We’ve researched the top UK pet insurers to find those that offer either no or low pet insurance excess.
No pet insurance excess
- Bought By Many Regular: £0
Low pet insurance excess
- M&S: £50
- Purely Pets: £60
- Paws and Claws: £60
- Tesco: £60
- John Lewis: £60
- Argos: £65
- Bought By Many: Regular (optional £69 excess); Complete: £69, Value: £69, Fixed for Life: £69, Moneyback: £69
How did we conduct our research?
We ran quotes in November 2018 for both a Labrador Retriever and a Tabby Spotted cat to find the cheapest excess offered. We used comparison websites, filtering for low excess, and our Best Pet Insurance article as a guide. This ensured we found the widest range of insurers possible.
We also confirmed that whether you’re insuring a dog or a cat, the policies and excesses offered were the same.
We analysed policy documents, insurer websites and spoke with insurance representatives where necessary.
What is excess in pet insurance?
A policy excess is the amount you must pay towards a pet insurance claim.
It varies between insurers and you often have an option to pay a higher excess in order to reduce your premium. This is useful as it offers you some control over your costs.
It also means that if you don’t make a claim during a policy year you'll have saved yourself some money.
However, you should remember that if you do make a claim, the excess will be deducted first. So it won't be worth claiming for vet fees that are lower than your excess.
The excess is often applied to each new condition you make a claim for in a policy period. If you’re claiming for a continued condition in the same policy period it's likely the excess will only be applied once.
You should be aware that your policy excess can increase once your pet turns 8 or 9. Insurers can also ask you to pay a percentage, also known as a co-payment, towards your claim on top of your excess.
They can also remove the excess completely and ask you to pay a higher percentage, or ask you to pay the higher of the two.
Your excess can increase as your pet gets older because they’re more likely to become ill, meaning higher claim payments for insurers.
Insurers recoup losses made through claims through increased premiums and excess charges. These charges are passed onto pet owners of higher risk pets.
Pet insurance with no excess
Bought By Many offers a zero excess on its Regular policy. It is a lifetime policy that offers £7,000 of vet fee cover that resets every year. You’ll pay no excess when you make a claim if your pet is under 9.
You can reduce your premium by adding an optional excess of £69 that is payable on the first claim you make in a year. If you make any other claims in that year, you won’t be charged an excess, regardless of what condition it is for.
Once your pet turns 9, an excess of £69 will be applied for the first claim in a year plus 20% of each new claim.
Here are the finer details of the zero-excess option:
There is zero excess on all vet fee claims, up until your pet turns 9.
If you’ve added Travel Cover to your policy, there is no excess on claims, and your vet fee cover will be extended to the EU. You’ll also receive £1,000 of cover for other specified pet related expenses.
If you’ve added Lost or Stolen cover, there is a zero excess, as is the same for Passing Away cover. Unfortunately, Passing Away cover is not available for pets over the age of 9, who pass away due to illness.
Should you need to put your pet to sleep, be buried or cremated, there is £150 payable towards those costs. This cover is automatically included in your policy, and there is no excess payable.
If you need pet minding due to an emergency, you can claim up to £1,000 towards these costs. Cover is included automatically in your policy and there will be no excess payable.
Finally, the only excess that will be applied will be £250 for legal cover relating to legal claims against you and your pet. In this case, you’re covered for up to £2,000,000.
Bought By Many is the only pet insurer to offer a zero excess policy, with the next lowest excess being available through M&S, who also offer £7,000 of vet fee cover.
Pet insurance with low excess
The following five companies offered the lowest pet insurance excess on the market at the time of our research in November 2018.
M&S pet insurance: £50 excess
M&S offers three cover levels: Essential, Standard and Premier, covering vet fees ranging from £3,000 up to £7,000. The Standard and Premier are both Lifetime policies. M&S are also listed in our Best Pet Insurance for Dogs guide.
You can choose an excess of either £50, £100 or £150 which will be taken on each separate illness or injury condition claimed for.
If you choose a higher excess your premium will be lower. However remember it may mean you don’t get a lot of cash back on those smaller vet claims.
You will need to pay an excess of £250 for liability – damage to property, which was a standard amount on all the policies we examined.
