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Vitality offers a range of insurance products, including car, life, business health insurance and private health insurance. Perhaps less of a household name compared to the likes of Bupa and AXA, Vitality is actually one of the UK's leading providers of private health insurance, winning multiple awards in the process.
If you are less familiar with the brand you may by wondering just how good their private health insurance really is — what do they cover, what do their customers have to say and importantly, how much this might cost you. These might be just a few questions that spring to mind, but don't worry! In this review we'll take a look at all of that and more to help you decide whether Vitality's private health insurance is right for you.
In This Review
- Vitality Private Health Insurance: Overall Review
- How to Claim
- Vitality Private Health insurance: discounts and savings
Vitality Private Health Insurance: Overall Review
Vitality Health is part of the Discovery Group; founded in 1992 they now operate in 31 countries around the world, covering over 5million people. With over 100 years experience in the business Vitality have certainly got a lot to offer and this is reflected by the impressive number of accolades they have won over the years.
They currently hold the title of MoneyFacts 'Best Private Medical Insurance Provider' and have done so for the ninth year running. They have also taken home various other awards such as winning the 'Outstanding Individual Health Insurance' at the 2021 Cover Excellence Awards.
They have also gained recognition elsewhere for their comprehensive cover. Independent analysts Defaqto have awarded them with a 5 star rating, meaning they consider Vitality's private healthcare insurance to be one of the best on the market. In addition, Vitality has earned a 'Very Strong' financial strength rating of B+ at the AKG Financial Strength Awards, meaning they are deemed to be reliable and trustworthy.
So we know that the experts are impressed by Vitality's offer, but what do their customers have to say? Well, the jury is slightly out here. As a company (i.e. not health insurance specifically) they perform very well according to Trustpilot, having earned an 'excellent' rating of 4.3 out of 5 across over 23,000 reviews. However, they perform quite poorly across other review sites, scoring a disappointing 2.6 out of 5 and 1.4 out of 5 on Google and SmartMoneyPeople respectively.
So just how good is Vitality's offer really? Of course there is more to it than customer reviews, and to make an informed decision we need to understand what is and isn't covered, what is available to add on to your policy as well as what this is going to cost you. Sit tight, we'll be taking a deep dive into Vitality's private health insurance starting with why you should think about choosing them...
Why choose Vitality Private Health Insurance?
Let's start with the benefits. If you choose to take out Private Health Insurance with Vitality you can look forward to the following:
- 5 star Defaqto rated cover
- Multi award-winning provider
- Discounts and rewards: by choosing Vitality you can gain access to exclusive discounts for popular brands such as Apple, Cafe Nero, Garmin and Odeon. Vitality also issues weekly rewards for customers who are active!
- 24/7 medical helpline: with Vitality GP you can access a their 24/7 medical helpline where you can get direct referrals to a consultant, private prescriptions and more
- Fast appointments: Vitality are proud of the fact their customers can get a GP appointment, either by phone or video call, within 48 hours
Customer Reviews and Ratings
Vitality Customer Ratings
|5 out of 5 (private health insurance specific)|
|4.3 out of 5|
|2.6 out of 5|
Smart Money People Rating
|1.4 out of 5^ (private health insurance specific)|
^ Note: this rating is based on a small sample of only 81 reviews. Use as guidance only.
Vitality are rated highly by industry experts Defaqto, who have awarded their cover a perfect 5 stars. This means that their offer is considered to be one of the best on the market when looking at the product features and benefits.
If we look at customer experience, the picture is less clear. Whilst Vitality have received an 'excellent' customer experience rating of 4.3 out of 5 on Trustpilot, across almost 24,000 reviews, they have received rather disappointing ratings on Google (2.6 out of 5) and Smart Money People (1.4 out of 5).
Whilst their Google rating is based on a robust sample size of 380 reviews, their Smart Money People rating is based on only 81 so should be taken with a pinch of salt. These scores are further complicated by the fact some are health insurance specific and some are simply a review of Vitality as a company (these are differentiated in the above table).
Whilst a company overview is far from useless, product-specific reviews naturally paint a better picture of customer experience. That being said, the fact that Vitality have been rated so highly on Trustpilot across nearly 24,000 reviews is a good sign, and suggests most are happy with the service they have received.
Let's take a closer look at what Vitality's health insurance customers specifically had to say..
What does Vitality Private Health Insurance do well?
During our research we sifted through hundreds of pieces of feedback left by verified customers and we noticed that above all, Vitality are highly commended on their customer service and the array of benefits and discounts that come with taking out their private health insurance. Their advisors have been described as caring, thorough and have taken the time to explain things clearly — this alone can really make a difference when you're worried and experiencing any kind of health issue.
