The Ultimate Guide to Private Health Insurance for Physiotherapy in London

private health insurance for physiotherapy in London Physiotherapy in London

Private health insurance makes sure you can access the finest medical care in London if you’re struck down by illness or injury. But can you use it for physiotherapy treatments? The short answer is yes! At One Body LDN, we work with all major health insurers in the UK to help you get the physio treatments you need quickly and affordably.

This guide explores how private health insurance for physiotherapy in London works, how to get started, and important details you should know about. If you’re unsure if physiotherapy is the treatment you need, read our Ultimate Guide to Physiotherapy in London first.

Can You Use Private Health Insurance for Physiotherapy in London?

Most major private health insurers have physiotherapy coverage on some (or all) of their policies. This includes:

  • Allianz
  • Aviva
  • Axa
  • Bupa
  • Cigna
  • Simplyhealth
  • Vitality
  • WPA

Alternative Medicines

Health insurance is popular for covering acute conditions, rather than chronic illnesses. So, if you have a sudden accident or injury and need treatment, private health insurance helps you avoid the NHS waiting times. Private health insurance is also great for covering the cost of treatment at a private facility as well as elective tests and treatments that the NHS cannot offer you.

So, where does physiotherapy fit into this?

Most treatments you can get on the NHS are also covered by private health insurance, but many “non-essentials” are add-ons rather than included as standard. Physiotherapy is offered by the NHS, but many people prefer to use a private clinic with their health insurance. Some of the physiotherapy treatments and alternative medicines covered by private insurance include:

  • Manipulation and massage – applying pressure and massage techniques to relieve pain and swelling or improve mobility.
  • Prescribed exercises – exercise guided by a physiotherapist to improve strength, mobility and independence after an injury or illness.
  • Acupuncture – a trained professional uses needles to relieve pain.
  • Electrotherapy – using electrical currents to treat issues related to nerves and muscles.
  • Hydrotherapy – submerging the patient in water to provide support for the joints and muscles while exercising.
  • Osteopathy – using mostly manipulation techniques to treat the muscles, tissues, bones and joints.

Excesses and Limitations

Even if you have the physiotherapy add-on with your private health insurer, there are times when physiotherapy cannot be covered. First, there may be specific clinics and physiotherapists that aren’t accepted by your insurer – they’ll have a list of professionals that they work with.

The next reason your insurer won’t cover physiotherapy is if it isn’t needed. Most insurers will ask to see a referral from your GP or a physician recommending physiotherapy – if you cannot obtain that, your insurer may refuse to pay for the “unnecessary treatment”.

If you are requesting physiotherapy for an existing, chronic condition, you need to check the exclusions on your policy – many policies exclude pre-existing conditions!

Finally, one reason we’ve seen private health insurers decline physiotherapy claims is because the injury you need physio for was self-inflicted by partaking in a dangerous sport or pastime. Many policies have clauses that outline high-adrenaline and dangerous sports (think skydiving, paragliding, mountaineering, etc.) as exclusions.

Health Insurance Physiotherapy Excesses

An excess is the amount you need to pay before your insurer will cover the rest. So, even with private health insurance, you may still need to pay out-of-pocket for part of your physiotherapy treatment. Typically, the more you pay in monthly premiums, the lower the excess.

This is also why it’s important to understand how much physiotherapy costs even if you have health insurance. Expect basic 30-minute physiotherapy sessions in London to start at around £40. Learn more about our Physiotherapy London Prices.

private health insurance physiotherapy Physiotherapy in London

How to Make a Claim for Physiotherapy

If you want your health insurance to cover physiotherapy, or you have been referred for NHS physio but don’t want to wait or need more flexibility, here’s what you need to do.

1. Talk to Your Insurer

Call your insurer to discuss the requirements for physiotherapy. They’ll let you know what they need in terms of doctor referrals, plus the excess and limitations applied to your policy. Talking to your private health insurance provider as the first step ensures you don’t waste your time booking physiotherapy sessions that can’t be covered!

