When it comes to health cover for you or your family it’s important to shop around and find the right policy to suit your needs and budget. We search across leading health insurance providers to show you our best deals tailored to your requirements.
It's unlikely that you'll need to use your health insurance for COVID-19 treatment as the majority who get COVID-19 recover fairly quickly and won't always need to go into hospital.
If you are sent to hospital because of coronavirus, it will be seen as emergency treatment. Emergency treatment is always handled through the NHS, as private hospitals aren't designed to cover emergency care.
Health insurance is usually intended to cover conditions that occur or develop after you've taken out your policy. If you have a pre-existing condition you'll generally still be able to buy private health insurance, however it's unlikely you'll be covered for treatment if it flares up.
Some insurers offer cover for certain pre-existing conditions if they are seen as minor (but the definition for this can vary), or if they believe the symptoms are unlikely to come back again. If you haven't experienced any symptoms for around five years (this may vary), insurers may be more willing to cover you for the condition.
Private health insurance providers can have extensive lists of conditions that won't be covered, as well as certain situations where you won't be able to claim for treatment costs. Some situations and conditions that aren't covered by private health insurance include:
Injuries related to dangerous sports or activities
Depending on the provider or insurance products you choose, there may be optional extras you can add to your private health insurance policy. Some of these extras may be included as standard, while some may be excluded entirely. You'll usually be able to choose to add:
Some health insurance providers might have an auto-renewal feature in place, which means you won't necessarily need to renew it yourself. However auto-renewals can be risky as insurers often raise premiums when they renew your policy.
It may be best to compare policies when yours is running out, in order to ensure you can stay on the best available deal for the cover you need.
You can take out joint private health insurance if you want to add your partner to your policy. Some health insurance providers will also let you add your children, so you have one policy for the whole family.
It's worthwhile checking what your provider offers, so if you're not happy with your cover options you can shop around and find the right deal for your needs.
You'll likely need to be over 18 to take a policy out for yourself, but under-18s can usually be added to their parent or guardian's policy - again, it's best to check beforehand instead of assuming. Some providers might have upper age limits, but even if they don't you can generally expect to pay more the older you are when you take out a policy.
You shouldn't need to go through a medical to get private health insurance. Most insurers will simply ask you to fill out a medical history form, so they can get an understanding of your lifestyle and medical history.
If your work offers private health insurance through an employee benefits package, it's unlikely that you'll need to take our private health insurance yourself. Just make sure you check exactly what you're covered for through your work, as your policy may not cover what you need it to.
If you're after health insurance that covers optional extras like dentistry or physiotherapy, your policy through your work may not cover this.
Health insurance is not the same as a healthcare cash plan, and you can have both at the same time.
Health care cash plans are schemes where you pay a monthly fee to cover your routinely medical appointments, while health insurance usually covers treatment for conditions that develop after you take out your cover. You'll use a cash plan for routinely appointments, like an eye test or dental check-up.
Unlike medical insurance, which is used for private treatment, a healthcare cash plan can be used alongside the NHS (as you may be expected to pay for prescriptions, eye tests and the dentist, depending on where you live.)
Depending on your policy type, you may need to pay an excess only once each policy year, while other policies will charge an excess each time you make a claim. The higher excess you have, the lower your health insurance premiums are likely to be.
Health insurance can cover you for private health care in the UK, while critical illness cover pays out a lump sum or source of income if you're diagnosed with a serious illness that your policy covers. Unlike health insurance that you claim on for private medical treatment, critical illness cover is there for financial peace of mind, if you're diagnosed with a serious illness during the term of your policy.
If you're buying a private health insurance policy yourself, it's unlikely to be tax deductible. But if you're an employer buying private health insurance for your employees as a benefit package, it may be classed as a business expense - so you may be able to claim a tax deduction.
For more information on tax deductions and health insurance, you should contact the HMRC.
Most private health insurance policies won't cover you if your fall unwell abroad, but it's best to check this with your insurer as policies do vary. If your policy does offer cover abroad, it's likely to only pay out for emergency treatment. With this in mind, it's important that you take out medical travel insurance when travelling outside the UK, so you can be protected against the unexpected.
Your policy can cover cancer treatments (such as chemotherapy/radiotherapy), recovery and access to cancer-preventing drugs. Health insurance policies with comprehensive cancer care can provide treatment for chemotherapy and surgery. While some policies can have annual limits (for example up to £30,000 per policy member), others can be unlimited depending on the level of cover chosen.