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Serious Illness Cover

Protect yourself and your family against a life-changing event. Get the plan that’s more likely to pay out and protects you for longer.1

More likely to pay out than any other insurer

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What is serious illness cover?

It gives you a tax-free payout if you're affected by a serious illness, like cancer.

Other companies call it critical illness cover. We call it Serious Illness Cover, because not every serious illness is critical.

So we cover more illnesses - not just cancer, but less severe conditions like kidney disease and losing sight in one eye, too. And it covers the widest number of conditions in the market3, including some unique to Vitality. 


Critical illness cover or Serious Illness Cover?

Critical illness cover pays out for fewer conditions. Once the cover has paid out in full, the policy ends.

Serious Illness Cover pays out an amount based on:

  • the severity of the condition
  • unlike other insurers, it covers a wider number of illnesses
  • it can payout earlier than critical illness cover

Let's take eyesight for example. If you go blind in both eyes, a typical critical illness insurer will pay out 100% of your policy. But if you only went blind in one eye you wouldn't get a payout. Vitality would pay out on sight loss in one eye, based on the severity.

Unique to Vitality, it also means you have money left in your pot to claim for the same condition again or a different condition.

Doctors looking at medical records

How Serious Illness Cover works

  • It gives you tax-free payouts to help soften the blow of a life-threatening diagnosis
  • you can claim for more conditions than any other insurer
  • you don’t have to wait until an illness is critical to get a payout
  • you can claim multiple times up to your 100% maximum cover
  • you can convert the cover to protect yourself for later life conditions, like Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s.

You could also add on indexation. This allows you to increase your cover in line with inflation. Let’s explain.

Why choose our Serious Illness Cover?

Get the plan that’s more likely to pay out1 and protects you for longer.

User hand

We protect you from more

1 in 8 claims not covered by a typical enhanced critical illness plan*

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We keep you covered for longer

1 in 12 had claimed before. You can claim for another illness, up to 100% of your cover amount*

Weekly rewards

Stay active, earn rewards

Like Amazon Prime, cinema tickets and coffee

*Vitality Claims and Benefits Report 2023

What does a plan include?

We cover more conditions in full than any other insurer.3

In your plan

Our lowest level Serious Illness Cover gives great cover for a wide range of illnesses.

  • 114 conditions covered
  • Each claim pays out 25% to 100% of your cover amount
  • You can claim again, if you get another illness, up to the 100% cover amount
  • Pays out earlier for less severe illnesses
  • Dementia and FrailCare Cover conversion included as standard

Want to boost your cover?

Cover even more conditions by upgrading to our other serious illness plans.

  • Cover up to 174 conditions
  • Make claims for up to 3 times the cover amount
  • 100% payouts for more conditions than any other insurer2
  • More likely to payout than any other insurer and covers every condition in the market3

These boosts to your cover can only be purchased by speaking to an adviser.


What conditions are covered?

On average, critical illness insurance policies only cover 75 conditions (Defaqto, 2022). Our serious illness cover covers 114, including:

  • All heart attacks
  • All strokes
  • More cancers than any other insurer (Defaqto, 2022)
  • All neurological diseases
  • Breathing and respiratory diseases
  • Stomach and intestine diseases
  • Kidney diseases
  • Connective tissue diseases
  • Eyesight and hearing conditions
  • Endocrine gland diseases
  • Permanent disability.

Keep ahead of later life conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s and frailty, conversion included as standard on qualifying plans.

See all conditions covered


Child Serious Illness Cover

The widest cover for children in the market1

  • Standalone option - add up to £100,000 of cover to any adult plan.
  • Multiple claims available - claim more than once for less severe conditions.
  • Covers a wide range of conditions from birth - pays out £5,000 for congenital conditions and children’s funeral contribution.
  • Protect all children - includes all children as standard from birth.
  • Rewards for the whole Family - up to four cinema tickets available for each family*. Plus, discounted activity trackers for kids at no extra cost.

You'll need to call our team if you want child serious illness cover added to your plan.

*Subject to a maximum of four cinema tickets, per family, per month.

Why is serious illness cover important?

We can help with your treatment and recovery. 

Cancer cover

Critical illnesses

Cancer survival has doubled in the past 40 years. We can support you through recovery.4

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Secondary illnesses

Better survival rates, mean it's important you can claim more than once for less severe conditions.

Mental health


People living with dementia in the UK is predicted to rise from 850k to 1.6m by 2040.2

J7727 need more support-1

Need more advice?

Our team are here to help you decide if this is the right cover for you. They'll give you qualified advice and recommendations. No obligation, no charge.

Call us on 0808 271 8355


Request a callback

How to make a claim on serious illness cover

Document alert

Make a claim

Call us on 0345 601 0072, email or find out more.


We'll assess the claim

Our team will keep you updated on the progress of your claim.

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If your claim’s approved, a monthly income will be paid into your bank account.

Call charge information

Calls to ‘03’ numbers cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number, whether from a mobile or landline. If you get inclusive free calls to local rate numbers with your landline or mobile tariff, calls to ‘03’ numbers will be included.

Serious illness FAQs


  1. Defaqto Engage, 2023
  2. Alzheimer's Society, Facts and Media
  3. Defaqto verified statement, August 2022
  4. Vitality Claims and Benefits Report 2023