Last updated: 22/09/2020 | Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
If you’re looking to undergo cosmetic surgery or another procedure that isn’t covered by the NHS, then it may be necessary to take out a medical loan to cover the costs. The vast majority of medical procedures these days also come with their own financing plans. So what should you opt for? This guide will explore the ins and outs of taking out a medical loan.
In This Guide:
- What are medical loans?
- Which type of medical loan should I opt for?
- How can I get the best medical loan?
- Should I take the finance option offered by the clinic?
- Can I use health insurance instead?
- What alternatives are there to medical loans?
What are medical loans?
A medical loan is a loan taken out for the purpose of covering the costs of a medical procedure. Medical loans come in two main forms: secured and unsecured.
A secured medical loan is secured against some form of asset (typically a property such as your home). Secured loans allow you to borrow larger sums of money than an unsecured loan, but the borrower may have to forfeit the asset to the lender in the event that they cannot pay back the debt. Also, secured loans are usually only an option for homeowners, as an asset is required.
An unsecured medical loan is not secured to an asset. A set amount is borrowed over a certain timeframe, and it will be paid back (with interest) in monthly installments.
Unsecured loans can typically be used for any purpose, but you should think about whether it makes sense to borrow money for a procedure that may be covered for free through the NHS.
Also, if the procedure is not covered on the NHS, it may also be more cost-effective to take out a health insurance policy instead, so this is something worth looking into (which we will go into later in this guide).
Which type of medical loan should I opt for?
Generally speaking, if you’re looking to take out a medical loan, you should always opt for an unsecured loan to cover medical procedures.
It is advisable to avoid secured loans to fund any kind of medical procedure because if something goes wrong, and you are unable to work, your home could be repossessed in order to cover the debt.
It is much safer to opt for an unsecured loan if you want to borrow money to pay for a medical procedure, as if the worst does happen, you won’t have left your assets exposed at a time when you can’t afford to lose them.
How can I get the best medical loan?
The quickest and easiest way to find the very best loans for your requirements is to use our loan comparison tool. Just enter in the details of the kind of loan you are looking for, and we’ll compare all the available loans for you within a matter of minutes. All you have to do is review your options and select the one that fits your needs the best.
Should I take the finance option offered by the clinic?
Most clinics will now offer some form of finance option for the medical procedures that they provide. These finance options can actually be good value for money too, with some clinics even offering 0% finance options for set periods of time.
If you opt to go this route, be mindful of the fact that you should try to pay off your debt during the interest-free period as the rates tend to skyrocket afterwards. Furthermore, you’ll need to pay back the loan during the total financing period, and that may not be long enough for you to get the funds sorted.
There’s no harm in considering the financing options on offer from the clinic, but you will need to do a bit of research. Many of the plans are offered by specialist firms, so you’ll need to dig a bit to be entirely sure of the terms and conditions before you sign anything. Also be sure to look at reviews from previous clients before you take the plunge.
Can I use health insurance instead?
Most health insurers simply offer a private healthcare option for procedures that are covered for free by the NHS.
Having said this, you may find that there are a few procedures covered by health insurance providers that the NHS are unenthusiastic about paying for. Furthermore, sometimes you may find that the private healthcare option is of a superior standard to what is on offer on the NHS.
In these cases it is likely to be more economical to go the private health insurance route and pay for the monthly premium and excess instead of opting for a medical loan.
If the medical procedure you want to undergo is purely a cosmetic one, and can’t be justified for medical reasons, then it’s very unlikely that any health insurance provider will cover it at all. Again, if the procedure can be justified for medical reasons, it is highly likely that it will be covered by the NHS anyway.
What alternatives are there to medical loans?
One alternative to medical loans and the financing offered by clinics is to use a credit card. Credit cards offer you a bit of flexibility, especially if you have a money transfer credit card or a 0% purchase credit card.
Many of the 0% cards will have interest-free periods that last up to 24 months, allowing you much more time to pay off the debt whilst not accruing any interest in the process.
Interest rates do tend to jump after the 0% period ends, so you will need to try and pay it all off before the higher rates kick in, but credit cards do usually work out to be a much better deal than the finance options available from the clinic.