How to choose between different health insurance companies
Taking out a health cover policy can be a great way of making sure you get top-quality treatment in the event of accident or illness. However, one problem you will encounter when trying to find the right cover is the sheer number of companies and providers around. That’s why we’ve compiled this guide to help you know what to look for when deciding on a health insurance company.
Why should I get health insurance?
People take out health insurance, also known as private medical insurance (PMI), for a variety of reasons. Very common among these is to get treatment faster and not have to sit for a long time on NHS waiting lists, but there are other considerations such as being able to stay in a private room while in hospital or having more choice over how you are treated.
All these concerns, as well as the pros and cons of taking out a health insurance policy are outlined on our page that explains all the ins and outs of health insurance. For now, what we need to look at is how you choose between the different insurers around when you’ve decided you want a health cover policy.
What should I look for in a health insurance company?
There are many aspects to finding the right private medical insurance company, here are the things you want to be considering when taking out a policy:
The primary consideration with health cover, as when taking out any insurance policy, is that it offers you the level of coverage you need. Every provider will have a range of options designed to cover specific types of cover. A standard policy will usually insure you for in-patient costs such as any tests, medicine, or surgery you require, but to have access to a wide range of out-patient services you will usually have to pay extra.
Think about what you are taking out private medical insurance for. If you are looking to find a way to access faster treatment than with the NHS, then a standard policy is likely to be enough. Whereas if you want a specific condition such as cancer to be covered, then you’ll have to look for more complex policies.
Health insurance policies come with a wide range of exclusions, so it’s very important to understand any policy you’re taking out, in full, to make sure you’re covered for everything you want to be.
For each health insurance company, the list of exclusions will be different. However, it’s common for any illnesses relating to pre-existing conditions or disabilities to be written out of private medical insurance, and it can also be hard to find cover that includes long-term complex conditions.
Once you have figured out what you want to be covered for, you need to find an insurer that offers that level of cover for a reasonable price. Factors such as your age, medical history, and lifestyle (particularly smoking/vaping) will affect the cost of your private medical insurance, but comparing different health insurance companies is a great way to make sure you’re getting the best possible price.
It’s common that health insurance companies will run their own private hospitals, and that your insurance will only cover you for treatment in these facilities (and sometimes select private wings of NHS hospitals). It’s definitely worth checking that the hospital where you’ll receive treatment if you are ill is convenient for you and your family to get to.
A key factor with any type of insurance is the confidence you feel that they will pay out when needed. This is why it is so vital to pick an insurer that you can trust. The good news is that this is a regulated industry in the UK, and the Association of British Insurers state that all companies offering this cover need to comply with certain standards. However, it is useful to check the percentage.
If you have a complaint, the Financial Ombudsman Service will also help look into any concerns you have. However, you should also do some checking to ensure that you choose an insurer that suits you.
Before trusting a company, it’s a good idea to see if they have a good reputation for treating their customers well and providing a great service. To find this out you can check out expert ratings from defaquto, who give a star rating for each individual policy, and also have a read through the online reviews that customers have left.
This is a great way of getting an indication of how easy a health insurance company is to deal with, in addition to knowing what level of cover they offer with their policies. You’re only going to be making a claim on this type of policy when you’re not feeling 100%, so it’s important to know you’re in good hands.
What are the top 10 health insurance companies in the UK?
These are the names that will continually come up when you’re looking for the best health insurance companies around:
- The Exeter
- General & Medical
- CS Healthcare
- Freedom Healthnet
Is price the most important factor with health insurance?
It is generally true of any insurance that the level of cover you are getting should be your primary concern ahead of the price, but this is especially true when it comes to private medical insurance. Every policy will cover certain conditions and exclude others, and there’s little point in finding a cheap policy that is only cheap because it doesn’t offer the cover you need.
Nobody wants to pay more than they need to, and health cover can be very expensive, which is why we put the emphasis on value rather than price. Decide what you want to cover, and then we’ll help you find the best price for what you need.
Think about using an insurer you already have policies with
One thing to bear in mind is that it can often make sense to stick with one of the health insurance companies that you already have another policy with. Not only does this mean that you already know the level of customer service you will receive, but also it’s possible you can take out a policy at a discounted rate for being a loyal customer.
Where can I find more information about health insurance providers?
We have reviewed all the top health insurance companies, and deconstructed all their policies so you can see exactly what cover you will get for your money. If you want to compare the different providers, have a read through all the information to see which is right for you - don’t worry, we’ve laid out everything in plain English so you can make a decision with confidence.
Can I get a quote right away?
Yes, we can find you a great quote within minutes if you know what you’re looking for. Simply follow the link below, fill out our short form, and we’ll provide a list of quotes for the best value policies out there.