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Safety Nets: Critical Illness Cover vs Income Protection

By February 14, 2024 February 20th, 2024 No Comments

When it comes to safeguarding your financial wellbeing, the choices can seem overwhelming. Two popular options in the UK are Critical Illness Cover and Income Protection. While they both aim to provide financial support during challenging times, they serve different purposes. Let’s break down the key differences to help you make an informed decision based on your needs.

What Is Critical Illness Cover?

Critical Illness Cover is designed to provide a lump sum payout if you are diagnosed with a serious illness specified in your policy. These illnesses typically include conditions such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, and organ failure. The idea is to offer a financial cushion to cover medical expenses, mortgage payments, or any other financial obligations during a challenging period.

Pros of Critical Illness Cover:

1. Lump Sum Payout: One of the significant advantages of Critical Illness Cover is the lump sum payout, which can be used at your discretion.

2. Specific Illness Coverage: This policy is tailored to cover specific critical illnesses, ensuring targeted financial assistance during times of need.

3. Peace of Mind: Knowing you have financial support if a critical illness strikes can bring peace of mind to you and your family.

Cons of Critical Illness Cover:

1. Limited Coverage: Critical Illness Cover only pays out for specified illnesses, and if your illness isn’t on the list, you may not receive benefits.

2. No Ongoing Support: Once the lump sum is paid, the coverage ends, leaving you without ongoing financial assistance.

What Is Income Protection?

Income Protection, on the other hand, is designed to replace a portion of your income if you are unable to work due to illness or injury. Rather than a lump sum payout, it provides a regular income stream, usually a percentage of your salary, until you can return to work or until the end of the policy term.

Pros of Income Protection:

1. Regular Income: Income Protection provides a steady stream of income, helping you maintain your lifestyle and cover regular expenses.

2. Flexible Coverage: It covers a broad range of illnesses and injuries, offering more flexibility compared to Critical Illness Cover.

3. Ongoing Support: If you’re unable to work for an extended period, Income Protection ensures continuous financial support until you recover or reach the end of the policy term.

Cons of Income Protection:

1. Waiting Periods: Most Income Protection policies have a waiting period before benefits kick in, which means you may need alternative financial support during that time.

2. May Not Cover All Earnings: Income Protection policies often cover a percentage of your salary, and if you have additional income sources, they may not be fully protected.


Choosing between Critical Illness Cover and Income Protection depends on your individual circumstances and priorities.

If you’re concerned about specific critical illnesses and want a lump sum for immediate needs, Critical Illness Cover may be suitable.

However, if you prioritise ongoing support for a broader range of health issues, Income Protection could be the better option.

Remember to carefully review policy terms, compare quotes, and consider seeking advice from a financial advisor to ensure you choose the coverage that aligns with your unique needs and preferences.

Contact the team at Agentis today to organise your no-obligation consultation.

David Mortell

David Mortell

David is Ce(MAP) and Ce(RER) qualified and has 14 years’ experience delivering top-rated mortgage and financial advice.In 2014, David took the plunge and started Agentis Financial & Mortgage Solutions with award-winning mortgage broker, Christine Long. Agentis has now become the brokerage of choice in and around Peterborough. David is also a director at our sister company, Agentis Wealth.