Wading Through the OptionsTammy Johnston
Last week we started talking about Critical Illness Insurance and how it is possibly the best insurance product on the Canadian market. It was introduced to our fine country in 1996 and it is a definite “life saver” in my opinion. While having Critical Illness insurance will not take away the accident or the disease, it does take away a lot of the financial stress and gives you options.
There are many options currently on the market for purchasing a critical illness policy, so how do you wade through the myriad of choices. Here is a short list of questions you need to ask and get answered before you sign on the dotted line:
1. Who OWNS the policy? Is it a policy where you are the owner and have full control or is it owned by a third party / creditor and they have the control and can make changes to the policy?
2. What illnesses and accidents are covered? Different policies cover different situations. Some policies only cover the Big Three (Heart Attack, Cancer, and Stroke). Other policies cover the Big Three and a long list of other things such as blindness, deafness, organ transplant, multiple sclerosis, coma, severe burns, etc.
3. Is there any coverage for non-life threatening illnesses such as first stage breast, skin, or prostate cancer or angioplasty? If there is coverage how does it work?
4. When is the underwriting completed? There are policies that call themselves guaranteed issue, but what they really mean is underwritten at claim. If a policy is going to be underwritten, you want to jump through the hoops before you start paying a premium and make sure you are actually insured.
5. Are the premiums and benefit guaranteed? With a privately owned policy you get what you pay for. When you get “insurance” through a lender (bank, mortgage, leasing company) the benefit reduces with each payment you make, but the premium stays the same. In some cases the entire insurance premium is added onto the debt and you will pay interest on the insurance as well as usually paying much higher premiums than if you had purchased real insurance. In the case of critical illness insurance that will make your payments for you while you are ill, do they cover the full payment or just the interest portion?
I encourage you to start looking into this fabulous protection if you don’t already have it and if you do have it review it. This could very well be the coverage that saves your house and your lifestyle
“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.”