« Back

November 15, 2019

Critical Illness or Life Insurance: Which is the Higher Priority?

critical illness vs life insurance

What is Critical Illness Insurance?

If you’re lucky, you’ve never had to worry about critical illness insurance. However, in the event of a major medical emergency, such as cancer, heart attack, or stroke, the presence of critical illness insurance may be the only thing standing between you and medical debt.1 So, how exactly does it work?

In summary, critical illness insurance helps provide individuals with coverage for specific medical emergencies typically in the form of a lump sum payment.2 While the list of illnesses that these policies cover are often very limited, critical illness insurance could be the difference between becoming one of the 530,000 Americans that turn to bankruptcy each year because of medical issues and bills3—or avoiding financial calamity all together.

When to Consider Critical Illness Insurance

As mentioned, medical bills are a common cause for bankruptcy in the United States,4 so being able to protect yourself and your family from mounting medical costs should be given fair consideration. But when one should consider critical illness insurance is another story. To help make the decision, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I have a family history of critical illness (e.g., cancer, heart disease, stroke)?
  2. Would critical illness insurance help me prevent financial ruin if I were to suffer from a major medical emergency?

In short, if you answered yes to any of the preceding questions, it may be worth considering investing in critical illness insurance. However, like most policies, each critical illness insurance plan may cover different illnesses, so it’s essential that each individual do their research and weigh their options carefully before making a commitment.

What is Life Insurance?

Life insurance policies come in all shapes and sizes. However, the easiest way to think of them is as a contract with which an insurance company would provide a lump-sum payment, known as a death benefit, to your designated beneficiaries upon your death.5

A life insurance plan can provide peace of mind for parents with children, those with financially dependent family members, and caretakers—as the funds received after the insured’s death can be used to help support their dependents and provide immediate financial relief.6 But when should you consider a life insurance policy?

When to Consider Life Insurance

While there is no doubt that life insurance can be vital to you and your family’s financial security and continued well-being, the question remains as to when you should consider investing in a life insurance policy. While the means in which one makes this decision is largely based on a slew of personal factors, there are some questions you can ask to help aid you in your decision making process.

Ask yourself these questions to see where you stand:

  1. Do I have anyone that relies on me financially?
  2. Am I concerned with providing funeral/ burial costs?
  3. Do I want to leave support payments for my children in the event of my death?
  4. Do I have any mortgage payments, loans, or bills that would burden others if I were to pass?
  5. Could the possibility of additional funds help me pay for retirement costs?

If you answered yes to any of the preceding questions, it may be time to consider a life insurance policy. But now that you know that you need a plan, how do you know what type of life insurance is right for you?

Like critical illness insurance, there are a variety of different life insurance plans available for you to choose from. From term life insurance to permanent life insurance, whole life insurance to universal life insurance, and everything in between-- the fact is, your option list can be a little overwhelming. So, to help you make the best decision possible, we suggest doing your research, exploring key differences between policies, and deciding based on your unique set of needs—as there is no one-size-fits-all model.


When asking which type of insurance you should prioritize over the other, one must first understand the key differences between insurances, and what those key differences mean when weighed against your own personal situation. That is to say, one should weigh their own health, family history, and personal circumstances against their options.

In conclusion, there is no easy answer as to which insurance type, plan, or policy one should consider over the other. Though a time consuming process, ensuring you make the right decision is essential, so doing your research and understanding your role in policy selection is a must.

  1. The Balance, What Is Critical Illness Insurance?, 2019

  2. Investopedia, Critical Illness Insurance: What Is It and Who Needs It?, 2019

  3. Nasdaq, Medical Bankruptcy Is Killing The American Middle Class, 2019

  4. CNBC, This is the real reason most Americans file for bankruptcy, 2019

  5. Forbes, 10 Things You Absolutely Need To Know About Life Insurance, 2016

  6. Investopedia Life Insurance, 2019

Categories: Insurance, Life Insurance, Critical Illness Insurance

« Back