Should I go to a private medical insurance broker?
Find out about the advantages and disadvantages of using a private medical insurance broker when buying a policy
Medical insurance brokers are highly experienced professionals who know the private medical insurance market inside out. They know all the different providers, large and small, including many you will never have heard of, and they receive regular training to keep right up to date with all the latest products. Perhaps most importantly of all, they understand the product in all its complex intricacies, and can really help you find the best policy for your needs.
Understanding the small print
The best advice when buying private medical insurance is to always read the small print. This is because you need to fully understand what you are and are not covered for; otherwise you could end up with a large medical bill that your insurers refuse to pay.
Unfortunately, more often than not, this crucial small print is worded in such complex, legally orientated terms, that even after you have read it you are none the wiser. That’s where a medical insurance broker comes in. Your insurance broker will be able to understand every detail of any medical insurance product you are considering, and will be able to offer you the best advice as to whether or not that product is right for you.
Is a broker worth it?
Paying a broker may seem to add an unnecessary cost to your policy but it should be well worth it. Not only will your broker find you the best value policy that meets your needs, often saving you hundreds of pounds per year, you will also have the peace of mind of knowing that your policy is right for you, and that there are no hidden details or exclusions that you have not understood. Like a good accountant, a medical insurance broker should save you more than they cost you in fees.
Do brokers offer impartial advice?
You should always make sure you seek the advice of a fully independent medical insurance broker. A broker is obliged by law tell you their status, independent or otherwise, before they start to work for you.
A fully independent broker will be able to offer advice on all the products available in the market and even some that are exclusively available through brokers and which you would not otherwise have access to. They are not employed by the insurance providers and have no allegiance one way or the other. Their loyalty is to you (their customer) and they are obliged to find you the best possible deal.
Other broker services
Another advantage of using a broker is that they can represent you professionally if you have any problems with your policy, or if you need to make a claim. Since they understand your policy in detail, they will be able to speak to your insurer with much more authority and will command more respect, and so they will often get a better and faster solution or settlement than you could achieve on your own.
How are brokers regulated?
Most private medical insurance brokers are members of the Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries (AMII). The AMII operates a code of practice for medical insurance brokers, in association with the Chartered Insurance Institute. Brokers who meet the standard are awarded Cert CII (Health and Protection). Medical insurance brokers are also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA and formerly the Financial Standards Authority FSA). In fact, no broker can practise without authorisation by the FCA.