What age should you get health insurance?

4 min Read Published: 03 Jan 2024

What age should you get health insurance?Health insurance gives you access to a range of private medical treatments if you suffer an illness or injury. Most health insurance plans allow you to choose where you get treated, provide access to a wide range of treatments and perhaps most importantly of all, enable you to skip NHS queues and get seen quicker. In this article, we look at what age you can buy health insurance as well as how much it costs.

You can get an instant health insurance quote online* - you'll get £100 cashback if you buy your policy this way (offer ends 31st July 2024). You may also wish to speak with a specialist health insurance adviser which you can arrange using the above link as well.

What age can you buy health insurance?

The age at which you can buy health insurance, also referred to as private medical insurance, varies depending on the health insurance company you choose. Age limits vary between 18 and 99, with policies becoming more expensive as you get older. You need to be 18 to apply for UK health insurance, however, some policies allow adults to add children to their policy by converting it to a 'family' plan. For more information about family plans, check out our article 'Which is the best family health insurance policy'.

We have provided two tables below that confirm the minimum and maximum age requirements for the top 6 health insurance providers in the UK.

Cashback Offer

Get the best value health insurance

Our partner Howden Life & Health will help tailor cover for you and your family.

  • Compare all the top UK providers
  • Up to £100 cashback for new customers
  • Free Will available
  • Quick free quotations

Get a quote*

Minimum age you can buy health insurance in the UK

Health Insurance Provider Minimum Age Requirement
Aviva 18
Axa Health 18
Bupa 18
The Exeter 18
Vitality 18
WPA 18

Maximum age you can buy health insurance in the UK

Health Insurance Provider Maximum Age Requirement
Aviva 99
Axa Health 80
Bupa 80
The Exeter 79
Vitality 80
WPA 65

Health insurance costs by age

The cost of health insurance is determined by a number of factors, including your age, the excess you choose and how comprehensive the cover is. In this article we will focus on how your age can impact the cost of health insurance, however, if you want to understand how the excess and type of health insurance affects the cost of the cover, then read our article 'How much does private health insurance cost?'

Below we have provided the cheapest health insurance quotes for a range of ages, from 18 to 60

Age Basic Health Insurance Intermediate Health Insurance Comprehensive Health Insurance
18 £11.85 £18.78 £32.35
25 £14.95 £25.11 £44.12
30 £12.68 £23.55 £45.64
35 £13.79 £25.25 £53.47
40 £15.54 £29.12 £58.75
45 £16.35 £31.30 £65.94
50 £20.95 £38.44 £75.27
55 £25.43 £46.27 £89.48
60 £34.40 £59.00 £108.28

Costs based on a health insurance excess of £250 and correct as of January 2024

As you can see from the table above, the older you are, the more expensive health insurance becomes. This is because you are more likely to claim on a health insurance policy the older you get. So, in order to answer the question 'What age should you get health insurance', it really depends on what is affordable and what you consider to be good value. For some people, £30-£40 per month is a small price to pay to beat the NHS queues and have a say in how and when they are treated.

It is worth noting that health insurance premiums are reviewed each year and so unlike other 'fixed' insurance products such as life insurance, there is no real benefit to taking out the cover when you are younger, as the price isn't fixed and will increase year on year.

Do you need health insurance?

Buying health insurance is a personal choice and so there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether you need it and the best age to buy it. For a lot of people, it simply comes down to cost and so you may want to read our article 'Is private health insurance worth it' where we explain the cover in more detail as well as provide a handy list of alternatives to health insurance. In order to understand whether you need health insurance, you need to be absolutely clear on what it covers. We explain health insurance cover in more detail in our article 'What does health insurance cover?'

Health insurance provides cover for the following:

What is included with Health Insurance Details
Diagnostics Tests/scans etc
Outpatient Treatment Minor treatments and surgery that does not require an overnight stay
Inpatient Treatment Treatment that requires an overnight stay
Accommodation Overnight stay in a private hospital
Nursing Care Ongoing care while you recover
Medication Drugs during and after your stay to enable recovery
Additional Care Some policies provide additional care such as access to 'Virtual GP's'. This varies by insurer

Health insurance does not provide cover for the following:

What is not included with Health Insurance Details
Pre-existing conditions Pre-existing conditions where you have had investigations, tests or treatment in the past 5 years are usually not included
Emergency care If you require immediate emergency treatment then you would need to be treated by the NHS at your local A&E and so your policy would not cover you for this
Chronic conditions Long term conditions such as diabetes and Crohn's Disease are not covered
Treatment overseas You would need to refer to your travel insurance policy in order to receive private treatment abroad
Pregnancy Prenatal care is not covered
Drug Abuse Treatment for drug-related issues (including overdose) is not covered

The best and cheapest way to buy health insurance

You should ensure that you search the whole market when buying a health insurance policy to find the best and cheapest quotes for you and your circumstances. The premiums quoted above are only indicative. Online comparison sites can only provide you with a simplified quote, whereas an independent health insurance specialist can provide you with a personalised quote. We would recommend speaking to the independent health insurance adviser* who is fully qualified to give advice on the best policy for you based on your private healthcare priorities, budget and medical history. You won't pay for the services and as a Money to the Masses reader, you will receive £100 cashback when you arrange your health insurance (offer ends 31st July 2024).


If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. The following link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses or take advantage of any exclusive offers - Howden Life & Health