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Dog insurance

  • Protect your dog for less than £12.09 a month[1]
  • Get covered for unexpected costs. On average, an X-ray can cost over £300 & an MRI scan over £2,500
  • Enjoy a year of rewards, on us*
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[1] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £12.09 per month in December 2023 for their dog insurance based on the monthly cost when paying for the policy in one annual payment, excluding any interest charged on instalment payments.

Why do I need dog insurance?

Dogs aren’t like us. They get into dangerous scrapes, have no self-control when it comes to scavenging and don’t think twice about chasing other animals into the unknown. Unfortunately, they don’t have an NHS to rely on.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), there were over 1 million dog insurance claims in 2022. With vet bills rising, taking out pet insurance for dogs could protect you from unexpected medical bills. And those bills can easily go into hundreds – if not thousands – of pounds.

What does pet insurance for dogs cover?

The cover you get from your dog insurance will depend on the type of policy you take out and the level of protection you choose. Insurance for dogs could cover:

  • Injury
  • Illness
  • Third-party liability – for example, your dog damages someone’s property or injures another dog
  • The cost of advertising and a reward, if your dog goes missing.

How much does dog insurance cost?

How much you pay for your dog insurance will depend on a number of factors:

  1. Ageolder dogs are more expensive to insure as they tend to need more medical care. If your dog is over a certain age, you may find your policy has more restrictions. And if your dog has a pre-existing medical condition, your dog insurance policy probably won’t cover it.
  2. Breed – certain breeds are prone to specific ailments, which your insurance provider might consider when calculating your premium. For example, Bulldog insurance could cost more, because this type of dog is prone to breathing problems, while Labradors suffer from hip and elbow conditions. Larger breeds usually cost more to insure than smaller ones.
  3. Pedigree dogs are generally more expensive to insure, as they’re more prone to hereditary illnesses than crossbreeds.
  4. Where you live – veterinary costs vary across the country. You can expect more expensive vet bills in London, for instance, so your dog insurance will cost more.

The good news is, you may be able to insure your dog for less than £146 a year[2].

[2] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £145.08 for their dog insurance in December 2023.

What types of dog insurance are there?

The best dog insurance for your pet will depend on the type of cover you’re looking for. All policies have an excess you’ll need to pay towards any treatment. They also have limits on how much they’ll pay out per condition and/or an annual limit.

There are four main types of pet insurance for dogs:

Accident-only dog insurance

Accident-only pet insurance covers your vet bills if your dog gets into an accident. As the name suggests, it doesn’t cover illness. It’s usually the cheapest type of policy.

Time-limited dog insurance

Time-limited pet insurance covers new illnesses or conditions, but you’ll only be covered for a maximum of 12 months or up to the limits of the policy – whichever is reached first. After that, your policy won’t cover that condition, even if you renew.

Maximum benefit dog insurance

Maximum benefit pet insurance covers your dog for illnesses and accidents. There’s no time limit on how long you can claim for a condition, but once you reach the policy limit, it’s no longer covered, even if you renew. This type of policy has a limit on how much you can claim. Once you reach that limit, you can’t claim again.

Lifetime dog insurance

Lifetime cover pet insurance covers your dog for accidents, illnesses or conditions throughout the lifetime of the policy. You’ll be covered up to the policy limit for that year. Once you reach your limit, it restarts again the following year (assuming you renew). You can then continue to claim for the same condition.

To cover ongoing conditions, you’ll need to stay with the same insurance provider – unless you switch to a policy with pre-existing condition cover or decide you no longer want to cover the condition.

What isn’t covered by dog insurance?

When you compare pet insurance for dogs, look for any exclusions and read through the T&Cs. That way you’ll know exactly what’s covered, and what’s not.

Common exclusions include:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions – your policy will usually exclude any medical condition your dog already suffers from. This could be a chronic condition, such as heart problems or hip dysplasia. Your policy may also exclude conditions your pet has suffered with in the past. So, if your dog has an old injury that flares up again, treatment might not be covered.
  • Routine treatment – pet insurance doesn’t usually cover routine and preventative treatment, such as vaccinations, castration or flea and worm treatments.
  • Pregnancy – treatments relating to pregnancy, giving birth and newborns aren’t usually covered.
  • Waiting period – when you take out a dog insurance policy, there might be a waiting period – usually the first 14 days – when you can’t claim. Check your policy’s waiting period as this can vary.

What should I look out for when choosing dog insurance?

It’s always worth checking what your dog insurance policy covers, as this can vary between insurance providers.

When it comes to choosing the best dog insurance for your pet, here are some details to look out for:

  • Are emergency boarding fees covered? Not all policies offer this benefit.
  • Are you covered if your dog is stolen, or goes missing? Dog insurance could cover the costs of advertising your missing dog and, in some cases, a reward to help find them. If your dog isn’t found, some insurance providers offer a one-off payout.
  • Is third-party liability insurance included? This can cover your costs if your dog causes someone an injury or damages their property.
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Frequently asked questions

What are the most common dog health problems?

