Pet insurance

  • Cover vet fees & treatments from £12.76** a month. On  average, an X-ray can cost £300 & an MRI scan £1000
  • Enjoy a whole year of rewards*
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**50% of people could achieve a quote of £12.76 per month for their pet insurance based on the monthly cost when paying for the policy in one annual payment, excluding any interest charged on instalment payments. Based on Compare the Market cat and dog premium data for all cover types data in June 2021.

Why do I need pet insurance? 

As a pet owner, you’ll know that your furry friend can be, let’s say, one of the more adventurous members of the family. Because of this, it’s not unusual for our pets to need a trip or two to the vets from time to time. The stress of your pet being ill or injured is bad enough, but adding a hefty vet bill on top just makes a worrying situation worse.

Having the right pet insurance in place means you can rest easy, knowing you can cover the vet bills for your dog or cat, and give them the care they need if they fall ill. A pet insurance comparison with us offers a quick way to find a great deal and peace of mind in minutes.

Find out about the different types of pet insurance for your dog or cat, what it includes and how much it costs, by reading on.

Types of pet insurance policy

The best pet insurance for you depends on a number of things, including the age of your pet, how prone it is to illness and how much you’re willing to pay.

There are four main types of pet insurance to look out for when comparing deals:

  • Accident only pet insurance will cover your pet’s vet bills if they’re hurt in an accident, but it won’t cover illness.
  • Time limited pet insurance covers illnesses as well as accidents, for up to 12 months from when the condition was diagnosed or up to the limit of the policy, whichever happens first. Once either limit is reached, the condition is no longer covered even if you renew.
  • Maximum benefit pet insurance covers accidents and illnesses up to a maximum amount per condition. Once you’ve reached the limit, you’re no longer covered for that particular condition even if you renew.
  • Lifetime pet insurance is the most complete type of pet insurance available. It covers accidents, injuries and illnesses for the life of your policy. Policies have limits on claims per year or per condition – or sometimes both. Once the limit is reached, you can no longer claim for that condition until you renew. The limits are reset once the policy is renewed.

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance policies vary, but they could include the following types of cover:

  • Vet fees and treatment if your pet is ill or injured.
  • Emergency dental treatment if your pet needs dental care because of an accident.
  • Holiday cancellation if you need to cancel or cut your holiday short due to your pet suffering an unexpected illness, getting injured or going missing.
  • Compensation if your pet dies or goes missing.
  • Advertising fees and reward money if your pet goes missing.
  • Kennel and cattery fees if you’re temporarily unable to care for your pet.
  • Third party liability cover if your dog injures someone, causes an accident or damages someone’s property.
  • Overseas cover in case your pet gets injured or falls ill while you’re abroad.
  • Alternative treatments like physio, acupuncture or homeopathy, if they’re recommended by your vet.

It’s important to check any policy carefully before you buy, to make sure it includes the cover you need for your pet. Some policies won’t include things like overseas cover and holiday cancellation as standard, for example, but you may be able to add them to your policy at an extra cost.

How much does pet insurance cost?

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^^50% of people could achieve a quote of £84.96 per year for their cat insurance based on Compare the Market data for all cover types in June 2021.

^^^50% of people could achieve a quote of £170.40 per year for their dog insurance based on Compare the Market data for all cover types in June 2021.

When running a price comparison, it’s important to check that the cheapest pet insurance premium gives your cat or dog the cover you want them to have.

Why compare pet insurance with Compare the Market?

97.5% of customers found our pet insurance experience ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’***

We compare prices for 33 pet insurance products****

If you buy your pet insurance through Compare the Market you can get Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies*.

***For the period 1st December 2020 to 31st May 2021, 876 people responded to the question “When completing a quote using CtM, how did you find it?” 854 responded with ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ (97.5%)

****Correct as of June 2021.

Mubina Pirmohamed

Pet insurance expert

“It’s not just upsetting if your cat or dog is injured or becomes ill unexpectedly – it can be extremely expensive. Knowing you’re covered financially by pet insurance means you can focus on finding the best care for your pet and getting them well again.”

Frequently asked questions

Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

Typically, most pet insurance policies won’t cover pre-existing conditions – that is, conditions your pet had before the policy started, like diabetes. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to insure your pet, it just means your pet won’t be covered for claims relating to that condition. But there are a few specialist providers who will cover certain conditions.

