Published by Joe Davine on
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How to get health insurance for your family

Taking out health insurance for your family is a good way of planning for the unexpected, and it can often be more affordable than you might think. By getting a private medical insurance policy, you can ensure that you and your loved ones can bypass lengthy NHS waiting lists, receive treatment in private hospitals, and have easy access to healthcare advice. We’ll take you through everything you need to consider when deciding if family health insurance is right for you.

What is family health insurance?

Family health insurance is a type of policy designed to cover all members of your family, removing the need to take out individual policies for each person. Some insurers offer family health insurance as a defined policy, whereas others allow you to add more people to a regular health insurance policy so its coverage extends to everyone.

With family health insurance, you pay monthly premiums and the policy will pay for the private medical care of any person who is insured (as long as the illness or injury is covered). These types of policy are commonly structured to have an overall limit on the money that can be claimed, and will have a list of exclusions outlining what you are not covered for. There will also be an excess on each policy and your insurance will only start funding your care after this has been paid.

What will my family be covered for?

Family health insurance is designed to help you afford the costs of private healthcare for yourself and those closest to you. Exactly what your family will be insured for is heavily dependent on the policy you take out, but private medical insurance will usually provide cover for:

  • In-patient costs such as medical tests, drugs, and surgery.
  • Private rooms in a hospital run by your insurance provider, or a private wing of an NHS hospital.
  • Partial cover for out-patient costs.
  • Medical check-ups and round-the-clock access to a GP helpline.

And what won’t my family be insured for?

Once again, the list of exclusions when it comes to family private medical insurance varies considerably between policies. You can take out policies that are designed to cover specific conditions, but commonly these things will not be covered by your policy:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions, or illnesses resulting from them.
  • Chronic or long-term illnesses.
  • Pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Cosmetic surgery.
  • Emergency care (this will still be provided by the NHS).
  • Healthcare when you are abroad.

How many people can I cover with a family health insurance policy?

Typically health insurers are quite flexible about the amount of people covered by a family health insurance policy, so you shouldn’t have a problem having all your children insured through one policy. The limits of these policies tend to be set on the maximum amount they will pay out, so having more people insured who might make a claim can make it more likely you will reach this limit.

How much does it cost to insure my family?

This will depend completely on the provider you choose and the level of cover you want to take out. For a decent level of coverage, the cost of health insurance is usually over £1,000 a year (the UK average annual health insurance cost is £1,435), and prices rise significantly as you get older.

Ultimately you’ll only be able to get an accurate quote by providing your information and selecting what you want to be insured for (for instance if you want coverage for long-term conditions such as cancer, your policy will be more expensive). These are the factors you want to be thinking about that will affect the cost of family health insurance:

  • Age (of all people covered by the policy)
  • Medical history
  • Lifestyle
  • Smoking (including vaping)
  • Level of cover

Are there age limits with family health insurance?

You may find that some companies have age limits for both adults and children when it comes to family health insurance. For instance, cover may stop for adults once they reach an age between 65 and 75, while young people may be classed as eligible children only up to 18 - 21. Not all policies will have upper age limits for adults, but it’s common that each family health insurance policy will set an age range at which children become adults.

Why shouldn’t I just rely on the NHS?

This is a question you want to consider before taking out a family health insurance policy. Getting insured can be pricey, especially considering that access to treatment on the NHS is free. The main reasons people take out private medical insurance are to avoid spending a long time on NHS waiting lists, to be treated in private rooms, and to have a larger range of treatment options.

You will still be able to use all NHS services if you have private health insurance, and some policies even cost less if you agree that they will only pay for private treatment if the NHS waiting list is longer than a set period of time (usually around 6 weeks). The NHS will also continue to provide all emergency care as private hospitals aren’t usually equipped for this.

The best way to understand family health insurance is as a supplement to the NHS for your family which allows you to:

  • Avoid NHS waiting lists.
  • Get treatment at high-quality private clinics and hospitals.
  • Have more choice of treatment options.
  • Be treated in private rooms in hospital.
  • In some cases, have access to types of treatment not available on the NHS.

How do I find the best family health insurance policy?

That’s where we come in. In our reviews we deconstruct each policy from top health insurers so you know exactly what you’ll be covered for. Once you know the level of cover you want, then compare the prices of the policies that fit the bill to find the best value.

If you want to find a quote right away, then click the button below and we’ll find you the best policies out there.