Like PruProtect, the essentials plan comprises core serious illness cover and level, decreasing or index-linked life cover, with optional disability cover, unemployment cover and income protection.
To reduce costs, some features of the PruProtect plan are not available with the essentials plan. These include automatic child serious illness cover, guaranteed insurability option for life cover, serious illness cover, disability cover and optional serious illness cover for children and immediate cover. However, policyholders can upgrade to the full PruProtect cover at any time.
The essentials plan takes the same severity-based approach to cover as the PruProtect plan, so that people are covered for serious illnesses and partial disabilities, not just critical conditions. The severity based nature of the plan means that policyholders may receive a percentage of the benefit rather than the full cost. This means payments can be made at an earlier stage of the illness, even if it is not life threatening.
The vitality health programme, which rewards policyholders for living healthy lifestyles by offering discounts on gym membership and other offers in relation to health screens, health resorts and holidays, is also an important aspect of the plan. However, unlike the PruProtect plan, essentials does not offer policyholders a reduction in future premiums based on their vitality status.
Essentials could be useful for people who are looking for a protection plan that can adapt to changes in their lives, but who do not need everything available with the PruProtect plan. For example, couples without children would not need PruProtect’s automatic child serious illness cover.
Essentials provides a great deal of flexibility in that policyholders have a choice on many aspects of their cover , such as guaranteed or reviewable premiums, single or joint life, whole life or fixed term and waiver of premium on death serious illness or incapacity. However, the product could seem complicated due to its flexibility and wide range of options.