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Does enhanced critical illness cover offer good value for money?

The financial protection market is continually evolving. Clients are looking for more options to better cover different risks. Critical illness in particular has a broader remit as there is always a question of how critical is critical and what about less critical conditions?

To help those clients that want extra peace of mind we often discuss enhanced critical illness plans. These can be in isolation or as a complement to an existing core policy. Do people need these enhanced plans?

Enhanced critical illness plans are more expensive, around 10-15% in standard cases, as a result, they offer a broader cover with a greater chance of leading to a payout. They do this by either:

Covering more minor conditions- for example, AIG standard covers 45 conditions, and their enhanced offering covers 50+ conditions.

Covering earlier stages of other already covered serious conditions – for example, Aviva enhanced will cover less advanced cancers at much earlier stages (where treatment is more effective).

In most cases, an element of both is present in enhanced critical illness policies. These options help us as advisers put tougher protection packages that better fit a client’s specific tolerance to bad luck before a payout is required. These desires can be affected by several variables such as the type of work they do, their age, vulnerability and financial situation.

The same options are also available for children’s cover.


Is enhanced cover worth the money?

The answer to this question depends on the purpose of the cover. When speaking with clients we try to help them understand their priorities across 2 simple variables:

How unlucky are you prepared to be before you qualify for a payment?

Do you want a significant payout to change your lifestyle or a reduced sum to adapt enough to a new way of life?

This helps most people work out whether they want a 15% extra payout on a tighter grouping of conditions or a reduced payout but more chances to claim.

Take, for example, losing your sight. Insurers have 2 definitions, severe loss of sight or significant visual impairment. As a guide when reading the Snellen chart (the letter of decreasing size test we’ve all done at the opticians).

An Aviva Core policy would only pay out if eyesight was worse than 6/60 (i.e. couldn’t read past the top letter)

The Aviva Upgraded policy would pay at a lower threshold where the policyholder could read no better than a 6/24 level, (a few lines down).

As a comparison– vitality would pay out in full, with a 6/36 threshold but would offer part payment for any reading ability worse than 6/18.

This is a good example of how conditions and their symptoms can vary and can be the difference between a successful claim and an unsuccessful one. This is the value of peace of mind in action and the best way to summarise the value of these enhanced policies. You’re never going to have a ‘catch-all’ policy, but you can have a wider safety net.

Anecdotally we are talking about enhanced policies more often with clients wanting to opt for premium policies, but sometimes this is a bolt-on or complement to a core policy that offers a greater payout per pound designed to pay out a lot if they were very unlucky.


To help you make informed decisions we can understand your needs, offer quotes, and guide you through our advice process to suggest a suitable package for you.