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Switching Health Insurance in 2024

In this article, our team of health insurance experts explain what to do if you are considering switching health insurance to a new insurance company in 2024. This comprehensive guide includes all the pros and cons of switching health insurance, a full explanation of the process, plus some important facts that you will need to be aware of.

Switching health insurance may seem like a confusing task, but it’s usually simpler than most people imagine. All you need to do is cancel (or choose not to renew) your current policy. You can then buy a new policy that works better for your budget or the level of cover that you need.

Private health insurance has been growing in popularity in the UK, with this recent report from Sky News stating that around 1 in 10 people in the UK now pay for private healthcare.

Private healthcare: Spire reports surging profits for GP and consultant appointments

Research from Finder also revealed that more than 11.7 million people in the UK bought a private health insurance policy in 2022.

As health insurance must be renewed each year, not everyone will stick with their current health insurance company long term. It can be better to switch to a new insurance company instead of renewing your cover, if another insurer can offer better prices or a wider range of customer benefits.

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60-Second Summary – Switching Health Insurance in 2024

Private health insurance helps you to afford the cost of potentially expensive private medical treatments. There are a lot of health insurance companies in the UK, and you can switch to a new insurance company if your current one no longer feels like the right fit for you, your family, or your business.

Private health insurance isn’t always the easiest product to understand, and many consumers find it useful to get expert advice before switching to a new policy.

  • It is possible to switch to a new health insurance company at any time during your policy. Most policies renew each year, and you can easily swap from one insurance company to another instead of renewing your cover.
  • Switching to a new insurance company or policy can often save you £100’s, so it is important to regularly review your cover to ensure that you have the best deal.
  • It’s completely normal to switch health insurance companies, and your new insurance company won’t mind that you previously had cover with a different insurer.
  • Avoid cancelling your current health insurance policy before your new application has been approved, as you don’t want to risk leaving yourself without cover.
  • It is sensible to rethink your health insurance policy and how much cover you need after significant life events (e.g. marriage or a new baby).
  • For people with pre-existing conditions, you can sometimes avoid extra medical questions with a process called ‘continued moratorium underwriting’. A health insurance expert will be able to explain what this means and if this option is available for you.

It is always possible to switch to a new private health insurance company if you want to. You are never permanently tied into an insurance policy, and you have the right to cancel or change your cover at any point.

There is a wide range of options for health insurance in the UK, and it might be that another insurance company will offer better benefits or a lower price for the cover that you need. It is best to review your policy every year when it comes time to renew, to make sure that you are still happy to continue with your cover.

The only time when switching could be more complicated is if you are currently receiving private medical treatment through your health insurance company. In this situation, it can be better to wait for this course of treatment to end before making any changes.

What is meant by switching in insurance?

If you want to ‘switch’ your insurance policy, this means that you want to either swap to a new insurance company or swap to a different policy with the same insurer. Either choice can be a good option if you aren’t happy with your current policy anymore.

Many people find it useful to speak to a health insurance expert before renewing their current policy, to see if there are better policies available. This can be much quicker and simpler than comparing policies yourself, as health insurance can be complicated to compare and understand.

You can switch to a new health insurance policy or a new health insurance company at any point during your ‘policy term’. As health insurance works similarly to car and home insurance, your policy will usually only last for one year at most. The main example of this not being the case is National Friendly health insurance, where your policy lasts for five years.

You would then need to renew your cover for it to continue, though some health insurance companies will auto-renew your policy for you. You can opt to stick with the same company and policy, or to swap to a new one at this point.

You can also cancel part way through the year to swap to a new policy or insurance company. It’s important to be aware that if you do this, you will usually lose any money that you have already paid. The exception is if you cancel within your insurance company’s ‘cooling off period’, which tends to be either 14 days or 30 days.

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It isn’t bad to switch to a new health insurance company and this is something that happens all the time. As health insurance policies renew every year, it’s very common for people to decide to switch to a new company when they need to renew their cover.

Insurance companies won’t care that you have had a policy with one or more insurers before buying your cover from them. This won’t affect the rates that are available to you, and it can make the application process easier in some cases.

