Dog insurance

  • Protect your dog for up to £11.33[1] a month

  • Get covered for unexpected costs. On average, an X-ray can cost £300 & an MRI scan £1000

  • Enjoy a whole year of rewards*

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[1] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £11.33 per month in September, 2022 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 potentially dangerous scrapes, have no self-control when it comes to scavenging and don’t think twice about chasing rabbits/pheasants/other dogs into the unknown. And, unfortunately, they don’t have an NHS to rely on! With vet bills rising every year, taking out insurance for your dog could help protect them from harm and you from unexpected medical bills. And those bills can be considerable, going into hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds. In fact, according to the ABI, 764,000 dog insurance claims in 2021 totalled £648m. That’s an average of £848.17 per claim. This is more than double the average of £412.17 from 2007, which highlights the importance of protecting your pooch with the right dog insurance.

What does pet insurance for dogs cover?

Dog insurance can cover a variety of things, but it depends on the type of policy and level of cover you take out. Here are some of the things you can get cover for:

  • Injury
  • Illness
  • Third-part liability – e.g. your dog damages someone's property
  • Cost of advertising and a reward, if your dog goes missing

How much does dog insurance cost?

You can insure your dog for up to £136[2] a year.

[2] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £135.96 for their dog insurance in September, 2022.

What affects the price of dog insurance?

The price of your pet insurance depends on several factors, including your dog’s:

  1. Age – as a general rule, older dogs are more expensive to insure as they tend to need more medical care. You could also find that there are more policy restrictions if your faithful hound is over a certain age. And be aware that, if your dog has a ‘pre-existing’ medical condition, this probably won’t be covered by your dog insurance policy.
  2. Breed – breeding can bring with it certain breed-specific ailments, which your insurance provider may take into account. For example: Bulldogs are prone to breathing problems, Labradors tend to suffer from hip and elbow conditions and larger breeds typically 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 cross-breeds.
  4. Where you live – the costs of vet bills vary across the country. For example, you can expect more expensive vet bills in London, which mean your dog insurance will cost more.

What are the different types of dog insurance?

If you’re looking for the best dog insurance to protect your furry friend, it can depend on the type of cover you’re looking for. There are four main types of insurance for dogs. All policies come with an excess that you’ll need to pay towards treatment for your pet. They also have limits on how much they will pay out per condition and/or a yearly limit.

Accident-only pet insurance

Accident only offers cover for your vet bills if your dog is unlucky enough to have an accident. As its name suggests, it doesn’t cover illness. However, it’s usually the cheapest type of policy.

Time-limited pet insurance

Time-limited pet insurance covers new illnesses or conditions that your dog develops. However, you can only claim once for a particular illness or condition. It will be covered for a maximum of 12 months or up to the limits of the policy, whichever happens first. Once this happens, it’s no longer covered by the policy even if you renew. If the condition returns after the 12-month period, you won’t be covered to treat it.

Maximum benefit pet insurance

Maximum benefit pet insurance covers illnesses and accidents. There’s no time limit on how long you can claim for a condition, but once you use up the limits of the policy it’s no longer covered on the policy even if you renew. This type of policy has a claim value limit, and once you’ve reached that limit you won’t be able to make any further claims.

Lifetime pet insurance

Lifetime cover pet insurance covers your dog for accidents, illnesses or conditions throughout the lifetime of the policy. Conditions are covered up to the limits of the policy for the year. Once you use up the limits for that year, the limits restart again the following year if you renew and you can continue to claim for the condition. You’ll need to stay with the same provider to cover on-going conditions, unless you switch to a policy with pre-existing condition cover or if you decide you no longer want to cover the condition.

What isn’t covered by dog insurance?

When choosing a dog insurance policy, be sure to look out for any exclusions. Have a good read through the T&Cs so you know what’s covered and what’s not.

Common exclusions:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions – any medical condition your dog has before you take out the policy will usually be excluded. This could be a chronic condition, such as heart problems or hip dysplasia. Historic conditions that your pet may have suffered in the past are also, generally speaking, excluded. So, if your dog has an old injury that flares up again, you might not be covered for treatment.
  • Routine treatment – routine and preventative treatment, such as vaccinations, castration, flea and worm treatments, aren’t usually covered by pet insurance.
  • Pregnancy – any treatments relating to pregnancy, giving birth and newborns aren’t typically covered.
  • Waiting period – when you take out a dog insurance policy, there may be a ‘cooling off’ period, usually the first 14 days, when you won’t be able to claim. Check the waiting period of your policy, since it can vary among insurance providers.

