When I first approached "Tom" about the impact a critical illness would have on his family's finances, he could see the potential effect something like this could have; especially if it was his son or daughter that was ill. He took our conversation home to discuss with his wife and they decided that while there was a potential risk, both kids were healthy and there were no major health concerns within their family. Besides, they needed to put their money towards other things.
Six months later, we picked up our conversation. Again, Tom and his wife decided that while the coverage was important to them, they would rather put the money towards summer camps and activities for the kids.
A short while later, Tom contacted me and said that they were ready to put coverage in place for his kids. I sat down with Tom and his wife and completed two applications for $50,000 of coverage for their son (age 8) and their daughter (age 10). We sent the applications off and waited for the insurance company to approve the kids' coverage.
While the insurance company was reviewing the applications, Tom's son came down with a bad cold that triggered Type 1 Diabetes - a non-curable and covered condition under a child's critical illness insurance policy. As the application was still under review and Tom's son was now uninsurable, the insurance company had no choice but to decline his application. To make matters even more disheartening, given the likelihood of Tom's daughter developing Type 1 Diabetes, her application was declined with the option to re-apply after age 18.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and had Tom and his wife applied for the coverage even a few months earlier, both kids would likely have been approved. Obviously, this would not prevent Tom's son from developing Type 1 Diabetes; however, had the coverage been in place, Tom and his family would have received $50,000 to help his son deal with his new medical condition and Tom's daughter would still have $50,000 of coverage should she need it.
So what was the cost for $50,000 of critical illness coverage? $50 per month - less than one Tim Horton's coffee per day.
If there is one thing to learn from this unfortunate series of events, it's that this can happen to anyone. Even those people that are seemingly healthy, with no indication or predisposition to an illness. Don't postpone this conversation. Talk to your advisor, explore your options and decide the best course of action for you and your family.