Vet bills can be expensive. If your pet becomes ill, injured or lost, the right pet insurance policy could help you cover the costs.
With pet insurance, you agree to pay a monthly fee to the pet insurance company and they will cover any vet fees if your pet falls ill or has an accident.
Pet insurance can also cover fees if you need to place your pet in temporary care if you are ill or in hospital in the UK.
There are different types of pet insurance too, depending on what you need. For example, there are puppy insurance policies and you can get lifetime pet insurance if your pet's breed has medical problems.
If you give details of your pet insurance to your vet, they can usually communicate with the insurance provider directly.
Pet insurance in the UK will typically cover:
Accidents, to themselves and others
Illnesses, if your pet becomes sick while under insurance
Emergencies, if you fall ill and have to go into hospital. Some policies will cover the cost of your pet's temporary care
Choose the right level of cover
How much cover your pet has depends on what type of policy you buy, so think carefully about which one you need.
Accident only pet insurance: This type of pet insurance policy only covers injuries your pet suffers after an accident. Some offer low levels of cover for vet fees, but not all.
Time limited pet insurance: This type of pet insurance policy lets you claim for a specific condition for a set time period, usually a year. After this, you have to pay to treat that condition yourself.
Maximum benefit pet insurance: This type of pet insurance policy lets you make claims up to a set limit, such as £8,000. Your insurer will not pay out once you reach that limit.
Lifetime pet insurance: This is the most comprehensive policy because it lets you claim up to a set amount, such as £12,000, for each year of your pet's life for any condition.
If you have a pedigree pet think about getting a high level of cover because they can suffer from hereditary diseases as they get older.
Look at what cover you can get for your pet being stolen or getting lost. Here is everything you need to know about what is covered by pet insurance policies.
Always check the exclusions
Pet insurance policies come with exclusions that could mean your claim is rejected, so think about:
How old your pet is, because some policies will not cover older animals.
Your pet's health, because most policies will not cover existing medical conditions.
If your pet is a working animal or used for breeding, because most insurers will not cover them.
Here is how to claim on your pet insurance policy, including all the exclusions to look out for.
How to get the best pet insurance for your furry friend
When you compare pet insurance policies, it's important to check what your pet might need.
For example, pedigree dogs or purebred cats are more prone to illness than cross breeds so you may want to choose a pet insurance policy with a higher cover. You will need to make sure you have their formal paperwork and certificate.
Here is a guide on how to insure your pedigree pet.
Pet insurance quotes can be affected by the following:
The age of your pet: Older pets are more likely to fall ill, so their insurance costs more. Here is how to find cover for your older pet.
Pre existing medical conditions: If your pet has any medical issues most insurers will not cover them, and those that do will charge you much more to cover the risk. This guide explains what cover is available for pets with existing conditions.
Cost of your pet: Pedigree pets cost more to cover than crossbreeds, because they are more expensive to buy and can suffer from inherited health issues. Here is how to find the right insurance for pedigree pets.
Type of pet: For example, small pets like rabbits are cheaper to cover on average than dogs and cats because they cost less to buy and their vet fees will be lower.
You may want to compare pet insurance reviews before choosing a pet insurance policy so you can check that they will be getting the best care.
If you are looking for a local vet, it can help to see pet insurance reviews from people who live in your area too.
Getting the best pet insurance might be your priority but you should also consider preventative care plans to keep your pet healthy.
With a preventative care plan,you pay a monthly fee and it offers discounts for routine treatments. The following are usually not covered under pet insurance but are likely to be included in preventative care plans:
Flea and worming treatments
Discounted dental checks and treatments such as neutering
Discounted pet food and medication
Discounted vet consultations
How to save money on your pet insurance
Looking after a pet can be expensive but it is possible to get cheap pet insurance if you plan ahead.
Check before you buy. If you are considering what type of pet you want, it is worth checking which animals tend to be more prone to illness as they will cost more in the long-term. You are more likely to get cheap dog insurance if you choose a more common dog like a Jack Russell instead of a Dalmation.
Keep up with your pet's general health. A preventative care plan for your pet will help keep vaccinations and routine appointments up to date which should mean a healthier pet with less illnesses.
Microchip your pet. It is a legal requirement to microchip your dog but you may get cheaper pet insurance if you microchip your cat.
Multi pet insurance. If you insure more than one pet with the same company they may offer a discount on your pet insurance. This is called multi pet insurance.
Self insurance. A pet insurance comparison should be done with your own budget in mind. With self insurance you choose how much you put aside each month and use that pot of money when you need to pay out for vet bills. To earn interest on the money you put aside you can compare savings accounts
If you are struggling financially, you may be able to get help with caring for your pet. Here is how to get help with vet bills.
Dog, cat or other?
The cost of pet insurance can vary depending on the type of animal you have.
Every pet is different so you need to make sure you get insurance that will cover them throughout their life.