Life's wonderful

From the moment we start walking and talking we develop hopes and dreams.

We go to school, maybe university, then boom! - it's welcome to the world of work. We meet and fall in love with our partner. We buy a house together, banish our youthful ways (well, mostly) and settle down. We may have children too - and with them comes a pile of laundry that never seems to get any smaller. But what if life doesn't go to plan?

The truth is we never know what's just around the corner. That's why we offer a range of covers designed to protect you, and those who depend on you, from the financial consequences of illness and death.

Why is it a good idea?

A critical illness could change your life forever.

It's a fact of life that at some point we all suffer illnesses. Some only keep us off work for a few days. But there's always a chance that you could suffer from something a whole lot worse - a serious, life-changing illness.

Critical Illness Protection pays out if you're diagnosed with a critical illness, giving you valuable cash to help cope during a very traumatic and uncertain time. It’s well worth considering.

Many people prioritise Life Protection over Critical Illness Protection, but your chance of being diagnosed with a critical illness before the age of 65 is much higher than dying. That's why, in an ideal world, you need both.

Because a critical illness costs you much more than just the pain and suffering. Rehabilitation can mean a lengthy time not earning, plus you might need costly care. And that's on top of your usual outgoings - mortgage or rent, food and bills.

How does it work?

If you have a serious, life-changing illness, we pay out.

At Guardian, our Critical Illness Protection covers you for a range of serious, life-changing conditions, including the 3 most common - heart disease, stroke and cancer. We also cover you for a permanent disability from an illness, or accident, and if you become terminally ill.

Together with your Financial Adviser, you decide how long you want your policy to last and the amount of cover you need - that's the amount we pay out if you're diagnosed with a critical illness.

The amount you pay depends on your age and health when you apply. It's worth remembering that the younger you are the lower your premiums will be.

What decisions do you need to make?

Single or dual cover?

These days the family depends on both parents equally - whether you both work to meet the monthly commitments, or just one of you earns while the other carries out all the essential household tasks that keep the family going.

The truth is critical illnesses are indiscriminate. If one strikes a breadwinner the family will lose valuable income, and if one strikes a stay-at-home parent the family will need to pay for help, at additional cost, to cope with the upheaval to day-to-day life.

That's why, if you have a partner - whether they work or not - it pays to consider dual cover. Dual, rather than individual, cover pays out if either partner is diagnosed with a critical illness, providing the money to make the most difficult of situations easier for all involved.

What type of cover do you need?

There's a choice of 4:

Level Cover

With Level Cover, you choose the amount of cover you want and the length of time you want to be covered. The amount is fixed and you can also choose whether to receive a lump sum or a regular monthly payment.

Decreasing Cover

Decreasing Cover is designed to cover mortgages and other long-term borrowing. So, as the outstanding borrowing goes down, so does the cover. Because of this, the premiums tend to be lower, and it also only pays out a one-off lump sum.

Increasing Cover

They say what goes up must come down. But what about the cost of living? That only ever goes in one direction, and it isn't south. So, to keep up with rising prices, the amount of cover you get with Increasing Cover rises in line with inflation. It's more expensive than both Level and Decreasing Cover, but what cost peace of mind? The payout options are the same as with Level Cover - one lump sum, or regular monthly payments - the choice is yours.

Family Income Benefit

Rather than paying out a cash lump sum if you're diagnosed with a critical illness, Family Income Benefit gives you a regular payout for the rest of the policy's lifetime. So, if you take out a 25-year policy and are diagnosed 5 years into it, you'll receive regular income for the remaining 20 years. If you're diagnosed 15 years into the policy, it will pay out for the remaining 10 years. But remember, once the policy ends, the cover and the payouts will stop.

Critical Illness Protection is just one of the ways we can help protect you and your family from financial uncertainty.

For more details, download our key facts document.

To find out exactly what suits your needs best, speak to a Financial Adviser.