Health Insurance for Children (2024 Guide)

Chris Steele
Founder and Editor
Chris is our resident private health insurance and healthcare expert. He has over a decade of experience writing about private medical insurance and treatment. He's Chartered Insurance Institute qualified and is regularly quoted by the national press.
Chris Steele
Reviewed by
Reviewed by
Updated on
May 8, 2024

Health insurance for children, or child health insurance as it's often called, is the perfect way to get peace of mind that should your kids become unwell.

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What is private health insurance for children?

Children's health insurance is a policy taken out by parents or guardians to provide access to private medical treatment for their kids in the event that they should become unwell. Child health insurance covers children under the age of 18 for access to alternative treatment to the NHS. Simply put, if your child becomes unwell, child health insurance is designed to pay out, covering the cost of the treatment needed.

Benefits of Child Health Insurance

Every plan will provide you with different benefits, but largely, having health insurance for your kids will likely mean:

  • faster access to medical care for your children
  • access to tests and treatments which aren't commonly available on the NHS
  • treatment in comfortable private clinics and hospitals
  • support and accommodation for you while your child is treated
  • guarantee of a private room, usually with ensuite facilities, a TV and phone to ensure your child is comfortable
  • treatment at a local private hospital of your choosing
  • treatment at a time that's convenient for you and your child

Child health insurance isn't a replacement for NHS care and you'll probably still need to utilise the NHS alongside your child's medical insurance policy. What it does mean is that in certain situations, your child will be covered for private medical care.

What does children's health insurance cover?

While every policy is different, broadly speaking you can expect your child's health insurance to cover the cost of treatment for acute medical conditions, meaning those that can be cured. Chronic, or incurable conditions such as diabetes or asthma, typically won't be covered by your child's medical insurance. Pre-existing conditions will also usually be excluded unless an exemption has been agreed with your insurer.

Inpatient, day patient and outpatient

All health insurance policies, including those for kids, cover costs relating to treatments where an overnight stay in hospital is required (inpatient), with most policies also covering the cost of treatments where a bed is just used for a day (day patient). Only more comprehensive and therefore more expensive policies will also cover outpatient treatments and diagnosis, where a hospital bed isn't required at all.

How to avoid NHS waiting times

It's important to point out, that if you opt for a basic policy which doesn't include any outpatient tests or diagnosis, then your child's route to treatment will be via the NHS. While in many cases this isn't an issue, waiting for tests or results via the NHS can prolong the process of getting treatment. We'd therefore always suggest that if you're taking out a policy specifically to avoid NHS waiting lists, you consider getting a comprehensive policy so that your diagnosis can also take place privately.

Understanding underwriting

Underwriting is the process an insurer goes through to assess the risk associated with providing a policy which enables them to set a price. While it may seem like insurance jargon, understanding underwriting is actually incredibly important as it plays a huge role in how your children's policy is not only priced but delivered too.

The three types of underwriting

The three types of underwriting that you can choose for your child's health insurance policy are: Moratorium, Full Medical Underwriting and Switch.

  • Moratorium underwriting automatically excludes any conditions which your child has suffered from in the past fives years; if however your children go two years symptom free, those conditions will then be covered. With moratorium underwriting there is no need to disclose your child' medical history when you're taking the policy out, but it's likely you'll need to if you ever make a claim.
  • Full medical underwriting requires that you provide your insurer with your child's full medical history when applying for the policy. With this information in hand, the insurer will then decide what is and isn't covered and you will know exactly what is excluded from your child's policy when you take the policy out. The advantage of full medical underwriting over moratorium is that you know exactly what is and isn't covered right from the outset, rather than having a blanket exclusion list of anything your children have suffered with in the past five years.
  • Switch or CPME (Continuing personal medical exclusions) allows you to move from an existing provider to a new one without losing cover.

Reducing the cost of your child's health insurance policy

Although you will no doubt want the very best for your children and their health, for many families money is tight and therefore it's useful to understand the ways you can reduce the cost of your kids health insurance cover.

Increase your excess

The excess on your policy is typically the amount you will need to contribute towards any claims made in a given year. Most providers give you an annual excess, meaning you will only need to pay it once, regardless of how many claims you make that year, others though will charge on a per claim basis, which reduces the cost of the policy but will make claiming more costly.

One of the best ways to reduce the price of your children's health insurance is by increasing the excess on the policy. Excesses range from £0 - £5000, so there's scope to make significant savings if you're willing to contribute more at point of claim. We recommend that you should always make sure that the excess on the policy is affordable - the last thing you want is a big bill when you're dealing with an unwell child. For reference, most parents will choose an excess of between £100-£500, and will enjoy reductions in their premiums accordingly.

A six-week wait option

A six-week wait option is a clause in your policy which stipulates that if treatment for your child's condition is available in six weeks or less on the NHS, then your child will be treated by the NHS rather than privately. While this option effectively reduces the cover your children receive, many parents take out private health insurance policies to avoid waiting lists, so knowing that regardless what happens your kids will be treated within six weeks, is comfort enough, and will reduce annual premiums too.

Reduced hospital list  

Most health insurance policies will include a national list of hospitals which will be included as standard on the policy. By reducing this list to perhaps a handful of local hospitals, and removing any in central London, you can reduce the cost of your children's health insurance policy.

Get a quote with myTribe Insurance

myTribe Insurance was started to provide UK families with the best private health insurance available for affordable prices. Our team of specialist brokers scour the market on your behalf to find you the best health insurance policy for your children. The service we provide is completely free and by comparing policies via a broker rather than going direct you'll ensure you get the best pricing and free advice. If you would like a quote and for us to review the market, please click here and complete our quote request form.

Disclaimer: This information is general and what is best for you will depend on your personal circumstances. Please speak with a financial adviser or do your own research before making a decision.

This article was written by:
Chris Steele
Founder and Editor

Chris is our resident private health insurance and healthcare expert. He has over a decade of experience writing about private medical insurance and treatment. He's Chartered Insurance Institute qualified and is regularly quoted by the national press.

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