Dog insurance

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All You Need To Know About Dog Insurance

It’s official – dogs are our favourite pet. There are 8.5 million in the UK and nearly a quarter of all households have a resident dog. But giving a dog a home involves taking care of their health, and with vet bills rising every year this can come with a hefty price tag. Take out pet insurance and it can help towards paying for medical treatment and save you from some budget-busting fees.

Why do I need dog insurance?

Dogs aren’t like us. They unwittingly get into potentially dangerous scrapes, have no self-control when it comes to scavenging and don’t think twice about chasing rabbits/pheasants/other dogs into the unknown. So, it’s perhaps no surprise that insurance providers handled 708,000 claims for dogs in 2016, paying out a whopping £544 million.

While you’re not legally obliged to have dog insurance, in fact, only 30% of dog owners have pet insurance, common dog complaints and illnesses can cost hundreds to treat. An infected claw could cost you around £285, skin disorders such as dermatitis could set you back about £485 and treating a swallowed foreign object could add up to more than £1,100.

How much does dog insurance cost?

The average yearly cost of insuring a dog is £112**. However, as with most types of insurance policy, the more cover you want for your dog, the more it’s likely to cost. That means that an accident only policy is likely to be the cheapest and lifetime cover the most expensive.

What types of dog insurance are available?

There are four main types of insurance for dogs:

Accident only - Can cover your dog if it has an accident, but doesn’t offer cover for any illnesses or medical conditions your dog might develop. Accident only cover is usually the cheapest option – we found that half of our customers could get cover for £3.01*** a month.

Time limited policy - Can provide cover for any new illnesses or conditions that your dog develops in a 12-month period, but there’s usually a limit on the amount you can claim. You’ll only be able to make a claim for a particular illness or condition once; if the condition returns after that 12-month period, you won’t be covered for any medication or treatment for it.

Maximum benefit - Could cover illnesses and accidents up to a maximum amount per condition. There’s no time limit on making a claim but there is a financial limit, and once you’ve reached that limit you won’t be able to make any more claims.

Lifetime cover - Can cover your dog for accidents, illnesses and medical conditions throughout its lifetime (subject to limits as advised in the policy). You will need to have continuous cover, though, to ensure your dog is insured. As you’d expect, this is usually the most expensive type of policy.

What should I look out for in my policy?

It’s always a good idea to check exactly what’s covered by your policy, as levels of cover can vary among insurance providers. Some things to look out for:

  • Are emergency boarding fees covered?
  • Is dental care included? Not all policies offer this.
  • Does your policy provide cover if your dog is stolen or goes missing? This could cover your costs if you advertise that your dog is missing or you offer a reward to help find your dog. Some insurance providers offer a one-off payment if your dog isn’t found.
  • Is third party liability insurance included? This could cover you for any costs arising from accidental injury or damage to property caused by your dog.

Regular check-ups and routine vaccinations aren’t usually covered by dog insurance, so you’ll have to pay for these yourself. Be aware that if you don’t keep up with either of these then you could invalidate your policy.

What affects the price of dog insurance?

Ultimately, the price of your pet insurance depends on your dog. Factors your insurance provider may consider include:

As a general rule, older dogs are more expensive to insure as they tend to need more medical care. You could also find that there are more restrictions attached to the policy. And be aware that if your dog has a pre-existing medical condition, this condition and the treatment of it will not be covered by your insurance policy.

Your dog’s breed
Your policy may take into account any risks specific to its breed, for example, Bulldogs are prone to breathing problems while Labradors tend to suffer from hip and elbow conditions. If you have a larger dog, you’ll probably find your premiums are higher than if you owned a smaller breed.

Is your dog a pedigree?
Pedigree dogs are typically more expensive to insure than cross breeds because they tend to be more at risk of developing hereditary illnesses.

How do I find a good deal on dog insurance?

Use our price comparison service to find dog insurance that suits your budget and the needs of your dog. All you need to do is tell us a few details about your dog and we’ll show you a range of quotes, allowing you to compare prices and policy details to find pet insurance that’s right for you.

**Average price (across all levels of cover), based on data from February 2018. You may find a cheaper or more expensive quote based on your personal circumstances.
***50% of people could achieve a quote of £3.01 for their dog insurance based on data in February 2018.