Buying Critical Illness Cover

By: Chris Johns

When it comes to critical illness insurance, reading the small print in your policy is absolutely crucial. Depending on the company, up to 25% of critical illness claims are rejected and most of these situations come down to the policy holder not understanding the finer points of their policy.

The increasing amounts of negative publicity surrounding cases in which people with critical illnesses are unable to get their insurance company to pay out dissuade many people from getting insurance they might potentially benefit from. However, when you consider that 20% of men and 17% of women will suffer from a critical illness before they reach 65, insurance begins to sound like an attractive option.

Heavily publicised cases of insurance companies refusing to pay for critical illness claims have led to a significant amount of consumer mistrust in this type of insurance. However, it's important to note that in most cases, one of three issues is in play; the policy holder did not disclose important medical information when they applied for the insurance, they did not follow company protocol when getting medical advice, or they simply thought they were covered for a certain illness when they weren't. By becoming intimately familiar with the terms and conditions of your policy, you can reduce the likelihood of any of these issues arising if you need to make a claim.

Full Disclosure is Required

Non-disclosure is the most common reason that insurance companies reject critical illness claims. This can mean failing to disclose information, or providing inaccurate information either deliberately or unknowingly. This may even include information that is not relevant to a critical illness you suffer from in the future, as well as information relating to your family's medical history.

Read the small print and understand what your policy covers before you even commit to a critical illness policy, it's vital that you understand exactly what you are and are not covered for. Regardless of any extenuating circumstances, an insurance company simply will not pay out if you suffer from a critical illness that your policy does not cover. Most standard policies provide cover for a number of conditions, including kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, major organ transplant and coronary bypass surgery. However, if you want cover for additional critical illnesses you'll need to shop around and find a policy that has what you're looking for, and be particularly careful in reading the terms and conditions to make sure it has the cover you need.

Note that critical illnesses as defined by insurance companies are very precise. If your illness does not match your insurance company's definition, they can still reject your claim even if you have met all other criteria of the policy.

Follow Protocol When Seeking Medical Advice

Following your insurance company's protocol when seeking medical advice will reduce the likelihood of them rejecting your claim. For example, if your doctor tells you that you have high cholesterol and gives you advice on dietary and lifestyle changes you must make an effort to reduce it, you must follow your doctor's instructions or risk invalidating any future claim you make. Your company's protocol is crucial information that you should find out before committing to a policy, you need to know how to proceed when seeking medical advice right from the beginning.

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