2. Get a Referral

Almost all insurers will request that you get a referral from your doctor or GP. This should state that they have assessed your health and are recommending NHS physiotherapy. In most cases, physiotherapy on the NHS is not available immediately. However, if there is no wait time for the NHS physiotherapy in your area, they may request that you use the free public health service rather than go private.

In the UK, the number of practising physiotherapists in 2023 was just over 66,000. The number of individuals with long-term health conditions was 33% of the entire population in 2018 and around 19% saw a physical or occupational therapist at least annually. So, there’s more demand than service availability – particularly in London! The NHS alone cannot keep up with demand so wait times are lengthy. This is partly why private physiotherapy is so popular.

3. Policy Number and Provider Code

With your referral from a doctor ready, the next step is to send this to your insurer, along with your policy number and a provider code.

A provider code is a unique code given to clinics and physiotherapists in the UK. Insurers use this code to identify the clinic or individual and decide whether they will cover the cost of their treatment. For example, the One Body LDN provider code for Bupa is 80013606 – you just need to give the insurer this code and request our clinic.

There are different codes for different insurers. You may also find that your insurer has a strict list of clinics and professionals that they accept. To find the provider code for your insurer, check our Private Health Insurance page.

4. Book Your Physio Session

Once your insurer has given you the go-ahead, contact the clinic to book your sessions and let them know that you’ll be using private health insurance to pay for part (or all) of the treatment. We need to know your policy number and authorisation code, plus the number of sessions that have been authorised and your policy excess, if applicable. Once that’s sorted, you’ll be ready for your treatment.

Use Your Health Insurance at One Body LDN!

At One Body, we have two clinic locations in London, and we accept all forms of private health insurance – whether it’s a personal policy or part of your employee benefits. And don’t worry if this is all new to you. Our admin team is here to guide you through the process of using private health insurance for physiotherapy in London. Let us fix your body, for good.

To effortlessly book physiotherapy and deep tissue sports massage treatments with health insurance, get started here.

physiotherapy london prices Physiotherapy in London

Three Reasons to Consider a Private Health Insurance Policy

If you are thinking of getting private health insurance for future medical conditions and physiotherapy treatments, here are three reasons why it may be a good idea.

Covers Physiotherapy and More

Private health insurance covers more than just physiotherapy. In fact, many policies are flexible with the treatments they cover. So, if you’re looking for alternative medicines or treatments that have a long wait time on the NHS, private is the way to go.

Increase Your Affordability

Even with an excess, you can find private health insurance for physiotherapy that’s quite affordable. This means you can pay for higher quality treatments when you need them, and have as many physio sessions as required (rather than however many you can afford).

Same-Day Services!

The NHS does its best, but a speedy service is rarely on the cards. One of the most appealing aspects of using private health insurance for physiotherapy in London is that you get seen as quickly as possible.

At One Body LDN, we often have same-day physio sessions available. You can also book a session around your work schedule and personal commitments – private health insurance makes this on-demand service accessible for anyone.

As private insurance covers acute conditions, it’s important that you book a physio appointment as soon as possible – leaving symptoms and pain without treatment can turn an acute condition into a chronic one.


How much does private health insurance cost?

£90 is considered average for 2024, but it is extremely variable depending on your medical history, age, and many other factors that the insurer must consider.

How much does physiotherapy insurance coverage cost?

Physiotherapy insurance coverage is usually an add-on to a typical health insurance policy. Basic policies are around £1,200 annually, going up to £3,000 with add-ons and depending on your personal circumstances.

Can I use private health insurance for physiotherapy?

Yes, most health insurance will cover private treatments that are also offered by the NHS. However, physiotherapy is typically an add-on that you’ll need to request for your policy.

How much does physio cost without insurance?

Without insurance, physio sessions start at around £40 for a 30-minute session and increase with session length and physiotherapist seniority up to £175.

author avatar
Kurt Johnson



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