Over half of young adults don’t understand critical illness cover

Posted in: Corporate

  • One third of young adults (29%) have never heard of critical illness cover, and over half (53%) don’t know what it is for
  • Four in five (79%) may or would definitely consider taking out cover once they understand the product
  • Almost three quarters (73%) of 18–40-year-olds don’t have critical illness cover
  • 51-year-old father of two, Jason Fenton, explains how critical illness cover supported his family financially when he had a serious heart attack and needed 4 months off work

More than half (53%) of 18–40-year-olds don’t understand what critical illness cover is for, and one third (29%) have never heard of the product.

Around 12.7 million (73%) young adults don’t have critical illness cover to support their family. However, research conducted by insurance company, Beagle Street, found that four in five may or would definitely consider taking out critical illness cover once the product had been explained.

Critical illness cover pays out money if you are diagnosed with a specified serious injury, illness, or medical episode. The policy holder can use the money for whatever is needed.

Jason Fenton, 51-year-old father of two, knows first-hand the importance of critical illness cover after he had a serious heart attack and was able to claim £13,500 from Beagle Street.

He said, “receiving the money was like a weight had been lifted from our shoulders. It meant we were able to pay off a few things and my wife has been able to go down to working four days a week. We were also able to use some of the money on a family holiday to Majorca. It was so beneficial to spend ten days of quality time together, soaking up the sun and relaxing after what had been such a stressful time for everyone.

“I recommend critical illness cover to everyone. You never know what’s going to happen in life. You may never use the cover and hopefully you don’t, but if you do, then that reassurance goes a long way. If we hadn’t have had it, we wouldn’t be where we are now.”

Beagle Street’s research found that the main reason (61%) young adults have or would consider taking out critical illness cover is to give themselves and their family peace of mind. This was followed by 42% saying they would use it to pay for private medical insurance if needed, and one in three (33%) would use the money to keep on top of bills.

The cost-of-living crisis means many families have less savings to fall back on in times of need. One fifth (21%) of young adults surveyed said they didn’t want to think about how their family would cope if they became seriously ill and couldn’t work. One in ten (10%) said that their family wouldn’t cope as they are the main wage earner, and the same amount didn’t know what they would do.

Managing Director of Beagle Street, Alistair Rose, said, “It’s concerning so many young adults aren’t aware of the importance of critical illness cover. We see every day the safety net that critical illness cover creates for families that are hit by serious illness.

“For many people, being diagnosed with a serious condition would create worrying financial problems. Critical illness cover can be a lifeline for families in difficult times to keep on top of their bills, pay off part of a mortgage or even pay for rehabilitation support.”


Notes to Editors

Unless otherwise stated, all research conducted by Opinium, on behalf of Beagle Street, which is a part of OneFamily, between 25 September – 9 October 2023, is among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults aged between 18 and 40.

About Beagle Street

Beagle Street is a leading distributor of life insurance and critical illness cover to thousands of customers across the UK. Launched in 2012, the brand aims to deliver a life insurance service that is straightforward and supports customers throughout every step of the life insurance process while retaining, speed, ease, and value at its core.

Beagle Street is part of OneFamily, a customer-owned financial services company that offers lifetime ISAs, lifetime mortgage advice, junior ISAs, child trust funds, bonds, and over 50s life cover.

About OneFamily

OneFamily is a member-owned financial services company that offers lifetime ISAs, lifetime mortgages, junior ISAs, child trust funds, bonds and over 50s life cover.

We have over 45 years’ experience of being a trusted provider of financial solutions, with nearly 2 million customers and over £5.5 billion in funds under management at the end of 2022.

We are the UK’s biggest child trust fund provider, holding over 25% of the market.

Supporting our members and their communities

At OneFamily, we’re owned by our members for our members – and doing right by them is at the heart of our business.

We don’t have shareholders to pay dividends to, so we reinvest our profits to provide quality products and services for the benefit of our members.

We think that financial products should be accessible to everyone regardless of how much money they have to invest. That’s why our products have low investment levels and minimum contributions, giving more people the opportunity to save regardless of their circumstances.

Inspiring Better Futures

Our Inspiring Better Futures vision underpins our commitment to doing the right thing at every level for our members and customers, colleagues and communities.

The Inspiring Better Futures vision is built on 3 pillars – Members and customers, colleagues and communities.

Our focus is on long-term sustainability, so we can continue to be relevant and impactful to our members and communities.

Access to education and training

The costs of further education and training can be a barrier to many young people and their families.

This is why we offer OneFamily customers the opportunity to apply for a Young Person’s Education Grant of up to £250 – for someone aged 15-19 – to help meet these costs, when they would otherwise struggle without financial assistance. The grant can be used towards study materials, specialist uniform, travel costs or a laptop/tablet.

Applications are open throughout the year, and grants are awarded following a random computerised draw.

We’ve improved the lives of over 3,400 people through our individual grants since 2015.

Charity Partnerships

Supporting our communities has been a key focus of ours for many years. We’ve established partnerships with local and national charities that champion access to education and improving life chances for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

For more information on how we support our members and communities see:
Education Grants
Charity Partnerships