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Is Pet Insurance Right for You?
Do you have a pet? Are you planning to get a cute puppy or a kitten? Keeping and loving your pet is a great responsibility. Read our comprehensive pet insurance guide to understand the difference between various insurance policies and if they are right for you.Get Started
What is pet insurance?
Exactly what it sounds like: insurance for your pet. Vet bills can be incredibly expensive, and should your pet fall ill or sustain an injury it can put a significant strain on your finances - that’s where pet insurance comes in.
You can take out policies which are paid for in either monthly instalments or annual premiums, and you can find insurance for any animal, even the most exotic. Here, we’ll take you through all the things you should consider, so you can decide if pet insurance is the right option for you.
What does pet insurance cover?
Exactly what your pet insurance policy will cover will vary depending on the type of policy you take out and the provider you choose. Pet insurance is primarily designed to provide coverage for illness and injury, and within this offers financial support for a range of services.
You can expect the majority of pet insurance policies offer the following:
- Vet’s fees. Including diagnostic work, scans, and surgery.
- The cost of medicine. This is paid up to a certain limit defined in the policy.
- Dental treatment. Some pet insurance providers also cover the costs associated with dental fees, although some providers will charge extra for this service.
However, coverage can extend beyond this if you pay extra, and many providers offer additional coverage, including:
- Kennel/cattery boarding fees. Should you fall ill and be taken into hospital, many insurance providers will cover the kennel fees associated with someone caring for your pet.
- Theft. Some insurance providers offer the opportunity to take out coverage which provides a payout if your pet is stolen.
- The cost of losing your pet. Many providers offer to cover the costs of advertising should your pet go missing.
- The cost of a missed holiday. If you need to cancel a trip because of your pet’s health, many insurance policies offer additional coverage which can help offset the fees associated with cancelling trips.
What options can I choose from?
When looking to insure your pet, it’s important to consider all of your coverage options. There are multiple policy styles to choose from, and while the specifics will vary from provider to provider, typically they are as follows:
- Accident only. This style policy will only cover your pet for injury, rather than illness. It is the cheapest form of pet insurance, but the coverage will reflect this - often having low limits on payouts and term length.
- Time-limited. This type of cover offers a fixed payout per condition (e.g. £1,500 for broken bones), for a set period of time. It will typically provide cover for up to 12 months from the date the accident happens or the illness begins. When the term ends, you can’t make any further claims for the same condition, even if you renew the time limited pet insurance policy.
- Maximum benefit. Maximum benefit pet insurance will cover conditions up to a set limit (again, e.g. £1,500 for a specific medical treatment). Then, once the bills have reached this limit, you will have to cover any extra costs yourself. There is no time limit on this policy.
- Lifetime. Lifetime pet insurance covers your pet for everything, up to a set payout limit. The policy is renewed annually and provides coverage for your pet throughout its lifetime. Should your pet fall ill or get injured, you can claim for each condition individually throughout its life.
It’s also worth noting: if you’re looking to insure multiple pets, many providers offer the possibility of getting a multi-pet plan which covers all of your animals under the same policy. This type of plan can even offer you discounted pet insurance.
How much does it cost?
As with all types of insurance, the cost varies from policy to policy and depends on what animal you’re insuring. However, here is a list of factors which can affect the price of your pet insurance:
- Your pet’s age. The older your pet is, the more you’ll have to pay to insure them. This will vary depending on the animal and the provider, but most insurers will also have an age cap on the animals they insure.
- The breed of your animal. This is particularly relevant when insuring your dog, as this can be more complicated than other pets.
- Whether they’ve been neutered. The cost of insuring your pet could go down if your pet has been neutered.
- Where you live. The cost of vet’s fees varies depending on where you live in the country, so naturally the price of pet insurance fluctuates. For example, typically it’s cheaper to have your dog treated outside of London and in the South East of England.
- Whether they’ve been chipped. This is particularly relevant if you’ve taken out coverage for your pet if they’re lost or stolen.
- Your pet’s health. If your pet has had poor health in the past or any pre-existing conditions, the cost of insuring will be considerably higher.
- Any additional coverage. This can include covering kennel fees, the cost of advertising if your pet is lost, or if your pet is stolen.
What pets are eligible for pet insurance?
While dogs and cats are the UK’s most insured pets, you can get insurance for most kinds of pet.
Smaller mammals (like hamsters and gerbils) can be insured, but as they have shorter lifespans and are cheaper, it may not be worth taking out an insurance policy for them.
It may be harder to find providers who are willing to insure more exotic animals such as lizards and snakes, however, there are companies around that specialise in these policies.
Pet insurance exclusions:
- Your pet’s age. Once your pet reaches a certain age, they may no longer be eligible. This varies from company to company and depends on the animal, but for example, some pet insurance providers don’t insure dogs over 8 years old.
- Working pets. Many insurance providers won’t insure pets and animals used for either breeding or commercial reason, including security and guarding pets, track racing, and coursing.
- Dangerous pets. Many insurance companies won’t insure venomous animals, or dogs who are registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 or the Dangerous (Amendment) Dogs Act 1997.
- Vaccinations. Your pet insurance policy may not pay out if your pet isn’t up to date on their vaccinations and health checks.
- Certain breeds. Some breeds are banned in the UK, these won’t be covered by any insurance providers.
What information will I need to provide to get a quote?
Now you’ve considered everything, here is a list of some information you’ll need to hand before applying for a quote:
- The type of animal. Different animals are generally more expensive than others, both to buy/own and to treat should they fall ill, therefore this will be reflected in your monthly premiums.
- The breed of animal. This is particularly relevant if you’re looking to insure your dog.
- How much you paid for your pet. The more expensive your pet was, the more coverage you’re likely to require.
- Your pet’s gender and name. To personalise your experience, and to know which services/considerations are necessary, e.g. is (s)he neutered?
- Your pet’s age and date of birth. The older your pet the more expensive they’ll be to insure.
- Whether your pet has been chipped. This is particularly relevant if you’ve taken out coverage for the loss and/or theft of your pet.
- Your pet’s medical history. Your pet insurer may ask if your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, or if they have any pre-existing conditions.
- Your pet’s medical records. While most insurance companies will require no medical assessments, you may have to submit your pet’s medical records - especially if they’ve had health complications in the past.
- If your pet has been the subject of any complaints or legal action in the last 5 years. Animals which have displayed behavioural problems in the past are likely to cost you more to insure than those who haven’t.
- If your pet has been used for commercial use. This includes breeding, security, and racing.
- Whether your pet lives in licenced premises. If your pet lives in licenced premises, such as a pub, you can expect to pay more monthly.
- How many pets you want to insure. Some pet insurance providers offer discounts for multi-pet policies.
Should I take out a pet insurance policy?
That depends. When taking out a pet insurance policy, you have to take both your financial situation and your pet’s needs into consideration.
The first thing you should consider when deciding whether or not to take out a pet insurance policy is whether you would be able to cover the vet bills yourself if they got ill. These charges can also be much higher than people think, though, and pet insurance is a good way of safeguarding your finances.
If you do decide to insure your pet, then you should take into consideration the types of health problems that are most likely - based on your pet’s lifestyle and medical history - before deciding on a style of policy.
Where can I compare the best pet insurance policies?
When it comes to any insurance policy, it’s important to explore your options. Here at Pure Cover, our brokers put in the work for you, and find you the best quotes from the top insurance providers across the UK.
Not only that, but our in-depth reviews of each insurer and the policies they offer will allow you to get all the information you need before taking out a policy.
How do I get a quote right now?
That one’s easy. Click below and our brokers will get you a quote in minutes!