A simples guide

How much is dog insurance?

We’re a nation of animal lovers and our favourite four legged friend is the dog, with 8.5 million of them in the UK – nearly a quarter (24%) of households have at least one.

What’s more, we spoilt them with 91,000 tonnes of dog treats last year – that’s enough to give even the greediest of dogs an achy tummy.

But what happens if your pet pooch is struck down by more than just gluttony – if you don’t have insurance, have you got the funds to get Fido back on his feet?

Do I need dog insurance?

Dogs aren’t like us people, they unwittingly get into scrapes that even a toddler could predict won’t end well, they have no self-control when it comes to scavenging and they won’t think twice about chasing rabbits/pheasants/other dogs into the unknown. So it’s perhaps no surprise that there were £501 million worth of insurance claims for dogs in 2015.

You’re under no obligation to buy pet insurance and only about one in four dog owners have cover for their animals. But if your curious canine decided to munch its way through a bag of marbles or if the worst did happen and your furry companion developed an illness – could you confidently cover the cost of any treatment and medication?

Vet bills have risen by around 12% a year and they’re predicted to rise even further. Common dog complaints and illnesses can cost hundreds to heal – an ear infection could cost you an average of £313 to treat, skin disorders would set you back an average of £402 and repairing a torn knee ligament could set you back over £1,000.

Vets sometimes have no choice than to provide alternative treatment for dogs simply because their owner doesn’t have sufficient cover to help their pet. A huge 83% of vets also said that they’d been in situations where owners were forced to cough up for treatment themselves because their pet insurance didn’t provide a sufficient level of cover. 

paw prints in sand

So how much is insurance for my dog going to cost?

It depends on various factors such as the breed of your dog but also what type of policy you choose. There are four main types of cover:

  • Accident only – this does exactly what it says on the tin and is usually the cheapest type of policy you’ll find. You’ll only get help when your dog has an accident, it does not include cover for illnesses that your dog may develop. We found that half of our customers could get cover for £2.99 every month**.
  • Time limited policy – this means you’re covered for any new illnesses or conditions that your dog develops in a 12 month period; there is usually a cost limit too. It means you can only make a claim for a particular illness or condition once, and only up to a certain value. If the condition returns after that 12 month period, you won’t be covered for any medication or treatment for it.
  • Max benefit – if you’d prefer continuity of treatment for your dog, this cover allows you to do that. There are no time restrictions with a Max benefit policy so you can keep claiming for an illness or condition year after year, as long as you renew your policy. There is however a financial limit and once you’ve hit that, you won’t be able to make any further claims.
  • Lifetime cover – as the name suggests, this will cover your dog for illnesses or conditions throughout its lifetime (regardless of whether they are new or recurring). As you’d expect, this is usually the most expensive type of policy.

How much is dog insurance?

In addition to this, your insurer will also take into account your dog itself in order to build an accurate picture of your dog’s health and gauge any potential risks. Factors your insurer may consider include:

  • The breed of your dog – some dogs are prone to particular conditions, the size of your dog will have an impact on your policy cost – as a general rule, the bigger your pooch, the higher the cost.
  • How posh your dog is – if you’ve got a pedigree, it’ll probably cost more to insure.
  • How old your dog is – the older your dog is, the more likely it is to need to see the vet for conditions brought on by old age, as a result, your insurance will probably increase.

When you choose a policy make sure you read the exclusions carefully. Some policies will be invalidated if your dog becomes sick or develops a condition because its overweight; policies also won’t cover routine vaccinations or treatment such as worming medication.

Start comparing

So before your next walk, why not take some time to compare the market for dog insurance and be safe in the knowledge that whatever your heroic hound gets up to – you’ve got them covered.

** 50% of people can achieve a premium of £2.99 a month based on April 2017 cheapest premiums

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