How does private health insurance work?

Private health insurance is similar to other types of insurance. You pay a monthly or yearly fee called a premium.


Getting Referred

If you have a health issue, see your GP and let them know that you have private insurance. They may refer you to a specialist, and you might choose to go to private hospitals or specialists not offered by the NHS.


Informing Your Insurer

Tell your insurer that you want to make a claim. They'll check if your policy covers the treatment you need. If it does, your claim will be approved.


Cost Coverage

Your GP will book your appointment, and your insurer will cover the cost as long as your policy is active. Depending on your policy, you may be required to pay an excess.

In this Vitality health insurance review, we’ll be diving into the benefits and rewards offered by this private health insurance provider. Even if you’re not well-versed in private healthcare, you’ve likely seen Vitality’s eye-catching marketing with its bright pink branding and adorable dachshund on billboards at sports events nationwide. While the branding grabs attention, it doesn’t explain the product’s details or benefits. That’s what we’re here to find out: Is Vitality worth the investment?

What Is Vitality?

Vitality is a UK-based insurance provider. Established in 2004 as a joint venture between Prudential and Discovery, it became a major player in private medical insurance after acquiring another company in 2010.

The company is owned by Discovery Holdings, a global insurer and investment manager serving over 30 million people worldwide. They introduced a unique concept in 2007, rewarding customers for leading a healthy lifestyle. Vitality health insurance is considered a top pick in the UK, known for its membership model that rewards activity and engagement.

Is Vitality a Good Insurance Company?

Putting this Vitality health insurance review aside, the company has received mostly positive customer reviews. Many praise their service and indicate that they offer high standards.

On Trustpilot, Vitality has accumulated over 35,000 positive reviews. Also, both their private health insurance and business policies have earned a 5-star Defaqto rating. In fact, they have received perfect ratings from Defaqto for sixteen years.

Other prestigious awards include the Cover Excellence Awards for Individual PMI and Group PMI provider, the Moneyfacts Investment Life and Pensions Award for Best PMI, and the Health Insurance Awards for Best Individual Protection Provider and Most Innovative New Product.

Vitality Benefits

Why Vitality, you might ask? Here are some compelling reasons:
  • Trusted brand — There’s peace of mind that comes with choosing a trusted brand with a proven track record of delivering quality insurance services.
  • Full cover — Recognised consultants’ and anaesthetists’ fees are covered in full for in-patient and day-patient private treatment, so you never face a shortfall.
  • Digital care access — Access virtual GP consultations, prescriptions, diagnostics, and self-referral for physio or mental wellbeing treatments online or face-to-face through Vitality GP and digital care services.
  • Advanced cancer cover and screenings — All plans include comprehensive cover for cancer treatment, preventive care, and access to screenings for common cancers like prostate, bowel, cervical, skin, and breast cancer.
  • Vitality programme — Members have access to tools to understand their health risks, engage in healthy behaviours, and get discounts and rewards through the Vitality status. The programme is proven to lead to improved life expectancy and healthier lifestyle choices.

How Much Does Vitality Health Insurance Cost?

A monthly cost at Vitality, as with any provider, depends on factors like age, location, health, and coverage level. The coverage begins at £1.25 a day.

For a sample case, we chose a non-smoker individual in a major UK city with no medical conditions in the past two years. A voluntary excess was £250, and mental health cover and routine dental treatment were excluded. Optional extras weren’t chosen, but they would not lower premiums.

How Much Does Vitality Health Insurance Cost for Individuals?

Individual plans typically offer pricing options within the following ranges:

Individual’s age bracketAverage monthly premium for a comprehensive plan
Over 70Over £140

The exact price and coverage provided by the plan depend on the specific policy. For example, monthly premiums can go up to £80-90 for the 30-40 age group if they choose a wider coverage. Similarly, those in the 50-60 age group may pay over £130.

How Much Does Vitality Health Insurance Cost for Couples?

To provide a rough estimate of what couples can expect to pay:

Couple’s age bracketAverage monthly premium for a comprehensive plan
Over 70Over £250

How Much Does Vitality Health Insurance Cost for a Family?

Here are the expenses for getting insurance coverage for two adults and one child:

Parents’ age bracketAverage monthly premium for a comprehensive plan
60-70Over £200

What Does Vitality Personal Healthcare Cover?

Every Vitality health plan begins with Core Cover, with various benefits listed in the first column of the table. But if you’re particular about the plan you want, the provider offers customisations displayed in the right column. You can add any of these options to your Core Cover.

