What is a serious illness cover?
Serious illness cover provides a tax-free lump sum if you are diagnosed with a serious illness during the term of the policy.
Here is a list of the main illnesses covered:
Cancer, Heart, Stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, Chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis, Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Paralysis of a limb, Parkinson’s Disease etc.
* Full details of Specified Serious Illness Cover and the Terms and Conditions which apply are contained in the relevant Policy Conditions.
Why the need for a Serious Illness Cover?
Serious illness policies provide you with a tax-free lump sum in the event of you being diagnosed with one of the specified serious illnesses covered on your policy. There are over 50 specified illnesses covered and partial payouts for over 20 specified illnesses. Serious illness cover can be combined with life cover under the one policy.
Serious Illness Cover Claims Statistics
Types of Serious Illness policies
- Stand Alone / Additional Serious Illness cover
This cover allows you to choose a specified serious illness cover which is independent of any life cover under the policy. This means if you make a claim on your specified illness cover, your life cover remains unaffected. You can also choose to take out stand-alone specified serious illness cover on a completely independent basis. i.e. without any life cover at all. Stand-alone specified serious illness cover is only available on term assurance policies.
For example: Tom takes out a life and specified serious illness cover policy on his own life. He takes out €250,000 life cover and €100,000 stand-alone specified illness cover. Unfortunately, sometime in the future, Tom suffers a heart attack. After successfully claiming for a heart attack, he receives €100,000 from his specified serious illness cover as this cover was set up from the outset on a standalone basis. Tom’s specified serious illness cover payment of €100,000 does not affect the life cover amount which remains in place at €250,000. After his claim, Tom’s monthly premium is also reduced to reflect his remaining cover.
- Accelerated Serious Illness cover:
This cover is a combination of life cover and specified illness cover. In the event of a successful claim on one of the specified serious illnesses, your life cover will be reduced by the amount of the specified serious illness cover claim. For accelerated illness cover you can choose the amount of specified serious illness cover you require, from 10% to 100% of your life cover. Accelerated specified serious illness cover is available on both term assurance and mortgage protection policies.
For example Mary takes out a policy on her own life with €250,000 life cover and €100,000 accelerated specified serious illness cover. Sometime in the future, Mary, unfortunately, suffers a stroke. After successfully claiming on her policy, she receives €100,000. Whilst Mary’s specified serious illness cover is now used up, her life cover continues but is reduced by the amount paid out by the serious illness in this example €100,000. So now she has €150,000 life cover for the remainder of the policy. Mary’s monthly premium is also reduced to reflect her reduced cover.
* How much Serious Illness cover do I need?
The general advice is to have 2 to 4 times your income in serious illness cover. So if you earn €50,000, you should have between €100,000 and €200,000 serious illness cover.
Additional Benefits Available
Permanent Total Disablement:
This benefit is payable if you or someone covered on your policy becomes permanently, totally and irreversibly unable to perform current working duties. You do not necessarily have to be suffering a serious illness; a significant bodily injury may result in you being in a position where you need to claim Permanent Total Disablement benefit. This option is always paid as an acceleration of the serious illness sum insured, which means that the amount of serious illness you have reduces by the amount paid out to you.
Terminal Illness benefit:
This is a standard benefit that can be provided (excluding Income Protection) where life cover has been selected as the main benefit, at no additional cost. It is payable if, in the opinion of an attending Consultant and the Company’s Chief Medical Officer, the life assured’s life expectancy is no greater than 12 months.
In the event that you require major surgery, you will receive a payment of 10% of the serious illness sum insured, up to a maximum of €25,000. If you require intermediate surgery, you will receive a payment of 5% of the serious illness sum insured, up to a maximum of €12,500. The intermediate and major surgeries covered are listed in your policy document.
Personal Accident benefit:
The Personal Accident benefit is paid for each week you are unable to work in your current occupation as a direct result of an accident. It will be the lesser of half your weekly earnings or the amount of benefit you decide to cover yourself for. It pays a maximum of 52 weeks during the term of your policy.
If you are admitted to hospital in Ireland as an in-patient for more than three days (72 hours), your policy will pay the amount of Hospital Cash benefit you choose multiplied by the number of days (24 hours) you are in hospital to a maximum of one year (365 days) during the term of your policy.
No one wants to think about their children becoming seriously ill or prematurely dying. However, it is important to note that your policy can provide some financial support in these very unfortunate circumstances. It can provide you with money to help cover medical and funeral costs, if required. Financial support will also be provided to help with medical related expenses (such as hospital stays, accommodation for parents or having to travel abroad) if a child suffers one of the specified serious illnesses.
Other options/terms to be aware of with your policy
Inflation Protection Option:
If you include the Inflation Protection option on your policy, you will have the option each year to increase your premium and cover by specific amounts to protect against inflation (4.5% for your premium and 3% for your sums insured which may vary with the different insurance companies).
Protection Continuation Option:
This option allows you to extend the benefits provided by your policy at any stage during the term, without providing further medical evidence. The option must be selected on the application form at the start date of the policy.
Waiver of Premium benefit:
This benefit gives you the added security of knowing that if you are unable to work because of injury or illness, your policy will pay your premiums after a period of 26 weeks has passed. Payments will stop on your recovery, at the end of the policy term, your 60th birthday or death, whichever is earliest.
This benefit gives you the option to increase your cover without further medical evidence on the birth of a child, marriage, registered civil partnership, promotion (in certain circumstances), or in the event that you gain approval for a new mortgage or increase to an existing mortgage and subsequently draw down these funds.
You or your legal representatives have the right to pay the unpaid premiums due on the policy within three months of the date on which the first unpaid premium was due and have the policy reinstated. The policy can be reinstated even if a claim has arisen. This provision does not apply if the policy is cancelled by you.
Helping Hand Facility:
This benefit gives a one-to-one personal support from your own Nurse Adviser from Red Arc who can help you and your family cope with the devastating effects that illness or bereavement can cause. It is important to note that the benefits below apply to all of your family members. (you, your spouse and your children).
Helping Hand provides access to bereavement counsellors, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, face to face second medical opinions, complementary therapies, massages and reflexology.
*Click the link below for video for a detailed example of ‘Helping Hand’ Facility in Practice.