"I enjoy the benefits, motivates me to keep fit and focus on my health and a good peace of mind knowing that my family and I are covered should the worst ever happen. Amazing customer care services, had a lady called Shona who gave me a courtesy check up call and ended up directing me to great rewards and benefits"
"When you take into consideration all of the perks and add on benefits that come with the health cover, this is a very good product. I have an apple watch, coffee every week, cinema tickets, half price gym membership, health checks. Very good value for money"
"Warm and friendly professional advisors who are helpful in explaining Vitality Health’s services . I felt in safe hands and have the private health insurance suitable for me"
"Recently set up a plan...and it was a pleasant surprise to receive a curtesy call from Vitality, to run through the plan in more details and all the benefits and rewards the plan comes with. Vitality... was informative, patient (as we registered and set up our APPs, ran through health questionnaires and answered all of our questions. She was great and made the process welcoming"
What could Vitality Private Health Insurance improve?
Whilst feedback is overwhelmingly positive there are a few areas that customers have highlighted Vitality could improve on. Vitality's claims process has left some customers feeling frustrated, due to long wait times and the level of paperwork. Many have also experienced difficulties using their app, making the process slightly more difficult.
"Changed to Vitality last month due to a rise in cost of existing health insurance. Big mistake. App is not very helpful and user friendly. Tried to make a dental claim by phone. 62 minute wait. Emailed and 5 days later still no response. Messaged via WhatsApp and again no response"
"Appalling customer service & a hopeless app. I needed a simple question answered about an optical claim. The care hub on the app went round in circles getting nowhere..This process took 17 days start to finish"
"First claim and a nightmare from the start. Needed relatively urgent treatment after visiting A&E with a badly strained back. Was sent a 10 page form to fill in..Tried to arrange a call back but nothing available for 2 weeks. Tried to call and was on hold for 40 minutes!"
"It is impossible to be seen for any health issue..as they will do all they can to never accept a claim! My husband has tried to get some help for his back and hip, since we have included physical therapies in the cover, and for both issues we have received a form that needs to be filled out by the GP to prove that he had never been treated for such issues; what is the point of stating pre-existing conditions when you open up the policy?"
How much is Vitality Private Health Insurance?
We compiled quotes for Vitality's private health insurance based on the profile of a 35 year old male non-smoker from a mid-sized town in the UK. The prices shown below related to a no-frills single person plan (i.e. if you were looking to take insurance out for just yourself) with a £500 excess^ and a £500 outpatient cover^ (again, Vitality do offer zero up to £1500 as well as full outpatient cover!).
^ Note: Vitality offer excesses of up to £1000 and a range of different outpatient cover options ranging from £0 up to £1500 as well as full outpatient cover. Your quote may differ from that which is listed below depending on the options you choose.
|Private health insurance quote comparison for a 35 year old male non smoker (£month)|
Aviva (Full cover)
|£48 (£200 excess)|
|£37 (£500 excess)|
|£36 (£500 excess)|
|£36 (£500 excess)|
|£35 (£500 excess)|
Aviva (Limited cover)
|£28 (£200 excess)|
Bupa (Treatment and Care)
|£28 (£500 excess)|
When comparing sample quotes for various providers we found Vitality to be the third cheapest option, beaten only by Aviva and Bupa. However, both of these quotes are based on Aviva's and Bupa's more limited cover option. Given Vitality is just a fraction more pricey for a more comprehensive level of cover, we think it's a pretty good deal!
In fact, Vitality offer a whole host of benefits that make it remarkably good value for money. For example, Vitality offers mental health support, full advanced cancer cover as well as home nursing, private ambulance cost cover and even childbirth cash benefit. This is in addition to a 5 star Defaqto rating, multiple-award winning cover and a variety of perks such as discounted gym memberships! Taken together, we think in this instance a lower price doesn't equal compromise on cover, and you certainly get a lot for your money.
Remember, the above figures are intended as a guide only and reflect the customer profile stated above at this particular point in time. There are many things that can affect the cost of your premium, for example, increasing your excess or if you are a smoker. Let's take a closer look at what Vitality's private health insurance offer consists of.
What is and isn't covered?
