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Last updated: 23/07/2020 | Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Private medical insurance - optional cover

Private medical insurance can be a good idea if you want to guarantee yourself the very highest level of treatment in the event that you are diagnosed with an acute medical condition. Having a good health insurance policy can allow you to receive the medical attention that you need without having to face the long waiting lists of the NHS and can offer other comforts such as a private room when you are admitted to hospital.

However, not all policies are the same and not all offer the same level of cover. There are a few types of treatment that do not come as standard on all health insurance policies but may be of use to you if you decide to pay a little but extra in order to have them added to yours. This guide will explain everything that you need to know about the various optional extras that you can often find yourself able to add to a policy.

In This Guide:

Is optional cover worth it?

Optional cover can be worth the money but it is recommended that you think long and hard about which forms of optional cover you think you'll need. Of course, there is no way of predicting exactly what form of cover you will require in the future but some may be more likely than others. For example if you play sports on a regular basis, you may want to add physiotherapy to your insurance plan as there is a higher likelihood that you will need to receive this form of treatment. This applies to things such as home nursing too, for example if you live on your own, you may want to add this to your premium but if you live with your family, you may not need it as they may be able to fulfil the roles that a home nurse would.

It is also worth thinking about what treatments are available on the NHS before paying extra for them privately. For example, you cannot receive physiotherapy treatment on the NHS and adding it to your policy would then give you added protection that is good value for money. However treatments for depression and some other psychiatric problems can often be prescribed for you by your GP, so you may not want to pay extra to cover yourself privately.

Types of optional cover

Here is a list of a few different optional covers that you can choose to place onto your policy.

Optical and Dental Care

One choice that you may opt for in the form of optional cover is optical and dental care. This form of optional cover will cover the costs of your routine checkups at your dentist's or optician's surgery. However it is important to remember that you may well have to pay some form of excess on these types of optional cover.

Psychiatric Care

This form of cover will allow you to receive psychiatric treatment in the event that you are diagnosed with some form of mental health problem such as depression or schizophrenia. Normally this form of optional cover will provide you with reimbursements whether you are an inpatient or an outpatient.


This is one of the more popular choices that people decide to add to their private medical insurance policy. The reason for this is that it is not covered by the NHS and will therefore have to be paid for directly out of your pocket if you require it. It could be a very sensible option if you are somebody who plays a lot of sport.

Home Nursing

This type of optional cover refers to home treatment that you may require after being treated as an in-patient at a private medical facility. This is often extremely helpful to people who are trying to recover from an illness and may need a bit of extra help at home once they have left hospital.

Cancer Cover

There are many private medical insurance policies that will automatically include cancer treatment as part of the protection that is offered. However this will depend on the type of policy that you are on and you should therefore check to see if things such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery are covered.