Serious Illness Insurance
Why is it so important?
Recently a customer called Chill Insurance to apply for Mortgage Protection. We spoke about the benefits and additional cover options associated with life insurance protecting the mortgage also. It was at this point in the conversation that they told me that although they were seeking out mortgage protection cover, they would like to know more about serious illness protection, and how their mortgage can be protected against this event also.
As Head of Life at Chill Insurance I am in a position where I can let customers know the benefits of having a life policy beyond securing your mortgage in the event of death/serious illness. Personally I believe that even the smallest amount of serious illness cover, no matter what amount, is better than nothing.
Although mortgage protection and personal life insurance are most widely known among most Irish policy holders, I believe that serious illness cover is one of the most underplayed, and under promoted protection products you can have. I am not going to say I have had a Serious Illness policy since the day I started working within the world of protection but I do now and if I need to claim in the future, that is all that will matter. I never want to be in a position where I say "I wish I had taken it out a few years back".
I am 33 years of age and pay €24 per month for €40,000 Serious Illness cover. Even though I would prefer much more to tide me over, if I had to get treatment or recuperate from serious illness, it is a start to help afford the bills I would face being out on sick leave.
This doesn’t mean Life insurance is less important, but I do feel that we, as brokers, have the knowledge and we sometimes we don't make enough people aware of the benefits of having Serious Illness cover and I have been scratching my head lately to understand why this protection is side-lined compared to life cover!
What Is Serious Illness?
We impart our knowledge on customers who approaches us daily, but what about the people who don't have any idea about serious illness and if they could ever even afford it.
This particular policy can be invaluable to people who are diagnosed with a serious illness within their lifetime. The policies are all similar but have distinct differences that can give you different ways to use the policy depending on the serious illness and the severity of it. Each insurer policies differ slightly, including their list of illness covered so make sure you ask for more information when you are applying about the best cover for you.
Right now you may be somewhat hesitant in approaching a broker with questions about taking out serious illness because you have a family history of a certain illness, you don’t believe you will ever get an illness listed on the policy or you can’t afford much so there is no point in applying, but these are the reasons to apply and see if this cover is for you.
You may have a series of questions running through your head such as:
- What defines my illness as being serious?
- What happens if I put down that I am a non-smoker and start smoking in the future, will they cancel my policy?
- What are the benefits of having serious illness cover?
Do these sound like the kind of questions you asked yourself when you started reading this blog? For some of us it might not be until you see a relative, friend or close family member suffer from a serious illness, that you realise the potential benefits of having a serious illness policy in place but don’t wait, act now.
Do I Need Serious Illness Cover?
Each day my team witness the growing effects of illness on families in Ireland and see people struggling and people who have been so fortunate to have the cover already in place. The likes of Chron’s disease, obesity, kidney disease and various types of cancer are leading to increasing claims on serious illness policies with our life company partners. One of the most shocking facts I have heard recently is that there are nearly 10,000 deaths from heart disease related conditions each year.
Take a moment and imagine the following scenario. After a consultation your doctor gives you the news that
"you have cancer, we will treat it and you have a good chance of survival, but you will have to go through Chemo. Because of the treatment you will have to take time off work."
If this was the case how would you plan on paying for the following?
- Your mortgage (if you currently have one).
- The bills from your hospital.
- Treatment plans.
- Personal loans or other debts.
- Food, light and heat
Next your attention may turn to your family and loved ones. How would you plan on supporting them, and yourself, while you are out of work receiving treatment?
In some cases your employers may have you covered under a sick pay or income protection arrangement or you may have your own serious illness cover in place. It is important to remember, at all times, that a serious illness policy will not replace your full income if you were out of work because of a long-term illness but it will give you a lump sum to cover such costs
Serious illness insurance will only pay out if the illness is covered by the policy. However all of our insurers cover the major illness's and conditions such as:
- Heart attacks
- Kidney failure etc
Many shorter term illnesses that may prevent you from working may not be covered by your policy so make sure you check with your broker or the Chill Life Team when you are taking out your cover.
Every day you wait to apply for cover you can run the risk of being diagnosed with a Serious Illness and with each passing year your policy gets more expensive. I believe that this type of cover is too important not to have and remember that some, no matter how much, is better than none.