How to manage health insurance renewals

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 9, 2024

As your health insurance nears its renewal, you'll want to review your options and ensure you're still getting the best deal. In this post, our experts outline how best to manage your health insurance renewal and when switching providers does and doesn't make sense.

As seen in:
As seen in

22% of Britons now have private health insurance.

According to a recent survey by Statista, more than 1-in-5 of us now have private health insurance, which is double what it was just a year or two ago. 

With so many people taking out new policies, some of which will undoubtedly have been rushed due to heightened concern above the NHS, renewals and how to manage them have yet to be given much thought. 

Infographic showing percentage of UK that have health insurance that needs renewal
With so many new people taking out policies, it's essential they know the importance of reviewing their policies at renewal.

Why it's important to review your health insurance at renewal time

Each year, as you age, your health insurance premiums will rise to account for the increased probability of claims and other factors, such as higher treatment costs owing to medical inflation. If you've claimed on your policy in the past year, you'll likely find the increase will be higher, especially if it's affected your no-claims discount, albeit that isn't always the case - it varies from insurer to insurer. 

How much do health insurance prices rise as we get older?

At the start of 2023, we researched the average cost of private health insurance obtaining over 800 quotes for what we consider a typical comprehensive policy. 

Some takeaway stats from our research:

  • The cost of health insurance for a 40-year-old is approximately 56% higher than the same policy for a 20-year-old. 
  • As we pass 40, the price increases rise more steeply, with a 32% increase between 40 and 50 and another 45% increase between 50 and 60.
  • Perhaps unsurprisingly, the steepest rise is between 60 and 70 years old, with premiums rising by 58% in a decade.

The graphic below shows the results of this research, which is helpful as a guide to see the approximate costs for each age group.

Disclaimer: The prices shown in the infographic below are averages based on a large data sample, and your policy price will differ based on your age, cover levels, location and many other factors. If you want an accurate comparison quote, please request one by clicking here.

Chart showing how health insurance premiums rise based on applicants age
Prices rise slowly until you're 40, but after that they climb steeply.

*Average based on quotes from eight leading health insurers in 10 UK cities for a NEW policy. We opted for a comprehensive policy, with a £250 excess (or as close as possible), outpatient cover limited to a maximum of £1,500 in claims per year, and we included therapies cover. We defaulted to each provider's standard hospital list and used moratorium underwriting. Mental health cover, dental, optical and travel cover were all excluded. Prices are accurate as of 05th January 2023. Please note these prices are purely illustrative; the cost of your policy will be different.

You may be able to get better terms at a better price elsewhere.

Health insurers are eager to win your business and continually offer different incentives, discounts and offers to tempt you to switch. You might be able to get improved cover for less money with another insurer, but you won't know until you check. This is especially true if you've been with the same insurer for several years, there may be far better options available to you.

"Very happy with the service and the outcome."

Following the advice offered by Gareth Tunstill, we have switched our Private Health Insurance, getting increased coverage for a cheaper premium. Very happy with the service and the outcome.

by Dave Curtis - 15th May 2023

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Steps for renewing your health insurance with your existing provider

The exact process for renewing your health insurance will differ based on the provider, but the following is a general sequence of events:

  1. Initial Contact from Provider: Your current insurance company gets in touch with you as your policy nears its renewal date. They might provide you with a renewal quote instantly or share details on how you can contact them to discuss policy renewal.
  2. Assessment of Existing Policy: At renewal, your provider closely examines your current policy. Factors like changes in your age, the influence of medical inflation, and the effect of any previous claims may affect the premium for your renewed policy.
  3. Provider's Decision: After the provider has evaluated your renewal, they consider any adjustments made, impacts on the policy, and changes you have requested. Subsequently, they inform you about any alterations in the premium and the available options.
  4. Your Decision: The final call lies in your hands. You can either accept the renewal terms or choose a different provider if the new policy doesn't meet your expectations or requirements.
We strongly recommend comparing other insurers at renewal and speaking with an experienced broker before making a decision. It may seem like the simple option to just renew with your existing provider, but there could be savings to be had by shopping around or potentially better cover options. 
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Don't switch until you speak with a broker

If you already have a health insurance policy, you should be familiar with how underwriting works and that pre-existing conditions are usually excluded from new policies. Before you think about switching, please consider whether any health complaints you've suffered from will become excluded by making a move. It's not a decision to rush into, so we recommend allowing time to think about it and look at your options, and you should always consult with an experienced broker and get unbiased advice. 

Can you switch without introducing new exclusions?

Each provider has set medical switch questions and criteria to ensure a safe transfer without detriment to past history. So long as you answer those questions truthfully and meet their criteria, you should be able to switch without penalty. Leading brokers also often have some sway with the insurers and can ask them to have a second look at exclusions to see if there is any wiggle room to review.

Top tip - it's essential you speak to an experienced broker before switching. Brokers will tell you whether it's safe to move at renewal or if you'd be better to stay put!
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When is the best time to review your policy?

While your current health insurance provider will notify you around 30 days before your renewal, thinking about your options ahead of this is often wise. The last thing you want is to be hurried into a decision due to an impending deadline, so we recommend reviewing your options a good 60-90 days before your renewal is due.

