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Over half of young adults don’t understand critical illness cover, but four in five would consider purchasing it

by | Jan 18, 2024

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More than half (53%) of 18–40-year-olds don’t understand what critical illness cover is for, and one third (29%) have never heard of the product.

Around 12.7 million (73%) young adults don’t have critical illness cover to support their family. However, research conducted by insurance company, Beagle Street, which is part of the OneFamily Group, found that four in five may or would definitely consider taking out critical illness cover once the product had been explained.  

Critical illness cover pays out money if you are diagnosed with a specified serious injury, illness, or medical episode. The policy holder can use the money for whatever is needed. 


Jason Fenton, 51-year-old father of two, knows first-hand the importance of critical illness cover after he had a serious heart attack and received £13,500 from Beagle Street. “I recommend critical illness cover to everyone. You never know what’s going to happen in life. You may never use the cover and hopefully you don’t, but if you do, then that reassurance goes a long way. If we hadn’t have had it, we wouldn’t be where we are now.”

Beagle Street’s research found that the main reason (61%) young adults have or would consider taking out critical illness cover is to give themselves and their family peace of mind. This was followed by 42% saying they would use it to pay for private medical treatment if needed, and one in three (33%) would use the money to keep on top of bills.

The cost-of-living crisis means many families have less savings to fall back on in times of need. One fifth (21%) of young adults surveyed said they didn’t want to think about how their family would cope if they became seriously ill and couldn’t work. One in ten (10%) said that their family wouldn’t cope as they are the main wage earner, and the same amount didn’t know what they would do. 


The most important aspect people consider when taking out cover is the cost (63%), followed by a wide range of conditions being covered (49%). Access to healthcare advice and support was also considered to be of top priority by 40% of young adults. 

Ryan Griffin, Executive Director responsible for protection products at OneFamily, said, “With such a large number of young adults considering critical illness cover once they understand the benefits, it’s clear that there is a need for this product to be more accessible. We see every day the safety net that critical illness cover creates for families that are hit by serious illness. 

“For many people, being diagnosed with a serious condition would create worrying financial problems. Critical illness cover can be a lifeline for families in difficult times to keep on top of their bills, pay off part of a mortgage or even pay for rehabilitation support.”


Beagle Street specialises in affordable, simple to purchase life insurance and critical illness cover. Its products are designed for people who know they need to protect their families but are put off by the expense, complexity and the time it usually takes to buy life insurance and critical illness cover. 

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