The Exeter Health Insurance Review 2024

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
Gareth Tunstill
First Choice Health & Protection
Gareth Tunstill
Updated on
May 8, 2024

You've heard that The Exeter could be a good option for your health insurance and want to understand more about who they are, what their health insurance includes, and how they compare to the other leading insurers. This expert review, updated for 2024, is precisely what you're looking for.

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Who are The Exeter?

Established in 1927, The Exeter originally traded under the name "Exeter Family Friendly Society" before a merger in 2008 promoted a change to"Exeter Family Friendly." In 2015, they rebranded to the simplified name we know today: "The Exeter." 

Based in Devon, The Exeter is a friendly society, which means they are owned by their members (clients), not shareholders.

In The Exeter's words:

"With no shareholders demanding dividends, we're free to re-invest all our profits in the things that are important to our customers and advisers."

What products does The Exeter offer?

Alongside private medical insurance, The Exeter offers both life insurance and income protection insurance, so they are relatively specialised in comparison to some other insurers.

The Exeter Health+ Expert Review

Now that we've covered the basic background let's get into the nitty gritty of Exeter's flagship private medical insurance policy, Health+.

About The Exeter Health+

Health+ is a health insurance policy that has been designed to give people access to private diagnostic and treatment services in the UK.

Image with the words "Our impartial review of The Exeter Health+ medical insurance" and myTribe Logo

Is The Exeter health insurance any good?

The Exeter's core health insurance offers excellent core cover, several optional add-ons and the option between guided consultants or a traditional hospital.

What really stands The Exeter out is their fairness. Firstly, they have one of the best no claims discount schemes, where they would have to pay out more than their competitiors for it to impact your no claims discount level significantly. Additionally, we hear from brokers that their medical underwriting is also excellent and very fair. Unlike other insurers, who will often be fairly general in their exclusions based on your medical history, The Exeter is far more targetted and precise, usually excluding only closely related conditions. 

The only significant weaknesses of The Exeter health insurance are:

  • Fewer optional add-ons to choose from.
  • A modest choice of out-patient limits.
  • Not taking on new members after their 80th birthdays.

What's included in The Exeter's core health insurance cover?

As we've said, The Exeter's health insurance core cover is very strong, and for many, it may be sufficient without adding any add-ons; here are the highlights:

Unlimited in-patient and day-patient treatment

Exeter doesn't limit in-patient or day-patient treatment, as long as it's needed for an eligible condition at an eligible hospital.

Complete cancer cover (post-diagnosis)

Cover for all stages of cancer once diagnosed, including palliative and terminal treatment, with no time or financial limits.

Complex diagnostic scans

The Exeter includes CT, MRI and PET scans and professional fees where appropriate in their core cover. 

Out-patient surgery

Surgical procedures by specialists as an out-patient at eligible hospitals are covered.

Private ambulance

When essential, private ambulances travel to, between and from the hospital for in-patients and day patients receiving treatment.

Home nursing

Home nursing for those who need nursing following in-patient or day-patient treatment.

Parental accommodation

Unlimited parental accommodation while your child is in hospital, up to the age of 18.

Post-operative physiotherapy

Up to three post-operative out-patient physiotherapy sessions following surgery.

NHS cash benefit

Receive £150 per night for up to 30 nights if you have free in-patient treatment via the NHS.

Remote GP appointments and other medical advice*

The Exeter's HealthWise app gives you and your direct family access to medical experts when you need them. The Exeter has partnered with Square Health to provide the following services:

  • Remote GP appointments (unlimited consultations)
  • Second medical opinions (up to two consultations each year)
  • Physiotherapy (up to six consultations each year)
  • Mental health support (up to six consultations each year)
  • Registered dietitian consultations (up to six consultations each year)
  • Lifestyle and nutrition consultations (up to six consultations each year)

*Please note That The Exeter's policy documentation states that all services relating to the HealthWise app, including remote GP appointments, aren't a contractual benefit and could be withdrawn at any time.

Yearly pinprick blood test

Each year, you'll receive a kit to perform a pinprick blood test, which checks 20 different markers to catch issues as soon as possible.

