Health Insurance for Self Employed

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What is Self Employed Health Insurance?

Self Employed Health Insurance offers individuals who work for themselves access to private healthcare.

The UK’s growing army of self-employed workers – both sole traders and company directors – rarely get any sick pay and so can’t afford to be off work for long periods waiting for treatment on the NHS.

Opting for Private Health Insurance can often get you treated and back to work faster than if you’d waited for the NHS.

What Does Health Insurance for Self Employed Cover?

There are a number of additional options but the foundations of private medical insurance are built on two types of cover:

  • Inpatient Cover
    Where you’re admitted to hospital and occupy a bed for at least one night, such as for surgery. This is covered in full on most health insurance plans.
  • Outpatient Cover
    Usually an additional option which covers diagnostic tests and any procedures which don’t require the use of a hospital bed, such as blood tests and x-rays.

These options generally define what types of treatments that you can claim for on your policy. A serious surgical procedure, for example, would normally be covered under inpatient treatment and so would automatically be covered by your policy.

An x-ray or blood test, on the other hand, would fall under outpatient care, so you would need to add outpatient cover to your policy in order for your insurer to cover the cost.

Medical conditions tend to either be defined as acute or chronic:

  • Acute Conditions
    Come on quickly, and are accompanied by distinct symptoms that require short-term care and get better once they are treated.
  • Chronic Conditions
    Slower to develop, may progress over time and tend to be managed by treatment rather than ever getting better.

Self Employed Health Insurance will typically cover most acute health conditions, providing they are not pre-existing. Chronic conditions are not usually covered, however – for these you’d need to use the NHS.

To read in more depth exactly what’s covered by PMI, check out our guide What Does Private Health Insurance Cover’.

Key Private Health Insurance Policy Options

You will have a fair few decisions to make when comparing Self Employed Medical Insurance policies as it is important to make sure you are comparing apples with apples.

These key options will have a considerable impact on the cover of your policy and the cost.

  • Outpatient cover 
    Outpatient care is an optional extra on Health Insurance policies that allows you to receive diagnostic treatment privately rather than on the NHS. Depending on your insurer, you will have the option to either cover all outpatient treatments in full or receive limited outpatient cover based on a monetary limit per year.
  • Excess 
    An Excess is an agreed upon amount that you are willing to contribute towards the cost of the treatments you claim for. Depending on the terms of your policy, this excess may need to be paid per claim or per year. Adding an excess to your policy can help you reduce your premiums.
  • Hospital List
    Some insurers will give you several options in terms of the list of hospitals where you’re able to receive your treatments. Choosing a more comprehensive list means that you will have more options as to where you can be treated, including access to the top UK hospitals in Central London. However, the more prestigious the hospitals you add to your policy, the more expensive your premiums will be.
  • Cancer Cover
    Most policies include cover for cancer treatments and therapies automatically, although some insurers offer an extended cancer cover option that covers more than just treatment, such as prostheses, wigs and scalp cooling to reduce hair loss from chemotherapy.
  • NHS 6 Week Wait
    When added to your policy, the NHS 6 Week Wait means you will only be able to claim for treatment on your insurance if the waiting list for NHS treatment provided is longer than 6 weeks. This can notably reduce the cost of your policy if you’re willing to wait 6 weeks for the treatment you need.
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Do I Need Self Employed Health Insurance?

Self employed professionals do not always have the luxury of taking a break from work if they fall ill or injure themselves – for many, a health problem may stop them receiving income entirely until they recover.

This would be problematic given that certain types of treatments and medical procedures require weeks if not months of waiting on NHS waiting lists for some patients.

If you suffer from an injury or illness, how confident are you that you will get the fast and efficient care you need?

Waiting times are one of the most prominent issues people face, especially if the treatment you require is in particularly high demand.

With private healthcare, however, you can receive fast diagnosis and treatment of conditions that keep you away from your work.

Adding outpatient care and therapies means you’ll receive prolonged support and care for your health condition to speed up your recovery even further and provide you with comprehensive care.

How Much Does Self Employed Medical Insurance Cost?

The cost of cover will differ depending on your personal circumstances and how comprehensive the policy is.

There are some personal details that affect the cost of Private Medical Insurance which you will not be able to control, such as your age. As you get older, you become more susceptible to health problems and so your insurer will likely increase the cost of your policy.

