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Prepare for the worst and your family will be protected; YOUR MONEY.

Byline: Alok Dhanda

THE prospect of being left unable to work due to critical illness or injury is not something many people plan for, however the tragic plight of reality TV star Jade Goody, 27, who has terminal cancer, highlights the harsh reality that illness can strike anyone at any time.

In fact, critical illness insurance is vital to anyone with a mortgage or debt, who would find themselves and their families in financial difficulty should they become unable to work due to serious illness or injury.

Looking back at Jade Goody's life, who would have thought she would end up in the situation she finds herself in today, facing the prospect of only having weeks or months left to live?

We can't know the details of her personal finances, however, I'm confident that if she was asked now whether she would recommend taking out critical illness insurance, the answer would be yes.

Last year around 27,000 people in the UK suffered illness or injury so severe they had to leave work permanently and one in three of us will be diagnosed with cancer during our lifetime with even more falling victim to heart attacks and strokes, but however startling the facts, around 90% of the population still don't see the importance of taking out critical illness insurance.

Very few of us are in Jade's position, where the financial security of loved ones will be taken care of, and instead will end up having to downsize during what is a very difficult time. This kind of upheaval can be easily avoided through basic, sensible planning.

It's vital that people review their personal portfolios and look at how they would pay their bills, mortgages and other debts should they find themselves in this position.

There are plenty of good companies providing critical illness insurance which will provide peace of mind that your basic expenses will be covered. A good Independent Financial Adviser will be able to advise you on the best level of cover for your personal circumstances.

The principle is straightforward; in the event of an illness being diagnosed, the insurance company will pay out a lump sum, tax free, after a survival period.

Critical illness insurance can be written jointly with life assurance and a given sum will be paid out on the death of the insured, or in the event of the critical illness, under the one policy.

I would urge every family with a mortgage or debt to make it a priority and take out a critical illness plan now. While interest rates are at a record low, why not put the money you are saving on your mortgage payments to good use as it may protect you from future hardship?

Self-employed business owners or company directors should also consider the consequences of losing a director or key member of staff through death or a critical illness as this can be damaging and could potentially bankrupt a business.

A key-person insurance policy can protect the company by paying the costs of a temporary replacement, meeting the costs of recruiting a permanent replacement and covering the cost of death or incapacity of a key member of staff.

Most of us would never contemplate not taking out house, car or even holiday insurance, so it's time we started to see the importance of protecting our most important asset, our lives.

Alok Dhanda of Dhanda Financial can be contacted on (0191) 255-8960 or at info@dhandafinancial.com. For further information visit www.dhandafinancial.com

CAPTION(S):

ADVICE Alok Dhanda.; TRAGIC Jade Goody and her new husband Jack Tweed.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 28, 2009
Words:599
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