What’s Included in Core CoverWhat’s Not IncludedOptional Extras
Integrated primary care
Everyday care with Vitality GP
Acute conditions
In-patient and day-patient costs
Hospital fees and diagnostic tests
Specialist and consultant fees
Advanced cancer cover
Limited mental health cover
Childbirth cash benefit
Pregnancy complications
Home nursing
Parent accommodation
Private hospital list
Weight loss surgery and corrective surgery
Chronic conditions
Pre-existing conditions
Treatments outside the UK
Out-patient cover
Therapies cover
Extended mental health cover
Optical, dental and hearing insurance
Worldwide travel insurance

What Does Comprehensive Core Cover Include?

Vitality’s Core cover is the basic plan, but it’s surprisingly comprehensive:

  • In-patient and day-patient treatment — Covers hospital fees, consultant fees, and diagnostic tests (more details below).
  • Advanced cancer cover — Comprehensive treatment and support, including cancer screening, therapies, surgery, wigs, and follow-up consultations.
  • Mental health support — Offers talking therapies and access to platforms like Vitality Healthy Mind and Together all. Additional Mental Health Cover provides unlimited access to therapies and in-patient treatment.
  • Primary care — Access to Vitality GP for virtual appointments, face-to-face GP, and additional services like physiotherapy.
  • Out-patient surgical procedures — Full cover for surgical procedures as an out-patient, excluding out-patient consultations and consultant fees (more about out-patient care later on).

Additional benefits for the Core plan include discounts on self-care health tools, support for menopause, NHS Cash Benefit, and discounts and rewards, including Apple Watch.

What Does In-patient and Day-Patient Treatment Include?

To provide a bit more detail on day-patient and in-patient care:

  • Hospital fees — This covers everything from overnight stays to drugs and nursing care during your hospital stay, including charges for intensive care treatment and use of the operating theatre.
  • Consultants’ fees — Vitality pays your fees for specialist consultations in full as long as they’re recognised by them, including surgeons, anaesthetists, physicians, and other consultant appointments.
  • Diagnostic tests — Vitality also covers the cost of diagnostic tests you need, such as X-rays, blood tests, and all sorts of scans if needed.

Bear in mind that medical aids, such as neck collars, splints, and wheelchairs, aren’t covered, nor are items like glasses, hearing aids, or drugs and dressings taken home. These exclusions also extend to out-patient surgeries.

What Does Lifestyle Surgery Cover?

Vitality offers coverage for certain surgeries and treatments for both medical and non-medical reasons. For instance, they cover procedures like gastric bypass or gastric banding to address health issues related to obesity. Additionally, they cover surgeries for correcting prominent ears or port-wine stain birthmarks in young people. However, if you’ve held the insurance for less than 12 months, you may be charged 25% of the full cost for these procedures.

Here are some specific conditions for coverage:

  • Bariatric surgery — Vitality covers weight reduction surgeries like gastric sleeve, gastric band, or gastric bypass if your BMI is 40 or higher, or 35 or higher with certain health issues like sleep apnea or diabetes.
  • Breast surgery — Individuals under 21 with a BMI of less than 27 can get a breast reduction or surgical removal of extra male breast tissue.
  • Oral surgery — Full cover for dealing with teeth impacted or partially erupted, jaw cysts, complicated root canals, facial swellings, and apicectomy.
  • Prominent ear -correction surgery — Ear reshaping surgery for children aged 5 to 14 with prominent ears.
  • Port-wine stain birthmark correction — Up to 10 laser therapy sessions for children under 5 with a port-wine stain birthmark on their face.

Does Vitality Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?

Vitality doesn’t cover pre-existing medical conditions, which is common for UK insurance providers. You can still get private medical coverage with a pre-existing condition, but you can’t claim for care related to that condition.

The provider has some exceptions and requirements detailed here. For example:

  • If you have a history of coronary artery disease before age 40 or if you smoke, you’ll likely be declined for coverage. For other cases, coverage won’t be offered until six months after returning to normal activities.
  • For depression and anxiety, coverage terms depend on factors like the frequency of episodes, treatment changes, ability to work and perform daily activities, and recent medical consultations.
  • If blood pressure is too high or uncontrolled, coverage may be postponed for six months. If lifestyle factors aren’t addressed, coverage may get declined.
  • For multiple sclerosis, your level of disability is assessed based on eight functional systems.

Each case is assessed on its own merits.

Does Vitality Cover Cancer Care?

All Vitality’s Core plans come with Advanced Cancer Cover, which ensures full coverage for all eligible cancer-related costs once diagnosed. This includes in-patient and out-patient expenses. Here’s a breakdown of what’s covered:

  • Vitality pays for the entire cost of treatments like radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and biological therapies.
  • There’s comprehensive coverage for hormone therapy or bisphosphonate medications.
  • All expenses related to cancer surgery and reconstructive surgeries are fully covered.
  • The insurer covers the full cost of stem cell therapy and all follow-up appointments.
  • If you need end-of-life care at home, they’ll contribute up to £1,000 per day for a maximum of 14 days.
  • You can receive up to £300 to cover the cost of wigs and styling, and they’ll cover for scalp cooling during therapy.
  • They provide up to £200 for mastectomy bras and up to £5,000 for each condition requiring external prostheses.