Other details that affect the cost of your policy include:

  • Medical history
    Prior to taking out your policy and while it is active, your medical history and claims history will affect the initial price and how the cost of your policy changes over time.
  • Smoker status
    The negative health effects of tobacco make you far more likely to claim on a policy, which means that you will be charged more.
  • Your address
    Living in areas with more expensive private hospitals, like London, will increase your premiums

The options you choose when setting up your policy will also have an impact on the cost of your policy, although with the right options you tailor your cover to your needs and reduce your premiums.

  • Level of cover
    While inpatient and day-patient care is covered as standard, you can add outpatient cover to your policy for increased premiums and in some cases adjust the limit of outpatient cover you want.
  • Excess
    Adding an excess can greatly reduce premiums depending on how much you choose to add.
  • Hospital list
    Choosing hospital lists with an increased number of hospitals or including more expensive facilities, such as those in Central London, will increase your premiums.
  • Additional cover options
    Adding any additional cover options to your policy, such as psychiatric cover or dental / optical cover, will make your policy more expensive.

The cost of Health Insurance will be determined by many different factors, including your age, occupation, medical history, location and various policy factors, such as your excess and how comprehensive you’re looking for the policy to be.

To come up with the below premium prices for self-employed adults, we’ve assumed:

  • The individual is in good health
  • They’re non-smokers
  • They’re looking for a comprehensive policy
  • They’re willing to pay a £250 excess
  • They’ll be underwritten on a moratorium basis
  • They don’t want any additional extras on their policy
  • They’re based in the same postcode as our Brighton office.



Age 30


Age 35


Age 40


To see for yourself how much you can expect to pay, try our Private Health Insurance Calculator.

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Common Self Employed Health Insurance Questions

  • Can I Expense Health Insurance If I'm Self-Employed?

    This depends how you’re set up as a self-employed individual.

    If you just work for yourself without a limited company or any other vehicle behind you, the it’s unlikely you’ll be able to write off your Health Insurance as a business expense.

    This is because, for Health Insurance to be an allowable business expense, typically there needs to be a company vehicle to own and pay for the premiums. If you’re self-employed you can still get Health Insurance, but it would usually need to be paid for personally rather than put through the business.

    If you do work for yourself via your own limited company, either as a contractor or a company director, then Health Insurance can be a business expense that you can write off against corporation tax.

  • How is Self-Employed Health Insurance Taxed?

    If you’re self-employed and work directly for yourself without any limited company setup between yourself and the taxman, then you’d need to pay for cover personally. You’d do so out of your personal bank account, using cash that has already had tax and National Insurance deducted. There’s therefore no additional tax to be concerned with other than Insurance Premium Tax, which is included in your monthly payments.

    If you’re working for yourself as a company director or contractor, on the other hand, your limited company can own and pay for the policy on your behalf.

    Here the tax rules are more complicated. Health Insurance is a P11D / benefit in kind, meaning there’s additional tax to pay when you have a company paying for premiums on your behalf.

    The company will have to pay National Insurance contributions on the premiums at 13.8%, while you as the employee will need to pay additional income tax as a result of having the company cover your premiums. This is achieved by adjusting your tax code so you can earn less tax-free each year before paying income tax.

    While there’s additional tax to pay for the employee, for the employer (i.e. your limited company) it’s an allowable business expense against corporation tax.

  • What Other Types of Insurance Exist for Self-Employed People?

    As well as Health Insurance, there are a variety of other insurances on the market that you may want to consider if you’re self-employed. These are based around filling the protection gaps that being self-employed can leave you with.

    For instance, self-employed people rarely get sick pay because they’re working for themselves. If you couldn’t do your job for any length of time and had no money coming in, how would you cope financially?

    For this reason, it’s common for self-employed people to seek us out Income Protection Insurance, which is designed to pay you a regular income each month if you can’t work for any medical reason.

    Long-term Income Protection will continue paying you for as long as is required, right up until retirement if necessary.

