More than four out of five Brits are yet to put any private health cover in place, new research from ActiveQuote shows. One in three would consider health insurance if they fell ill or an existing condition was covered - but, by this time, it’s almost always too late.

We’re urging customers to ‘act now, claim later’ after our recent survey* showed that 85% of the population is still without private medical insurance. Thirty one percent said they would be more likely to get PMI if they or a loved one became ill or if it were possible to cover pre-existing conditions relevant to them, without realising that they are unable to insure against something that has already happened.

Our research also revealed that:

  • 25% of the people who do have PMI in place do so because they or a loved one have been forced to wait ‘too long’ for medical treatment on the NHS
  • 23% admit to having ‘little or no faith’ left in public health services
  • 19% of those with health insurance claimed that the cost of their single monthly premium was more cost effective than meeting medical, optical, dental and other personal health bills individually

ActiveQuote health insurance team leader Mark Todd said: “These survey findings are very telling in that people still don’t quite understand what private medical insurance is. It is insurance – you insure yourself against something that could happen, not something that has happened. Therefore, the 31% who said they would get PMI if they or a loved one felt ill are considering the cover too late.

“Many PMI providers won’t cover people if they have an existing medical condition. If they do cover them, there’s a deferred period of a minimum of two years, depending on the existing condition. With PMI, it is important to take it out before you are ill. The attitude still appears to be: ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’, which doesn’t really cut it in insurance terms. We don’t buy home insurance on the basis that we’ll only try and get cover should we damage something in our home, and it’s the same with private medical insurance.” is the UK’s leading comparison website and broker of health insurance, as well as protection products such as income protection, life insurance and critical illness cover. Private medical insurance is available as an individual policy, as family health cover or as company medical insurance, depending on your needs.

Our survey also revealed the misconceptions about the cost of health insurance, with those taking part thinking cover is twice as expensive as it actually is, yet it starts from just £40 per month for a family of four**. Mark added: “It’s hugely telling in the current climate that, according to these results, a not insignificant proportion of the UK population is clearly beginning to think about alternative options should their own health or that of a loved one be compromised.”

* ActiveQuote surveyed 2,000 adults selected at random from across the UK between June 7-14 2018.

** Based on an ActiveQuote quote on April 25 for a family of four living in south Wales.