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Max benefit pet insurance explained

  • Covers vet fees for accidents, illnesses and conditions with no time restrictions
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What is maximum benefit pet insurance?

Max benefit pet insurance, also known as ‘condition capped’ or ‘money limited’ pet insurance, is a policy that allows you to claim for each injury or illness up to a specified pre-set limit. This could typically range from £1,000-£7,500 depending on the level of cover you choose.

Max benefit could be a useful, mid-range pet insurance policy as long as your pet doesn’t develop a costly long-term condition. Unlike time-limited policies, which don’t allow you to claim for conditions after 12 months, maximum benefit policies let you claim for the same condition over a longer period, until the pre-set limit is used up. This could make it a good choice if, for example, you have a dog or cat that simply needs ongoing medication to maintain its health. 

Is a maximum benefit policy right for me and my pet?

Because max benefit cat and dog insurance include a cover limit per condition, you’ll be able to claim for each separate condition until your limit is used up.

It’s a good option for younger, healthier pets, but if your pet gets an illness that requires ongoing care every year, you might find the limit on the condition gets used up fairly quickly. Once the limit is used up, you’ll no longer have any cover for that condition. To get cover each year for a condition, lifetime policies are better.

What is included in max benefit pet insurance cover?

Max benefit pet insurance will cover vet fees and treatment for illnesses and injuries up to the stated limit per condition. It might also include cover, up to the maximum cap, for:

  • Third-party liability for your dog
  • Loss or theft or your pet 
  • Emergency expenses abroad
  • Holiday cancellation related to your pet’s health 
  • Emergency kennel or cattery fees.

Some policies may include dental cover, if not, you might be able to add it on as an optional extra for a price. Policies vary so it’s important to read the terms carefully to see what you will and won’t be covered for.

As with most pet insurance policies, maximum benefit dog and cat insurance will typically not cover routine veterinary treatment such as vaccinations, flea or worming treatments, neutering your pet, pregnancy complications or microchipping your pet. 

What are the benefits of maximum benefit cover?

With max benefit pet insurance cover, you’ll be insured for a set amount per condition.

  • Unlike some other types of policy, there are no time constraints, providing that you renew. This means they could cover longer terms conditions that may require ongoing treatment, unlike a time-limited policy.
  • It could be a good solution if your pet needs ‘maintaining’ medication – steroids, for example.
  • When the cap for one condition is reached, other conditions could still be covered.
  • You could make claims for different conditions at the same time, so long as you haven’t reached the max benefit limit for that illness or injury.

What are the disadvantages of maximum benefit cover?

  • Once you’ve reached your limit, you won’t be able to claim for that condition again. Even if the same condition develops in another part of your pet’s body, it’s very unlikely you’ll be covered
  • If your pet is still unwell after the maximum amount is reached, you’ll have to pay for any other treatment yourself.
  • Once you’ve reached the maximum benefit for a condition, you might struggle to find cover for that condition with another cat or dog insurance provider because your pet’s condition will likely be classed as pre-existing.
  • If your pet needs a big operation that costs thousands of pounds, you could find that you reach your limit very quickly. 
  • The maximum amount isn’t reset each year. If you use 50% of the maximum benefit in one year, only 50% of it will be left in future years.
  • Like most pet insurance policies, maximum benefit will only cover new illnesses and injuries – pre-existing conditions will be excluded from your cover.

Frequently asked questions

What are the other types of pet insurance?

As well as maximum benefit, you have three other pet insurance options:

  • Time limited pet insurance – this pays vet fees up to a year from when the condition starts or up to the limit of the policy. After that, you’ll be responsible for meeting the cost. 
  • Lifetime pet insurance – is the most comprehensive cover, but also typically the most expensive. It could cover you for vet fees for the whole of your pet’s life (depending on the terms of your specific policy) and assuming you renew the policy each year.
  • Accident only pet insurance – will cover your pet in the event of an accident, but it won’t cover treatment for any illness, short or long-term.

What if my pet needs more treatment once I’ve reached the maximum limit for max benefit pet insurance?

With max benefit cat and dog insurance, once you’ve reached the maximum limit for a particular condition, you’ll have to pay for any further treatment costs yourself. You may still be covered for other injuries or illnesses, though, up to the capped limit stated for each condition on your policy.  

Is max benefit or lifetime pet insurance a better choice for my cat or dog?

Lifetime pet insurance is typically the most comprehensive cover available for your pet, but for that reason it also tends to be more expensive. Unlike max benefit pet insurance, which will cover conditions up to a one-time maximum limit, with lifetime pet insurance the cap per condition resets each year.

The rightt option for your cat or dog depends on your pet’s individual circumstances and how prone they are to long-term illnesses – as well as your budget. To make an informed decision, it’s a good idea to compare policies for your pet with us and see what’s out there.

How much cover can I get for each condition with a max benefit policy?

The max benefit you can claim for a condition could typically be anything from £1,000-£7,500, depending on the pet insurance policy you choose. Many pet insurance providers package different levels of cover for different budgets. It’s a good idea to compare your options so you can make sure you’re getting the right cover for your pet, at the right price. That’s where we come in. We compare policies from 29 pet insurance providers[1] so you can see what’s out there, without doing all the legwork.

[1] Correct as of October, 2022. 

Can I get help for treatment costs anywhere else?

If you’re on a low income and would struggle to pay vet fees, you may be able to get help towards treatment costs from a dedicated animal charity. Here are a few charities in the UK that could help:

  • The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) and Blue Cross offer free veterinary treatment for pets whose owners are on a low income or are on means-tested benefits.
  • Both Dogs Trust and Cats Protection offer financial help towards neutering and castration, while the RSPCA might also be able to help fund vaccinations. However, they don’t typically pay out for other types of veterinary care.

What do I need to get a quote?

To help you compare insurance for your dog or cat, we’ll need to know a few basic details about your pet, including:

  • Age and breed
  • Whether they’ve been neutered or spayed
  • If they’re microchipped or not
  • We’ll also need to know a few details about you, including your postcode.
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Author image Mubina Pirmohamed

What our expert says...

“A good way to find the right level of cover for your pet is to shop around and compare policies. If you have more than one pet, you may want to consider a multiple pet policy.

“Many insurance providers offer a discount if you cover more than one pet on the same policy.” 

- Mubina Pirmohamed, Insurance expert

Ready to compare maximum benefit insurance policies?

We can help you get a pet insurance quote in just three minutes[2]. Just tell us a bit about you, your pet and what cover you’d like, and we’ll provide you with quotes for all the policies that meet your specific needs. Your pet insurance quote will then be saved, so you can make changes, or return to it later on.

[2]Correct as of September, 2022.