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Frequently Asked Questions

Serious illness cover (also called specified illness cover) pays out a tax-free lump sum in the event that you’re diagnosed with an illness that is specifically covered by your policy. Serious illness cover can be purchased as standalone cover or combined with life cover or mortgage protection under the one policy

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.

Your policy terms and conditions will outline what’s covered and your insurer will only pay out if you’re diagnosed with one of the specific illnesses or disabilities that are covered.

It’s important to know that not all policies will cover the same illnesses. 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.

Standalone serious illness cover means that your cover is kept separate from any other life insurance policies you might have.

Accelerated serious illness cover is added on to a mortgage protection or life insurance policy and is best explained with an example.

  1. Say you buy €200,000 life insurance with €50,000 accelerated serious illness cover
  2. You make a successful serious illness claim
  3. €50,000 cash is paid out tax-free by your insurer
  4. Your life cover reduces by €50,000 to €150,000
  5. Your policy continues with €150,000 life cover and this amount would also be paid out if you were to die during the remainder of your policy

Additional serious illness cover is added on to a mortgage protection or life insurance policy and is best explained with an example.

  1. Say you buy €200,000 life insurance with €50,000 additional serious illness cover
  2. You make a successful serious illness claim
  3. €50,000 cash is paid out tax-free by your insurer
  4. Your life cover remains at €200,000
  5. Your policy continues with €200,000 life cover and this amount would also be paid out if you were to die during the remainder of your policy

The cost of your policy will depend on several factors such as the amount of cover you choose, how long you want the policy to run for, your age, your health status, and whether you want a single life policy or joint/dual life policy. Smokers will also pay more for cover than non smokers. Use our serious illness comparison service to find out the price of cover for you.

You may need serious illness cover if you’ve no other cover that would provide for you in times of ill health, if you have a mortgage or other loans that would need to be paid off if you became ill and were unable to work, or have dependants who rely on your income.

There are a few ways you can save money on your insurance:

  1. Pay less for your insurance by switching to a cheaper provider.
  2. You could look at reducing your level of cover, if appropriate.
  3. If you’re a smoker who’s looking for insurance, then look at quitting. Smokers pay higher insurance premiums than non-smokers, so as well as being good for your health, it’ll be good for your pocket!

Another option is to reduce the term of your cover and apply the conversion option to the policy. This will decrease your monthly premiums and give you the option to convert the policy at any stage within this term. You will be able to convert the policy up to your 90th birthday with some insurance companies

Convertible term cover, also referred to as a conversion option, allows you to extend the term of your cover at any point over the course of your policy without having to take a medical examination or answer any questions about your health, regardless of your age or health status. Convertible premiums are slightly more expensive than non-convertible premiums.

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