What is pet insurance?
Pet insurance provides financial protection against unexpected costs relating to your pet. As well as covering unexpected accidents, illnesses and injuries, some pet insurance policies will cover things such as behavioural treatment, or if your pet becomes lost, stolen, or even if they die. Third-party cover will also protect you in case your pet harms someone else or their property.
Why do I need pet insurance?
Your pet is part of the family, and buying pet insurance gives you peace of mind that they’ll be cared for when they need it most. Emergency surgery and vets bills can cost thousands. Having pet insurance will give you the peace of mind that if something happens, your insurer will take care of the cost of getting them back on their paws.
Pet insurance isn’t a legal obligation – you could self-insure your pet by saving an emergency pot of money for vets bills. Or you could hope your pet doesn’t become ill. Ever. It’s a risky business, in our eyes. There are also charities, such as the RSPCA, who offer discounted or free care for pets to help owners on a low income, those who are retired, or receive state benefits.
The hope is that you won’t need to use it. But having good quality pet insurance will help you to look after your pal, down to each whisker.
What details do I need to get a pet insurance quote?
Get a pet insurance quote with Quote Goat in three simple steps. All we need are a few details…
Your pet’s name, gender, age and breed
Details of any pre-existing conditions, or whether they’ve been neutered
A few details about you, the proud pet parents
Compare pet insurance policies
What does pet insurance cover?
Of course, every pet insurance policy and insurer is different, so the most important thing is to read all policy documents to ensure you’ve got the cover you need. That said, there are a few typical conditions and treatments most insurers will and won’t cover.
Typically covered by pet insurance:
- Emergency surgery
- Dental injury (some cover dental illness)
- Travel treatments
- Death by accident or illness
- Missing pet cover
- Third party liability
- Euthanasia, cremation and burial
- Pet boarding fees if you fall ill unexpectedly
Not typically covered by pet insurance:
- Routine treatments such as vaccines, flea and worm treatments, nail clipping, grooming, neutering, and routine dental checks/cleaning
- Pre-existing illness or injury (this is specific to your pet)
- Pregnancy and costs related to giving birth
There’s also typically a 14-day cooling off period after you purchase your policy, where your pet isn’t covered. After the 14 days, your policy will kick in and your pet will be fully protected.
Insurance for pets with pre-existing conditions
When comparing pet insurance policies, there’s one big factor to consider, and that’s pre-existing conditions.
A pre-existing condition is any injury or illness your pet suffered before the policy was taken out. This could be a chronic condition or a historic condition. Chronic conditions are ongoing problems, such as recurring eye infections. Historic conditions are ones your pet no longer suffers from, for example, a healed tissue injury.
A lot of insurers will exclude cover for any conditions your pet has suffered from before. However, some insurers will offer you cover for that condition if there’s been a two-year gap since the last treatment.
Pre-existing conditions aren’t just the big things, either, they can include conditions that result from an injury or illness your pet had before the policy was taken out. This is why it’s a good idea to compare pet insurance as soon as you bring your new pet home. Once they have an illness or injury, there’s a risk it could become a pre-existing condition and you wouldn’t be covered for it in the future.
Insurance for older pets
Just as with us humans, the older they get, the more likely it is that your beloved pet may become ill or have an accident. While it is possible to buy insurance for older pets, some insurers simply won’t cover pets over a certain age. For dogs, this tends to be eight years old. With cats, it’s typically 10 years old. For rabbits, it can be as young as five, while horses can extend up to 20 years old.
Because of the higher risk to the insurer, policies for older pets are more expensive than for sprightly puppies and kittens. Don’t be tempted to leave off any historical details though. It might make your policy cheaper, but your cover could become null and void when your pet needs it most.
It’s also important to look at the excess when comparing insurance for older pets. The excess can be considerably higher here, so it’s worth understanding exactly what you’ll be paying, and what your insurer will pay if you come to make a claim.
Types of pet insurance
There are several different types of pet insurance policy, however, there’s one clear winner in terms of popularity and comprehensiveness.
Lifetime Cover pet insurance is the most comprehensive, as it pays indefinitely for treatment over your pet’s lifetime. So far, so simple. However, most policies will be subject to an annual limit on what the insurer will pay, should your pet develop an ongoing condition. Often, insurers will pay up to a specific amount on vet fees each year (for example, £5,000 every year, for the rest of your pet’s life). Or, they might pay an annual limit for each condition (for example, £2,000 for diabetes for each year). This will be included in your overall annual limit.
Non-Lifetime Cover is less comprehensive and excludes conditions after you hit a claim limit. It’s broken down into Per-Condition Cover and Time-Limit Per-Condition Cover. The first means after you hit the claim threshold, your insurer won’t cover your pet for that condition any more, even on new policies (eg. a limit of £5,000 for diabetes for your pet’s entire life).
Time-Limit Per-Condition Cover
Time-Limit Per-Condition Cover simply adds another threshold – a time limit. This means that after a specified period, the condition will no longer be covered, even if you’ve not claimed up to the financial threshold.
Accident-Only pet insurance is the cheapest and most basic. It won’t cover illness, only injuries, and typically insurers will offer a lump sum for each accidental injury. They also tend to stop paying for treatment for the injury after 12 months.
Should I buy pet insurance monthly or annually?
If you can afford to, your pet insurance will be cheaper if you pay annually.
I claimed on my policy last year, will my pet insurance policy go up?
More than likely, yes. All the more reason to shop around and find the perfect policy.
How can I get cheap pet insurance?
Comparing pet insurance policies is the best way we know to bag yourself a bargain. When it comes to pet insurance, it’s all about long-term value over your pet’s lifetime.
Can you insure pedigree pets?
Yes, you can! Although your premium will be pricier, as the risk to the insurer is greater. This could be due to a higher chance of theft, or the potential for breeding-related illnesses.
Can I buy rescue pet insurance?
Yes! Just make sure you have all of your pet’s medical details from the rescue centre, to make sure you’re buying an accurate level of cover.
How does pet insurance work?
After your policy’s cooling off period of 14 days, your pet is covered as per the details in your policy. If you need to make a claim, you typically need to do so within 30 days. You’ll need to provide relevant receipts and invoices too.