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Compare Top UK Private Medical Insurance Companies



Aviva is the largest insurer in the UK. Aviva’s PMI offering is their Healthier Solutions product, which you can tailor to your own budget.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Moratorium / Continued Personal Medical Exclusions
  • Excess
    £100 / £200 / £500 / £3,000 / £5,000 per year
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / cancer cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    £0 / Reduced (limited to £500 or £1,000) / Full outpatient cover
AXA PPP Healthcare

AXA PPP Healthcare

Based in Tunbridge Wells, AXA PPP Healthcare has helped people to access healthcare services since 1940.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Moratorium
  • Excess
    £100 / £250 / £500 / £1,000 / £2,500 / £5,000
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / radio/chemotherapy / Optional mental health cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    Standard or Full


Established over 60 years ago, Bupa is a UK household name. Bupa Health Insurance has two tiers of over: Comprehensive (full inpatient and outpatient care) and Treatment & Care (inpatient-only). Both options include mental health cover as standard.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Moratorium
  • Excess
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / radio/chemotherapy / Mental health cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    Paid in full or with optional limits of £500 / £750 / £1,000
the exeter

The Exeter

Founded in 1927, Exeter Family Friendly is a mutual Friendly Society with over 60,000 members. The Exeter’s Health Insurance policy is known as The Exeter Health+, which includes mental health cover as standard.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Fixed moratorium / Rolling moratorium / Continued personal medical exclusions
  • Excess
    £0 / £100 / £250 / £500 / £1000 / £3,000 / £5,000
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / cancer cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    Paid in full or with optional limits of £500 / £1,000


Vitality (formerly PruHealth) launched in October 2004 as a joint venture between Prudential and South African health insurance provider Discovery. Vitality has an innovative approach to health insurance in their Vitality plan, rewarding you with points and reduced premiums for healthy living.

  • Underwriting
    Full Medical Underwriting / Moratorium / Continued personal medical exclusions
  • Excess
    £0 / £100 / £250 / £500 / £1,000 once a year or once per claim
  • Core Cover
    Inpatient and day-patient / cancer cover
  • Outpatient Cover
    Paid in full or with optional limits of £500 / £750 / £1,000 / £1,250 / £1,500
*Not available with standard outpatient option
**For those who have had cancer before taking out the plan or who removed the cover for cheaper PMI, AXA's NHS Cancer Support will see the patient treated for cancer on the NHS but with any drugs not routinely available on the NHS paid for by AXA

Get Self Employed Health Insurance Quotes & Expert Advice

Health Insurance is one of the more complex insurance products to compare due to the many different combinations of cover options available.

That’s why it is worth it to speak to a professional who knows these policies inside and out – why not get in touch today?

Why Speak to Us…

We started Drewberry because we were tired of being treated like a number and not getting the service we all deserve when it comes to things as important as protecting our health and our finances. Below are just a few reasons why it makes sense to talk to us.

  • There is no fee for our service
  • We are independent and impartial
    Drewberry isn’t tied to any insurance company, so we can provide completely impartial advice to make sure you get the most appropriate policy based solely on your needs.
  • We’ve got bargaining power on our side
    This allows us to negotiate better premiums for you than you going direct yourself.
  • You’ll speak to a dedicated expert from start to finish
    You will speak to a named expert with a direct telephone and email. No more automated machines and no more being sent from pillar to post – you’ll have someone to speak to who knows you.
  • Benefit from our 5-star service
    We pride ourselves on providing a 5-star service, as can be seen from our 2872 and growing independent client reviews rating us at 4.92 / 5.
  • Gain the protection of regulated advice
    You are protected. Where we provide a regulated advice service we are responsible for the policy we set-up for you. Doing it yourself or going direct to an insurer won’t provide this protection, so you won’t benefit from these securities.
  • Claims support when you need it the most
    You have support should you need to make a claim. The most important thing when it comes to insurance is that claims are paid and quickly. We are here to support you during the claims process and make sure it’s as smooth and stress free as possible.
Nadeem Farid

If it is all getting a little confusing and you want to talk through your options to make sure you find the most suitable cover please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Pop us a call on 02074425880 or email

Nadeem Farid
Head of Employee Benefits at Drewberry

I had a great experience with Drewberry, they have a lot of knowledge and expertise with life insurance and income protection and were able to advise me and arrange suitable products. Highly recommend.

Lachlan Mellings
12/08/2020 Logo
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Drewberry Ltd registered office: Telecom House, Preston Road, Brighton, England, BN1 6AF. Telephone 0208 432 7333

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