Protection 

Pros and cons of children's cover

This article is part of
Guide to family protection

Pros and cons of children's cover

Parents, when presented with the information by an experienced financial adviser, can see the value in having protection for their children automatically built into their life or critical illness policies.

Chris McNab, head of protection proposition for LV=, comments: “The real benefit of having cover for children is customers have added comfort, knowing the benefit payment will enable them to take care of their children if the child fell ill.

“This could be by enabling them to afford to take time off work to look after them, paying for private treatment or care, making adaptations to the home or just taking a holiday once they have recovered.”

And medical care for children’s illnesses can be expensive. For example, just for treating cancer cases in children, parents in the UK without any form of insurance have found themselves in debt.

Improved products

There have also been significant improvements to the quality and scope of children’s add-on cover over the past few years.

Paul Dalgliesh, head of protection propositions for Aviva points out that, where critical illness cover (CIC) is concerned, it initially provided a small benefit, “typically no more than £10,000".

“This has evolved over time and now makes up a significant volume of all providers’ CIC claims – the most common cause of claim for children being cancer, specifically leukaemia.

“In addition to covering children for many of the same conditions such as the policyholder, some providers also now offer cover for child-specific conditions, such as cerebral palsy and Down’s syndrome.”

“Additionally,” says Johnny Timpson, protection specialist for Scottish Widows, “In the past two or three years, we have seen an increasing number of CI policies provide a small children’s death benefit, typically £5,000.”

Simplicity

As most child cover comes as standard with an adult’s protection policy, this means clients do not have to fill out additional forms.

For Deepak Jobanputra, deputy chief executive of VitalityLife, this is important to many time-pressed advisers and their equally busy clients.

“Policies that cover children do not require any additional underwriting or medical tests. 

“They also pay out on a wide range of conditions, including some areas only relevant to young children.”

Mr McNab adds: “By automatically including children’s cover within critical illness policies, for no additional charge, this offers customers a quick and simple way of providing cover for themselves and their children at the same time.”

The cons

There are some potential downsides, however, to adding protection for children onto an adult’s policy.

The first thing is that the level of benefit is capped at £25,000. 

This sounds like a lot of money but for a child with a serious illness, who might need extensive travel, ongoing treatment and aftercare, this can quickly be eroded.