It is also fine to stick with one insurance company over several years if you are happy with your policy. In 2023, Statista conducted a survey, which asked health insurance customers if they would be happy to continue buying policies from their current insurance company.

Insurance companyPercentage of customers who would repurchase health insurance (%)
Aviva logo88% of Aviva health insurance customers would buy Aviva health insurance again
Bupa logo81% of Bupa health insurance customers would buy Bupa health insurance again
Benenden logo80% of Benenden health insurance customers would buy Benenden health insurance again
Health-on-Line logo79% of Health-on-Line health insurance customers would buy Health-on-Line health insurance again
Vitality logo79% of Vitality health insurance customers would buy Vitality health insurance again
AXA Health logo78% of AXA health insurance customers would buy AXA health insurance again
National Assurance logo78% of National Assurance health insurance customers would buy National Assurance health insurance again
Simply Health logo75% of Simplyhealth health insurance customers would buy Simplyhealth health insurance again
The Exeter logo69% of The Exeter health insurance customers would buy The Exeter health insurance again
CS Healthcare logo68% of CS Healthcare health insurance customers would buy CS Healthcare health insurance again
Freedom Health Insurance logo68% of Freedom health insurance customers would buy a Freedom health insurance policy again
General & Medical logo68% of General & Medical health insurance customers would buy General & Medical health insurance again
WPA logo67% of WPA health insurance customers would buy WPA health insurance again
Saga logo64% of Saga health insurance customers would buy Saga health insurance again

Based on these figures, Aviva customers are most likely to have ‘brand loyalty’ and choose to stay with their current health insurance company.

88% of Aviva health insurance customers said that they would happily buy an Aviva health insurance policy again. This was followed by Bupa (81%), Benenden Health (80%), Health-on-Line (79%), Vitality (79%), and AXA Health (78%).

Why would I want to switch health insurance companies?

There are a lot of reasons why you might decide that your current health insurance company or policy isn’t working for you anymore. Some common examples of why people choose to switch to a new health insurance company include:

  • People will often swap to a new insurance company after significant life events (e.g. getting married or starting a family) if another company has better offers for families or couples.
  • Another health insurance company could be offering better benefits or discounts for new customers
  • Other insurance companies might be able to provide a higher level of cover for a similar price to what you are already paying
  • You might have had a bad experience with your current health insurance company (e.g. claims not paying out when they should)

Health Insurance provider reviews

One of the main reasons to swap to a new insurance company will be the price of your health insurance policy. Health insurance pricing can change over time, as insurance companies adjust and improve their policies and processes. You can often save a significant amount of money, by switching to an insurance company that offers lower pricing or discounts.

Health insurance prices will increase as we age, and some insurance companies will offer fairer prices than others for older customers. Health insurance prices can vary for a lot of other reasons too, such as your smoker status, postcode, and medical history.

While your current insurance company might have been the cheapest for you when you applied, a lower price might now be available with a different company. This is why it is important to occasionally check the prices of other policies, to make sure that you are getting the best possible deal.

Our independent experts have put together the table below, to highlight how health insurance prices can vary between the UK’s top health insurance companies. All these quotes were generated for the same example customer who is 30 years old with a North-West England postcode.

Insurance companyPrice per month (£s)
AXA Health logo£46.21 (AXA Health inSpire)
£47.09 (AXA Health for You)
£64.54 (AXA Personal Health)
The Exeter logo£37.89 (The Exeter Health+)
Bupa logo£44.05 (Bupa By You)
Vitality logo£44.15 (VitalityHealth Personal Health Care)
Aviva logo£37.79 (Aviva Healthier Solutions)

Note: These quotes are accurate as of 10/04/2024 and have been generated on our live systems. In these examples, this customer has no pre-existing medical conditions or other high-risk factors.

Switching health insurance is usually a lot simpler than most people would imagine. You will just need to cancel your current policy or not renew it, and then buy a new policy.

The difficult part will normally be deciding which insurance policy or company you want to switch to. This is where it can be useful to speak to a health insurance expert who can talk you through the process and help you to work out your best options for cover.