Dogs often suffer with:

  • Ear infections – these can be caused by allergies, yeast or ear mites. Chronic infections can require surgery.
  • Worms – worm infestations can be serious. Depending on the type of parasite, your vet can prescribe medication.
  • Fleas – your vet can advise you on the best flea treatment for your dog.
  • Dermatitis – this bacterial infection can be bothersome if left untreated. Your vet can prescribe antibiotics, anti-inflammatory treatments or steroids.
  • Vomiting – this can be caused by anything from parasites to pancreatitis.

Does dog insurance cover pre-existing medical conditions?

Most policies won’t cover pre-existing medical conditions, especially those specific to your dog’s breed. For example, King Charles Spaniels often suffer from eye problems and heart conditions, Labradors can develop joint conditions, while German Shepherds often have hip and elbow dysplasia.

A small number of pet insurance providers will cover recent medical issues – that is, problems your pet had before the policy began (usually within the past two years). This sort of specialist dog insurance policy may be more expensive, so shop around and compare to make sure it suits your needs and budget.

Can you get insurance for working dogs?

Most standard pet insurance policies don’t cover working dogs, because they’re more likely to be injured. So, if you have a guide dog or a working gun dog, for example, you’ll need to look for a specialist policy.

Does pet insurance cover dental treatment?

Depending on the level of cover you get, your dog insurance policy could include dental treatment. But this is usually limited to the most comprehensive cover, which is often the most expensive. If dental cover is important to you, check your policy wording carefully.

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

Yes – you should find a range of insurance providers that offer multi-pet insurance policies. Unfortunately, Compare the Market doesn’t currently compare multi-pet insurance policies.

Is it a legal requirement to microchip my dog?

Yes. All dogs must be microchipped and registered before they’re eight weeks old – that’s the law. You can have your puppy chipped before eight weeks, but they’ll suffer less discomfort if you wait a bit.

What age should I insure my puppy?

You can get puppy insurance for your dog from as early as six weeks, but this can vary between providers. Of course, you can insure your dog at any age, but the earlier you get them covered, the better protected they’ll be.

If you wait too long to get your dog insured, their cover may end up excluding any conditions they develop, landing you with large vet’s bills. For peace of mind, it’s worth getting your dog insurance as early as you can.

Does where I live affect the price of dog insurance?

The cost of dog insurance can vary across the UK, because the price of veterinary treatment varies. Each practice has its own costs and overheads, and you’ll see these reflected in your vet’s fees – and your dog insurance plan.

Vet treatments tend to cost more in towns and cities, where wages and rent are typically higher. Dog insurance is often cheaper if you live in the countryside.

But that doesn’t mean city pet owners can’t find a great deal on their dog insurance. Shopping around is one of the best ways to find the right policy at an affordable price – no matter where you live.

How do I find a good deal on dog insurance?

We can help you compare dog insurance and find the right level of cover at a price you’re happy with. Get a range of quotes for dog insurance with our price comparison service. Just tell us a few details and get a quote in minutes.

Can I insure a dangerous dog?

If you own a breed classified as dangerous under the Dangerous Dogs Act, you’ll need to add it to the Index of Exempted Dogs (IED) and get a Certificate of Exemption. If you manage this, you’ll be able to insure your dangerous dog, as long as your policy includes third-party liability cover.

You can’t currently compare dog insurance for dangerous dogs through Comparethemarket, so you’ll need to find specialist insurance providers.

Can I get insurance for my pedigree dog?

Yes, you can get dog insurance for your pedigree. Just know that it might be more expensive than insuring a mixed breed, because pedigrees can be more vulnerable to certain genetic disorders.

When comparing dog insurance quotes, be sure to mention that your dog is a pedigree, as this will affect your quote. Find out more about pedigree dog insurance.

What do I need to get a quote?

To get a dog insurance quote, we’ll need a few details about you and your pet, including:

  • Your dog’s age and breed
  • Details of any pre-existing medical conditions
  • Your personal details, including postcode
  • The type of cover you want.

We’ll then send you a list of suitable quotes to compare.

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Author image Mubina Pirmohamed

What our expert says...

“If you need to claim on your dog insurance, ask your insurance provider how this will be paid. Some pay directly, while others require you to pay the vet bills and then claim the money back.”

- Mubina Pirmohamed, Insurance expert

Why use Compare the Market?

We compare 224[3] pet insurance products

51% of customers were quoted less than £146 per year[4] for their dog insurance

[3] Correct as of December 2023.

[4] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £145.08 for their dog insurance in December 2023.

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