From vet bills to lifetime cover, we take a detailed look at pet insurance to help you decide whether it’s actually worth it.

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance is used to protect you from unexpected costs related to your pet. The most common reason is to cover veterinary bills. The most frequent type of pet insurance bought are for cats and dogs, but just 30 per cent of the 8.5m dog owners in the UK insure their pets, falling to only 16 per cent for the country’s 7.5m cat owners. 

Is pet insurance worth it?

How much does it cost?

Premiums can start at as low as £2.94 for cats and £3.01 for dogs* per month. How much you can expect to pay depends on your policy. There are four main types of insurance:

Accident only – where your insurer will only cover your pet for accidents.

Time limited – which covers illness and accident for (usually) 12 months. You can usually only claim for a particular illness or condition once and in most cases there’s a cost limit.

Max benefit – this covers accident and illness indefinitely (as long as you renew your policy). There’s usually a fixed cost limit and once this is reached, you won’t be able to claim anymore.

Lifetime – this is the most comprehensive policy available and will cover accident, injury and illness for your pet’s lifetime, regardless of how many times you claim for something.

So, is pet insurance worth it?

There’s no national health service for pets and there isn’t a law that says you must have pet insurance. But given that vet bills have increased by around 12% each year, perhaps it’s something worth giving serious thought to.

For dog lover Karen Plowman, who owns a Miniature Schnauzer, getting dog insurance for her pet was a no-brainer.

“Ludwig (pictured) turns three this summer and we’ve had him on full life-time cover since he was a pup. It costs £32 a month, which I know sounds like an awful lot but I wanted to make sure our package came with cover for any extra dental work. You shouldn’t underestimate what could happen to your pet – my first cat fell seriously ill and was diagnosed with cancer on her cheekbone. The cost of housing her overnight at the vets alone was eye-watering, never mind the treatment itself.”

Ludwig

What else should I consider?

- Pre-existing conditions aren’t covered by pet insurance

- The age of your pet will influence the size of your premium. Older animals do cost more to insure and after a certain age, you may find very few insurers are willing to cover your pet.

- Pet insurance providers will also take into account other factors, such as the breed of your pet and whether it’s a mongrel, pedigree or exotic animal.

- Routine vaccinations, check-ups, spraying or neutering aren’t usually covered by pet insurance.

- If your pet becomes ill because a routine vaccine has been missed, this could invalidate your policy.

Whether you think pet insurance is worth it is down to you. Don’t wait until you’re forced to make a choice you’d rather not make – so take the first step with us and compare more than 20 pet insurance providers now.

*50% of customers could achieve a premium of up to £2.94 a month for cat accident only insurance and up to £3.01 a month for dog accident only insurance based on comparethemarket.com data in February 2018.
 

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