What are the additional add-ons you can choose from?

While the core private medical insurance cover is excellent, you can enhance your policies by adding more benefits, such as out-patient diagnostic tests, mental health an alternative therapies cover. 

Here's a summary of your options:

Out-patient cover

The Exeter's core cover includes complex diagnostic scans (CT, MRI, and PET) but not simpler diagnostic tests such as blood, ECGs, and X-rays, or consultations with specialists as an out-patient. 

What this means is if you don't take out the additional out-patient cover, most of your diagnosis will need to take place via the NHS, or you'll need to self-pay to go private.

This arrangement is fairly typical of health insurance policies in the UK, and there's usually a distinction between "treatment only" policies and those that include a level of diagnostic cover.

Core out-patient cover

The Exeter's out-patient cover is designed for consultations with specialists and tests like X-Rays, pathology (blood) or ECGs. You can choose between unlimited out-patient cover, or restrict yourself to either £500 or £1000 per year which to keep premiums down. 

Unlimited out-patient diagnostics

Given that typical consultations fees with medical specialists range from £250-£300, and the tests we mention cost a little more, a limit of £500 or £1000, would be consumed fairly quickly, should you need something investigated. 

Mindful of that, The Exeter gives you the option to add unlimited out-patient diagnostics (tests and scans), in addition to having a limit of £500 or £1000 on specialist consultations. 

If you don’t opt for unlimited out-patient diagnostics, then x-rays, blood test and ECGs will be deducted from your core out-patient cover.

Mental health cover

While Exeter includes some mental health support as part of its partnership with SquareHealth, which is accessible via the HealthWise app, you can only have up to six counselling sessions via video call per year.

So, if protecting your or your family's mental health is important, we suggest opting for The Exeter's Mental health cover add-on so you know that help is there should you ever need it.

The good news is that The Exeter's Mental health cover add-on is excellent. It includes up to 28 days of specialist treatment as an in-patient or out-patient and unlimited out-patient consultations and treatment with psychologists, psychiatrists, or cognitive behavioural therapists.

Alternate therapies cover

Exeter’s additional therapies cover gives you access to physiotherapy, chiropractors, osteopaths, acupuncturists, podiatrists, and speech therapists following a GP or specialist referral. In addition, you can have up to two consultations with a pain clinic or two consultations with a dietician.

What's excluded?

Similarly to other insurers, The Exeter has several exclusions you should be aware of, namely:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Chronic (long-term) conditions
  • Pregnancy and fertility
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Major organ transplants
  • Treatment for alcholoism or subtance abuse

Pros and cons of The Exeter Health insurance

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what to expect from The Exeter's Health+ concerning what's covered (if you need more detail, please visit their website and look for their policy docs), but without comparing them to other health insurance providers in the market, it's hard to see how good or bad they may be. 

In this section of our review of The Exeter's health insurance, we dig into the pros and the cons of their policies compared to others in the market.

Pros of The Exeter Health Insurance

  • Fair approach to no claims discount - The Exeter currently has one of the fairest, if not the fairest, approach to how claims affect your no claims discount. Whereas with some other insurers, claims as small as £1 worth can move you down three no claims discount levels, with The Exeter, you'd have to claim over £2,000 for the same to happen. Read more about how insurers compare on no claims discounts here.
  • Fair medical underwriting - While not a documented "fact", we know from the numerous brokers we speak with that The Exeter is one of the best for underwriting. This means that if you have a complex medical history, there's a higher probability of getting more covered with The Exeter as they tend to be more precise in what they exclude rather than flatly excluding a large range of potentially related conditions. Of course, this may not always be the case, and The Exeter could change how it underwrites at any time, but at the time of writing this review, we believe this is a significant strength.
  • The choice between Guided Care or a hospital list - While not a unique benefit, the choice between a guided consultant list (where your insurer gives you the names of a selection of specialists you can use in return for a reduced premium) or a hospital list, is a key differentiator between The Exeter and WPA, who also appear highly in our provider rankings. With The Exeter, you get the choice between the two, where as with WPA, a hospital list is the only option.
  • Option to protect your NCD - Protecting your no claims discount isn't unique to The Exeter, but, some insurers don't offer it and therefore, it's a benefit we want to highlight in this review.
  • Unlimited out-patient mental health treatment (add-on) - If you opt for additional mental health cover, you'll get unlimited out-patient mental health treatment, with psychiatrists, psychologists or CBT practitioners. This is a significant benefit as other insurers often limit the amount of out-patient mental health treatment you can receive.
  • Annaul health check and follow-up with a private GP - pinprick blood test kit that checks for 20 markers to catch issues sooner.

