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How to get the best value for money health insurance

Your Money
Wednesday 20 September 2017

Finding health insurance at the right price and with the cover you want can be tricky if you don’t know where or how to look. To help you discover the best health insurances companies we’ve put together our top tips.

Firstly, do you need health insurance?

The majority of UK residents profit from the National Health Service’s free healthcare. Therefore, if you’re entitled to it then the choice to go private is a matter of personal preference rather than necessity.

Private medical care ultimately offers you more choice. This includes choice on treatments that are not available on the NHS, like cosmetic surgery. You may benefit from shorter waiting times, and get more of a say in terms of your operation date and who treats you. It also provides you with the means to get a second opinion from that of the NHS.

All this surely sounds advantageous, however it comes at a price - which is where health insurance comes into play.

About health insurance

Health insurance is there to cover any private medical bills you have if you become ill. Hence, why it’s also known as private medical insurance.

Most policies cover treatment for inpatients and outpatients, as well as hospital accommodation and nursing care, plus the use of certain drugs not prescribed on the NHS.

What to think about before considering health insurance

Your general health will affect the price of your insurance policy. For example, factors such as your age and whether or not you smoke may increase the premiums. There will also be a maximum amount on how much a policy will pay out. A full list of considerations can be found on Citizens Advice.

Securing a good deal on your health insurance

Search the market – To compare some of the best quotes online, use a price comparison website. Find a policy that’s at the right price for you and, if needed, take it to a broker to see if they can beat or match the offer. While you’re speaking to the broker you may be able to talk them into a better deal with additional perks. They want your business after all.

 Go direct – There are companies which don’t advertise through brokers or price comparison websites. Once you have your quote of choice, it’s worth contacting them too to see if you can secure a better offer.

Review your payment method – Search around for discounts based on annual payments or monthly direct debits.

Promote a healthy lifestyle – If you’re in good health then you may be able to get a better deal from an insurance company by proving so initially and on renewal of your policy.

Look out for additional offers – While it should not be a key selling point, there are some insurers who offer bonus deals like cinema tickets and cheaper gym memberships as part of their cover.

Excess rates – As with car insurance, if you make a health insurance claim there will be an excess to pay. Be mindful of the excess you set up. A larger excess can reduce your premiums, but you need to be in a position to afford it.

Only take what you need – All policies aren’t the same, so make sure you get one that’s the right level of cover for you. Don’t pay more for features that you will never use.

Page last updated: Wednesday 11 August 2021