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Should I choose lifetime pet insurance?

It’s important to get the right peace-of-mind pet insurance for your four-legged friend. Whether you’re insuring your dog, cat, rabbit or horse, you may be wondering whether to get lifetime pet insurance, or time-limited pet insurance. Here’s what to consider.
Should I choose lifetime pet insurance?

Pet insurance comes in two main types: lifetime pet insurance, or time-limited pet insurance.

Which to choose usually depends on your circumstances, but it’s important to know exactly what these policies offer before you commit.

With this in mind, we’ll look at the benefits of lifetime pet insurance, and also time-limited cover. Please note that at Agria, we specialise in lifetime policies.

What is lifetime pet insurance?

The clue’s in the title here. With lifetime pet insurance, you cover your pet for their whole life.

Typically, you buy lifetime policies when your pet is new or young. They offer a comprehensive level of cover, and are intended to last for your pet’s whole lifetime - provided you renew each year.

Find out if lifetime pet insurance is worth it for older pets.

What’s covered by lifetime pet insurance?

Among the main benefits of lifetime cover is that your four-legged friend should be protected if they develop certain conditions during their lifetime. For example, if your pet develops diabetes, arthritis, kidney or heart conditions, this can be covered by the policy.

Find out what pet insurance covers

What isn’t covered by lifetime pet insurance?

Pre-existing conditions are not usually covered when taking out a new lifetime policy. This is why owners who take out a lifetime policy tend to renew them each year, rather than repeatedly shopping around.

Also, pet insurance - lifetime or otherwise - doesn’t tend to cover the cost of routine pet care. For instance, check-ups and vaccinations aren’t usually covered.

What is time-limited pet insurance?

You usually take out time-limited pet insurance if you need cover over a shorter period of time. This normally covers your pet for the essentials, including veterinary fees for injuries or illnesses occurring over the policy term.

You might choose time-limited cover if, for instance, you take on an older dog or cat. It can also be an option for owners of pets with pre-existing conditions.

What’s covered by time-limited pet insurance?

Time-limited pet insurance usually covers short-term illnesses or injuries over the policy terms. Pre-existing conditions can be covered, but this may be subject to restrictions - often depending on the level of cover, and when the condition was diagnosed.

The policy may also cover third-party liability, or the loss or theft of your pet. It can also cover death or euthanasia, although this may be an optional extra.

As with all insurance policies, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions of your time-limited pet insurance - so you know exactly what’s covered and what isn’t.

What isn’t covered by time-limited pet insurance?

Most importantly, your pet isn’t covered for anything after the policy term has ended. Time-limited means just that. If you need cover afterwards, you’ll need to take out a new policy.

If you get your pet from a young age, and intend to cover it for any conditions it develops over its lifetime, time-limited pet insurance probably isn’t for you. And when it comes to covering pre-existing conditions, you should check the terms and conditions of any time-limited policy carefully before you commit.

What’s covered with Agria lifetime pet insurance?

There are several policy options available, depending on your pet, with varying levels of cover:

With our dog insurance, we cover:

  • Vet fees of up to £20,000 each year. And every year you renew your policy, this is refreshed in full.
  • Third-party liability up to £3 million. This means you’re covered if your dog injures someone, or a legal claim is made against your dog.
  • Free 24/7 vet video calls in the Agria app, with access to our expert vets.
  • Behavioural treatment, which can help your dog with common problems such as separation anxiety or excessive barking. They’ll need to be referred by a vet first.
  • Help if your pet is lost or stolen - with up to £1,500 to help with finding your dog.
  • Pet 24 Reunite Service, which helps reunite you with your dog if they stray or become lost. This cover is free for the first 12 months of your new pet insurance.
  • Common conditions - provided there were no symptoms before the start of the policy - such as diabetes, skin conditions, and dental illness or injury.

With our cat insurance, we cover:

  • Vet fees of up to £20,000 each year (as above)
  • Travel and accommodation if your cat is referred to another vet for treatment. This covers you for up to £300 for accommodation and travel expenses.
  •  Free 24/7 vet video calls (as above)
  • Behavioural treatment - so if your cat needs to see a certified behavioural specialist, with a referral from your vet, you’re covered for up to £750 per illness or injury.
  • Help if your pet is lost or stolen (as above).
  • Pet 24 Reunite Service (as above).
  • Common conditions - as long as there were no signs or symptoms before the start of the policy - such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and dental illness or injury.

With our rabbit insurance, we cover:

  • Vet fees of up to £2,500 each year, which is refreshed in full each year you renew your policy.
  • Complementary treatment of up to £750 per injury or illness towards therapies such as acupuncture, physiotherapy and up to 20 hydrotherapy sessions.
  • Free 24/7 vet video calls (as above)
  • Behavioural treatment. If your rabbit has to see a certified behavioural specialist, plus you’re referred by your vet, you’re covered for up to £200 per illness or injury.
  • Help if your pet is lost or stolen - with up to £250 to help with finding your rabbit.
  •  If your vet refers your rabbit to another vet for treatment, we’ll pay up to £300 for travel and accommodation expenses.
  • Common conditions - provided there were no signs or symptoms before the start of the policy - such as dental illness or injury, and the first instance of fly strike.

With our horse insurance, we cover:

  • Vet fees up to £10,000 each year, refreshed in full for each year you renew your policy.
  • Complementary treatment of up to £1,000 each year towards therapies such as hydrotherapy and physiotherapy.
  • Free 24/7 vet video calls (as above)
  • Euthanasia, with up to £500 to cover the costs if they’re euthanised due to an injury or illness covered by your insurance policy.
  • MRI and CT scans, provided it’s approved by us before being carried out.
  • Medication that your vet orders, prescribes or sells in order to examine or treat your horse.
  • Common dental conditions - as long as there were no symptoms or signs before the start of the policy - such as tooth fracture (including the tooth root), or the cost of root tip abscess.
  • Farriery and remedial shoes if the treatment is for a coffin bone fracture or fissure, laminitis, hoof wall separation, abscess, perforation, hoof cracks/keratoma, or other traumatic hoof injuries.

For more details, limits and exclusions, please see our lifetime pet insurance policy documents.

About the Author

Owe Carter is a writer specialising in insurance and pets. After a 10-year shift as lead copywriter at Confused.com, he's written for numerous consumer, motor and personal-finance businesses - including Go.Compare, Admiral, AA Driving School, Ageas, Principality, MoneyWeek and Look After My Bills. He has two cats, Niblet and Slinky, and a cavalier named Momo.

More articles from Owe Carter

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