Should I buy Critical Illness Cover?

This year, I had a new IFA who suggested that I obtain Critical Illness cover. But is it right for me?

As a self-employed GP partner, I have an income protection policy that comes with a ‘free’ annual financial review. This year, I had a new IFA who suggested that I obtain Critical Illness cover. His argument - the lifetime chance of having cancer in the UK for any given individual is 50%. A policy would pay off the mortgage which would take its weight off my shoulders and I could, of course, choose to do something else with the money and spend more time with my family. I wasn't too keen since previous quotes were exorbitant, but his cheapest quote was £60/month. What is £60 compared to what this could offer you? It got me thinking so I said I’ll get back to him.

I figured that a statistical calculation of my lifetime risk of cancer would be handy here. I had read about the Q Cancer before, so I headed to the Cancer Research website to dig deeper and below are my findings. This also reminded me that it’s time that I went and got a Q Risk from my own GP having turned 40 this year!

Unfortunately, I found out that the Q Cancer tool does not calculate a lifetime risk of cancer, only the likelihood of current undiagnosed cancer based on a questionnaire. My current risk is 0.15%.

The site confirmed that 1 in 2 people in the UK will develop cancer in their lifetime, as stated by my IFA, but it also mentioned that the average UK peak rate of cancer cases is among the 85 to 89 years old. This means that our 1 in 2 chance of cancer is also much more likely to happen when we are much older. It would have been great to be able to calculate a 10-year Q Cancer risk to help make a rational decision (and perhaps the data will be available from Cancer Research upon request to allow me to do that). But my conclusion was that my £60 a month, at this moment in my life, would be better spent elsewhere! I’ve just got myself a new smartphone with the money instead!!

Amine Boughellam

GP Partner and Co-Founder of SimplyCPD.

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