Which pet insurance is best?

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Riaz Rhemu

Veterinary Surgeon and co-founder of Tatton Veterinary Practice

Choosing pet insurance can often be overwhelming; there are hundreds of providers offering different policies and levels of cover.  It is really important that you understand your insurance policy and what you are looking for. 


Here’s some top tips to help:


Pet insurance is vastly different to car insurance. Unlike car insurance there is no mandatory level of cover for your pets so it can be hard to know the cover you are getting for your monthly cost. It also means that medical conditions your pet picks up throughout their life can often be excluded when changing insurance company or policy.

With pet insurance you ideally need to stay with that company for the duration of your pet’s life if you want pre-existing conditions to be covered. 

It’s important to remember that most pet insurance policies won’t cover routine procedures or elective treatments. This includes vaccinations, neutering, breeding (including C-sections) and dental work. All pet owners are liable for these costs for their own pets. 


The types of cover available and what they mean:

  • Lifetime Cover
    • Conditions continue to be covered under the insurance policy for the entirety of the pet’s life as long as the policy is continued. This will be up to a maximum claim total dictated in the policy (often per year).
    • The amount claimable will often renew each year giving the pet owner further pot of money to claim for the next 12 months. 
    • An excess is often required to be paid once per year per condition covered.
    • Some policies (often found with older animals) will require a percentage of the total claim amount to be paid by the policyholder
  • 12 month policies
    • Conditions are covered up to a limit (dictated in the policy) for a total of 12 months. This means that 12 months from the first time the condition was noted the pet will no longer be covered for that condition. 
    • An excess is often required per condition.
    • Some policies also require a percentage of the total claim amount to be paid by the policyholder
  • Accident only policies
    • The policy will only cover for specific conditions dictated in the policy notes (often traumatic fractures, injuries etc).
    • No cover for illness/disease which is often extremely limited and provides little cover for the more common conditions found in UK pets. 
  • Maximum benefit policy
    • The policy covers up to a maximum amount over the pet’s life for a specific condition but does not renew yearly and once that amount has been paid there is no further cover for that condition. 


Something else to think about is the amount of cover. Most companies will give you a yearly limit that you can claim up to, either per condition or total per year. Have a look below at what certain conditions can cost on average. 



There is no single policy that will suit every family, pet or financial situation. If you want to be safe, knowing you would have enough to cover multiple conditions or investigations at once, then a higher amount might be the best option for you. 

If you feel you might want to go with a lower amount and would be comfortable contributing to the cost of your pets healthcare, then a lower amount is an option. 

If you have any questions about insurance, or feel you want to talk it through with a veterinary professional, you can contact us via email at [email protected] or on 01565744504.

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