How Good Is Royal London’s Critical Illness Cover?

An old lady and her career looking at a sunset. We ask how good is Royal London’s Critical Illness Cover?

In this article I’m going to be talking about the Critical Illness cover offered by Royal London, one of the UK’s largest insurers. But does ‘biggest’ always mean ‘best’? Let’s take a look at what Royal London is packing, and how they measure up when it comes to paying out.

If you’ve read any of my articles about the Critical Illness cover offered by other insurance companies, you’ll know that not all policies are created equal, and therefore it makes sense to shop around and see what’s on offer. So, what do we know about Royal London?

Who Are They?

Royal London has been around since 1861 and was originally set up as a society to secure the financial security of its members. Today they provide around 9 million policies and specialise in Life Insurance, pensions, and, yep you guessed it, Critical Illness cover. 

So, a long-distinguished career – they’re probably raking it in, right?


But what about in terms of paying out? Let’s take a look at those all-important claims stats…

Claims Statistics

In 2019 Royal London paid out on 92.6% of Critical Illness claims, equalling a total of £150.1m with the average pay out being nearly £99,000

The most common reasons for a claim were Cancer (64%), heart attack (11%), stroke (8%), and multiple sclerosis (4%), the average age of claimant being 50 years old. Cancer accounted for more than half of the children’s Critical Illness claims, (56%), with the average age of the claimant being 7 years old.

If you read my article on Royal London and their Life Insurance policies, you’ll notice that the percentage of pay outs is significantly less for Critical Illness claims. This is generally the trend across the board, as defining a critical illness is less straightforward than defining death. obviously. 5.4% of Critical Illness claims were declined due to not meeting the plan definition, and 2% due to misrepresentation (ie: not being 100% truthful on your forms).

So, when you take that into account, their pay out statistics are impressive. But what counts as a ‘critical illness’?

We’re glad you asked. 

So, What Do They Cover?

Royal London split their policy into two parts; illnesses which they will give you ‘all’ your money for and illnesses which they will only give you ‘part’ of your money, and unlike some insurers, they don’t offer an upgraded version of their adult cover. They don’t need to, because it’s already comprehensive. 

As a policyholder you will get all of your money if you are diagnosed with any of these illnesses: 

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Aorta graft surgery
  • Aplastic anaemia
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Benign brain tumour
  • Benign spinal cord tumour
  • Blindness
  • Brain injury due to anoxia or hypoxia
  • Cancer
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Cauda equina syndrome
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Coma
  • Coronary artery bypass grafts
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)
  • Deafness
  • Dementia
  • Encephalitis
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Heart valve replacement or repair
  • HIV infection
  • Intensive care
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Loss of hand or foot
  • Loss of independent existence
  • Loss of speech
  • Major organ transplant
  • Motor neurone disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuromyelitis optica (Devic’s disease) 
  • Paralysis of limbs
  • Parkinson plus syndromes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Pneumonectomy
  • Primary pulmonary hypertension
  • Pulmonary artery graft surgery
  • Spinal stroke
  • Stroke
  • Structural heart surgery
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Third degree burns
  • Traumatic brain injury

As with most insurance companies, to claim for some illnesses you will need to have permanent symptoms. 

If you were to get one of these illnesses, Royal London won’t pay out unless you are “ill enough”. 

Well how ill is ill enough? Basically, you have to meet Royal London’s definition of an illness. For example:

The definition of a Cardiac Arrest is – Cardiac arrest – with insertion of a defibrillator

There are illnesses covered by Royal London that are easier to claim for and have more lenient definitions. However, because they are ‘easier’ to claim for you don’t get all of your money. These illnesses include:

  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Carcinoma in situ of the breast
  • Carcinoma in situ of the cervix uteri
  • Carcinoma in situ of the colon or rectum
  • Carcinoma in situ of the larynx
  • Carcinoma in situ of the renal pelvis or ureter
  • Carcinoma in situ of the testicle
  • Carcinoma in situ of the urinary bladder
  • Carcinoma in situ of the vagina or vulva
  • Third degree burns
  • Central retinal artery or vein occlusion
  • Coronary angioplasty
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST) or neuroendocrine tumour (NET) of low malignant potential
  • Heartbeat abnormalities
  • Low grade prostate cancer
  • Ovarian tumour of borderline malignancy/low malignant potential
  • Partial loss of sight
  • Skin cancer
  • Carcinoma in situ (other)

And What About Something For The Children?

Well, Royal London is unique in that despite only offering a standard life cover policy for adults, they do offer both standard and upgraded cover for children.

Standard Critical Illness Cover For Children

This is available at no extra cost as part of your own Critical Illness cover. It covers children from birth up until the age of 21 for the 47 conditions listed on your own policy. This also includes legally adopted children as well as biological children, whether they were born before or after the start date of your policy. 

If your child becomes critically ill, Royal London will pay out up to £25,000. On the standard plan children are also covered against permanent disability; again, up to £25,000.

Enhanced Critical Illness Cover For Children

This is the part where Royal London really come into their own, offering the most comprehensive Critical Illness cover for children available. The enhanced policy offers cover from pregnancy right through to your child being 21 years old, covering the same critical illnesses listed for adults and those with standard children’s cover, and 13 other child-specific conditions:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Child diabetes mellitus type 1 – requiring permanent insulin injections
  • Child intensive care benefit – requiring mechanical ventilation for 7 days
  • Craniosynostosis – requiring surgery
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Down’s syndrome
  • Edward’s syndrome
  • Hydrocephalus – treated with the insertion of a shunt
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta
  • Patau syndrome
  • Spina bifida
  • Surgical repair of an atrial or ventricular septal defect

Also, under this policy adults and children are covered against:

  • Pregnancy complications – with £5,000 being paid out for each complication
  • Children’s Terminal Illness Cover – up to £50,000
  • Children’s Total Permanent Disability – again, up to £50,000
  • Death Of A Child – Royal London will pay out £5,000 towards funeral costs in the event of the death of a child

Incredibly comprehensive cover, I’m sure you’ll agree – but let’s talk about freebies! Those little added extras that mean an even sweeter deal…

Hospitalisation Payment

Royal London will pay out if you’re admitted to hospital as a result of your critical illness for more than 6 consecutive nights. They will pay £100 for each additional night spent in hospital during your deferred period for up to a total of 90 nights. 

Helping Hand

Helping Hand is a package of support services that offer practical and emotional help whenever you need it – not just when you make a claim. Such as nursing support, physio and counselling. This service is provided by third parties, and because they aren’t part of Royal London’s terms and conditions they can be amended or withdrawn at any time. 

And so there they are; Royal London, the UK’s largest mutual insurer – and it’s easy to see why. Their comprehensive Critical Illness cover, particularly the enhanced cover for children, really is one of the best around.

For more advice on Royal London’s policies, or for any questions relating to Critical Illness insurance in general, please drop us a line and speak to myself or one of our advisors. 

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I’m the Life & Critical Insurance guy! Having worked throughout London and the South East for years in this industry, seeing many bad habits, I wanted to create a company that put the man on the street first! I wanted to share all my knowledge in a way that was easy, simple and fun to read and I wanted to make sure whenever I or a member of my team speak to a customer, we cut out the ‘industry jargon’ and never pressure or push anyone to take out a policy they don’t want or understand, thus More Than Money was born!

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