower of 100% of the lump sum amount, or €200,000.

Serious Illness Cover – Optional Features

Optional Features

Continuation Option

Including a continuation option when originally taking out your policy, allows you the option to later extend your cover term. When your initial policy term is coming to an end, you can then choose to extend your cover term with the advantage of not having to answer any fresh medical questions at the time. You can opt to extend just part of your original cover amount or extend the full cover amount, up as far as age 76 next birthday dependent on the insurer.

Inflation Protection Option

Including inflation protection means that both the benefits and premiums will increase at a set percentage on your policies annual anniversary. This allows for the real value of your benefits to be protected into the future. The annual benefit always increases at 3% pa, while the premium may increase at circa 3-4% pa, dependent on the insurer.

Serious Illness Cover – Optional Benefits

Optional Benefits

Own Occupation PTD
This means you can claim if you are permanently and totally unable to do your current job. You will usually pay extra for this type of PTD cover. You may not be able to get this extra cover if your job carries a higher risk of disability. For example, if you are a sports professional.

Life & Accelerated Serious Illness Cover
This plan provides you with both Serious Illness Cover and Life Cover, if a serious illness claim is paid on this type of policy, the life cover amount is cancelled out. Whereas, if you die without ever making a serious illness claim, the full life cover payment is made.

Life & Standalone Serious Illness Cover
This plan provides you with both life cover and serious illness cover on a standalone or independent basis. If a serious illness claim is paid, the life cover remains in place at its original level. If you subsequently die during the term of the policy, the life insurance will also then be paid out.

Serious Illness Insurance V Income Protection

Which Illness Protection Insurance is right for me?

Many people get confused about these two Insurance options when seeking to protect themselves financially against Illness.

Income protection is most suited to the self-employed and business owners, who would not be protected by state benefits, but it is equally important for any working person, who wants to protect their income. The benefits are paid as a taxable, partial salary replacement (to 75%), up to selected retirement age, to a maximum age of 70.

Serious Illness Insurance is about providing a tax-free lump sum cash payment, to help with medical expenses and clearing debts.

Features of Serious Illness Insurance:

  1. Pays out a once off tax-free lump sum.
  2. Claim payout is dependent on the diagnosis of one of a list of specified Illnesses.
  3. Claim payment is subject to 14 days’ survival from the date of diagnosis.
  4. You can cover yourself up to age 75.
  5. You can only claim once.
  6. The level of cover is restricted only by affordability and medical acceptance.

Features of Income Protection:

  1. Pays out up to 75% of your gross annual salary (less state benefit where it applies to you).
  2. Claim payments continue up to retirement age or, recovery date.
  3. You can claim more than once.
  4. You can cover yourself up to age 70.
  5. The claim waiting period is a minimum of 4 weeks, but normally 13, or 26 weeks is chosen, due to affordability.

Income protection is less restrictive on the cause of your illness, as long as it prevents you from carrying out your normal occupation on a temporary, or permanent basis. However, the waiting period for the first claim payout can be substantially dependent on your chosen deferred period.

Serious Illness insurance cover is subject to a specific diagnosis of an illness listed under the policy conditions and is usually paid out after 14 days.

It is most advisable to have both insurance covers in place, rather than opting for one insurance cover over the other, as they provide different benefits and are payable in a different way for and after different time periods.

If you find that you can’t get Income Protection Insurance because of your occupation, then you should consider adding personal accident benefit to your Serious Illness policy.

Whereas Life Insurance pays out after you die, Specified Illness and Income Protection cover pay-out while you are living. You need the benefit of financial assistance at these difficult times, which is why they are often referred to as living benefits.


Serious Illness Cover Quotes – Frequently Asked Questions

What is Serious Illnesses Cover

Specified Serious Illness Cover (sometimes called critical illness Insurance) is designed to provide you with a tax-free payout on diagnosis of a specified serious illness. It can be taken out on its own, known as a standalone cover or with a combined life policy known as accelerated cover. The Illnesses covered and policy claim conditions can differ amongst insurers in Ireland.

What is an Accelerated Serious Illness policy?

An Accelerated Serious Illness Cover policy is one that includes life insurance, so if you die from an accident or illness not specified within your insurance policy it will still pay-out the full sum assured. It also allows for a higher level of life cover than serious illness cover if required meaning that any serious illness claim pay-outs still leave a surplus life cover pay-out, should a death claim also occur within the policy cover term.

What Specified Serious Illnesses are covered?

Serious Illness Insurance covers a specified range of specified serious illnesses, with the majority of insurers now covering up to 70 illnesses and some up to 91. All insurers policies cover Heart Attack, Cancer and Stroke where the majority of claims occur. Other Specified illnesses typically covered include coronary artery disease, multiple sclerosis, kidney failure, motor neuron disease, blindness, major organ transplantation (including being on a waiting list for transplantation), benign brain tumor, severe burns, etc.

With some policies, your condition would have to be extremely serious before you could make a claim and in many cases more common illness, such as back injury and treatable cancers, aren’t covered at all.

Also, you usually won’t be covered if your illness is judged to be caused by drug or alcohol abuse, a self-inflicted injury or a failure to follow medical advice.

Why consider Serious Illness cover?

Serious Illness cover offers protection from the financial effects a specified serious illness or permanent disability can bring. It is designed to complement your life insurance if you have dependents and can be taken out a separate policy, or with your life insurance under the one policy.

How much Serious Illness cover do I need?

Remember Serious Illness Insurance is designed to pay out a tax-free lump sum if you are diagnosed with one of the specified serious illness listed on your policy. The cover amount you choose should take into account whether you already have Income Protection. Also, do remember any serious illness cover attaching to your mortgage is payable to the bank and not you directly. As a general rule of thumb, a multiple of 1 time annual salary is recommended.

What if I already have a serious medical condition?

It will depend on the nature of the condition and it is best to discuss this in confidence prior to making any application. In the event you are excluded from taking out serious illness cover due to your medical health, it may be worth taking out cancer cover only as an independent benefit.

What is a Continuation Option?

For a small additional cost, a continuation option is a very valuable benefit which allows you to extend your coverage under a new policy. You can use this option at any stage throughout your policy term, without having to provide any fresh evidence of health.

What’s the difference between joint and dual cover?

Joint cover means the policy will only pay out once, on one person, that person is the first to claim of the 2 people covered.
Dual cover will pay out again if a subsequent claim occurs during the policy term.

Joint cover policies are more suited to mortgage loan protection and dual cover to family protection. A dual cover policy also allows for different levels of cover on each person as required, so in effect offers better and more flexible cover, at very little extra cost.

Is the premium fixed?

Yes, we quote only guaranteed premiums without reviews. If you choose to inflation protect your cover (3% per annum) by including indexation, the cost should also increase at an average rate of 3% per annum dependent on the insurer.

For how long can I be covered?

You can choose the cover term; from 5 to 40 years. Some people choose to cover to retirement age, while others opt for a longer-term especially when combining this cover under a life insurance policy. However, serious illness cover won’t go beyond age 75, so if combining life & serious illness cover it can be a good idea to choose a policy term to age 75, with a continuation option so you can extend the life cover element to age 90.

Why choose to compare serious illness cover quotes?

With comparing serious illness cover quotes is made easy!

We are committed to making serious illness cover more transparent, accessible and affordable. We understand that finding your best value serious illness policy should be hassle-free and that’s why we compare all the leading providers in Ireland and allow you to tailor your quote to your individual budget and circumstances.

In fact, with One Quote you can save up to 10% with the market-leading policy, all policies offered are free from premium reviews, and our “best value guarantee” means we refuse to be beaten on price.