Steps to switching health insurance to a new company

  1. Research options for a new health insurance policy – You can check the information on insurance company websites or price comparison sites to give you a rough idea of prices and policies
  2. Speak to a health insurance specialist – You can request ‘comparison quotes’ from an experienced health insurance broker and they can help you to work out if you can get a better deal with a new insurance company
  3. Apply for a new policy – Your advisor will walk you through the application process and will ask standard questions about your age, address, etc.
  4. Application is approved – Once your application is approved, you officially have a brand-new health insurance policy
  5. Cancel your old policy – Now that you have your new policy, you can cancel your old policy and cancel your Direct Debit with your bank or building society

If you are confident about which health insurance policy you want, you can apply to the insurance company directly. Some health insurance companies (e.g. The Exeter) don’t take direct applications though, and you would need to apply through an experienced insurance broker.

Choosing to change to a new health insurance company is a completely personal decision, and many people will stick with the same company for years at a time. This is fair, as you may be happy with the level of cover and benefits that you can access. No claims discount can also make it cheaper to stay with the same company, so it really comes down to your own situation.

A lot of people do make the mistake of not even considering other options, as it seems simpler to stick with their current insurer. It’s always a good idea to occasionally review your policy and compare it to other policies on the market.

This can help you to identify if you can get a better deal elsewhere, or if you need more or less cover than you previously thought.

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It can be very beneficial to switch your health insurance to a new company, especially if you aren’t satisfied with your current insurance policy. Some of the main benefits include potentially saving money or having access to a wider range of customer rewards.

If you are thinking about switching health insurance, it is important to understand the potential pros and cons of this process. Our team of independent experts has highlighted these pros and cons in the table below.

Pros and cons of switching health insurance

Another health insurance company might offer better customer benefitsCan seem simpler to stick with your current insurance company
Your own insurance company might have another policy that is better suited to the level of cover that you needCan be hard to understand all your options without the help of a health insurance expert
Can often save significant amounts of money by switchingMight be easier or cheaper to stay with your own insurance company in some cases
Another policy might be more flexible and offer more options for medical treatmentsCould lose perks from your current insurance company (e.g. no claims discount)

You can switch your health insurance to a new company at any time, and it’s possible to save a significant amount of money by doing this. New policies might have become available, or an insurance company may have adjusted their prices allowing you to get the same cover for a lower cost.

It is important to fully understand your new health insurance policy and how it works. You should carefully read any policy documents and terms and conditions, and an insurance expert will be able to explain any differences between your old policy and the new one.

Note: If you want to switch policies, do not cancel your old one before the application for the new one has been approved. You could leave yourself without any health insurance if your new application gets declined for any reason.

There aren’t any restrictions to when you can cancel your health insurance policy. It can be simpler to wait until the end of your policy term, but you always have the right to cancel sooner than this.

Health insurance is an insurance policy that must be renewed every year, and you will normally be contacted by your insurance company around 4-6 weeks before your policy renewal date. They will check if you want to continue with your cover for another year or if you want your policy to end.

If you don’t respond, your health insurance policy will simply end in most cases. There are some companies that will auto-renew your cover, so you should check your policy documents to see if this applies to you.

If you have pre-existing medical conditions, it can be tempting to stick with the same insurance company to avoid having to answer more questions about your health or medical history.

Many people aren’t aware that you can often switch to a new health insurance company without having to answer additional medical questions. This is a process that is known as ‘continued moratorium’ underwriting, and the new insurance company can use the health information that you supplied to the old one.

You may still need to supply more detailed information when claiming, but you won’t need to submit your full medical history during your application.

There is also another option which is known as ‘Continued Personal Medical Exclusions’ or ‘CPME’. This is where any medical exclusions that are attached to your current policy will be transferred over to the new one. An experienced health insurance advisor will be able to explain each option, and which one might work best for you.

This video from Bupa explains more about different types of health insurance underwriting and how these work for people with medical conditions.

Bupa By You health insurance | Underwriting choices explained

Note: Continued moratorium underwriting won’t be available with all health insurance companies in the UK. It is also only available if your current policy was underwritten on a moratorium basis and not full medical underwriting.

Which company is best for health insurance?

Based on our recent industry research, the UK’s top 5 health insurance companies are Aviva, Bupa, Vitality, The Exeter, and AXA Health.