As part of their 'core' cover, Vitality offer a range of benefits. The following are all included as standard:
- In-patient and day-patient treatment and hospital fees
- Diagnostic tests and scans (e.g. MRI, CT, PET)
- Specialist and consultant fees while you are admitted to hospital
- Out-patient surgical procedures (full cover)
- Full Advanced Cancer Cover: comprehensive treatment and support following diagnosis, including biological therapies. Vitality also cover costs for things like wigs and restyling (£300 limit per condition) and end of life care including pain relief and the services of a qualified nurse at home for up to 14 days (£1000 limit per day)
- Primary Care: private GP consultations as well as 24 hour telephone access to Vitality's medical helpline. Vitality also offer up to £100 per plan year towards private prescriptions and minor diagnostic tests
- Mental health support: Vitality offer up to 8 sessions per plan year of cognitive behavioural support or counselling
Vitality also offer even more to their customers, covering certain procedures and costs that you may find are excluded by rivals. These additional benefits include:
- Home nursing following admission to hospital
- Private ambulance costs
- Specific weight loss, corrective and oral surgeries
- Cost of accommodation for parents of insured child patients
- Cover for specific pregnancy complications
- Childbirth cash benefit
- Rehabilitation treatment
Choose your cover limit
Outpatient cover: Vitality allows you to tailor your outpatient cover limit to suit your needs ranging from £0 up to £1500, and they also offer full outpatient cover, too. Note, in-network physiotherapy and consultant referred MRI, CT and PET scans are covered in full regardless of your chosen limit!
Excess: Vitality offer a range of options so you can choose an excess that best suits you. Options include: £0, £100, £250, £500, £1000.
This is Vitality's standard option, where their Consultant Panel chooses the best consultant for you based on your medical needs. This means that doctors decide who treats you, rather than you yourself.
Alternatively, you can choose to add a hospital list to your plan, allowing you to choose your own consultant, providing they are recognized by Vitality and you are treated at a hospital on your list.
You will still have access to our Consultant Panel should you wish to choose this treatment option, but it also gives you the choice to be treated in all hospitals in the UK's largest groups such as BMI Healthcare and Nuffield Health, a number of local providers, some Central London hospitals as well as most private hospitals outside of London and all NHS private patient units outside of London.
This is Vitality's most comprehensive option. It includes all private hospitals in the UK and all NHS Private Patient Units in the UK as well as unlimited face-to-face GP consultations in the London area for £20 per consultation.
All of the above can have an impact on your overall premium, for example, increasing your excess (the amount you agree to pay towards a claim) will lower you total and choosing the most comprehensive hospital cover will increase it! Vitality give you the freedom to pick and choose the limits and level of cover that best suit your needs, so be sure to think carefully about your circumstances to ensure you opt for the right level of protection.
In addition to their core features Vitality also offer a range of optional extras you can choose to add to your main policy, though this will come at an additional cost to you.
- Mental health cover: covers the cost of in-patient, day-patient and out-patient mental healthcare
- Therapies cover: this provides full cover for chiropractic treatment, osteopathy, acupuncture, homeopathy, podiatry, chiropody and up to two consultations with a dietician
- Optical, dental and audiological cover: this includes dental check-ups and treatment, sight and hearing tests as well as new prescription glasses and hearing aids
- Worldwide travel cover: this covers you for up to £10 million emergency medical expenses overseas, as well as lost luggage and delayed flights. This option also helps cover costs of anti-malarial treatment and common travel vaccinations. Vitality offer cover for up to 120 days in duration, as long as you’re aged 64 or under when the benefit is added to your plan. Note: there are cover limits here, so be sure to read your policy documents carefully if you're thinking about opting for this extra so you know exactly what you are covered for!
Exclusions: what isn't included
As with any type of insurance, there are a range of events that you won't be covered for. We've listed some of the main exclusions to be aware of when thinking about taking out health insurance with Vitality, but note the full list will be much longer and will always be detailed in your policy documentation.
- The monitoring of and routine treatment for long-term (i.e. chronic) conditions
- Pre-existing conditions
- Emergency treatment
- Cosmetic treatments
- Organ transplants
- Most preventative treatments
- Self-harm, alcohol and drug abuse
- Childbirth, birth control and infertility
- Any treatment for learning and behavioural problems, or dementia
- Treatment for any condition or injury arising from training for, or taking part in, professional or semi-professional sports, unless otherwise agreed in writing prior to your cover start date
- Treatment that takes place outside the UK
- Treatment arising from nuclear or chemical contamination, war and acts of terrorism
- Any treatments or practices that are experimental, unproven or unregistered
How to make a claim on Vitality Private Health Insurance
If you wish to make a claim on Vitality's private health insurance the steps involved are typical of most health insurance providers. We've detailed these below so you know what to expect:
This can either be your NHS GP or a private GP. If you need to see a specialist or get treatment, your GP will refer you. This may be an open referral (recommended), where they do not name a hospital or doctor to carry out your treatment, or it can be named where these details are specified
Before you get treatment, submit a claim using Vitality's Care Hub. Vitality will let you know as soon as this has been approved, and you'll be issued a care number — this is very important so remember to keep this safe!
