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Critical Illness Insurance - A Living Benefit

Helpful Tips, Insurance

Posted by Allison Barton

Aug 7, 2014 12:32:00 PM


Young family

The early roots of life insurance in Canada can be traced back over two centuries.  However, the concept of critical illness insurance – a product to help people cover expenses associated with critical illness – was not developed until the late 1990s.

What is Critical Illness Insurance?

Critical illness insurance is an insurance policy that provides a lump sum, tax-free cash benefit in the event that you are diagnosed with a critical illness or life-altering condition, such as cancer, heart attack and stroke.    

40% of Canadian women and 45% of men develop cancer during their lifetimes. An estimated 1 out of every 4 Canadians (25%) is expected to die from cancer.  For Canadians, an estimated 26% will die following a heart attack and an estimated 15% will die following a stoke.  9 out of every 10 Canadians (90%) have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke.

Cancer, heart attack and stroke are three primary illnesses that are covered by most critical illness insurance policies.  Other critical illnesses and life-altering conditions may be covered depending on the critical illness plan that is purchased.  

Why Purchase Critical Illness Insurance?

Thankfully with the advances in medical technology, there is a better chance of surviving a critical illness. However, the additional costs that accompany a critical illness - like specialized equipment, renovations to your home, or the need to purchase medication not covered by health plans - along with keeping up with everyday bills, can be more than most people are prepared to deal with.

Being diagnosed with a critical illness can be devastating for you, your spouse, your family, your business partners…and your finances.  

One in six Canadians will eventually declare bankruptcy  Three leading causes of bankruptcy in Canada:  1. job loss 2. marriage separation or divorce 3. medical problems

(Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada, 2014)

The money from a critical illness insurance policy payment can be used any way you wish.  It can be used to pay off debt, monthly out-of pocket expenses, such as mortgage or car payments, pay for treatments not covered by health plans, for hiring help for around the house, or perhaps funding a much-needed family get-away.

Consumer debt reached over 163% of annual income in 2013, meaning that for every $3 the average Canadian earns in a year, they now have almost $5 in debt.  Large numbers of Canadians are “living on the edge” with the average Canadian not being able to survive even a temporary job loss.

(Bankruptcy Canada, 2014 http://www.bankruptcy-canada.ca)

The key benefit is that you would not need to worry about completely depleting your savings account or wondering where the money is coming from to pay the bills. Critical illness insurance is a “living benefit” that provides peace of mind.

Talk to an insurance advisor about critical illness insurance options available, such as Vital Link offered by Empire Life.  An advisor can work with you to see how much insurance you need and can comfortably afford.