Pet insurance will cover the cost of treatment for your pet if they get sick or have an accident. Along with vet bills, it can also cover the cost of third party damage if you have a dog, or losing your pet through theft or straying.

If you can get the best pet insurance in place, you should be able to avoid some of these stresses. Knowing you have the cover in place to meet the cost of vet bills for your pet, means you can focus on making sure they get the care they need.

Types of pet insurance

Before you get pet insurance quotes and compare pet insurance, you'll need to work out what level of cover you want.

If you want cheap pet insurance, you'll probably need to go for a low level of cover. But make sure your policy covers you for what you need. There's no point in a pet insurance policy that doesn't give you the right level of cover.

Here's a summary of the various levels of pet insurance, UK wide, that you can choose from.

Insurance typeLevel of cover
Accident only pet insuranceThis type of pet insurance covers your pet's injuries if they have an accident. It's the most basic, cheapest pet insurance. Some policies give a low level of cover for vet fees if your pet gets ill as a result of their accident. But not all pet insurance companies include this, so check carefully.
Time limited pet insuranceThis type of pet plan lets you claim for a specific condition for a set time period (usually a year). Once the time period's over, you'll have to pay to treat that condition yourself.
Maximum benefit pet insuranceThis type of pet insurance policy lets you claim up to a set limit, such as 8,000. Your insurer won't pay out once you reach that limit.
Lifetime pet insuranceIf you want pet insurance, lifetime cover is the best pet insurance, UK wide. It's the most comprehensive and therefore the most expensive kind of pet plan. 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, you should think about getting one of the higher levels of cover. Lifetime insurance can be the perfect pet insurance for pure breeds. That's because they often suffer from hereditary diseases as they get older.

For example, it is important to consider that if you are looking for the best dog insurance, UK vet bills over the life a pedigree breed can be thousands of pounds. Therefore, lifetime or maximum benefit insurance can save you a lot of money in the long run.

You might also want to check what cover you've got for your pedigree pet being stolen or getting lost. For pet insurance, UK providers will usually offer a range of add-ons and extras.

Find out what's covered by different pet insurance policies to choose which pet insurance you need.

What are the main types of pet insurance?

There are lots of different types of pet insurance available. The best pet insurance for you will depend on your situation.

Pets plan insurance typically covers accidents, illnesses and injuries.

  • Accident cover means you're covered if your pet gets injured or happens to injure someone else.

  • Illness cover is for if your pet becomes ill while your pet insurance policy's valid.

  • Emergencies cover is for if you fall ill and have to go into hospital. Some policies cover the cost of your pet's temporary care.

What doesn't pet insurance cover?

Here are the treatments and conditions most pet insurance policies will cover, and what most plans will exclude.

What is coveredWhat is not covered
Alternative therapies (e.g. hydrotherapy or acupuncture) or any treatments that your vet has referred your pet forRoutine and preventative procedures such as vaccination or flea treatment
Diagnostic costs for working out what is wrong with your pet (e.g. blood tests)Dental treatment, unless it is an emergency
Third party costs for if your dog damages someone else's propertyTreatments or medication for pre-existing conditions
Putting your pet to sleepPaying for your pet to be buried or cremated

Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions and older pets?

Even the best pet insurance, UK wide, will have exclusions. That means you could be rejected for certain claims you try to make.

When you're looking at health plans for pets, make sure you check the list of exclusions.

Some policies exclude older pets. Other policies just give healthy pets insurance and don't cover pets who have a pre-existing medical condition. And many pet insurance companies won't cover working pets that are used for business or breeding.

If your pet falls under one of these categories, you could look into specialist pet plans. For example, if you want pet insurance, pre-existing conditions shouldn't stop you getting it. You just might need a special policy for your pet.

Here's how to claim on your pet insurance policy, including all the exclusions to look out for.

