What is accident only pet insurance?
As you might expect, accident only pet insurance covers the cost of treatment for your pet if it’s been involved in an accident. But it doesn’t give you cover if your pet develops an illness.
Our pets are very much like extended family, but they don’t have the NHS to look after them. If your dog or cat is involved in an accident, they might need an X-ray or MRI scan, extensive surgery or ongoing treatment. All that time at the vet could end up costing you a small fortune. Unless you don’t mind paying for that yourself, an accident-only policy could be a solution.
What are the benefits and disadvantages of accident only cover?
The main benefit of accident only cover is the price. Compared to more comprehensive types of insurance, it’s relatively inexpensive, with cheaper premiums.
Of course, you get what you pay for, and the main disadvantage of accident-only pet insurance is that it only covers accidents. It won’t compensate you for treatment if your pet develops an illness that has nothing to do with the accident, or an ongoing health condition.
Be aware that most accident-only pet insurance policies have a cap on the amount you can claim for each accident – and then it’s up to you to pay the rest. They also tend to last for 12 months, so they probably won’t cover ongoing treatment that lasts beyond that period.
Accident-only insurance policies vary in what they can provide, so you should always check the policy details carefully before choosing. Look to see if you’ll be covered for things like accidental poisoning, animal attacks and third-party liability.
Some policies may offer compensation for delays to a holiday as a result of your pet suffering an accident, or help with the costs of a funeral. Some policies may even cover you for illnesses that develop because of the accident.
Accident-only cover can be a cheaper choice for younger dogs and cats that are unlikely to have health conditions. Just remember that it could affect your chances of finding a more comprehensive plan at an affordable price when your pet gets older, especially if it develops a health condition. That’s because pre-existing conditions are typically not covered in new policies.
Frequently asked questions
What are the other types of pet insurance?
As well as accident only pet insurance, you have three other options:
- Time limited pet insurance – can pay vet fees for a year from when the condition develops, or until the money available is used up - whichever happens first. After that, you'll have to pay for any costs yourself, even if you renew the policy.
- Maximum benefit pet insurance – this could cover you for illnesses and accidents up to a maximum amount per illness or injury. Once the amount of money is used up, the condition will no longer be covered, even if you renew your policy.
- Lifetime pet insurance – can cover conditions on an ongoing basis each year, as long as you renew the policy.
Should I buy accident only pet insurance?
Accident-only cover is the most basic pet insurance policy, but it can make a big difference. You may have factored in the cost of vet bills for standard procedures like vaccinations and neutering. But if your beloved dog or cat gets hit by a car, you could be faced with a huge bill for surgery to get them back on their feet.
Accident only cover probably isn’t the right type of insurance for you if you have an older or sickly pet – and it won’t help you if your pet develops a health condition. However, it might be preferable if you have a young, healthy and adventurous pet, but a tight budget.
In the long run you might be financially better off with a lifetime pet insurance policy. The insurance that best suits you and your pet depends on your pet’s personal needs and your budget.
What do I need to get a quote?
All we need is a few details about your pet to start comparing:
- if you have a cat or a dog, their gender, name and age
- if your dog or cat is a pedigree, we’ll need to know the breed or size, and how much you paid for it
- if your cat or dog has been neutered/spayed and chipped
- what level of cover you want for your pet, and when you want that cover to start
We’ll also need a few details about you, unless you’ve compared with us before - then we can fill those in for you.Start a quote
Pet insurance expert
What our expert says
“If your cat or dog is involved in an accident, it can be a traumatic experience. Also, you could be facing huge vet bills if you don’t have insurance. If your budget doesn’t stretch to lifetime cover, accident-only pet insurance could help.
“It can give you peace of mind that you’ll be able to afford the treatment your pet needs, to get them back on their feet.”