Understandably, no-one likes to think about the possibility of their child becoming critically ill. But if the worst did happen, it could be the case that you’d need financial support in your household, which is exactly what children’s critical illness insurance can provide. This kind of cover is available as part of regular (adult’s) critical illness cover; most insurers will include it in your policy at no extra charge.

How children’s critical illness cover works

If your critical illness policy includes children’s cover, in most cases it’ll be included as an  additional benefit. It’s important to understand what this actually means – i.e. what’s covered by an additional benefit and how the policy would pay out if you needed to claim for a children’s illness.

Illnesses covered

In a typical policy, children will be covered for the same core illnesses and conditions as adults (including things like cancer, organ failure, loss of limbs, and loss of hearing or sight – read our guide to illnesses covered by critical illnesses insurance for more detail). Some policies may also include some child-specific illnesses, including:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Down’s syndrome

To make a children’s critical illness claim, your child’s illness or condition will always need to meet the insurer’s definition, stated in your policy. The definition usually includes a required severity level or symptoms.

How it pays out

As with regular critical illness cover, the policy will only pay out for a children’s illness if your child is diagnosed with one of the illnesses or condition listed in your policy. And since children’s cover is included as an additional benefit, it’ll only pay out a proportion of your cover amount – usually 50% or £25,000, whichever is the lower amount. So, if you had £75,000 cover, you’d receive £25,000; and if you had £40,000 cover, you’d receive £20,000.

The good thing about an additional benefit is that your policy doesn’t end after a claim; if you claim for a children’s illness, your policy remains in place, and you can still claim the full amount at a later date if you yourself are diagnosed with a critical illness.

Number and age of children covered

Details like these will vary, so make sure you check the details per policy and insurer, but typically any children (biological, legally adopted, or step) are covered up to their 22nd birthday – though it could be lower, until aged 18, or higher (for instance, LV= now offers extended child’s cover up to age 23). Some insurers will cover your children from birth, while others will only cover them from 30 days old. As for the number of children covered, there’s usually no limit – all of your children will be covered (including children you already have and children you go on to have).

Enhanced children’s critical illness cover

It’s worth noting that when you buy critical illness cover, you’ll often have the choice between standard or enhanced children’s cover. If you go for the ‘enhanced’ option, your children will be covered for more illnesses and conditions – plus, it’s usually only enhanced cover that protects them in case of child-specific illnesses too.

There’s particular value in buying enhanced children’s cover if your children are below the age of five or if you plan on having more children in the future; this is because covering child-specific illnesses is more important if you’re children are at an age when they’re likely to be more prevalent – i.e. below five. If your children are over five, standard children’s critical illness cover may suffice.

If you’re buying critical illness cover for yourself, it’s definitely worth adding child cover if you have (or are planning to have) children because it’s usually included at no extra cost. As ever, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the list of children’s illnesses covered and the definitions set by the insurer, as this will be different from policy to policy.
What is critical illness cover?
Critical illness cover is an insurance policy that pays out a tax-free lump sum if you’re diagnosed with one of the illnesses or conditions listed in it. It’s designed to protect you against the financial consequences of becoming seriously ill.
Who needs critical illness cover?
Anyone who’d be financially affected by becoming critically ill, especially if it left you unable to work. In particular, those with financial commitments or dependents. Having this kind of protection in place provides a financial safety net.
What illnesses are covered by critical illness policies?
Each critical illness insurer covers a unique list of illnesses and conditions. This usually includes cancers, heart attacks, strokes, and more. Your policy will only pay out if you’re diagnosed with one of the illnesses listed in it.
Are my children covered by my critical illness insurance?
Most insurers will allow you to include children’s cover in your policy at no extra cost. They’re usually covered for the same illnesses as you, and sometimes some additional child-specific illnesses too.
Will my critical illness cover pay out?
Your critical illness insurance will pay out straight away if you’re diagnosed with one of the illnesses or conditions it covers. It’ll pay out the full lump sum for the core illnesses covered and a proportion of the lump sum for the additional illnesses.

This post is intended for informative purposes only and does not constitute advice.