Frequently asked questions

What are the most common dog health problems?

Illnesses that could affect your furry friend include:

  • ear infections – these can be caused by allergies, yeast or ear mites. Surgery can be needed for chronic infections.
  • worms – worm infestations can be serious for your pet. Your vet can prescribe medicine, depending on the type of parasite.
  • fleas – your vet can give you advice on the best flea treatment for your dog.
  • dermatitis – this bacterial infection can become more 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 breed-specific health problems. For example, King Charles Spaniels often suffer from eye problems and heart conditions, Labradors can develop joint conditions, while German Shepherds can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia. It’s unlikely that these types of conditions will be covered by your dog insurance.

However, there are a small number of pet insurance providers who offer cover for recent medical issues. That is, problems your pet has suffered before the start of your policy – usually within the past two years. If your dog hasn’t shown any symptoms, or received treatment for their condition for more than two years, your comparison results may include quotes from Bought By Many. All their lifetime policies cover this definition of pre-existing conditions.

This sort of specialist dog insurance policy may be more expensive though, so shop around and compare to see if it suits your needs and budget.

What should I look out for when choosing dog insurance?

It’s always a good idea to check exactly what’s covered by your policy, as cover can vary among different insurance providers.

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

  • Are emergency boarding fees covered? Not all policies offer this.
  • Does your policy provide cover if your dog is stolen or goes missing? This 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 even offer a one-off payout.
  • Is third party liability insurance included? This can cover you for any costs arising from accidental injury or damage to property caused by your dog

Is dental treatment covered?

Yes, depending on the level of cover you get, dental treatment can be included under your dog insurance policy. However, this is usually exclusive to the most comprehensive cover, which can be the most expensive. If dental cover is important to you and your pooch, check the policy wording carefully.

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

Yes, you should be able to find multi-pet insurance policies from a range of providers.

Unfortunately, Comparethemarket don’t compare multi-pet insurance policies right now.

Is it a legal requirement to microchip my dog?

Unlike with cats, it’s illegal to not have your dog microchipped. All dogs must be microchipped and registered before they’re eight weeks old. You can have them chipped before eight weeks, but it’s less uncomfortable for them when they’re closer to this age.

What age should I insure my puppy?

You should be able to get puppy insurance for your dog from as early as six weeks, but this can vary slightly 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 them insured, any conditions they develop will usually be excluded from their cover, which means you’ll have to pay the bills for their treatment. It’s usually best to get your dog insurance early, so you don’t need to worry about it, or them.

Does where I live affect the price of dog insurance?

The cost of dog insurance can vary across the UK. There are no standard fees for vet treatments and every veterinary practice is different. Costs and overheads will differ between regions, so these will be reflected in your local vet’s fees – and your dog insurance premiums.

Also, vet treatments tend to cost more in towns and cities than rural areas. That’s because staff wages and premises costs are typically higher. In most cases, dog insurance will be cheaper for those living in the country than in a large city. But that doesn’t mean pet owners in the city 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?

Your dog is a cherished part of your family, so you’ll want to be sure you can find the best dog insurance to suit your needs. We can help you find the level of cover you want at a price you’re happy with.

Get a range of quotes for insurance for your puppy or dog 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 that’s classified as dangerous, under the Dangerous Dogs Act, then they would need to be added to the Index of Exempted Dogs (IED) and given a Certificate of Exemption. If you successfully manage this, you will 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 Compare the Market, so you’ll need to look for specialist cover through providers directly.

Can I get insurance for my pedigree dog?

Yes, you can get dog insurance for your pedigree pooch. Just know, you might find that insuring a pedigree dog is more expensive than a mixed breed, because pedigrees have a history of being more vulnerable to certain genetic/inherited disorders.

When comparing dog insurance quotes, make sure you select that your dog is a pedigree, as this will affect your policy. You can find out more about pedigree dog insurance here.

What do I need to get a quote?

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

  • the age and breed of your dog
  • any pre-existing medical conditions your dog has
  • your personal details including your postcode
  • the type of cover you want for your dog.

Once we have the information we need, we’ll 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 make a claim on your dog insurance, check with your insurance provider how this will be paid. Some providers will pay directly, while others will require you to pay the vet bills, then claim the money back."

- Mubina Pirmohamed, Insurance expert

Why use Comparethemarket?

We compare 33[3] pet insurance products

51% of customers were quoted less than £136 per year[4] for their dog insurance

[3] Correct as of October, 2022.

[4] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £135.96 for their dog insurance in September, 2022.

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