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Pet Insurance Tips

Article by Simon Christopher
Article added: 9/6/2006 - Last updated: -
Rating: 3.98 3.98 (41 votes)

Pet insurance is becoming increasingly popular but do you really need it?

You could self insure your pet by saving a regular monthly amount instead of paying premiums to an insurance company. If your pet needs treatment, there are funds available to help. If you don't, the money just rolls up gaining interest and is always yours.

However, self insurance should only be considered in limited circumstances and for pets that are unlikely to cause injury or accident to others which could result in legal action. If a dog, directly or indirectly, injures another pet or even injures a person, you could be faced with hefty medical bills at best. At worst you could be on the receiving end of court action and substantial legal expenses.

So, for most pets, insurance is a prudent choice but are all policies the same? This page explains the key points to consider when choosing between them, and a few pitfalls to avoid as well.


  • Compare the price
  • Consider the policy excess
  • Are you getting lifelong cover?
  • Think about other benefits
  • Read the small print
Obviously, the cost of pet insurance is an important consideration. But different insurers have different ways of setting the price, so always get a quote for your specific circumstances to compare between insurers.

There are a number of ways some providers save themselves money when it comes to paying out claims. One of these is by including a high excess on their policies.

The excess is the amount that you have to pay each time you have to claim for a certain condition, so choosing a cheaper product with a higher excess could actually end up costing you money.

You should check carefully what you are being offered by pet insurers and understand clearly what they mean by "lifelong cover". Understanding lifelong cover can be complicated, but here are a few simple guidelines on the types of cover generally available...

Time capped cover
Some plans (often at the cheaper end of the spectrum) will only cover a condition for the first year you claim.

Example:If your pet developed arthritis, you might be able to claim up to £2,000 for the first year's treatment, but no more. You would then have to cover the cost of treatment every year yourself, for the rest of your pet's life.

Financially capped cover
Some insurers call their financially capped cover 'lifelong cover'. In this case, an insurer will pay out each year, but only up to a fixed total amount for each condition. After that, they will stop paying.

Example:If your pet developed diabetes and you had a policy that was financially capped at £3,500, you may need to claim £2,000 in the first year. By year two, the amount you can claim for treatment of the diabetes is now just £1,500. After this, you would have to pay for the treatment for the rest of your pet's life.

Lifelong cover
The best pet insurance is cover that pays for treatment up to a certain amount, every year, for as long as your pet needs treatment.

Example:If your pet were to develop epilepsy and your policy covers up to £3,000 every year, you could claim for treatment up to this limit each year for the rest of your pet's life.

Although veterinary fee cover is the key element of pet insurance, most insurers offer a range of additional benefits. These can include cover for:
  • The cost of advertising and reward to recover your pet should it go missing;
  • The cost of looking after your pet if you have to stay in hospital;
  • The purchase price of your pet if it is lost or passes away;
  • The cost of your pet causing damage for which you are legally liable.
  • There are many more benefits available aside from these, so read through the full list of benefits to make sure the cover you have is right for you.
It's annoying having to read the tiny details about a policy. But all insurance plans have terms and conditions to make clear what is covered and what is not.

PLEASE NOTE: The guidance published in this article is for information only and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation of any particular pet insurance product or provider. If you are in any doubt please consult an independent insurance adviser. A database of advisers in your area is available at

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