Customers purchasing private medical insurance in 2018 were affected by various factors, including their individual financial concerns, the events that prompted them to purchase cover, and the different product features sought. Although most customers said there was no key event that prompted them to purchase a PMI policy, concern about NHS waiting times was the most popular reason among those who cited a factor. The NHS’s struggle to cope with rising demand has increased waiting and referral times in recent years.

Researching on an insurer’s website was the most important pre-purchase activity in 2018. Researching via a price comparison site was the most popular activity in 2017 but saw a steep fall in popularity in 2018 - as did the proportion of policies purchased through this channel. 58.5% of respondents bought direct from an insurer, which is a result of the PMI market being dominated by a handful of well-known insurers that all have direct propositions.

Over six in 10 PMI customers are likely to use a personal activity tracker in conjunction with their PMI policy to receive financial savings. Using trackers to provide personalized cover and encourage a healthy lifestyle is becoming an area where providers can differentiate their products. But concerns about data usage and privacy are an obstacle to overcome

Providers need to understand consumers and the factors that are important to them in order to effectively identify popular purchasing channels, design desirable PMI products, and successfully market these products to existing and potential customers.

The report "How Customers Purchase Private Medical Insurance 2018", explores the attitudes, behaviors, and preferences of customers who purchased a private medical insurance policy in the last 12 months. It explores distribution and the purchasing journey, policy purchase triggers, the financial concerns of customers, and brand selection. It also sizes the medical expenses market.

Companies Mentioned: Google, PlateJoy, Vitality, Apple, Aviva, Cyrcadia, Aviva, AXA, Bupa, Babylon, Vitality, Benenden, Sage, Simplyhealth


  • The majority of private medical insurance policies are bought directly from providers.
  • Concern about NHS service and waiting times was the top factor motivating individuals to purchase a private medical insurance policy.
  • Over 60% of private medical insurance customers are likely to consider using a personal activity tracker in order to receive financial savings on their policy.
  • Purchasing online via a PC or laptop is the most popular method among customers.

Reasons To Buy

  • Understand consumer purchasing decisions and how these will influence the market over the next few years.
  • Improve customer engagement by recognizing what is most important to them and how insurers can adapt their products and services to meet their needs.
  • Discover which providers lead the way in the private medical insurance space.
  • Adapt your distribution strategy to ensure it still meets customer purchasing behaviors.