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Leanne Macardle

Freelance Contributor
Published: 19/04/2021
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A growing number of UK adults now have private medical insurance (PMI), finds research from Consumer Intelligence, with around 17% of the population having such a policy – and a further 31% are either considering it or may start to do so. This highlights how seriously people are beginning to take their health, and could arguably be in response to the COVID-19 crisis encouraging them to more keenly consider their long-term medical needs. Yet a particularly interesting finding is how people choose their policy, with the costs involved often way down the list of priorities.

Choosing the right PMI policy

The 17% of survey participants who already have PMI is made up of 9% who buy it for themselves, while 6% receive it through an employee benefits package and 2% are protected under someone else’s policy, such as a family member. As such, 29% said the policy they have was the only one offered to them, but among those who chose it themselves, what do they look for in a policy?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, trust comes out on top, with 23% of respondents saying that they chose their PMI company because they trust them. Similarly, 22% said that they’d had a good experience with the company in the past, while many others are looking for great value, with 21% choosing their policy because it was affordable.

After then comes reviews (15%), recommendations from a friend/family member (13%) or a broker (11%) and recognising the brand (13%). Surprisingly, however, financial incentives don’t seem to hold much sway over consumer preferences, with just 9% choosing the policy because it offered discounts to members and 7% because it was the cheapest, and only 5% chose the provider to get a free gift.

This shows that many consumers consider far more than cost alone when deciding on the PMI policy that’s right for their needs, and they can’t be influenced by incentives from brands, either. Instead, they need to know that the policy they choose can offer the level of cover they need – and crucially, they need to be able to trust that the company in question has their best interests at heart.

Moneyfacts Star Ratings – reviews that can be trusted

Given the overriding importance of trust and recommendations, it’s vital that consumers have impartial guidance on the policies to choose – which is where the Moneyfacts Private Medical Insurance Star Ratings can come in. By analysing each policy according to a number of different factors, not only looking at the fees involved but carefully investigating the level of cover and support available, the Star Ratings showcase those policies that offer the most comprehensive set of features that can cater to a variety of needs. In doing so they offer an independent seal of approval that can give consumers an extra degree of confidence when choosing a private medical insurance policy.

Indeed, Moneyfacts’ own research reveals that around 90% of consumers agree that a Star Rating from an independent company could influence their purchase, with it going a long way to instilling a level of trust in the brand. This means anyone looking for a new PMI policy may want to consider one that’s been awarded a four or five-star rating, a list of which can be found on our dedicated PMI page.


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