Cons of The Exeter Health Insurance

  • No option for dental or optical cover - Most insurers in the market allow you to take out a cash plan with your health insurance for routine dental and optical appointments, but The Exeter doesn't. Yes, you could get one as a standalone policy elsewhere, but that's added time, effort and admin to deal with, potentially every year.
  • No option for travel cover - The Exeter doesn't allow you to add travel cover, which may not be important to many, but to some, it will be.
  • They won't take on new members after 80 years old—while there is no upper age limit for how long you can keep your Exeter Health+ policy, they won't accept you as a new member after your 80th birthday.

Customer reviews and awards

The Exeter currently has a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars on the reviews platform Trustpilot from 810 reviews (2nd May 2024), covering its life, income protection and private health insurance products. While not the best scoring provider in the market, given the relatively low number of reviews they've received vs. the size of their membership, we'd hazard a guess that they aren't asking members for reviews as frequently as some of their competitors.

Ask the expert:

We asked Gareth Tunstill an independent health insurance broker with over 18 years experience what he thinks about The Exeter Health Insurance:

Gareth Tunstill

Gareth Tunstill, Health Insurance Broker, says:

"The Exeter is an outstanding choice for people looking for private medical insurance. I'm continually impressed with how fair their underwriting is, often covering more than others in the market while often being one of the most competitively priced options."

Industry awards and recognotion

The Exeter Health+ was awarded the coveted five-star rating from the independent ratings body in 2024, and won a host of other awards in 2023, the most relevant awards include:

  • Best Care & Support Experience (HealthWise) - Protection Review Awards (Winner)
  • Best Insurer for Protecting Hard to Cover Clients - Protection Guru Awards (Highly Commended)
  • Outstanding Business Development Team - COVER Customer Care Awards (Winner)

A focus on fairness

As we've already mentioned, a significant benefit of The Exeter is how fair they are in relation to how your medical history affects future cover and their approach to no claims discount. In this section, we drill into those in a little more depth so you can understand the significance of both of these benefits.

A fair approach to underwriting

The Exeter say in their policy documentation that they "consider every application on its merits - so we'll often say yes, when others say no." Far from being a pure marketing statement, what we hear from numerous health insurance brokers is this is very true.

Recently, one such broker shared with us that the difference is the precision of the underwriting, where with other insurers if a client has had a heart issue of some description, there may be a carte blanche exclusions on anything to do with the heart, The Exeter will review it closely, and often only exclude conditions that are closely tied to the original, not everything to do with the heart.

Of course, underwriting can vary, and this isn't to say they will always cover more than others, but from what we hear from the market, The Exeter are living up to the statement of saying yes more than others.

Less penalisation for claims

A often under-talked about aspect of health insurance is how claims affect future premiums. When you get a new policy, assuming you've got a no claims discount (NCD), you'll usually start with a discount of about 70% off of your base rate, so pretty close to the top of the NCD scale. What this means, is there's usually far further to fall, then there is to rise, and if you claim, perhaps over several years, your NCD can quickly diminish.

All the insurers have a different no claims discount structure and rules to go alongside it, but The Exeter, is one of the best in that you'd have to claim over £2,000 to move down three levels on their scale, whereas with others, the same can happy for claims as small as £1.

Screenshot showing The Exeter's Health Insurance no claims discount rules and structure
Source: The Exeter Health+ Product Guide

Excellent claims payout rates

In May 2024, The Exeter published their claims payout stats for 2023, including how much they paid out in health insurance claims.

