Getting Private Health Insurance Advice

The Financial Services Authority

It is always useful to get as much advice as you can when buying a policy. The FSA (Financial Services Authority) is the watchdog that regulates the industry and makes sure that the standards set by the government are adhered to. They will regulate things from what a call centre representative is able to say to you as part of their sales pitch to the details that need to be confirmed back to you regarding your payment. They also control the ways in which companies phrase the benefits of their policies, so you should fully understand what it is you are buying. If you feel that you are not getting the advice you need check that your insurer is meeting the FSA’s guidelines. Do bear in mind that some advisers are often only able to advise on a limited number of insurers. The adviser may represent one insurer so can only advise on their policies. It is always worth seeking independent advice for the reasons above and it can be the only way of getting truly independent advice. Some call centre representatives (depending on completion of training/qualification) are not allowed by the FSA to give advice and can only offer you the facts. If you feel that you have been miss-sold a policy you may wish to contact the FSA.

Independent Financial Advisers

Advice usually comes at a cost, however some Independent Financial Advisers don’t charge an initial fee and can help you will the basic advice and forms. Some Independent Financial Advisers do charge an hourly rate so do check this before seeking their advice. They can offer you advice without you feeling that you are being subjected to a sales pitch, and can genuinely help you assess whether private health insurance is a financially viable for you.

The Association of British Insurers

There are some other sources of advice such as the Association of British Insurers (ABI). The ABI also provides literature, which is free of charge and can provide useful guidelines on buying policies.

There are a whole host of websites dedicated to giving independent advice on private health insurance. You may wish to look first at sites that are for accredited independent organisations such as the FSA or ABI because websites do vary in quality and the quantity of advice that can be obtained from them – you may, for example, be reading one person’s bad experience of private health insurance but written as if it is discrediting the whole industry. You may also find that while you think you are reading independent advice you may be reading something written to advertise a certain company. One good way to check is to have a look around the whole website – do they seem to be promoting one particular company or clinic? If so you might want to search for more impartial advice.


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