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How to request a free health insurance renewal review with myTribe

  1. Request a health insurance comparison quote using one of the buttons on this page or by clicking here. 
  2. One of our highly-rated, vetted and FCA-authorised brokers will review your requirements and conduct a market review.
  3. They'll be in touch to talk the options through and discuss whether it's worth and safe to switch.
  4. You decide what you'd like to do, stay with your current provider, or proceed with a switch.

Bupa health insurance renewal process

Bupa will write to you at least 28 days before your health insurance renewal date, and unless you decide to end your cover, it will be automatically renewed. 

If you're an existing Bupa customer, you can contact them by calling 0345 6090 111 or visit this page on their website.

Axa Health renewal process

Axa will get in touch 3 - 6 weeks before your health insurance is due to renew, and similarly to other providers, they will auto-renew your policy if you don't choose to cancel. 

You can contact Axa Health on 0800 015 6204 or by visiting this page on their website.

Aviva Healthier Solutions renewal process

Aviva will contact you at least 30 days before your policy is due to renew and allow you to make changes to your policy and let you know if they would like to make changes. 

You can contact Aviva by calling 0800 068 3827 or visit this page on their website to log in to your account.

Vitality Health Insurance renewal process

Like the other insurers mentioned, Vitality will contact you before your policy is due to renew to allow you to make changes and inform you of any adjustments from their site. 

You can find out more about how Vitality calculates its renewal rates here, or you can call them on 0808 115 6084 to speak about your policy.

WPA renewal process

WPA will contact you before your policy is due to renew, allowing you to make amendments and let you know of any changes from their perspective. 

You speak to WPA about your policy by calling 01823 625230 or visiting this page on their website.

Freedom Health Insurance renewal process

If you have a Freedom Health Insurance policy, they will contact you before your policy is due to renew to discuss options with you. 

You can contact them by calling 01202 756350 or by visiting this page on their website.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I renew my health insurance?

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When your current provider contacts you to let you know that your policy will renew shortly, we'd recommend that you take the opportunity to compare the best health insurers to make sure you're still getting the best deal. You can either do this by contacting each of the companies or request a comparison quote via us, and our brokers will do the market review on your behalf.

Once you've decided what to do, you can contact your existing provider to either agree to continue for another year or cancel your policy.

Should I renew my current private medical insurance or shop around?

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You should always shop around, if not every year, once every other year to ensure you're still paying a fair price for your policy. The nature of health insurance is that the cost of policies increases as you get older, and if you don't shop around, you can find yourself paying over the odds for your policy. We provide a free service where our partners do the leg work for you and review the market each year on your behalf for free.

What are the benefits of renewing my private health insurance?

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Arguably the most significant benefit of renewing your policy with your current provider is that you'll save time and won't need to consider any other options. That convenience often comes at a cost, though, and we often find that customers who don't shop around once in a while end up paying over the odds for their private medical insurance.

I previously had private medical insurance through my job. Can I continue this policy?

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You may be able to buy a continuation from the work policy, but this isn't the same as a renewal. If you're leaving a scheme, it's usually best to shop around to see which provider best fits your requirements.

Will my health insurance premium change upon renewal?

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Health insurance usually increases each year as you get older, and it could also be affected by any claims you've made and the cost ofprivate healthcare in the UK. For this reason, we always recommend reviewing your policy each year, else every other year, making sure you're paying the appropriate amount.

What does it mean to renew a health insurance contract?

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A health insurance renewal is when you commit to another year of medical insurance with your current insurer. The policy terms may be similar, except for any changes notified. Renewals usually cost more than previous premiums simply because you are a year older, and other factors, such as treatment costs, rise with inflation. You can, however, avoid the increase by shopping around and seeing if a different provider can offer you the same or better terms at a better price.

Does health insurance renew automatically?

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Most health insurance will automatically renew to ensure you don't accidentally lose cover and existing terms. Each provider differs, but in most cases, they will write to you in good time to allow you to review your policy and make changes before it renews.

Some health insurance providers will have it written in the policy terms and conditions to renew each year automatically. If you would like to avoid this, you can either contact your insurer and request that this not happen or appoint an independent broker to be on hand to review your policy each year.

Will my health insurance premium change upon renewal?

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Usually, your health insurance premium will rise each year to account for your being a year older and inflation in the cost of medical treatments. You can often limit the increase by switching to another provider.

Is there a difference between health insurance renewals for businesses and individuals?

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No, the process is essentially the same, but businesses will typically find more changes to the policy due to it covering more people with potentially more claims.

How often will I need to renew my health insurance?

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In the UK, you typically need to renew your health insurance each year, and we would recommend you review your policy at the same time to make sure you're getting the best terms and prices.

Would I benefit from purchasing a health insurance policy with a new provider after renewal?

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Sometimes, yes, you would. It's always best to shop around and see what other providers offer.

What are the benefits of transferring my company health cover onto a personal policy?

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If you have a medical treatment underway or upcoming, or if you're making a claim, you may be able to continue the process without any effect on your medical underwriting terms.

How do I transfer my health insurance from one company to another

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You will first need to compare the providers in the market and choose the one you wish to transfer to; once you've done that, you will need to notify your existing provider and then pass your certificate of insurance to the new one.

Can I cancel my health insurance policy at any time?

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No, not without paying a cancellation penalty. If you wish to cancel your policy, you should speak to your provider or look at your terms and conditions to see what applies to your policy.

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