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Different types of pet insurance

With so many products on the market, choosing the best pet insurance to help with vet fees can be overwhelming

Should you insure your pet?

If you're wondering if pet insurance is worth it, consider how you might pay for unexpected vet fees if they were to fall ill or get injured. 

Treating a cat wound could start from £300, while vet fees for congenital diseases and hereditary conditions could run into thousands of pounds.

Could you afford to cover the cost?

Lifetime pet insurance  

  • This is the most comprehensive type of cover you can get
  • With a lifetime pet insurance policy, you pay a fixed premium each year during your pet’s life, often with an agreed fixed excess payment
  • Lifetime policies insure your pet for new medical illnesses and injuries, so any illness or injury before the policy being first taken out will generally not be covered
  • Your pet will be insured up to a set amount each year. If this limit is reached during the policy year, your pet will not be covered for any further treatment required until the policy is renewed, when the full amount will be available again
  • The policy needs to be renewed to ensure your pet remains covered for any long-term or recurring illness or injury that required treatment in the previous policy period.

Time-limited pet insurance

  • The policy provides a fixed sum to cover your pet for the treatment of each illness or injury and a set time period for each treatment
  • When either the set period has ended, or the fixed sum of money is reached for a particular illness or injury, your pet will not be covered for that particular illness or injury for the rest of the policy duration – even if the policy is renewed for subsequent years
  • Recurring conditions related to any previous illness or injury will be treated as one condition for the duration of the policy and are therefore generally not covered 

Maximum benefit pet insurance

Fixed pet insurance per injury or illness.

  • The policy provides a fixed amount of money for each illness or injury towards vet fees
  • Your pet is only covered for each illness and injury until the maximum fixed amount has been reached
  • This is injury or illness-specific, and there is usually no time limit on reaching the fixed amount
  • The illness or injury will not be covered again, including related recurring conditions

Small print

Always read the small print and check your pet’s policy will include everything you need. Perhaps you travel and want overseas cover or, should the worst happen, does the policy cover loss, theft, or death? 

Make sure you do your research when you are first looking for a policy, and consider specialist pet insurers who offer a more tailored approach to pet insurance, with flexible options, so you only pay for what you need, rather than generic insurers with inflexible policies. Always be very wary of shopping around when your policy is due for renewal. Unlike home or motor insurance, this is a risky strategy as any illnesses or conditions that your pet has had in the past are very unlikely to be covered with a new provider. So, while you may save a few pounds on your premium, it could cost you significantly more should you have to pay the full treatment costs for issues no longer covered.

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