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Types of pet insurance
Looking for pet insurance to cover those unexpected accidents, or full cover that’ll pay out if your dog or cat gets a lengthy illness?
Whatever level of cover you’re looking for, there’s a pet insurance policy for you. We’ve set out the main types below, to help you pick the best pet insurance for you and up to 7 of your furry friends.
This policy provides a fixed sum to help towards your pet’s treatment. This usually only covers accidents and not illnesses, with some policies having a time limit on treatment.
Here a fixed sum is available for each separate illness or injury. The policy covers treatment for a specific period of time, usually 12 months from the start of the illness or injury.
A maximum set amount is made available to cover each illness or injury your pet may suffer. Once the amount has been paid out, the treatment won’t be covered again.
Depending on your policy, pet insurance can cover anything from treatment costs for accidents to ongoing care for costly illnesses – protecting both your pets and your pocket from any nasty shocks.
But it can cover other things too.
A pet insurance policy typically includes:
- Accidents and injuries to help with treatment costs if your pet is injured
- Unexpected illnesses some policies pay towards vet bills for unexpected illness, and some also cover holiday cancellations if you have to stay home to look after an ill pet
- Kennel or cattery fees if you’re hospitalised and unable to look after your pet
- Liability cover to help with the costs if a third party takes legal action against you over damage caused by your pet
- Advertising and reward costs to help find your pet if they go missing
As with all insurance, it is important to read the small print to make sure you know what you're covered for. While pet insurance can cover many things you may not have been expecting, there’s a few things it won’t include cover for.
These are mainly preventative treatments.
Most pet insurance policies typically exclude:
Preventive treatments e.g. neutering and vaccinations
Pre-existing conditions - See below on how to get cover
Most pet insurers will not offer cover for a pre-existing condition. But we’ve partnered with Scratch & Patch who may be able to help you get cover. You won’t be able to compare quotes from other insurance companies against them because of their unique plans for pets with pre-existing conditions.
They can’t cover all conditions though. Chronic conditions - those that last for a long time or keep coming back - and those where test results are outstanding may not be covered.
When you get a quote, look out for the question about existing or ongoing medical conditions and we’ll point you in their direction.
How much does pet insurance cost?
Pet insurance can start from as little as £4.79* per month - but there's a few factors that can affect how much you're likely to pay. We've set them out below, to give you rough idea of what you'll be paying.
Type of pet
The type of pet you're insuring is the first thing to bear in mind. Cat insurance tends to be cheaper than dog insurance, but there's a host of other factors that can affect your monthly premium too. So while it's not the main thing that'll affect your premiums, it's worth considering.
Your pet's age is another thing to keep in mind. The older they are, the more it's likely to cost to insure them – so it's worth getting them covered as soon as possible. We've set out the average cost to insure a healthy pet for each year of its life, below.
While crossbreeds are usually the cheapest to insure, the cost of pet insurance for pedigrees can vary from breed to breed. Sadly, most pedigree breeds are predisposed to certain illnesses like breathing issues or arthritis, which can drive up insurance costs.
If you've yet to bring home a furry friend, it's worth researching their breed, what health issues they're predisposed to, and the average cost to insurance them. That way, you'll know how much you're likely to pay before you bring your pet home.
With that in mind, we've set out the top five most popular dog breeds in the UK below, and the average costs to insure them.
|Jack Russell Terrier||£6.91|
|Staffordshire Bull Terrier||£7.30|
For a similar rundown on the cost of insuring breeds of cat, see our cat insurance page.
Where you live can affect how much pet insurance costs. In mainland UK, Londoners can expect to pay the most for their pet insurance, at an average monthly cost of £7.85 for dog insurance. And Scotland can expect the best deal, at a budget-friendly average of £6.97.
Where do you sit? We've set out the average pet insurance costs by region below.
Regional data is an average of prices during April - July 2020. Prices correct on 10/11/2020. **Average cost of quotes for specific age and breed of pet is based on Confused.com data from April to July.
