What is maximum benefit pet insurance?
Maximum benefit, also known as ‘condition capped’ pet insurance, is a policy that allows you to claim for each injury or illness up to a specified pre-set limit, typically around £1,500.
It’s a useful policy as long as your pet doesn’t develop a 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 can make it a good choice, if, for example, you have a dog or cat that simply needs ongoing medication to maintain its health.
Maximum benefit is typically seen as a mid-range pet insurance option.
Is a maximum benefit policy right for me and my pet?
As maximum benefit is per condition pet insurance, 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 are the benefits of maximum benefit cover?
With maximum benefit 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.
- It can be a good solution if your pet needs ‘maintaining’ medication – steroids, for example.
- When the cap for one condition is reached, other conditions can still be covered.
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.
- 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
How much does maximum benefit pet insurance cost?
- If you’re a cat owner who wants maximum benefit cover, we've found 50% of customers could pay up to £81 per year**.
- If you’re a dog owner who wants maximum benefit only cover, we’ve found 50% of customers could pay up to £173 per year***.
**50% of people could achieve a quote of £80.88 per year for their max benefit cat insurance based on Compare the Market data in November 2020.
***50% of people could achieve a quote of £172.80 per year for their max benefit dog insurance based on Compare the Market data in November 2020.
What are the other types of pet insurance?
As well as maximum benefit, you have three other pet insurance options. The one thing that’s common to all policies is they have a limit on how much they’ll pay for treatment and costs. Some have limits that are per condition, others have limits for how much they’ll pay out per year. And there are policies that have both per condition limits and yearly limits.
This is how the policies differ:
- 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. Maximum benefit and lifetime policies do not have this 12-month time restriction.
- Lifetime pet insurance – 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.
While maximum benefit is more of a mid-range level of cover, lifetime pet insurance is far more comprehensive. Lifetime cover is the highest level of cover you can get for your pet, so it will typically be more expensive.
Unlike maximum benefit cover, the limit for lifetime cover is renewed each year. This means that if your limit is £1,000 a year, once you renew, it’ll be £1,000 again for the next year. Limits for maximum benefit policies don’t renew, so once you reach the limit, that condition isn’t covered any more.
- Accident only pet insurance – will cover your pet in the event of an accident, but it won’t cover long-term illness.
What if my pet needs more treatment once I’ve reached the maximum limit for max benefit pet insurance?
Once you’ve reached the maximum limit, you’ll have to pay for any further treatment costs yourself.
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.
- 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 may also be able to help fund vaccinations. However, they don’t typically pay out for other types of veterinary care.
Ready to compare maximum benefit insurance policies?
We can help you get a pet insurance quote in less than two minutes. 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, should you want to make changes, or return to it a bit later on.
What do I need to get a quote?
We’ll require a few basic details about your pet, such as:
- age and breed
- any pre-existing conditions your pet may have
- details as to 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.Start a quote
Why use Compare the Market?
^^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.
Pet insurance expert
What our expert says
“One of the best ways 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.”