Q – I am married, with two children, and both my husband I work full time. We have small life insurance policies through our employers, but we are looking to increase our coverage and add critical illness protection. We have looked at critical illness polices in the past, but they are so expensive. Is there any way to get critical illness insurance at lower premiums? – Anna S., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
A – Critical illness insurance has become quite popular in the past few years. It basically provides a cash payment should you become ill with a specified major disease, like cancer. The money may be used for any purpose, for example, to offset medical and drug costs, cover income shortfalls, and so on. But you’re right, the premiums can be expensive, depending on the level of coverage you want.
Insurance companies, however, are endlessly creative in providing different types of insurance coverage with varying levels of coverage to meet different budget requirements. And it just so happens that the industry is now moving to bundling critical illness insurance with other types of insurance. Manulife Financial, for example, has come out with a new product called Synergy, which bundles three separate insurance policies into one – disability, critical illness, and life insurance. Their target market is young to mid-market clients (between the ages of 18 and 50) with families, who do not own all three types of insurance.
The money in this type of bundled policy is pooled and provides financial protection to help maintain your lifestyle if income is disrupted because of illness, injury, or death. You can choose from face amounts of $100,000 to $500,000 of insurance. And, of course, one of the big selling features is the lower premium compared with the combined premium of buying equivalent plans separately. This may be a solution if your cash flow is tight.
As always, though, it’s important to read the fine print, because terms and benefits can differ widely. Your best bet is to contact a licensed insurance agent for more information. – R.T.