WITH the current NHS stop smoking campaign well under way, Stoptober and Breast Cancer Awareness month taking place, it seems that we are increasingly reminded that we need to look after our health.

Living a healthy lifestyle and being in good health is something that the majority of us aspire to achieve; however, if unforeseen situations were to arise because of serious illness, being financially prepared and having a plan in place can make all the difference.

When you have dependents, such as children or a partner to take care of, becoming seriously ill can be one of your greatest fears. Who will earn the income to pay the mortgage if you had to take a long period off work for treatment? How would you afford to pay for extensive childcare if you were physically unable to care for little ones? In these situations, friends and family might often step in to help for the short term but illnesses such as cancer can arise unexpectedly and go on for many months.

Many people choose to have the peace of mind that should they face serious illness, they would not have the added burden of financial stress at that time. They have in place an insurance policy that will pay a sum to assist with financial commitments such as a mortgage, rent or debt repayments. This means they are able to focus their energy on their health and getting better.

Critical illness insurance can be an important part of a family's planning for the unwanted and unexpected. Many policies have the added advantage of covering children too so, if a child becomes ill, financial provision can be made for a parent to take time off work to commit to their recovery, a situation which is rarely considered.

There are a wide range of companies that offer critical illness cover. How much you pay depends upon the amount of money you would like to claim in the event of diagnosis of a specified illness and also on your medical health history. It is important to note that different policies cover different illnesses or treatments, so you should look at the details carefully and not just go with a policy on the basis of cost alone.

It is also important to consider what financial protection you already have in place. Do you have substantial savings? Do you have sickness cover provided by your employer and if so, what are the terms?

Looking at the bigger picture of all available resource can reduce the amount of critical illness cover you need and therefore the premium you would need to pay.

If you have had health problems in the past, don’t be put off talking to your financial adviser about critical illness protection. They have extensive knowledge about individual provider criteria and they would be able to ensure your application is placed with the most appropriate insurer and can help you with making the whole process run a lot smoother.

You can get in touch with Billy by calling his freephone number: 0800 321 3508. Or you can reach him via the website, www.williamgeorge.info, where there is a contact page, or email him directly: w.george@ifswm.com.