There are a number of different types of insurance which help with the financial pressure and inconvenience of health issues as we get older.
Here we will explain in clear terms some of the types of insurance. We won’t cover them all, but to give context, the main four types are:
• Life insurance
• Critical illness cover
• Income protection
• Medical insurance
Although there are many variations, life insurance is designed to pay out on your death, so it might seem odd to include it in an article about health!
The reason is that many life policies are sold together with critical illness or injury policies, and sometimes with savings plans too.
A popular variant of life insurance is known as mortgage life insurance. This, as the name suggests will pay off your mortgage if you die and comes in two types: “term” and “decreasing”.
If you are on an interest-only mortgage you will need a term policy to pay the whole mortgage off.
If you are on a capital repayment mortgage a decreasing policy will decrease the amount it pays out as the amount you owe goes down.
A no-frills life insurance policy will simply pay out, either in a lump sum or a regular monthly income, on your death, to your surviving dependents.
Click here to compare prices and get a personalised life insurance quote.
Critical illness cover
Often bundled with life insurance, critical illness cover will pay you an amount should you fall ill.
They will only cover some illnesses, so it’s important to know which ones are on a particular company’s list before you take the policy out.
Usually the amount paid out is chosen by you. The higher that amount, the higher the premium.
It is also possible to get similar cover for accidents, so that if you are injured or disabled you will get a lump sum to help you cope.
Although accidents can happen to anyone, this is more often taken out by people who have jobs where accidents are more frequent, for example in construction.
If you are working for yourself, a handy option could be a hospital cash plan. This is designed to provide a specific amount of cash for each day that you are in hospital, to replace lost earnings.
To see how much critical illness cover might cost, get a quote here from our independent comparison site.
Income Protection Plans
Income protection plans or the hospital cash plan being a variation on this theme.
In return for a monthly payment this policy will pay out regular sums to replace your earnings or income if you suddenly can’t work for some reason.
In most cases that reason is accident or illness, there aren’t many income protection plans that pay out if you lose your job.
But they do exist and may be particularly relevant if you are in a position where you may have to give up a regular job in order to become a carer. Click here for Our Place’s Help for Carers.
All the policies we’ve talked about so far are really variations on the same theme; cash to support you or your family if you are unable to provide as usual.
Medical insurance is very different -it will pay for private rather than NHS treatment and can make the difference between a good quality of life and a poor one, with fast access to medical help for diagnosis and treatment, dodging the NHS queues.
Many health insurance plans will include international health cover; handy if you have a second home in the sun. But if you’re just on holiday this is unnecessary, as long as your travel insurance has the right level of health cover.
There are more specific health plans available as well, for example dental health and opticians plans and you can look at some medical insurance quotes here.
It is vital to have the right blend of insurance, making sure you are secure without unwittingly paying for the same cover twice.
If you are now dreading the thought of wading through all the options to decide on the best combination, then it would be wise to seek help from a financial advisor.
There are two main types, those tied to a particular company who will only sell that company’s products, or independent.
Be aware there is a major shift on the way for independent financial advisors coming into force on December 31.
They will soon only be able to earn money by charging fees, whereas previously they made their living from commissions from insurance companies for the policies they sold.
The commissions were then clawed back from the customers (that’s you) over time by deducting the amount from your benefits.
The advice should be even more independent, as the temptation to offer products with the biggest commission will be removed.
The immediate downside is that you will have to pay their fees from your pocket, but this should be cheaper than the previous arrangement.
Be your own insurance
Having gone through all of that, it must be said that the best health insurance you can take out is a healthy lifestyle.
We’re not talking necessarily about manic, faddy diets, restricting yourself to gruel and cardboard and being generally miserable.
You can do a great deal to stay healthy by just having a balanced diet with fewer processed foods and taking regular exercise, incorporating daily stretching to stay flexible.
If you want to know more about how to eat better and develop the ideal healthy lifestyle, click here.
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