Also, they offer discounted screenings and risk assessments for bowel and cervical cancer as part of their targeted cancer screening program.

Vitality Hospital List

The hospital access list determines available facilities and policy pricing. Vitality offers three categories:

  • Local hospitals — Includes leading private healthcare providers like BMI Healthcare, Nuffield Health, Spire Healthcare, and more, as well as select local providers.
  • Countrywide hospitals — Includes all local hospitals plus select Central London hospitals and most other private hospitals outside London.
  • London hospitals (London Care) — Offers access to all private hospitals in the UK and NHS hospitals with private facilities.

There is also a Consultant Select option, where Vitality uses an intelligent ranking system to match you with the best consultant based on their past performance and patient feedback. What’s great about this option is that it can result in lower premiums without compromising the quality of your policy.

Vitality’s Additional Cover Options

As mentioned above, you can add extra coverage options to your Core Vitality policy. Just be mindful that features are offered at an added cost since it’s beyond the basic cover.

What Does Out-Patient Cover Include?

Optionally, members can get out-patient cover for diagnostics and physiotherapy through Vitality’s Priority Physio network. Members also receive coverage for out-patient surgical procedures included in their plan.

The medical treatment coverage provided by Vitality depends on the options you choose:

  • Limited out-patient cover includes consultations, consultant fees, tests, and physiotherapy up to a set value. MRI, CT, and PET scans are fully covered regardless of the limit chosen.
  • Full out-patient cover includes all consultations, consultant fees, diagnostic tests, scans, and physiotherapy with no limits.

Limits are £500, £750, £1,000, £1,250 or £1,500.

Does Vitality Offer Physiotherapy Cover?

As an extra, Vitality offers more physiotherapy sessions and coverage, on top of the six sessions already included in your Core Cover. Plus, you can refer yourself for physiotherapy without needing to see a GP. If you see an external specialist, you’ll be reimbursed up to £35 per session from your limit.

What Does the Mental Health Cover Include?

Mental health coverage ensures unlimited therapy sessions and covers out-patient and in-patient psychiatric treatment. You also have access to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

If you choose additional mental health support, you’ll receive full coverage for Talking Therapies, including online or face-to-face counselling and CBT. Out-patient consultations with a psychiatrist or psychologist are covered up to £1,500. For in-patient and day-patient treatment, you’ll have coverage for up to 28 days each, including multiple episodes of care within the plan year.

What Do Therapies Cover?

Additional benefits included in Vitality’s health insurance plans:

  • Osteopathy and chiropractic treatment — Helps with issues related to bones, muscles, or joints.
  • Chiropody and podiatry treatment — Focuses on foot health, like removing corns and calluses.
  • Acupuncture treatment — Traditional Chinese therapy with thin needles.
  • Homeopathy treatment —​​ Uses natural substances like plants and minerals for healing.
  • Dietician consultations — Two sessions for dietary advice, recommended by a GP or consultant.

Does Vitality Offer Dental Cover?

Yes, and the plan covers:

  • Routine dental treatment — 100% of the costs, up to £100 each plan year, for hygienist appointments and check-ups.
  • Major dental treatment — 80% of the costs, up to £400 each plan year, for procedures like fillings, crowns, or implants.
  • Emergency dental work — In case of accidents resulting in broken or damaged teeth, the coverage is 100% of the bill, up to £2,500 per claim, up to two claims each plan year.

Worldwide Travel Cover

For individuals under 65 who frequently travel internationally, there’s alternative coverage available that caters to their needs. This coverage includes emergency medical expenses while abroad, travel vaccinations and medications, unexpected travel costs, such as lost luggage, and coverage for winter sports activities.

NHS Cash Benefit

You have the option to receive a cash benefit if you choose to be treated by the NHS instead of privately through your plan. For in-patient treatment, you’ll receive £250 per night (up to a maximum of £2,000), and for day-patient treatment, you’ll receive £125 per day (up to a maximum of £500).


Following a stroke or serious brain injury, your plan can include rehabilitation treatment. You’re eligible for up to 21 days of rehabilitation treatment as part of your coverage.

Private Ambulance

If medically necessary, your plan can provide full coverage for the use of a private ambulance for transfers between hospitals, whether it’s within the NHS or private healthcare system.

What Are the Excess Options?

You can choose to pay a fixed amount, called an excess, towards your treatment. Options include zero, £100, £250, £500, or £1,000, and the more you set, the lower your premium.