While there are some factors out of your control, there are a few things you can do to cut the cost of your pet insurance. So you get the right cover for you and at the right price.
Compare pet insurance to find the best deal for you. Think about the type of cover you want, the excess you’re willing to pay and your monthly premium cost.
Do some research and pick out what policy type best suits your needs and have a look at what you’re likely to pay based on your pet’s age and your location. Also, have a think about your pet’s breed and whether that could drive up your premiums too.
Keep your pet healthy with vaccinations, nutrition, exercise and all the other things that go into being a responsible pet owner can pay off in the long run – not just with a happier, healthier pet, but with lower pet insurance costs too. Keep your pet healthy and you’re less likely to make a claim, keeping your renewal costs lower. Win-win!
A Multi-pet insurance policy is perfect for those with several pets. It allows you to cover up to 7 pets on a single policy – meaning lower premiums for you with the same level of cover for your furry friends.
Think about the excess as the higher the excess you can afford, the lower your premiums will be.
Before you start, you’ll need:
- Your pet’s name
- Its gender
- Its breed
- To know whether it’s been neutered or spayed
- Its vaccination history
Having the information ready can help speed up getting a quote, finding you the cover you need as quickly as possible.
Looking for other types of pet insurance?
Got more questions? Our FAQs could help
Ultimately, whether you need pet insurance or not is up to you. But with vet bills for even common issues like breathing difficulties costing £1,686 on average***, covering your pet against the worst can pay off in the long run. No one wants to be hit with a costly vet bill out of the blue.
Pet insurance can help give you a little peace of mind that if the worst does happen, you’ll be able to afford the care your pet needs to get back on its feet (or paws). For a more detailed look at vet treatment prices, check out our guide.
*** Treatment prices based on a study of 2,000 participants, conducted by our partner Scratch & Patch. Data is taken from claim costs between 2019 and 2020.
There are several types of pet insurance, but most pet cover works by helping you with any unexpected vet bills should your pet fall sick or sustain an injury.
Take a look at our ‘what does pet insurance cover’ section above for an overview of the extras cat or dog insurance can sometimes cover. Or take a look at our pet insurance guides for tips, tricks and the essential information you need to know before taking out a pet insurance policy.
According to our partner Scratch & Patch, the average claim for vet treatment is £822***, with some conditions like gastroenteritis costing up to £8,000***!
So it’s often worthwhile to have pet cover, if only to ensure you can afford the treatment your pet needs should the worst happen. For a closer look at vet prices, check out our guide.
***Treatment prices based on a study of 2,000 participants, conducted by our partner Scratch & Patch. Data is taken from claim costs between 2019 and 2020.
Neutering, spaying and other 'preventative treatments' aren't covered by pet insurance. This also extends to things like vaccines and routine dental work that can prevent your pet falling sick in the first place.
Making sure your pet is up to date on its vaccinations – and other health essentials – could help keep your premiums low, as your furry friend is less likely to develop a costly illness. So it's always worthwhile.
Generally, the younger your pet is, the cheaper it will be to insure – so getting a policy early make sense financially. But getting cover ASAP is the smart choice for a number of other reasons too. Sadly, there’s no guarantee that a younger pet is a healthier pet, and your cat or dog could need costly treatment at any age.
And as all pet owners know, puppies and kittens are furry bundles of energy, making them more accident prone than older and more placid pets. So getting insurance early is always a good idea.
To choose the right pet insurance for you, think about the amount of cover you need, whether you want both accident and injury to be covered, what you’re willing to pay as a monthly premium, and the excess you’re able to cover.
It’s a balancing act between getting the right deal for you, and the right level of cover for your pet. So consider your options, and read the section above on ‘types of pet insurance’ for a closer look at the cover available.
Our service is free to use and compares a wide range of trusted household names. Confused.com is an intermediary and receives a commission from theidol.com if you decide to buy through our website. Our commission is based on a percentage of a fixed price per pet insured, but will not increase your premium. We pride ourselves on impartiality and independence – therefore we don't promote any one insurance provider over another.