Pet Insurance

A dog can cost its owner £16,900 throughout its life and a cat can cost a MASSIVE £17,200!(1)

Getting the right pet insurance will help you budget and make decisions without worrying about going into debt

Unfortunately cheaper is not always better with pet insurance, find out how to get the deal YOU need


Need to know

  • Depending on the policy you choose, your pet insurance will cover vet's bills for a specified amount of time. No pet insurance policy will cover routine appointments like vaccinations or check ups but will be there for you if your pet gets injured or starts to suffer with a medical condition
  • Pet insurance is not just for vet's bills. It can also cover your pet when travelling, cover costs if your pet is stolen or (and this is ESSENTIAL for dog owners) provide public liability cover if your pet causes an accident or hurts another person
  • Cats are considered 'free spirits' by the courts (and anyone who knows one!) which means you are not liable if they cause an accident. Dogs however, are the owner's responsibility and could cost THOUSANDS or even more, so you must cover yourself. You can also check your home insurance policy to see if public liability insurance is included
  • WATCH OUT FOR EXCLUSIONS: Age; you may not be able to cover old or very young pets. Policies for older pets are especially tricky, although John Lewis Pet Insurance has no upper age limit. Pre-existing conditions; this is the biggie- if your pet has already had a certain illness a new pet insurance provider will not cover it
  • Read the small print: to ensure you stay covered you may need to make sure vaccinations are up to date, your pet is microchipped and annual check-ups happen within 12 months of each other
  • As with all insurance DON'T LIE when you are taking the pet insurance policy out. It may mean you are not properly covered
  • TOP TIP if you have a young pet go for a really good insurance policy as any lifetime illnesses (like epilepsy) are likely to manifest in the first couple of years. You could then reduce your cover slightly once your pet reaches maturity

Pick the perfect policy

  • There are several types of policies for pet insurance so you need to choose which is right for YOU. We have done some comparisons to give you an idea and these prices are based on a small, young, mongrel dog so will differ slightly depending on your pet: 

Accident only: these pet insurance policies are the cheapest BUT will only cover accidents or injuries during the 12 month period of the policy, it won't cover health issues.  

Time limited cover: will  let you claim up to a certain amount for each condition, the condition (eg. broken leg) will be covered for 12 months, usually from the date of diagnosis. If your pet's condition costs more than the specified financial limit or lasts longer than 12 months, you won't be covered.

Individual condition cover/Max benefit:  will let you claim up to a certain amount for each diagnosed condition (e.g £3,000). A long-term condition like arthritis may well go over this limit.

Long-term cover: these pet insurance policies allow you to claim up to a certain amount each year, but there is no time limit on how long you can claim per condition.

  • Once you have decided which pet insurance cover you need, you can find the perfect pet insurance policy using comparison sites to find the best deal. Just remember not to neglect the pet insurance providers who are not on comparison sites, look at direct providers too 
  • Take the time you need to find the right policy NOW as you may not be able to switch provider or type of cover if your pet develops a condition later on

Compare Providers

It is worth visiting at least two out of three to see all the deals available. It shouldn't take you much more than 5 minutes per site for your first look

Go Direct

Remember, there are some insurance providers who don't use or appear on comparison sites so make sure you check direct with a few to make sure that you are getting the very best rate outside of comparison providers


The inside track

  • If you are on means tested council tax, housing or rent benefits you may be eligible to register for PDSA vet care to access their vets by paying a donation of whatever you can afford. You can find out more online or by calling them on 0800 731 2502 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm). You can also check the RSPCA in your area to see if they will offer discounted vet care or aid with vet's bills

  • It’s important not to break your cover (take a year off paying). If your pet gets ill during that break, its illness will become a pre-existing condition when you go for pet insurance again and probably will not be covered
  • Some choose to self-insure, saving a small amount each month to cover vets bills if needed (and keeping the money if their pet never needs treatment). It can be risky if you need to pay out before you've saved enough or if an illness costs more than you've put aside. Remember, dog owners MUST make sure they have third party or public liability insurance  
  • Vets often extras onto the price when dispensing medicines. Ask your vet for a written prescription, they may charge a small fee for this but can write one for up to 6 months. We've also got LOADS more ideas on how to cut the cost of pet care 
  • For any expectant mothers there is a wonderful article on preparing your pet for your baby’s arrival on the Blue Cross 
  • If you decide to make a complaint about your insurer (perhaps they’ve paid out less than expected or promised) first make your complaint directly to them and give them a chance to resolve it. If the problem is not resolved to your satisfaction in 8 weeks you can then take your case to the Financial Ombudsman

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