Skip to Content

Your questions answered

What to consider before buying health insurance

What should I look out for when I'm buying private health insurance?

Before you take out any plan, make sure you find out about these key areas first:

  • Cancer cover - Our Extended Cancer Cover, which comes as standard on all our plans, meets all in-patient and out-patient costs in full for: radiotherapy; chemotherapy and follow-up consultations; biological therapies; hormone and bisphosphonate therapies; cancer surgery and reconstructive surgery; stem cell transplantation.
  • Consultant and anaesthetists fees - Our Full Cover Promise pays all in-patient and day-patient consultants and anesthetists fees in full, as long as the treatment is eligible on your plan and the consultant is recognised by us.
  • Plan excess - With us, you can choose to set your own excess at zero, £100, £250, £500 or £1,000. You then decide whether to pay once a plan year or each time you make a claim. The higher your excess, the lower your starting premium. Read more
  • Renewal premiums - We use the same factors as other health insurers when setting renewal premiums – age, medical inflation and claims made during the plan year. But, unlike other insurers, with us you can control a part of your premium by tracking your activity and increasing your Vitality status. Your premium goes up each year based on your age and medical inflation. If you claim, instead of losing your no-claims discount and facing a big jump in premiums, there’s a smaller rise based on your age, medical inflation and claim size. However, you can limit the increase by tracking your activity and increasing your Vitality status. If you don’t claim, your premium only rises in line with age and medical inflation. Plus, you can still reduce the increase by tracking your activity and your improving your Vitality status.
Do I need to have a medical before I take out health insurance?

If you don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions when you take out a plan, there’s no need to have any sort of examination: you just give us your personal details; pick your level of cover; and answer some basic questions about your medical history.

If you do have a pre-existing condition, you’ll need to speak to our underwriting team on 0808 252 5548 and give them details. They’ll let you know if you need to provide any more information before we can offer you a quote.

What are my cover options with you?

With our health insurance, everyone starts with Core Cover. This gives you access to our Vitality GP service, with private GP video consultations within 48 hours; a 24/7 helpline; and direct referrals to a consultant.

What’s more, our Core Cover gives you a choice of hospital lists so you can decide where you want to be treated and support from our Vitality Care team of clinically-trained experts and case managers.

Additionally, you can choose from a range of Cover Options , such as Out-patient Cover, Dental Cover, Worldwide Travel Cover and more.

You can control your costs by picking a higher plan excess or changing your underwriting option. You can also save on your renewal premium by doing healthy things to raise your Vitality status.

Our Full Cover Promise gives you the security of knowing we’ll pay all in-patient and day-patient consultants and anesthetists fees, as long as the treatment is eligible on your plan and the consultant is recognised by us. Our plans also include Extended Cancer Cover  as standard where we cover all eligible costs related to cancer treatment once diagnosed.

Get more details on what we cover.

Can I add or remove bits of my cover anytime or just when I renew?
You can only change your cover at your annual renewal date.
Can I add people to my plan?
You can apply to add your husband, wife, partner and dependent children to your plan at any time during the plan year. Contact us to find out more.
Is there a limit to the number of people I can have on a plan?

As well as yourself, you can add your husband, wife or partner to your cover. You can also add any number of dependent children, providing they are aged 25 or under when they first join the plan and live at the same address as you.

Is there an age limit?

To be eligible for cover, you need to be aged between 18 and 79 at the plan start date. You can also cover:

  • your husband, wife, or partner living at the same address as you and aged between 16 and 79 at the plan start date or their cover start date
  • your children, including adopted children, aged 25 or under at the plan start date or their cover start date. No age limit applies if your child is switching to us from another insurer with continued personal medical exclusions underwriting terms, they join at the same time as you and they’re covered by your plan with their current insurer.

 

To be eligible for cover, you and anyone on your plan must live in the UK for at least 180 days each plan year. You can only get Worldwide Travel Cover providing everyone on your plan is age 64 or under when the option is included.

Can I have different levels of cover for different people on my plan?

For personal plans, everyone covered by your plan has to have the same level of cover.

