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Protect your puppy or older dog in case they need medical attention

Dog insurance can help to make sure your dog’s vet bills are covered

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September 13th, 2023

What is dog insurance?

Dog insurance can ensure your pet’s welfare needs are met without the prospect of facing potentially large bills for treatment or medication.

Statistically, it costs more to deal with a dog’s health requirements than cats and other pets. This is due to several reasons, including:

  • Dogs can suffer injuries that are expensive to patch up

  • Certain breeds are also particularly susceptible to certain genetic conditions, that can be expensive to treat 

  • Dogs are typically bigger than cats, meaning they can cause more damage to property and injure other people and animals

As a result, dogs are more likely to need insurance protection than many other animals, which makes it important to find the best dog insurance to cover your needs.

Dog insurance can seem expensive, but that’s because vet treatment for dogs usually costs more than for other household pets. 

Other things that can be included:

  • Loss or theft of your pet

  • Death of your pet by illness or injury

  • Emergency treatment 

  • Behavioural issues

Cheap dog insurance isn’t necessarily the best option. To find the best dog insurance you'll need to ensure all of your pet’s needs are covered.

There are several types to choose from, so work out what level of cover you and your pet require before committing.

If you’re on a budget, you may be tempted to opt for a lower level of cover – but taking out a dog insurance policy that doesn't provide the right level of cover is pointless."

Do I need dog insurance?

Dog insurance isn’t a legal requirement but it could be worth exploring if you would like to avoid large and unexpected vet bills. The best policy for your dog will depend on you and your dog’s individual circumstances. 

Here’s an example of the levels of cover that might be available and their claim limits:

What level of dog insurance policy should I get?
Policy featureStandardStandard PlusSuper cover
Vet treatment£1,000£5,000£10,000
Excess£100£200£300
Time limit12 months12 monthsUntil you reach the vet fees limit
Missing dog cover£500£1,000£2,000

Different types of dog insurance

Accident-only dog insurance

Covers your pet if they suffer injuries due to an accident. It’s the most basic level of cover and often the cheapest option. An accident-only policy may also provide some minimal cover for vet fees if your pet is treated for an illness resulting from an accident. However, this isn’t included in every policy.

Time-limited dog insurance

Allows you to claim for a set time (usually a year) if your pet suffers from a specific health condition. Once the limit has been reached, you’ll need to pay to treat that condition.

Maximum-benefit dog insurance

This type of policy lets you claim for treatment fees and other costs up to a specified limit (e.g. £8,000). Once you reach that limit, your insurer will stop paying out.

Lifetime dog insurance

Lifetime cover is the most comprehensive pet plan option, which means it’s also the most expensive. You can claim up to a set amount (e.g. £12,000) for every year of your dog's life and for any condition they suffer from.

Different types of dog insurance

Accident-only dog insurance

Covers your pet if they suffer injuries due to an accident. It’s the most basic level of cover and often the cheapest option. An accident-only policy may also provide some minimal cover for vet fees if your pet is treated for an illness resulting from an accident. However, this isn’t included in every policy.

Time-limited dog insurance

Allows you to claim for a set time (usually a year) if your pet suffers from a specific health condition. Once the limit has been reached, you’ll need to pay to treat that condition.

Maximum-benefit dog insurance

This type of policy lets you claim for treatment fees and other costs up to a specified limit (e.g. £8,000). Once you reach that limit, your insurer will stop paying out.

Lifetime dog insurance

Lifetime cover is the most comprehensive pet plan option, which means it’s also the most expensive. You can claim up to a set amount (e.g. £12,000) for every year of your dog's life and for any condition they suffer from.

How to choose the best dog insurance

It’s important that you find the right cover for your needs, so here are three things to consider during the decision making process:

Check the cover for vet fees

The main reason to get dog insurance is to be protected if you encounter a large vet bill. Make sure to check each policy’s maximum amount of cover and ensure you are comfortable with the protection value.

Decide how much excess you can afford

Dog insurance will come with an amount of excess that you’ll need to pay up front if you make a claim. Try to avoid cover where the excess increases as your pet gets older and instead look for one where you pay just one excess fee.

Compare multiple deals

Always compare multiple deals to find the best dog insurance for you. Remember, cheapest is not always best, as it’s more important to have the cover you need.

What does dog insurance cover?

What's covered

Alternative therapies (e.g. hydrotherapy or acupuncture) or any treatments that your vet has referred your dog for
Diagnostic costs for working out what is wrong with your dog (e.g. blood tests)
Third party costs for if your dog damages someone else's property
Putting your dog to sleep

What's not covered

Routine and preventative procedures such as vaccination or flea treatment
Dental treatment is usually excluded, unless it’s an emergency
Care and medication for pre-existing conditions, and preventative treatments
Paying for your dog to be buried or cremated

How much does dog insurance cost?

The cost of dog insurance depends on all kinds of factors. Insurers might look at what breed of dog you have, how much cover you want, and your dog’s age. Note: insurers rarely provide cover for banned breeds.

Comparing pet insurance provides you with a range of quotes to help you find the best dog insurance at the best price.

How to get cheaper dog insurance

You should have the best dog insurance that you can afford. Buying cheap dog insurance that doesn't offer enough cover could be very upsetting if your dog fell ill and you weren't covered.

Here are a few top tips for getting the best dog insurance you can without spending a fortune.

  • Buy puppy insurance while your dog is young and healthy. Once they've developed health issues, it's tricky to get cover for those conditions

  • If you have more than one dog, look into multi-pet policies. Multi-dog insurance can be a good way to save money

  • Don't just accept your automatic renewal quote. Shop around and do a pet insurance comparison to make sure you're still getting the best deal

  • Pay for your policy annually. If you can afford to pay for a whole year at a time, you'll save money. Paying monthly works like a loan and means paying interest

  • Understand your dog's breed. This could help ensure you get the right level of cover. Ask your vet for advice on how much insurance you'll need

FAQs

Can dog 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 cover my pedigree dog?

Yes, but make sure you get the right policy because pedigree dogs can be more prone to illness. Here’s how to insure your pedigree pet.

How do I claim on my dog insurance?

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

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

Yes, you can get a multi-pet policy that covers two or more dogs, and it can earn you a discount. Here is how to insurance multiple pets at once.

When should I insure my dog?

Insuring your dog when it’s young and healthy is the best time to ensure all future potential health problems are covered.

Is it cheaper to insure a male or female dog?

A dog’s gender can also impact the cost of insurance. Male dogs can cost more to insure as they are more likely to get injured or into fights.

Explore our pet insurance guides

Find out more about how pet insurance works and whether it's right for you
Can you get insurance for older pets?
Can you get insurance for older pets?
Can you get cover for your pet with existing conditions?
Can you get cover for your pet with existing conditions?
A buyer's guide to pet insurance
A buyer's guide to pet insurance

About the author

Lucinda O'Brien
Lucinda O'Brien has spent the past 10 years writing and editing content for regional and national titles. She applies her industry knowledge to ensure readers can make confident financial decisions.

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