You might also be able to find a policy that covers historical pre-existing conditions. That is, conditions your pet has suffered from in the past, but hasn’t had symptoms or treatment for in a specified period of time.

For example, if your pet has gone without symptoms or hasn’t needed treatment for the condition for more than 24 months, your search results when you compare through us may include quotes from Bought By Many.

If your pet suffers from a pre-existing medical condition that you want to cover, you’ll need to find a specialist policy. As explained, these are quite rare. And some conditions won’t be covered at all, even with specialist policies.

Pre-existing conditions you might be able to find cover for include:

  • Historical or chronic illnesses/injuries if your pet no longer shows symptoms
  • Hereditary conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Joint issues.

How can I get cheaper pet insurance?

There are a few things you can do to help make pet insurance cheaper:

  • Choose a contribution policy – where you have to pay a percentage of the claim.
  • Keep your pet healthy – an obvious one, but looking after your pet properly could save you hundreds, or even thousands of pounds in vet bills. This includes the big things like making sure they’re up to date with vaccinations or annual boosters, and keeping them on a healthy diet. Look out for signs of fleas or worms to avoid more serious conditions developing.
  • Spay or neuter your pet – this could potentially lower your premiums, as it means pets are less likely to catch or develop various illnesses and conditions.
  • Get a multi-pet discount – if you’ve got more than one pet, many insurance providers offer discounts for adding more pets to the same policy.
  • Choose your breed wiselypedigree dogs and cats can make wonderful pets, but might be more prone to inherited disorders, which could then make them more expensive to insure.
  • Compare pet insurance quotes – this is one of the quickest ways to save money on your cover. Our pet insurance comparison service allows you to compare quotes from a wide range of insurance providers and find the right cover at a great price.

What doesn’t pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance policies vary, but most won’t pay out for routine veterinary care and non-essential treatment. Most types of pet insurance will exclude:

  • Treatment for pre-existing conditions – injuries and illnesses your pet was already suffering from when you took out the policy.
  • Vaccinations and boosters.
  • Microchipping your pet.
  • Neutering or spaying your pet and other preventative treatments.
  • Routine medical treatment like annual check-ups, worming and flea treatments, for example.
  • Routine dental care and dental treatment resulting from illness.
  • Putting your pet to sleep and other costs related to euthanasia, cremation or burial.
  • Cosmetic treatments or any other medical treatment not recommended by a vet.
  • Any condition that could have been prevented by routine vaccinations.
  • Pregnancy care, so always check first if you plan on breeding your pet.
  • Any international costs, say if you take your pet abroad and they need vet treatment. Overseas cover can often be added on to your policy though.

What do I need to compare pet insurance?

To compare insurance with Compare the Market, you’ll need to know:

  • Your pet’s age, breed and gender
  • How much you paid or donated for them
  • Whether your pet has been neutered or spayed
  • Whether they’re microchipped.

Do I need to pay an excess for pet insurance?

Yes, for most types of pet insurance policy, you’ll have to pay an excess with each claim. Excess is the amount you pay towards a claim. Pet insurance policies can have:

  • A set excess – £90 per claim, for example
  • A contribution excess – this is a percentage of the claim
  • A combination of the two – so, for example, £90 plus 10% of the claim.

Most providers will specify if the excess is likely to change as your pet gets older.

How does age affect pet insurance?

As your cat or dog gets older, they’re more likely to suffer from health conditions, just like humans. Insurance providers consider older animals to be more of a risk, and that means premiums often go up considerably as pets get on in years. Your policy excess may also go up. For example, if you take out a policy with a £90 excess per claim, it may have a condition that when your pet gets to the age of nine you’ll need to pay 15% of the claim on top of the £90. It’s also worth noting that some providers will change the cover to exclude death by illness as your pet gets older. If you want to insure an older pet, make sure you shop around and remember that cheap pet insurance may not always be best. Look for the policy that will give you the level of cover your older pet needs.

How do vaccinations affect pet insurance?

Keeping up to date with your pet’s vaccinations and annual boosters is an important part of keeping them healthy. By vaccinating your dog or cat, you might find that your pet insurance premiums are cheaper, as your pet is far less likely to be affected by the illnesses they’re being protected against.

If you don’t have your pet vaccinated, your pet insurance policy is unlikely to cover you for the conditions the vaccination or booster protects your pet against. Vaccinations aren’t covered by pet insurance, so you’ll need to pay for these yourself.

