Do I need critical illness cover?
"We always thought things like that only happen to 'someone else'... Then we became the 'someone else' "
According to the latest research carried out by Mortgage Advice Bureau, over 50% of homeowners aged 18 to 40 do not currently have critical illness cover (CIC).
But Mortgage Advice Bureau advisers have seen the value of CIC first hand, in the case of Emma and Tom’s story.
Emma (32) and Tom (35) live in Greasby, on the Wirral, with their two sons Alfie (3) and Arlo (10 months).
As a growing family, in December 2015 they were looking forward to the birth of their second child when tragedy struck and Tom was diagnosed with cancer.
With Emma about to go on maternity leave and Tom unable to work, the couple faced the devastating consequences of dealing with Tom’s potentially terminal illness, as well as an uncertain financial future which left them in danger of losing their home.
In October 2015, Tom decided to go to the doctor about an ongoing issue he’d had with his leg.
His GP immediately referred him to hospital for further investigation.
Just before Christmas, the couple’s worst fears confirmed when Tom was diagnosed with a malignant tumour in his thigh.
“The moment Tom got his diagnosis, the world seemed to stop,” Emma recalls. “
Because of the Christmas holidays, we had to wait two weeks or so before Tom could be admitted to hospital for further investigation, so our lives were on hold.
Christmas was surreal; we tried to make it as normal as we could for Alfie, and to keep as calm as possible, as I was 6 months’ pregnant at the time”.
With Emma about to go on maternity leave from her job, and Tom being self-employed therefore unable to earn if he didn’t go to work, in desperation the couple claimed on Tom’s Critical Illness Cover policy.
Emma reflects, “We were scared; for ourselves, for Alfie and for the new baby.
We knew that we couldn’t afford to stay in our home if Tom wasn’t earning, yet there was no way that he was able to work.
If we hadn’t had the cover that we’d taken out a few years before, I honestly don’t know what we would have done.”
Emma continues, “Tom’s illness completely changed our perspective on life.
As a couple, we never once thought ‘he won’t make it’.
We just focused on taking each step at a time, and trying to keep everything as normal as we could, as much for Alfie and the new baby’s sake as anything else.
Our family and friends were so amazing, but realistically, there wasn’t much they could do other than be there for us when we needed emotional support.
Ultimately, it made us realise that you hear of these sorts of things happening, but when you do, you always assume it ‘will only happen to someone else’.
In our case, we became the ‘someone else’.”
Their CIC meant that Tom could take the time off work he needed for the extensive surgery to remove the tumour.
The money that Tom received enabled him to fully focus on his rehabilitation and recovery, as well as meaning that Emma didn’t need to go back to work following the birth of their second child, Arlo, in April 2016.
Fortunately for Tom, due to his swift diagnosis and treatment, he has been able to make a full recovery and in the last month he’s been given the all clear and has recently returned to work.
Not only this, but the lump sum they received meant they were able to achieve some of their dreams as Emma explains, “the cover also provided a lump sum which has meant we can afford to move to a bigger house, which we really need with two little boys running around!
It’s also meant that we’re now able to afford to get married, which after everything we’ve been through this year, will mean such a lot to us.
Our wedding in November will be a celebration of our relationship and our family, and the fact that we’ve been able to beat Tom’s cancer, together.”
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances.
The fee is up to 1%, but a typical fee is £495.