Are you insured for living?

Heidi (left) and Karla

Heidi (left) and Karla - Credit: Archant

The devastation of Covid-19 will create ripples that we will be riding for a long time to come. As well as the financial impact we are all facing, the pandemic has been a huge lesson in mortality. This is obvious right…we all die?

Most of us have insured ourselves for death by taking out life insurance. The last thing we want our loved ones to have to worry about when dealing with our final departure is money, so I was a good girl and got life insurance years ago. In the event of my death, my family are provided for and will be mortgage free. Quite frankly I am more concerned that no one except me knows how to operate the hoover, but that’s another story!

When I was diagnosed with incurable cancer four and a half years ago, I was medically retired from my job. It was then that it came home to me that whilst I was financially prepared for death, I was NOT financially prepared for life. With modern medicine being as awesome as it is, people are now living well with critical illnesses such as stage four cancer, however they may find it a huge challenge to continue to work. So, how do we financially prepare to live with a critical illness? It’s simple, we insure ourselves for life, we insure ourselves to live.

So let’s think about this……life insurance only pays out when we die, so it is effectively death insurance. So, what protects us financially when we are diagnosed with a critical illness like cancer, stroke, heart attacks and Multiple Sclerosis? CRITICAL ILLNESS COVER!

Like the idiot I am, I declined critical illness cover when I was young, even though at the time it was mega cheap. I assumed I wouldn’t need it; I was young and fit. No one gets critically ill at 32, do they? Wrong! The truth of the matter is, if I had insured myself then I would have had a pay-out when I was diagnosed with cancer that would have cleared my mortgage and left me with a hefty sum to live on thereafter. But I did not. I did not want to waste my wine tokens on something I thought I would never need.

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Looking at the bare facts, if I was unable to work now, as many on chemo are not, I could definitely have lost my house. The medical pension I receive may have covered my mortgage but it would have left me and the kids with around £90 a month to live on. Not only would I have had cancer to deal with, I would have had to sell my home and drastically change our way of life.

I have a husband who works and I have been fortunate enough to start my own business since my diagnosis, but many people on chemo are too ill to work. One in two people will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their life and I can confirm, it is not a cheap illness to have. My sons were one and two when I was diagnosed, and I needed to pay for childcare for the days I was in hospital. That sum equates to £120 a day. I have chemo every three weeks, blood tests every three weeks, regular heart scans and CTs, for all of which I need childcare for. Oh and then there are three solid weeks of radiotherapy, immeasurable spontaneous trips to Oncology A&E with infections and every trip costs petrol, parking, loss of a day’s pay and that is before you factor in the days you need additional help because you can’t get out of bed from the sickness. And it keeps mounting. I had support from the Nicola Corey support foundation which was a lifeline for me, but charitable funds do not last forever, and longer-term solutions are needed. A critical illness pay-out would have taken that stress away completely. A lump sum can also buy you options to better your situation. It can give you access to privately funded medicine unavailable on the NHS which in some circumstances could be the difference between life or death. It also allows for smaller things such as gym memberships and dieticians, not to mention the option to blast some things off the bucket list; mostly though it pays the bills.

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As a mum I also had no idea that the critical illness policy would also have covered my children if one had become ill. Figures published suggest one in three children may become critically ill at some point and as a parent you want to be by their side to help them through that, night and day until they are better. A pay-out allows you to take that time without having to worry about money. Through my work as an inspirational speaker, I have given talks for mortgage companies and have mixed with people who know about critical illness cover which is how I came to learn what a pillock I was for not having it.

I have learned my lesson and have since insured my husband up to the eyeballs through one of my favourite clients, Bespoke Financial. As far as I am concerned these guys have it nailed in terms of how they operate. Their service is jargon free, straight to the point and above and beyond, honest. Karla, who sorted this all out for me, is proper lush, even though she has got a funny northern accent. I told her what I could afford and she found the best deal for me within my budget. It’s fair to say I was a customer that knows what she wanted as I am living proof that critical illness cover is a must, an absolute no brainer. Karla has helped me find the best critical illness insurance to suit our needs and I also discovered from her that we should treat our current life and critical illness policies like car insurance and review/change them regularly. Policies taken out years ago may not cover newly discovered types of cancer for example. You may have had the same policy for years and it could end up being unfit for purpose.

Karla has agreed that she will check Resident readers’ documents for free if you contact her and let her know that you read this article. She told me: “I am passionate about making sure people fully protect what matters most. If anyone is debating whether or not they are insured correctly I am happy to offer a free review of the protection they have in place to give them peace of mind. I don’t think there is enough education about what is available these days so I want to create awareness to enable people to make the right choices to suit their needs.”

Karla checked some of my friends’ policies and found issues with many of them. This can all be done over the phone in the current situation, so if anyone reading this thinks ‘I should get my documents checked’ or ‘I don’t have critical illness cover’, I implore you to do so. I don’t care who you get it with but get it! And if you want the Heidi Loughlin seal of approval, contact Karla on 07581 784736 or for a non-Bristolian chat. Hopefully it will be a waste of money for you and you will never need to claim it, but don’t be like me… insure your life for living.

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