There is a core of major illnesses which tend to be covered by all providers including cancer, stroke, major organ transplant, coronary artery by-pass surgery, multiple sclerosis, heart attack and kidney failure.
Many providers cover 'additional conditions' which may include aorta graft surgery, benign brain tumour, blindness, coma, deafness, heart valve replacement or repair, loss of limbs, loss of speech, motor neurone disease, paralysis/paraplegia, Parkinson's disease, terminal illness and third degree burns.
The list of critical illnesses' covered by critical illness policies varies from provider to provider and will be specified in the policy along with any exclusions. You should never assume that a particular illness is listed. You should also check which type of critical illness cover (basic or comprehensive) you quote has been prepared on and which actual critical illnesses are covered before you commit to buying a specific providers plan.
Below is a comprehensive list of critical illnesses and definitions that you might expect to find within a providers own plan literature - source: Chartered Institute of Insurers
In addition, other critical illnesses may be covered, included under permanent and total disability, at least in their later stages:
It's worth bearing in mind that medical advances constantly change this list. New techniques and cures mean recovery times are being cut for conditions that used to be debilitating.
To research your CIC position further you can go to our online personal finance consultant, the Finance Navigator.