Lifetime pet insurance

  • Ongoing cover for vet fees from accidents, illnesses & conditions
  • Enjoy a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies*
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What is lifetime pet insurance?

Lifetime pet insurance is the most comprehensive pet cover you can get and it could pay vet fees for your cat or dog for the whole of your pet's life. Lifetime cover can be the most expensive pet insurance, but it gives you peace of mind that ongoing conditions should be catered for.

Lifetime pet insurance cover can give your pet comprehensive care for as long as they live.

What’s included in lifetime pet insurance?

Lifetime pet insurance typically covers:

  • Vet costs
    These are usually covered up to a financial limit per condition, per year – usually excluding routine treatments such as vaccinations. At renewal time this financial limit is reinstated. This is handy if your pet develops a condition that requires long-term treatment. Remember, you may need to pay an excess fee before you can claim against the policy.
  • Kennels/cattery costs
    If you can’t look after your pet for a while, then your insurance may cover kennels or cattery costs. There’s usually a financial limit per year to the costs.
  • Third party liability cover
    If your dog injures someone or damages their property, this insurance protects you against costs that you’re found to be liable for, and any legal fees involved. Liability cover is often £1 million or more. This cover doesn’t apply to cats – they’re legally considered to have the freedom to roam. This means their owners aren’t liable for their actions.
  • Dental cover
    Some policies may include this for pet issues caused by accidents or illness.
  • Compensation if your pet is lost or stolen
    Lifetime policies may sometimes contribute towards the costs of awareness-raising advert campaigns or other search-related costs, to help find your pet.
  • Cost recovery in the wake of a pet’s death
    If your pet dies due to illness or because of an accident, you could get back the price you paid for them. Most policies have an age limit, typically 7-10 years old for a cat, and 7-8 years old for a dog, and there’s also usually a financial limit.
  • Euthanasia (putting your terminally ill pet to sleep), cremation and burial
    If the worst does happen, some policies will make a contribution towards the costs of these services.

How much does lifetime pet insurance cost?

Cat lifetime cover from
a year**

Dog lifetime cover from
a year***

The price of your lifetime cover pet insurance will vary, but these examples from our data should give you a ballpark figure for your dog or cat.

**50% of people could achieve a quote of £78.12 per year for their lifetime cat insurance based on Compare the Market data in November 2020.

***50% of people could achieve a quote of £169.68 per year for their lifetime dog insurance based on Compare the Market data in November 2020.

Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of lifetime pet insurance?

If you purchase lifetime cover for your pet, you’ll get the following benefits:

Your pet will be covered if they develop chronic conditions – such as arthritis or diabetes – as long as you renew after you’ve claimed for the condition.

You could be protected from the cost of ongoing vet treatment  – which can run to thousands of pounds each year.

Your pet will be covered for hereditary conditions – as well as behavioural and complementary treatments, depending on your vet’s recommendation. This is why this type of cover is worth considering for pedigree cats and pedigree dogs, who are more prone to hereditary conditions.

What are the disadvantages of lifetime pet insurance?

Lifetime cover isn’t the right pet insurance policy for everyone. Downsides include:

  • Premiums for lifetime pet cover can be high compared to time limited or maximum benefit polices.
  • Once you pass your pre-set cost limit, you’ll have to pay the rest.
  • You have to stay with the same insurance provider year on year to benefit.

What are the other types of pet insurance?

As well as lifetime cover, you have three other pet insurance options:

  • Accident only pet insurance. This covers your pet for accidents, but not illnesses.
  • Time limited pet insurance. This will pay vet fees for a year from when your pet develops a condition, or until the policy money to treat the condition is used up – whichever occurs first. Once that happens, you’ll have to pay the costs for the condition, whether you renew or not.
  • Maximum benefit pet insurance. It protects your pet from illnesses and accidents up to a maximum amount per condition. It doesn’t provide ongoing cover. That means you’ll have to cover the costs for the condition once the maximum amount is used up, whether you renew or not.

What types of pets can I cover with a lifetime policy?

Lifetime pet insurance is commonly offered for dogs, cats and rabbits, but here at Compare the Market we only offer cover for dogs and cats. Specialist insurance providers may offer cover for other type of pets.

Can I claim for the same condition each year?

You can claim for the same condition each year, but the way this works depends on what type of lifetime pet insurance you have. Some policies set an overall limit for what you can claim for in a year, and some set an annual limit per condition, so you can claim for that condition only up to a certain amount. If, for example, your cat’s diabetes treatment cost £6,000 in a year and your cover limit was £5,000, you’d have to pay £1,000 yourself. But the following year, your limit would again be £5,000, provided you renewed the policy.

Is there an age limit for lifetime pet insurance?

Policies may have age limits and age-related exclusions, so check carefully. Lifetime pet insurance can be very suitable for older pets as it offers so much cover, but insuring an older animal can be expensive. Usually it’s considered best practice to get lifetime pet insurance when your pet is young and hasn’t yet developed any conditions. That’s because most pet insurance policies won’t cover these.

Will lifetime pet insurance cover existing conditions?

Pet insurance doesn’t generally cover conditions your pet had before you took out the policy. If your policy does, the cover will be very limited. Some policies may cover what’s called ‘historic conditions’. These are conditions that your pet hasn’t had any symptoms of, or treatment for, for a certain amount of time. The exact conditions will be specified in the policy.

What do I need to get a quote?

It only takes a few minutes to find the best lifetime pet insurance for you and your cat or dog. To get a quote, tell us:

  • your pet’s age
  • whether they’re a pedigree
  • if they’re microchipped
  • your personal details

Look for relevant lifetime policies that could meet your specific needs, and save your quote if you want to make changes or come back to it later.

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Mubina Pirmohamed

From the Pet team

“Lifetime pet insurance cover isn’t the cheapest type of protection, but it’s the most comprehensive way to safeguard your pet. You can relax and have fun with them, knowing your cat or dog has insurance that protects them for the costs of illnesses or accidents, throughout their life."

Why use Compare the Market?

Get a quote in 3 minutes^^

We compare 31 pet insurance providers^^^

93.8% of users would recommend Compare the Market to friends or family^^^^

^^On average it can take less than 3 minutes  to complete a pet insurance quote through Compare the Market based on data in November 2020.

^^^Correct as of November 2020.

^^^^For the period 1st September to 30th November 2020, 12,477 people responded to the recommend question. 11,706 responded with a score of 6 or above, therefore 93.8% are likely to recommend.

Our pet insurance providers

Compare lifetime pet insurance cover from leading providers including Animal Friends, Bought by Many and MoreThan.