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Critical Illness Cover - Not The Breast For Cancer Sufferers

Nov 26, 2007
Insurance companies have been heavily criticised by breast cancer sufferers for not protecting them against the consequences of this particular disease. Critical illness cover is designed to protect policy holders in the event of critical illness but many policies explicitly state that one particular type of breast cancer found in women, 'ductal carcinoma in situ' is not covered . Some women have been shocked and appalled to find out that their large policies will not pay out in this eventuality.

Life insurance is taken out under the legal terminology 'utmost good faith'. This is said to mean that the insurance company and the person taking out the policy are acting in good faith and that the policy delivers what is advertised without the potential policy holder having to read through the small print. Critics have suggested that by refusing to pay out in these cases of cancer insurers are contravening this mandate. They have been particularly critical of sales men and women that fail to point out the pitfalls of the policies they sell.

Insurance companies have claimed that 'ductal carcinoma in situ' which is diagnosed in over 3000 women every year is not technically a critical illness as the cells in the tissue outside the ducts have not yet shown signs of cancer. The condition is known as a pre-cancer which is why the term 'in situ' is used. However although the cancer is not fully developed people that suffer often have to go through major surgery to prevent the cancer progressing. Mastectomies are not uncommon with this diagnosis and groups are keen to lobby against the fact that insurance companies will not pay out.

In one case a woman had a 70,000 pound policy and was diagnosed with this pre-cancer. She was given a mastectomy and was forced out of work for over two years. He insurance company refused to pay out as the brochure that had given her when she signed up for the policy clearly stated that it would not be covered. The real difficulty arises because had she not had the preventative treatment the cancer would have developed fully and she would have become ill enough to receive the payout. Understandably she could not risk her life to wait for the payout and she opted to have the surgery as quickly as possible.

The main criticism is that if the illness is not considered critical then why do sufferers have to go through such radical and invasive treatments? Some companies do make a point of paying out in the event of this illness but it is important to all people that are looking for life insurance that you carefully scrutinise the policy you take out and be aware that 'ductal carcinoma in situ' may not be included in your critical illness cover.
About the Author
Shaun Parker is an insurance expert. He regularly scrutinises the types of life insurance policies available on the market to help guide consumers toward the right policy for them.
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