How does my address affect pet insurance?

While your address shouldn’t affect the cost of your pet insurance drastically, vet bills do vary across different regions, so you may find those costs passed on in your premiums. If you live in London, for example, you’ll likely find vet bills are more expensive than somewhere outside of the capital.

Does pet insurance include kennel or cattery fees?

Pet insurance could include cover for boarding your pet in a kennel or cattery if you need to go into hospital and are unable to look after them. There might be a minimum number of days you need to be in hospital for, in order to claim. Check the terms and conditions of your policy to be sure this is covered.

Can I get cover that starts immediately?

No, there’s usually a waiting period before your pet cover begins. This is to stop people using their new pet insurance policy to cover conditions they already knew their pet had. Cover usually starts around 14 days after the policy start date. Check the terms and conditions of the specific policy to be sure.

Is it better to pay for pet insurance annually or monthly?

Most insurance providers will charge more if you want to pay for cover on a monthly basis as this cost includes interest. You might find it’s cheaper to pay for your pet insurance policy upfront in one annual payment, if you can afford to.

What pets can I get covered?

You can often get pet insurance for dogs, cats, rabbits and horses, but here at Compare the Market we only offer cover for dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens.

If you have another type of pet, you might need to look for a specialist pet insurance provider. In some cases, it’s possible to get cover for guinea pigs, ferrets, chinchillas, tortoises, snakes, lizards, parrots and other exotic animals.

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

Several insurance providers offer multi-pet insurance, so if you insure more than one pet with them, you’ll get a discount. This type of policy could also be easier to manage in terms of paperwork.

Currently, you can’t compare multi-pet insurance with us. But most of the providers you can compare through us have the option of adding a pet to your policy. So, once you’ve done a comparison search on our site for one pet and found the policy you want, click through to that policy provider’s site. See if it gives you the option to add another pet to the policy. You could then get the discount that the provider gives for multi-pet insurance.

What should I do if my pet goes missing?

If your dog or cat is microchipped, contact the microchipping company to see if they’ve been handed in anywhere. Failing that, get in touch with your local animal rescue centre, ask your neighbours and put the word out on social media. Pet insurance can help if your pet goes missing – some policies offer help with advertising and reward money, if your pet goes astray.

Will pet insurance cover life-threatening injuries or illness?

Pet insurance is designed to cover vet fees and treatment if your pet is ill or injured. You should have cover for life-threatening injuries or illness if you have maximum benefit, time limited or lifetime pet insurance – but there will be cover limits and exclusions. Accident only insurance will only cover your pet if they have an accident.

Can I still travel with my pet after Brexit?

Following the end of the Brexit transition period on 1 January 2021, the rules on taking your pet abroad have changed. You can no longer travel through the European Union (EU) with your pet using a Pet Passport if it was issued in Great Britain. You can still use your pet passport if it was issued in the EU.

If you live in Northern Ireland, you can use your pet passport to travel to the EU, as long as it’s also been issued in Northern Ireland. But you should seek the advice of your vet first, and check the Northern Ireland government website, if you’re planning to go to the EU.

And please note that if your pet passport was issued in Northern Ireland on or before 31 December 2020, it’s no longer valid. You should contact your vet to get it updated. Northern Ireland is planning to roll out a new ‘UK (NI)’ pet passport later this year.

To travel to the EU and Northern Ireland from Great Britain, your pet or assistance dog will need:

  • An animal health certificate (AHC), unless your pet has a valid pet passport issued in Northern Ireland or an EU country
  • A valid rabies vaccination
  • A microchip
  • Tapeworm treatment carried out by a qualified vet if you’re taking your dog straight to Northern Ireland, Ireland, Malta, Norway or Finland. Only dogs need this.

The Government has also advised that you should get in contact with your vet at least one month before you travel, to be certain that your pet can travel to the EU.

If you want to take your pet to a non-EU country, different rules apply. You’ll need to get an Export Health Certificate – you can get this through your vet – and check on individual regulations for the country you’re travelling to.

If you’re travelling to a non-EU country from Scotland, Wales or England, you should also fill in the Export Application Form (known as EXA).

You should also familiarise yourself with any other rules and restrictions of the nation that you’re travelling to, before you go there.

For more information on taking your pet abroad, see GOV.UK