29th September marks World Heart Day , which aims to raise awareness of heart issues, as more than half of us will develop a heart or circulatory condition in our lifetime. Whilst we all hope we won’t be affected, it’s worth knowing how to catch things early, and also to make sure there’s a financial plan in place in case you are diagnosed with a heart disease.
Medical advances in recent years have meant that the chances of surviving heart attacks and other heart conditions are now much higher than they used to be. Defibrillators are now available in public places, high streets and offices and can save lives. Danish football player Christian Eriksen was resuscitated using one when he suffered a cardiac arrest during the recent Euro 2020 match.
Survival statistics show just how far we’ve come - back in the 1960s, 70% of those suffering a heart attack would have died, whereas now 70% survive. British Heart Foundation data shows that’s an estimated 1.4 million people in the UK.
Surviving a heart conditionAlthough survival rates from heart and circulatory diseases are much better now, having one of these conditions can significantly affect your lifestyle. Depending on the type of illness you have and its severity, you may not be able to return to work for a long period of time, or even indefinitely.
If you are diagnosed with a heart or circulatory condition, the last thing you’ll want is to worry about how you’ll cope financially when you should be focusing on your recovery. Having critical illness cover in place can help alleviate money worries, as this kind of policy will provide a tax-free cash lump sum if you suffer a heart or circulatory condition, or if you’re diagnosed with another type of serious illness such as cancer or multiple sclerosis.
Having a lump sum available at what’s likely to be a difficult time can ease the financial pressure on you and your loved ones, and the cash can be put towards whatever you want, whether that’s your mortgage costs, other living expenses, a family break, or to access private medical treatment. Trying to remain stress-free is essential when you’re unwell, especially if you have a heart condition, so knowing that you won’t end up in financial hardship can be a huge help.
Which heart conditions does critical illness cover?
Critical illness policies can vary in terms of the conditions they do and don’t cover, so it’s worth checking the small print carefully before buying.
As a general rule, however, wording has evolved and improved over the years regarding heart definitions and treatments, making it easier for policyholders to claim and receive their money more speedily than in the past.
For example, previously, critical illness policy definitions for heart attacks often included a wide range of severity measures which needed to be met by claimants and meant that those suffering less serious heart attacks may have had their claims refused. Some of these severity measures have now been removed, along with the need for stroke patients to establish that they’ve suffered “permanent” damage.
Some insurers also cover a range of coronary conditions, such as coronary angioplasty and carotid artery stenosis, providing policyholders with a lower level “additional” payment upon diagnoses.
If you have an existing critical illness policy and have not reviewed your policy for a while it might be worth checking it provides you with best definition wording possible.
If you’re considering critical illness cover and want to discuss your requirements, or you’d like to review an existing policy, get in touch with one of our expert protection advisers. They can talk you through all the options available to you and help you decide which policy is right for you based on your individual circumstances.