Critical Illness insurance pays a lump sum of money in the event of being diagnosed with heart, stroke or cancer. As the benefit is not a death benefit one must survive at least 30 days or normally 90 days for cancer to pay and most plans include various covered conditions in addition such as multiple sclerosis, parkinson's along with about a dozen more. Many view critical illness as a short term need which some define as a one year problem like a heart attack needing a tripple bypass (a problem where life is upset for several months to a year and beyond things get somewhat back to normal). Life can be turned upside down and the out of pocket expenses huge thus the funds generally are needed and assist so a person can focus on getting better.
When considering this protection you should first ask yourself, in the event of an accident or sickness do I have my income protected or not. If not think about long term disability first before adding any critical illness as one's greatest asset is usually their income therefore protecting this great asset is paramount.
If you die while the policy is in force, your beneficiary can receive a refund of 100% of the premiums that you paid into your Critical Illness policy or you can even get a Return of Premium option. These are common features in most policies.