Maximum vet fee cover

Pet insurance providers will cover the vet bills for treatment your pet needs up to a specified amount. You will need to pay for treatment yourself once your pet's vet bills exceed that amount, so it is crucial to know how much cover your chosen provider offers. Here is an example of the level of cover offered by pet insurance providers:

ProviderMaximum vet fees cover
Bought By Many15,000 a year
Waggel10,000 a year
Tesco Bank10,000(per condition)
The Insurance Emporium8,000 a year(per condition)
Direct Line8,000(per condition)
Healthy Pets7,500(per condition),000 a year

How to compare pet insurance

When you compare pet insurance quotes, you'll see different insurers offering quotes. These are based on several factors.
Your pet insurance comparison will take the following factors into consideration:

  • Your pet's age: Older pets are more likely to get sick, so their insurance costs more. Here's some information on finding cover for your older pet.

  • Pre-existing medical conditions: If your pet's got any medical issues, then most insurers won't cover them. Those that do will charge you much more, because it's more risky for them to insure you.

  • Cost of your pet: Insurance for pedigree pets costs more than insurance for crossbreeds. That's because pedigree pets are more expensive to buy and can suffer from inherited health issues.

  • Type of pet: Small pets like rabbits are cheaper to cover than bigger pets like dogs and cats. That's because smaller pets cost much less to buy, and their vet fees are lower.

You can use our pet insurance comparison table at the top of this page to compare pet insurance, UK wide.

Does pet insurance cost depend on what kind of animal you have?

Yes, your pet insurance cost varies depending on the type of animal you have.
Every pet's different so you need to make sure you get insurance that will cover them throughout their life.

Pet insurance FAQs


How can I save money on my pet insurance?


If you're asking yourself "how much is pet insurance?" then it's worth noting that it can vary. However, planning ahead can help you to save you money on your pet insurance. For example:

Do your research: If you're thinking about what type of pet you want, it's worth checking which animals tend to be more prone to illness. Those animals will cost you more in vet's bills or pet insurance.

Take care of your pet's health: Preventative care pet plans help keep vaccinations and routine appointments up to date. This should mean you have a healthier pet with fewer illnesses.

Microchip your pet: Since April 2016, you're legally required to microchip your dog. It's not legally required for cats or other types of pets, but it can help you get cheaper pet insurance, UK wide.

Multi pet insurance: If you insure more than one pet with the same company they may offer a discount. This is called multi pet insurance.

Shop around: If you're looking at pet insurance, compare deals from different insurers to find the best value pet insurance.

Self insurance: A pet insurance comparison should be done with your own budget in mind. Another way of working within your own budget is to create your own pet insurance. To do this, you choose how much to put aside each month and use that pot of money when you need to pay out for vet bills.

If you're struggling financially, you may be able to get help with caring for your pet. Here's how to get help with vet bills.


How do I claim on my pet insurance?


You need to send a claims form to your insurer. Here is what you need to do to make a pet insurance claim.


Can I get cover that starts immediately?


Yes, most policies will start when you purchase your cover, which means you could claim straight away in an emergency. Others might have a 14-day cooling-off period so you will need to check your policy's small print.


Does pet insurance cover vaccinations?


No, you cannot claim on your policy to cover the cost of routine treatments like vaccinations or vet check ups.


Can I cover more than one pet on the same policy?


Yes, you can get a multi pet policy that covers two or more pets which may earn you a discount. Here is how to insure multiple pets at once.


Can I cover my older pet?


Yes, but many insurers set a maximum age limit on their policies, for example eight years old for dogs and cats. Here is how to find cover for your older pet.


Can pet insurance cover existing conditions?


Most policies do not, but some can cover conditions if your pet has been symptom free for at least two years. Find out more here.


Can I get charity help with my vet bills?


If you are retired, on a low income or receive certain state benefits you may be able to get help towards the cost of vet bills from a dedicated animal charity.

There are multiple UK charities that provide a variety of helpful services. If you need help, consider contacting:


The PDSA treats animals that belong to owners who get financial help from certain state benefits like Housing Benefit or Council Tax support.

Usually the PDSA provides free vet care, but asks anyone whose pet receives free treatment to make a voluntary donation towards the cost.

Blue Cross

The Blue cross runs four animal hospitals and pet care clinics. These offer free veterinary treatment for pets whose owners are on a low income or get certain means-tested benefits.

Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust offers financial support to dog owners to help towards the cost of neutering. They support owners that live in certain areas of the UK, have a low income or receive certain means-tested benefits.

Last updated:2 June 2021