Impressively, they paid out 92% of health claims in 2023, totalling a whopping £28.4m, helping 8,152 members access private medical care.

Screenshot of The Exeter's 2023 health insurance claims statistics
Source: The Exeter 2023 Claims Statistics

How much does The Exeter health insurance cost?

Earlier in the year, we performed extensive private health insurance pricing research, getting 800 quotes from UK health insurance providers for a typical policy to find the average cost of policies in 2024.

Specifically, we looked at a comprehensive policy with out-patient cover, limited to a maximum of £1,000 per policy year, and an excess of £250 (or as close as possible). We included alternate therapies cover, but excluded mental health cover, travel and dental and optical cover. The quotes were for fictional people based in 10 major towns and cities around the UK.

The Exeter's health insurance pricing was below average for all age groups

While not always the cheapest, The Exeter's pricing was strong, and consistently below the average cost of all the providers we sampled. Of course, your age, location and policy options will affect your premium, so this isn't to say they will "always" be below average, but we would expect them to stack up well if you compare their prices to others.

How does The Exeter's pricing compare to others? Average cost of a typical Health+ policy compared to 7 other leading providers.
Age Health+ Average Monthly Premium Overall Average Monthly Premium
20-years-old £34.65 £38.36
30-years-old £50.28 £51.57
40-years-old £60.82 £64.25
50-years-old £76.64 £83.50
60-years-old £114.99 £121.60
70-years-old £178.79 £193.90

*Average based on quotes from eight leading health insurers in 10 UK cities in January 2024. We opted for a comprehensive policy, with a £250 excess (or as close as possible), outpatient cover limited £1,000 per policy year where possible, and we included alternate therapies cover. We opted for a guided consultant list where availiable, excluding mental health, dental, optical and travel cover. Click here to see our full methodology.

The Exeter health insurance underwriting options

Underwriting with private health insurance is the process the insurer goes through to decide what they will and won't cover on your policy based on your medical history The Exeter, as we've already mentioned are, notoriously fair with their underwriting, and people often find that they will cover conditions that others may not.

With The Exeter health insurance, you get several choices of underwriting:

Moratorium underwriting

With standard moratorium underwriting, a condition you've suffered from had treatment or sought advice for in the past five years will be excluded from your policy; however, if you go two years without symptoms, treatment or advice, it'll become covered in the future.

Full medical underwriting

Full medical underwriting requires you to disclose your medical history during the application process and The Exeter may exclude conditions based on the information that you provide. This type of underwriting is typically a good option for those with complex medical histories or who would like clarity on what's covered when taking out the policy.

Continued Personal Medical Exclusions

As long as you meet their criteria, The Exeter will carry across personal medical exclusions from your previous insurer (i.e. your existing health insurance policy) but may introduce new exclusions at the same time.

Continued Moratorium Benefits

Exeter will allow you to continue with the moratorium terms you have from a previous insurer, but it will only cover conditions for which you have not had symptoms, advice, or treatment in the past two years.


Exeter's Health+ Health Insurance is an excellent policy from a company that puts its members first. Beyond mere policy benefits and cover levels, Exeter exceeds when it comes to fairness and ensuring that people can get the cover they need and that it remains affordable into the future. 

The only downsides that we see are less choice of options to add to your policy and fewer customer reviews than others, making it harder to gauge customer service levels.

The Exeter are always keenly priced, regardless of your age, and will represent an excellent choice for many people.

Compare health insurance before you buy

As we always say, comparing health insurance and speaking to a broker before you purchase a policy is the surest way to ensure that you find a provider and plan that meets your requirements. Health insurance brokers don't charge for their service, and you'll find that most are extremely knowledgeable and will help you decide on the right private medical insurance. 

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.

Article reviewed by
Gareth Tunstill
3rd May 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get a quote for a Health+ policy?

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The two ways you can get a quote for The Exeter Health+ is by requesting a comparison quote via myTribe or by visiting The Exeter's website.

What is health insurance?

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Health insurance is protection policy that gives you access to private medical care in the UK when you need it.

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