When you attend your appointment with your consultant, make sure you give them your care number that was issued to you when you submitted your claim as this means they can bill Vitality directly.
If you require additional treatment you will need to contact Vitality again.
Vitality will usually settle your bill directly with your healthcare provider but they will let you know if any payments are due from you and who these need to be paid to, for example if you have an excess on your plan.
Vitality Private Health Insurance: Discounts and Savings
During our research we found that Vitality really goes above and beyond to provide discounts and savings for their customers. At the time of writing, here is a snippet of what Vitality has to offer:
- 10% discount if you switch to Vitality from your current health insurance provider
- Discounts for couple and family health insurance plans (note: all persons covered must live at the same address)
- 50% off monthly gym membership fees at selected David Lloyd Clubs, Nuffield Health or Virgin Active (note: a joining fee of up to £75 will apply!)
- An Amazon Prime membership worth £79, with nothing to pay if you stay active
- Get a 12 month subscription to Headspace
- Existing members can benefit from unlimited 'Refer a Friend' bonuses — you'll both receive a £100 voucher if you friend purchases an eligible health insurance plan after your friend pays their third month's premium. Choose between either a £100 Amazon or John Lewis voucher!
- Vitality Programme: Get rewarded for making positive life choices and choose from a range of discounts and savings from a range of providers!
*Note: terms and conditions may apply to the above discounts and savings. Make sure to read these carefully before agreeing.
We have also put together a handy guide to purchasing private health insurance that may save you some money on your premiums, so be sure to check this out here.
Vitality states in their policy documents that they do not offer cover for pre-existing conditions.
In fact, you will find that most private health insurance providers take this approach. Crucially, if you are aware of any symptoms that could cause problems in the future, you will need to disclose these right away.
Much like many other private health insurance providers, Vitality gives you a choice of hospital lists to choose from — Consultant Select, Countrywide and London Care.
You have the freedom to choose where you are treated if you opt for the Countrywide or London Care hospitals lists. However, ou can only access treatment at hospitals within the list you chose when taking out your policy. You can see which hospitals are in each list here.
Rather than a No Claims Discount, Vitality use 'ABC Pricing' to determine your premium renewal price. This is based on three different variables:
- Age: As it is more likely you will need to make a claim as you get older, your premium will rise each year to take account of this
- Base rate: This is the change in the cost of providing healthcare. It takes into account the charges made by hospitals and other providers, as well as advances in areas such as medical technology and drugs
- Claims and engagement: This is an adjustment for the claims you have made, and your Vitality status. This is the part of the renewal price that you can control, e.g. by making fewer small claims
The increase in a member's renewal premium will be the sum of these three items: A+B+C. You can find out more about Vitality's ABC Pricing here.
There is no right or wrong answer to this. If you're living in the UK you are fortunate to have access to the National Health Service (NHS), which is completely free. There are pros and cons, however, and taking out private health insurance can mean accessing private health services and bypassing long wait times. If you're unsure if private health insurance is the right option for you, you can read 'The NimbleFins Guide to Purchasing Private Health Insurance' here.
Yes, and that is one of the many wonderful things about the NHS. You can still access treatment regardless of whether you have private health insurance, in fact, the NHS will even cover some conditions and treatments that private insurers will not, such as chronic and pre-existing conditions.
You will notice in your policy documents or simply when researching private health insurance there appear to be many different types of 'patient'. This can be very confusing, especially for first-time health insurance buyers! We've offered a simple explanation below that should help clear up any confusion.
- In-patient: you are an in-patient if you need to attend hospital for treatment, and need to stay in overnight (or longer)
- Out-patient: you are an out-patient if you attend a hospital or clinic but do not need to stay overnight
- Day-patient: you are a day-patient if you need to attend a hospital or clinic for treatment but do not need to stay overnight. Unlike an out-patient you will also require medical observation for a short while after.
If you cancel within the first 14 days in any plan year then, providing that no claims have been made, Vitality will refund any money you have paid in respect of that plan year. You may also cancel at any annual renewal date.
However, if you wish to cancel your cover at any other time, Vitality will charge an administration fee of £40
No — however, Vitality will need to ask you questions about things such as your age, sex, medical history, lifestyle and occupation.