How long does a plan last?
Our plans cover you for 12 months.  Your benefits and terms and conditions can change at each renewal date.
Can I get a plan just for a few months?
Our plans are only available on a 12-month basis.
Can I get cover if I'm a professional or semi-professional sports person?
Yes, although we don’t provide cover for any injuries sustained as a result of participation in professional or semi-professional sports.
Is there a no-claims discount?

Most providers offer some form of no-claims discount. We use the same factors as other health insurers when setting renewal premiums – age, medical inflation and claims made during the plan year. But, unlike other insurers, with us you can control a part of your premium by tracking your activity and increasing your Vitality status.

Your premium goes up each year based on your age and medical inflation. If you claim, instead of losing your no-claims discount and facing a big jump in premiums, there’s a smaller rise based on your age, medical inflation and claim size. However, you can limit the rise by tracking your activity and improving your Vitality status.

If you don’t claim, your premium only rises in line with age and medical inflation. Plus, you can still limit the rise by tracking your activity and improving your Vitality status.

How does the excess work on private medical insurance?

As with home or car insurance, you can choose to set an excess. We give you the choice to set it at zero, £100, £250, £500 or £1,000. Once you’ve chosen it, you can decide to pay once per plan year or each time you make a claim. Also, the higher excess you choose, the lower we can set your starting premium.

The excess doesn’t apply to some benefits - making claims for Vitality GP, NHS Hospital Cash Benefit and Childbirth Cash Benefit. It also doesn’t apply to claims made under the Dental Cover option and the Worldwide Travel Cover option, where a different excess may apply. Read more

What is underwriting?
Underwriting is the way we look at your age, medical history and any previous claims you might have made, before we give you a health insurance quote. There are three options:

1. Full medical underwriting, our standard option where we'll ask you some questions about your medical history. We might exclude some pre-existing conditions from your cover.
2. Moratorium underwriting, which won’t cover you for any conditions that have been pre-existing for the previous five years before we offer you a quote.
3. Continued Personal Medical Exclusions (switch) Underwriting, which, if you’re switching from another health insurance provider, will continue to exclude cover for any pre-existing conditions from your previous plan. We may also apply additional personal medical exclusions.

All applicants must be underwritten on the same basis. Which one’s right for you depends on whether you’ve already got a private health insurance plan and how much information you want to give us. To find out more take a look at the FAQs below or read our terms and conditions.
What's a personal medical exclusion?

Any conditions we can’t cover are called personal medical exclusions. A personal medical exclusion is usually a pre-existing condition or symptom, or a previous illness. If we apply a personal medical exclusion to your cover, we also exclude any related conditions.

A related condition is any symptom, disease, illness or injury which reasonable medical opinion considers to be associated with another symptom, disease, illness or injury.

More about Full Medical Underwriting

If you’re happy for us to ask you about your medical history, you can choose Full Medical Underwriting. We might need to exclude some pre-existing conditions from your cover. But we always tell you upfront exactly what you’re covered for.

 Here’s how It works:

  • When you apply to join, we ask you some questions about your health. If we need to know more about your medical history, we might need to get in touch with you or, on some occasions, your GP. You will be informed if this is the case.
  • We use this information to decide whether we need to put any personal medical exclusions on your cover.
  • If we need to apply any personal medical exclusions, they will be detailed on your certificate of insurance. That way you can be clear from the start what we can and can’t cover.
  • Your cover starts after we have gone through this process.
  • In some circumstances we may be unable to offer cover.
How does the no-claims discount work for Full Medical Underwriting?
If you’re a new Vitality member and you choose Full Medical Underwriting you will receive a 65% no-claims discount, even if you have made health insurance claims with a previous provider. If you or someone on your plan makes a claim in any plan year, your no-claims discount in the next year will be lower. It moves down two levels on the no-claims discount scale for each person who claims, however many claims they make. For each claim free year you have, you’ll move up one level on the scale, up to a maximum of 80% depending on your plan Vitality status
More about Moratorium Underwriting

If you don’t want to tell us about your medical history, you can choose Moratorium Underwriting. Because we don’t look at your medical history, we tell you whether you’re covered at the time you make a claim.

