1. Home
  2. Pet insurance
  3. Lifetime pet insurance

Lifetime pet insurance

Get lifetime cover for your pet today

  • Covers your dog, cat or pet for its whole lifetime

  • Get a quote in less than 5 mins

  • Covers accident and illness treatment

What is lifetime pet insurance?

Lifetime pet insurance provides cover for your pet for the whole of their life. You can rest assured with a lifetime policy, as it's the most comprehensive form of pet insurance that you can buy. As long as you renew the policy every year, it will stay in place for as long as you and your pet need it.

With lifetime cover, it's common for there to be annual limits on things like vets fees, but these can vary depending on the insurer.

Lifetime pet insurance will pay out for most of your unforeseen vet bills for your pet's entire life. This offers peace of mind as ongoing conditions are covered along with accidents and illnesses.

The number of pet owners buying insurance has recently risen by 4.5% to 3.7million, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI). But to benefit from lifetime pet insurance, you need to stay with the same insurer. So it's important to choose the right one.

By taking your time and researching your options it's easy to find an affordable policy that works for you and your pet.

How much is lifetime pet insurance?

The amount you pay for pet insurance is influenced by several factors including where you live, how old your pet is and what breed they are. If you're looking for lifetime pet insurance for your dog or cat, this is what you can expect to pay:

Average cost of a lifetime pet insurance insurance policy*:

Dog

£19

Cat

£13

*Prices based on Confused.com data taken between 01/06/23 - 31/08/23. Costs shown are based on the average monthly price paid for cover across all ages, breeds and in all locations.

Each policy is different and depends on your pet. When you ask for a quote you'll have to give details about both you and your pet.

Insurers will use your details to calculate the risk of you making a claim on your policy. This risk level is then used to work out the price you'll pay for your policy.

As your pet gets older and requires more treatment, the price you pay for insurance may rise. This is because as they get older the risk of them needing vet care, and you making a claim on your pet insurance, rises. According to ABI, pet insurance payouts topped £1 billion in 2022, setting a new record since records began.

You're not locked into a policy just because it's called lifetime pet insurance though. If you're given a renewal quote that seems high, shop around to see what other insurers are offering. But remember, if your pet developed an illness during your existing policy, you'll be covered.

You could find a new policy which is cheaper however, it won't necessarily cover pre-existing conditions. Prior to buying a new policy we recommend you check the policy wording to ensure it meets your needs.

What does lifetime pet insurance cover?

Tick

With a lifetime pet insurance policy, you'll usually be covered for:

  • Vet bills up to a limit - check with your insurer to see what your limit is
  • Cattery or kennel costs
  • Third-party liability cover, if your pet is responsible for damaging another person or property
  • Money if your pet goes missing or is stolen
  • Putting your pet to sleep and cremation costs
Cross

You may not be covered for:

  • Any routine vet bills - such as for annual injections
  • Any pre-existing conditions that occurred before you took the policy out
  • Dental treatment unless it's because of an accident

The type of pet insurance you buy will depend on the cover you want and your budget. If you have three cats, for example, multi-pet insurance could be your best option. But if you just have one dog and you want basic cover, an annual policy may be best.

Cover levels can vary between insurers, so remember to check your policy documents before you buy to make sure you've got the level of cover you need.

What's the difference between annual and lifetime pet insurance?

Both lifetime and annual pet insurance policies are renewed on an annual basis. But with lifetime pet insurance, the policy remains in place for your pet's lifetime. As long as you keep up with your payments and renew the policy every year.

The cover remains the same and your pet is covered for any chronic conditions, such as diabetes or arthritis.

Annual, or time-limited, pet insurance tend to provide the basics and cover conditions up to a limit for 12 months.

If your pet needs treatment for something they've previously been ill with or had treatment for, this usually can't be claimed for on your insurance as it's seen as a pre-existing condition.

What are the pros and cons of lifetime pet insurance?

Before picking a new policy, always weigh up the pros and cons.

Pros of lifetime pet insurance:

  • The majority of your vet bills will be covered
  • Ongoing conditions are included

Cons of lifetime pet insurance:

  • You'll need to stick with the same insurer
  • There are still limits on cover per year
  • Conditions that appeared before you bought the policy won't be included

How to save money on lifetime pet insurance

There are ways which might help save you money on your lifetime pet insurance policy, you could:

  • Pay a higher excess
  • Pay annually instead of monthly
  • Choose lower cover limits
  • Shop around
  • Opt for a different policy
  • Self-insure your pet

Lifetime pet insurance tends to be the most expensive option, but there are ways to save money.

  • Pay a higher excess to lower your monthly costs - just be sure it's an amount you can still afford.
  • Pay annually instead of monthly to avoid paying interest. If you can afford it, always pay in one lump sum.
  • Choose lower cover limits. You may be able to choose lower limits on cover, which should lower your costs.
  • Shop around and compare prices before you buy. Don't forget to check the small print.
  • Opt for a different policy if the price is too high, shop around or consider a different policy type.
  • Self-insure your pet instead of buying insurance. You could put the same amount of money into a savings account. Then the money is available if you need vet bills but if not it's there for you to spend. However as we’ve mentioned it pays to do your research on the reality of vet bills, and weighing up if you will have enough to cover one. For example according to the ABI an example of a bill was £3,800 to treat a dogs dislocated kneecap. The average cost of a claim compared to 2015 has also risen 13% from £721 to £817 according to the ABI research.

Other types of pet insurance

If lifetime cover isn't the best option for you, there are other types of pet insurance you can choose from including:

Maximum benefit

Maximum benefit means there's a maximum benefit you can claim in a year, with no time limit on your claim. This may be per condition or just an overall amount available. The fee covers each new condition until the selected amount of cover runs out. When the cover runs out, the condition becomes pre-existing and is excluded from future claims.

Time limited

Time limited is where there are limits on the amount you can claim per year and per condition. You also can't include conditions already diagnosed, and the fee will cover each new condition for 12 months. If the selected amount of cover runs out within the 12 months, you will stop being covered and it becomes pre-existing and is excluded from future claims.

Accident only

Accident only is usually the most basic, and cheapest, policy available. It only covers claims for accidents within a 12-month period, with no cover for pre-existing conditions.

Compare quotes for lifetime pet insurance

What our pet insurance expert says

"If you want to give your pet the best possible protection against accidents and illnesses, then lifetime cover is worth considering. Nobody wants to be stuck with vets bills that can go into the £1000's, so having the right level of cover in place will give you and your pet peace of mind."

"Any conditions that your pet has at the start of the policy won't be covered, and you'll need a pre-existing conditions policy instead."

Matthew Harwood, Home & lifestyle insurance expert at Confused.com
Home & lifestyle insurance expert Confused.com logo

You might also be interested in

More articles

Page last reviewed: 10 October 2023

Reviewed by: Matthew Harwood

Confused.com’s Pet Insurance solution is provided by theIdol.com. theidol.com is a trading style of Investment Discounts On-Line Ltd and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office; Investment Discounts On-Line Ltd, One Coleman Street, London, EC2R 5AA. Registered in England no: 04231834. theidol.com is part of the Legal & General group.

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.