The cost of illness

The cost of illness

The information in this guide was last updated on 26/02/2014

Being unable to work because of illness can hit your finances hard, but having savings and protection in place could help provide a cushion. Read our guide to coping with the effects of illness on your finances.

Illness has a financial as well as emotional impact – and the costs can be considerable. For example, four in five cancer patients face an average cost of £570 a month as a result of their illness, due to costs such as travel to hospital and increased fuel bills, according to the cancer charity Macmillan (April 2013).

And while no one likes to imagine becoming too ill to work, the same report states one in four women and one in five men will suffer from a serious illness before retirement age. So you may want to think about how you’d cope if it happened to you.

Consider what would happen to your bills, mortgage and insurance if you couldn’t work. You might think you could rely on your partner’s salary or that family members could help out financially, but what would happen if they had to take time off work to look after you? 

That’s why, when you do your financial planning, you may want to consider insurance such as Mortgage Payment Protection or Life and Critical illness cover.

Cutting back

If you become too sick to work, there’s likely to be an immediate financial impact to deal with.

If you’re having any problems in paying your debts, it’s essential you talk to your creditors as soon as possible.

To make your budget go further consider:

  • investigating whether consolidating your debts into a single loan will make them easier to pay off
  • finding cheaper deals for the essentials: you can shop around using comparison sites to see if you can get a better deal on utilities and phone bills. See our guide to managing your money.
  • For information on any financial help you may be eligible for, see Turn2us.

Illness and work

Protecting your finances