This ranking was based on factors like positive customer service records, top-quality policy benefits, and outstanding value for money. We explain more about each insurance company in our full guide ‘Best Private Health Insurance 2023’.

Is it hard to switch your health insurance policy?

Switching health insurance can be a simple process, especially if you get some advice before making any changes. There are some situations where it can be more complicated though (e.g. if you are still receiving treatment through your current policy).

An experienced health insurance broker will be able to tell you how to switch and any potential issues that might come up. If you’re claiming with your current insurance company, it would be worth waiting until this treatment has ended before switching to a new policy.

How does health insurance work when switching jobs?

If you have health insurance through your employer, this will usually end if you get a new job and leave the company. In some cases, it might be possible to transfer your policy into a personal policy. You should contact your insurance company to see if this is an option for you.

If it isn’t, the only way to continue your cover is to buy a new health insurance policy with the same insurance company or through a different insurer.

There are a few options when thinking about switching your health insurance policy to a new company. You can:

The easiest option is usually to get some advice from a health insurance specialist. As there are so many options with health insurance, it can be hard to compare policies without the help of an expert.

An expert advisor can also talk you through the full application process, and how to cancel the cover that you have with your current insurance company. For free and friendly health insurance advice, you can call 0800 009 6559 or CLICK HERE.

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What is the average cost of health insurance UK?

One of the top questions that people ask about health insurance is, ‘how much does it cost on average per month?’. According to recent research taken in 2023, the average cost of a health insurance is £86 per month for a standard personal protection policy. Health insurance policies can vary dramatically based on your age and the type of cover that you need, as well as which insurance provider you choose.

Most core health insurance policies will provide a similar level of protection and coverage for private medical treatments. You can tailor your health insurance policy to suit your needs and your budget by changing the benefits and levels of cover that you receive.

Is health insurance worth it?

Health insurance is the same as most other personal protection policies that you can buy, it is down to your own personal preference and attitude to risk. The other major issue is whether you can afford to pay for health insurance every month because it can be expensive.

If you ever need to claim on your health insurance policy then the benefits can be life changing and even lifesaving. The medical treatments and care that is provided by the NHS in the UK is among the best in the world, especially for chronic illness. Unfortunately, it is a well-known fact that the NHS is struggling to meet demand and that the levels of private medical treatment are generally far superior to public health treatments.

Example: If you needed knee surgery then you would have to wait for months or even years on the NHS, whereas private health insurance will give you access to better treatment, leading specialists, and within weeks usually. Rehabilitation and therapies cover that are also provided by most health insurance policies can be invaluable, especially if you are self-employed for example.

Is private health insurance better than the NHS?

Currently, the biggest issue with the NHS is the waiting times for any consultations and access to treatments, because of how stretched its resources are. The NHS provides some of the best care in the world for chronic illnesses and diseases, such as diabetes, MS, epilepsy, and asthma.

Health insurance is designed to complement and support the treatment that you can receive on the National Health Service, as well as giving you access to specialists for other medical issues such as musculoskeletal issues and cancer treatment, which are also the top reasons for claims on health insurance cover.

The main issues with NHS treatment currently and reasons for people taking out health insurance:

  • Long waiting lists for consultations, results and treatment
  • Overcrowded hospitals
  • Lack of beds
  • Shortages of NHS nurses and doctors
  • Some treatments not available (especially cancer treatments)
  • Specialists only available on private health insurance
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What is the best health insurance UK?

There are lots of different policy options when considering health insurance as well as your choice of several main insurance providers. The other consideration is whether you don’t take out health insurance and opt for receiving treatment on the NHS or paying for treatment yourself as and when you need it.

We’re constantly reviewing the top health insurance companies in the UK to find out which provide the best service, value, products and treatments. Based on our most recent reviews we suggest the following as the best health insurance UK 2023:

  1. Aviva Healthcare Solutions (Trustpilot score: 4.1 out of 5.0)
  2. BUPA Health Insurance (Trustpilot score: 4.0 out of 5.0)
  3. Vitality Personal Healthcare (Trustpilot score: 3.9 out of 5.0)
  4. Exeter Health+ (Trustpilot score: 4.4 out of 5.0)
  5. AXA PPP (Trustpilot score: 4.1 out of 5.0)
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