Which is the best health insurance policy in the UK?

9 min Read Published: 02 Jul 2020

In this article we take a look at private health insurance (sometimes referred to as private medical insurance) explaining what we like and what we don't like about the cover and which companies offer the best and most comprehensive private health insurance cover. We also tell you the best way to buy health insurance and guarantee to get the best cover.

What is private health insurance?

Put simply, private health insurance (which is also referred to as private medical insurance or PMI) is a type of insurance that will pay for private medical treatment if you fall ill. It is more complex than that however as there are many options to consider, including a multitude of different levels and types of cover, so it is worth doing your research before you commit to a particular plan or provider. Check out our article Is private health insurance worth it for more information about what private health insurance covers and what types of cover are available.

How to compare the best UK health insurance policies

The best way to compare private health insurance policies is to speak to an independent specialist as comparing private health insurance quotes is tricky, due to the number of different types of policies available. An independent specialist will be able to compare every policy available and provide practical advice based on your own unique circumstances. You'll be able to compare like for like policies and know exactly what you are covered for. While you can use an online comparison tool to get a quote and an idea of prices, it is extremely tricky to compare policies side-by-side and ensure that they are offering the same benefits.

Which are the best UK private healthcare providers

It is not for us to say who is the best private health insurance provider as it depends what type of cover you need and so the best provider will be different depending on who you are and what you require. Below we have listed 5 of the biggest private health insurance providers and picked out what we like and what we don't like about each.  


Bupa Health Insurance

What we like

Bupa is the UK's largest health insurance company

Owns many private hospitals and clinics

Aims to cover customers from diagnosis to treatment

Cover can be tailored

5-star rating from independent industry reviewer Defaqto

What we don't like

Comprehensive cover can be relatively expensive


Vitality Health Insurance (formally Pru Health)

What we like

One of the most 'visible' health insurance brands. Often seen advertising football, netball and cricket on the TV

Rewards for active and healthy living including cashback, discounted gym membership, free cinema tickets and free Starbucks coffee

Access to real GP's via video chat

5-star rating from independent industry reviewer Defaqto

What we don't like

Benefits are regularly reviewed and can be removed without warning


Axa PPP Health Insurance

What we like

24-hour claims helpline with access to trained nurses and councillors 

Offers no claims discounts and rewards to keep renewal costs low

Offers a 6-week clause that allows you the chance to get treated on the NHS initially - helping to bring down the cost of the cover 

5-star rating from independent industry reviewer Defaqto

What we don't like

Reviews from customers suggest that customer service and wait times could be improved


Aviva Health Insurance

What we like

Global insurance brand with over 30 million customers worldwide

24 hour GP helpline

Free cover for younger children if you take out cover for you and your eldest child

Offers a 6-week clause that allows you the chance to get treated on the NHS initially - helping to bring down the cost of the cover

5-star rating from independent industry reviewer Defaqto

What we don't like

Comprehensive cover can be relatively expensive


The Exeter

What we like

Unlimited in-patient and day-patient treatment

Access to the 'Health Wise' app - GP's on-demand, second medical opinion, mental health support

Complete cancer cover

Post-operative physiotherapy provided

No claims discount

5-star rating from independent industry reviewer Defaqto

What we don't like

The website is fairly basic and is not quite up to the same standard of the bigger providers

What is the best way to buy private health insurance?

Step 1 - Work out your budget

Firstly, work out your budget. Once you know how much you are willing to spend you can start working out the type of cover that is affordable. There is no point in buying private health insurance cover that is beyond your budget as it is likely that you will cancel it, leaving you with no cover should you ever need to claim. 

Step 2 - Prioritise

Would you prefer to pay a higher premium in return for a lower excess or would you be better off paying lower premiums in the knowledge that you may have to pay a high excess fee come claim time? Is getting treated locally important to you? Do you place higher importance on being diagnosed quickly or maybe it is more important for you to simply receive treatment. All of your decisions will impact the potential premium that you will pay and so it is important to know where your priorities lie or at least which parts of the cover are less important to you.

Step 3 - Shop around

Do your research and shop around. Private health insurance is a competitive market and so don't take the first price that you are quoted. Frustratingly, private health insurance is difficult to compare like-for-like policies due to the different types of cover available but this brings us onto step 4....

Step 4 - Speak to an expert

Simply shopping around and comparing policies, using online comparison sites, will only get you so far. Private health insurance is a complex product and is extremely difficult to compare policies. There are companies that provide independent, impartial advice and whose job it is to compare private medical insurance policies* and tailor the cover to your own specific needs and so you should get advice before you commit to buying a policy through a price comparison site. Assured Futures will be able to do provide you with a free comparison quote* and answer any questions you may have about the cover, with no obligation to take things further.  

 

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 - Assured Futures

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