Not all private medical insurance policies are as comprehensive as each other, and they're often graded by price.
The most important thing is to check the contract terms before making a commitment to ensure you're getting the right coverage for your needs.
If, at a later stage, you have a problem with the level of cover that your policy offers, revisit your contract and check the details.
You'll only be entitled to the cover stated in your contract.
A common issue for policy holders is pre-existing conditions. When you take out a policy, you will be required to detail all pre-existing medical conditions and your provider may not cover you for illnesses relating to these.
Another common restriction is around treatment choices. Policies may only cover treatment from selected specialists, or surgical procedures and treatment considered to be 'proven', as opposed to 'experimental'.
If you disagree with your policy provider's decision and feel their exclusions were not made clear to you, complain to your insurer.
If the insurance provider has failed to provide all that has been laid out in your contract, or if you feel the contract exclusions were not made clear to you, then your provider could be held in breach of contract and you may be able to challenge them.
If you're unhappy with a private medical provider’s service, the first step is to speak to the medical professional in question, or the practice manager.
If necessary, go through their official complaints procedure.
Make sure you've collected as much evidence as possible, such as photographs and any other documentation, to support your complaint.
If you're unhappy with the way a medical professional has behaved, the practice should investigate the individual in question.
ISCAS represents some independent healthcare providers. If your provider is represented, they must adhere to ISCAS’s Complaints Code.
They also offer an independent adjudication service that can help with negotiations.
If a medical professional seeks an improper relationship, makes unsolicited visits, breaches your confidentiality, appears to canvas or simply displays bad manners, alarms bells should ring.
If you suspect serious or repeated mistakes have occurred during you treatment, that you have been poorly examined, or the practitioner has failed to respond to your needs, you should also seek help.
Notify your practice manager immediately, and follow their complaints procedure if necessary.
The GMC regulates registered doctors. They may not look into all complaints, but in cases of serious misconduct the GMC may investigate your issue.
If you have a problem with your private medical insurance company, for example, regarding the details of your policy, or the manner in which your policy was agreed, the first step is to make a complaint to the insurance company.
Take a look at our guide to challenging unfair contract terms.
The FOS will look at all claims, but can only take action on claims in which administrative or service errors have occurred.
If you suffer pain, injury, inconvenience or extra costs as a result of poor private medical treatment, you can file a personal injury claim.
This could also include claiming for loss of earnings, if necessary.
If you wish to claim more than this, you'll need to use the 'fast track' court procedure. Personal injury claims can be complicated, and will require expert legal help.
In Scotland, small claims courts cannot be used to claim personal injury compensation at all.