Once you’ve selected your excess:

  • Pay once a year: You pay the excess fee once, no matter how many times you claim in that year. If your treatment extends into the next year, you’ll pay the excess fee again.
  • Pay per claim: If you make several claims in a year, you’ll pay the excess fee each time. After 12 months, if you require more treatment for the same condition, you’ll pay the excess fee again.

The excess won’t apply to Vitality GP consultations, weight loss and corrective surgery, NHS hospital cash benefit, and childbirth cash benefit. Vitality will cover the remaining treatment costs within plan limits.

What Is Not Covered on Vitality Health Insurance?

Vitality follows industry norms with its exclusions, which are:

  • Chronic illnesses (e.g., diabetes and asthma)
  • Urgent medical care
  • Alcohol or substance misuse
  • Routine pregnancy and childbirth
  • Fertility procedures
  • Contraception
  • Organ transplants
  • Non-essential cosmetic surgery
  • Experimental medications or procedures
  • Sleep disorders
  • Gender transition procedures
  • Hormone therapy
  • Experimental treatments

Will I Be Covered If I Have an Existing Medical Condition?

Yes, you can purchase Vitality health insurance policy even if you have pre-existing medical conditions. However, please note that the coverage for these conditions may not be comprehensive.

How Can You Lower the Cost of Vitality Health Insurance?

The first step to reduce the cost of Vitality insurance is to choose a higher excess. This means you’ll pay more out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in.

It’s also worth reassessing your insurance plan. Perhaps some of the coverage or extras aren’t necessary, and you could rely on the NHS for those services while keeping private coverage for essential areas.

Next, be sure to enter Vitality’s Healthy Living Programme. When you include partners in the Savings Tool and complete their challenges, you earn Vitality points and eventually receive a reward. For example, your potential savings with Apple Watch, Cafe Nero, and Waitrose can be as high as £129.

Vitality Health Insurance Rewards Comparison Table

Another key thing to mention in this Vitality review is the unique points system. When you engage in healthy activities, you earn points that contribute to your Vitality status. The more points you accumulate in a plan year, the higher your status becomes, starting from Bronze and progressing to Silver, Gold, and finally Platinum. As your status increases, you become eligible for bigger discounts and rewards.

Top PartnersRewards
Apple WatchBuy an Apple Watch Series 9 for just £39 upfront. Plus, you might not have to pay anything extra if you stay active.
Garmin15-40% off selected devices
ODEON and VueA monthly cinema ticket for 48 Vitality points
Caffè NeroDiscounts on handcrafted drinks, Innocent smoothies, Caffè Nero food, and coffee at home products. Plus, there’s a 50% discount on the Vitality Healthy Food menu.
Fitbit10-36% off selected devices
Rakuten TVFree on-demand movie rentals each week

You can earn Health Rewards Points:

  • Online health review: 100 Vitality points per year
  • Blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol: Up to 120 points each for healthy measurements
  • Non-smoker declaration: up to 300 points per year
  • Fitness: A fitness assessment at participating gyms for up to 120 points

On top of that, you can get Active Reward Points:

  • Gym session: 5 Vitality points per visit at participating Nuffield, Virgin Active, and David Lloyd gyms
  • Steps:
    • 3 points for 7,000 steps a day
    • 5 points for 10,000 steps
    • 8 points for 12,500 steps
  • Heart rate monitor:
    • 5 points for working out at 60% of your age-related maximum heart rate for 30 minutes
    • 8 points for working out at 60% of your age-related maximum heart rate for 1 hour

For example, you start the morning with a 5-kilometer run, earning 4 Vitality activity points. Later in the day, you enjoy a game of tennis for an hour and get 8 more points. If you do a mindful activity with Headspace and do an eye test, that’s 2 and 50 points, respectively.

Can I Switch My Existing Health Insurance Cover to Vitality?

Yes, you can transfer your current health insurance to Vitality. The terms and conditions of your previous insurance policy will still apply, and any medical conditions that were excluded from coverage before will continue to be excluded under the new policy with Vitality’s health insurance.

You don’t have to start right away. If you’re the plan owner, you can adjust the start date of your plan by reaching out to Vitality. When your previous plan ends, the new one will start without any overlap.

How to Cancel Vitality Health Insurance in the UK

You can cancel your health insurance coverage at any time by contacting Vitality’s customer support. They offer options for cancellation through phone (0345 051 0044) or email. The email address is protected for security, but you can access it through the Member Zone on the website or in the app.

What Is the Best Way to Buy Vitality Health Insurance?

The best way to buy Vitality Health Insurance is to request a quote online or chat with a customer care representative. Health insurance is highly individualised. So, you want someone to review your specific case, provide a premium quote, and list everything you’re entitled to.

Hopefully, this Vitality review has provided clarity on this provider and brought you one step closer to getting covered!