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Children need the right cover too - Child Serious Illness Cover

Updated: 25/04/2023

When it comes to protection conversations, getting some clients to consider their own needs can be difficult enough, but child illness can be an especially challenging conversation. Given the potential financial consequences for parents though, it’s a discussion that advisers cannot afford to ignore, writes Vitality’s Adviser Editor, Rob Harvey.

Whilst a degree of optimism bias can influence a client’s thinking about their own health and mortality, for parents it’s often a case of simply not wanting to think about something as awful as their child falling seriously ill. 

All this can make children’s cover a difficult subject for advisers to broach with their clients. The impact however of child illness means this isn’t a conversation that can be ignored.

“Offering children’s cover as an entirely separate stand-alone benefit can give clients much greater flexibility and better choice,”

- Rob Harvey, Adviser Editor, Vitality

Why is children's cover necessary?

Serious illnesses can affect adults and children alike. There are for example around 1,800 new cancer cases in children in the UK each year1 and although the survival rates are high, this can have a profound impact on the parents, both emotionally and financially.

The biggest financial impact can often be a loss of income for the parents having to take time off work for hospital appointments and caring responsibilities.

Research has shown that almost 3 million working days are lost per year from parents caring for sick children2 and whilst employers are obliged to provide compassionate leave, there’s no statutory requirement to pay employees who are off work caring for a loved one.

The ongoing cost-of-living crisis has added to these challenges and research has shown that families raising disabled or ill children are facing serious financial hardship3.

Costs can arise in other ways as well. If the child is living with a chronic condition, long-term disability, or impairment because of their condition, they may require extra aids or even modifications to the home

Some parents may also be inclined to turn to private healthcare, particularly given the current pressures facing the NHS. Without private medical insurance though the costs of self-funding can often be very expensive, prompting some people to turn to crowdfunding4

All this highlights why it’s essential that children’s cover isn’t neglected when discussing protection insurance with clients.

The limitations of traditional children's cover options

Whilst clients have more options now when it comes to Children’s cover, traditional insurance products often don’t provide enough flexibility or adequate cover. 

Children’s cover has often been treated as little more than a rider benefit on adult critical illness plans and offered in a similar way to additional cover conditions.

The level of cover is usually limited to a percentage of the adult sum assured and capped at a certain amount. This can restrict choice over the amount of cover available and, given the costs that can arise when a child falls ill, risks leaving parents without adequate protection.

What’s perhaps most problematic with the traditional approach to children’s cover is that clients can only access it by purchasing their own adult critical illness plan.

In recent years, the industry has rightly placed an increased emphasis on the need for more clients to consider income protection (IP). Very few IP plans though provide any sort of protection in the event of the client having to take time off work to care for a sick child.

Of course, a comprehensive package of protection benefits makes most sense. However, clients can’t always afford this, so may opt for income protection instead of critical illness, potentially leaving them without the choice of children’s cover if required.

Rethinking children's cover

By offering children’s cover as an entirely separate stand-alone benefit, we can give clients much greater flexibility and better choice.

Vitality’s Children’s Serious Illness Cover pioneered this unique approach and was a market first in offering an entirely separate children’s benefit. The stand-alone product recognises the fact children’s cover is an important consideration and not something that should be treated as a mere added extra.

Moreover, it means children’s cover can be offered alongside any adult plan, including Life Cover (Term or Whole of Life) and Income Protection Cover, without limiting access to just those clients purchasing adult Serious Illness Cover.

This is especially important as it gives advisers the freedom to select a bespoke package of protection benefits - arranged through a Multi Benefit plan - that are most appropriate for their client’s needs and budget.

Newly enhanced comprehensive cover

Our recent Life Launch enhancements build on Vitality’s market leading approach to children’s cover and offer the widest level of comprehensive cover for children.

Reflecting the rising costs parents will face if their children fell ill, clients can choose from between £25,000 - £100,000 of cover, depending on their needs and without the pay-out being linked to the adult sum assured in any way.

The plan also includes extra financial support of £100 per day if the child is hospitalised and a £5,000 funeral contribution if they sadly pass away during the cover term.

As a minimum, Child Serious Illness Cover 1X protects children against 115 conditions, including congenital conditions as standard – more than any other provider. If adult Serious Illness Cover is selected, Child Serious Illness Cover will automatically match the adult cover, so Serious Illness Cover 1X, 2X or 3X.

To help families lead a healthier life, we now also give children access to the Vitality Programme at no extra cost. These wellbeing rewards and partners are especially valuable and important at a time when obesity5 and other lifestyle related conditions like diabetes6 are on the rise in children.

Through this, advisers can not only ensure their clients and their families are fully covered should the worst happen, they can also provide some support that might help prevent it happening in the first place.

Watch Casper's Serious Illness cover claims video

Emma’s claim with VitalityLife, helped her make the most of every moment with her son Casper while he was being treated for a rare type of Cancer.

To find out more about how Vitality's newly enhanced Children's Serious Illness Cover can support your clients, click the link below.
Explore Child Serious Illness Cover

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