“The price difference between those insurers with and without children’s cover as standard would only be minimal at best,” Mr Connor explains. “It is about the value it adds in terms of parents’ peace of mind,” Mr Connor explains.
For those wanting the benefit, a more important feature to look out for is the waiting period before the cover comes into effect. Defaqto research shows that 60 per cent of insurers have a minimum age for cover of 30 days, but some, including Royal London and LV, cover children from birth.
“A 30-day minimum age will tend to exclude any congenital conditions,” says Ben Heffer, insight analyst (life and protection) at Defaqto. “It does not seem entirely fair to impose this restriction where the child is conceived and born after inception of the cover, so credit to the providers that cover children from birth.”
Children are also catered for by private medical insurers who recognise that parents want the best for their kids and allow them to extend cover.
Children will receive the same cover as their parents, but some insurers will also include cover specifically for them. For example Axa PPP healthcare includes six sessions of speech therapy a year for children aged 14 and under if they need it for developmental reasons; laser treatment for port wine stain birthmarks, and surgery to correct bat ears.
It is also common practice to include some benefit towards the cost of accommodation if a parent needs to stay away from home while their child is in hospital.
There is a charge to include a child. For example, a parent would pay less than £20 a month for Axa PPP healthcare’s personal health product for a child aged 10 or under.
New forms of medical cover are also emerging for children. For example, last July, cash plan provider Medicash teamed up with Medex Protect to launch a corporate medical insurance plan to help families meet the cost of caring for sick children, regardless of whether the parents have cover themselves.
Cover includes consultations and diagnostic tests to aid with a fast diagnosis, and benefit for ancillary costs such as overnight accommodation near to the treating hospital, car parking, additional childcare cover and kennel and cattery fees.
It can also be extended to include cover for surgery undertaken on a day case or single-night-stay basis in most private hospitals across the UK.