Here’s how it works:

  • When you apply to join, you don’t need to fill in a health history questionnaire. This means it’s quick to apply and we can cover you straight away.
  • Because we don’t ask about your medical history when you apply, we can’t tell you upfront what personal medical exclusions you may have. Instead, if you need to make a claim, we tell you whether you’re covered or not at that time.
  • If, after your cover starts, you need treatment for a medical condition or symptom that you’ve never had before, we will cover it subject to the terms and conditions of the plan. The same goes for any medical conditions that you’ve had more than five years before your cover start date with us.
  • But if you’ve had any conditions in the five years before your cover start date with us, we usually won’t cover them. We can only cover conditions like these if, after your cover has started, you go for two continuous years without having any treatment, medication or advice for these pre-existing conditions or any directly related conditions.
  • That does mean we probably won’t ever be able to cover long term conditions like heart problems or psychiatric conditions – that’s because you probably won’t go for two continuous years without having treatment, medication or advice.
More about Continued Personal Medical Exclusions switch Underwriting

If you have already got a private health insurance plan with someone else, you could choose Continued Personal Medical Exclusions (Switch) Underwriting. Here’s how it works:

  • When you apply, you don’t need to fill in a medical questionnaire. Instead, we ask you some questions about your health and any recent claims made, and we ask to see a copy of your current insurance certificate. If we need to know more about the medical history provided, we might need to contact you further, and on some occasions we may need to get in touch with your GP. You will be informed if this is the case.
  • We use this information to work out if we need to apply any additional personal medical exclusions to your cover with us. Any existing personal medical exclusions are carried over from your previous plan. If your current plan has a moratorium clause applied for pre-existing conditions, we’ll apply our own moratorium rules, which may differ from your current insurer, but will be backdated to the date the clause originally commenced, as detailed by your current insurance certificate.
  • We are unable to offer you this type of underwriting if you haven’t been covered under private health insurance for a minimum of nine months continuously. The number of years that you have been insured and the number of ‘relevant’ claims you’ve made are also considered when determining if this type of underwriting is available.
  • Sometimes, we may be unable to offer cover, so please don’t cancel your current plan until we tell you we can accept you.
How does the no-claims discount work for switch underwriting?

Once we have confirmed you are eligible to apply for ‘switch’ underwriting, we use your claims history to determine the appropriate no-claims discount you will receive. The no-claims discount will be based on how long you have been insured and how many ‘relevant’ claims you have made, as per the table below.

Number of claims
Years insured
0 1 2 3+
1 60% 30% Not Available Not Available
2 60% 40% Not Available Not Available
3 60% 50% 30% Not Available
4 65% 55% 30% Not Available
5 65% 60% 40% Not Available
For more information on 'relevant' claims, take a look at page 17 of our Guide to Personal Healthcare.
What if I have a pre-existing condition?

In most cases our plans will only cover you for new conditions that develop after your plan start date. Depending on which type of underwriting you choose, we may list any pre-existing conditions you have on your certificate of insurance. 

What support do you give me if I get ill?

Our Vitality Care specialist team of clinically-trained professionals and case managers are on hand to help, whenever you need them. For claims like cancer, they’re happy to explain any part of your plan and to help you understand the medical advice you get.

We’ll also do all we can to help you get the best from your plan - whether it's about getting a faster diagnosis, advising you on possible home treatment or our NHS Hospital Cash Benefit option.

Computer icon Ready to apply online?

Award-winning health insurance from £1.10 per day.

Get a quote
Phone icon Call us on 0800 779 955

Or ask for a callback and we’ll get in touch at a time to suit you.
Lines are open:
Monday to Thursday: 9am – 7.45pm
Friday: 9am – 5pm
Saturday: 9.30am – 2pm

Request a callback

Where to next?

  • Why should I choose health insurance?

    Stethoscope icon

  • What is health insurance and how does it work?

    Presentation file icon

  • How much does it cost and how do I get it?

    Coins icon

  • Why should I choose VitalityHealth?

    Pointer help icon