You will also need to pay an excess of £50 for holiday cancellation cover where it applies.
You won’t be charged an excess if your pet is put to sleep by a vet, or for burial or cremation costs.
There is no excess if you need emergency vet treatment when you’re abroad and you’ve purchased a Premier policy. You also won’t be charged excess if you need to claim for travel expenses under the Premier policy.
Once your pet turns 9, your chosen excess will increase by another £100.
Tesco pet insurance: £60 excess.
Tesco offers Accident only, Standard, Extra £4,000 and Premier £7,000 which is a Lifetime policy There are 3 excess options: £60, £120 and £200 and it’s taken for each new accident or illness you claim for.
Tesco is also listed on our best pet insurance guide.
Tesco advise that the excesses won’t change as your pet gets older. However your premium may increase. In this situation you may choose to increase your excess, to reduce your premium.
You’ll need to pay a £200 excess if you visit a referral vet that’s not part of the Tesco referral network. However, if this is as a result of an emergency that threatens your pet’s life, then this charge won’t be applied.
Paws and Claws: £60 excess
Paws and Claws offers 6 policies ranging from £1,000 up to £6,000 per policy year, two of which are Lifetime. The excess is the same as Tesco’s, set at £60 and is payable per condition per year.
Once your pet reaches 8 years old you’ll also need to pay a 15% co-payment on top of your excess. This works out to be around a £90 excess based on a £200 vet bill.
You’ll pay £250 excess for Third Party liability relating to dogs. The liability cover relates to property damage and personal injury or death caused by your dog, for which you are liable.
Purely Pets: £60 excess
Purely Pets offers five cover levels, starting from £2,000 up to £5,000 per year, two of which are Lifetime. The excess is £60 excess which is the same as Tesco pet insurance, Paws and Claws and John Lewis.
The excess is applied for each new condition in a policy period.
Once your pet reaches 8 years, a co-payment of 15% is applied to each claim for vet fees. This is payable in addition to the standard excess.
This works out to be a £90 excess on a £200 vet bill.
As with the other insurers listed in this article, the excess for Third Party Liability cover is £250. This relates to personal injury, death or property damage caused by your dog.
Purely Pets and Paws and Claw’s policies are both underwritten by Ultimate Insurance Solutions Ltd.
John Lewis: £60 excess
John Lewis offers three cover levels, Essential, Plus and Premier ranging from £3,000 up to £12,000. All three policies are Lifetime cover. The minimum voluntary excess you can choose is £60. Other options of £80, £100, £140, £250 and £500 can also be chosen.
Again, John Lewis feature on our Best Pet Insurance 2018 guide.
This policy offers the greatest choice of excess levels when compared to other insurers in the article. However, remember that if you choose a higher excess, it may not be worth claiming for lower vet fees.
The age of your pet doesn’t affect the excess until it turns 9. After this, you’ll pay either 20% of the claim or your chosen excess, whichever is the greater.
The excess for Third Party liability is £250. This is payable on claims paid if your dog damages property or causes personal injury or death.
Bought By Many: Regular (optional £69), Complete £69, Moneyback: £69, Value: £69, Fixed for Life: £69
As well as the Regular £0 excess policy, that can also be increased to £69 to lower the premium if you choose, Bought By Many also offers a range of other policies with a low £69 excess.
These include: Complete and Moneyback, both of which charge £69 for the first claim in a year, and no other excess after than within that year.
The Complete policy offers £15,000 of cover per policy year, and is a lifetime policy.
The Value and Fixed for Life policies will charge £69 per condition.
Which pet insurance companies don’t charge excess over 9 years old?
The only insurer who does not increase or change the excess for pets aged over 9 years old is Petplan. Instead, they change it when your pet reaches 10. However, Petplan does not offer the lowest pet excess on policies.
Petplan’s excess: £85
Petplan’s excess is not the cheapest. It charges £85 on its Essential policy and £110 on it’s Covered4Life. For Complimentary Therapy you’ll be charged £75, and for pet liability you’ll be charged £250.
Once your pet is 10, Petplan will change the excess to 20% of your claim. If your pet is a breed with a higher risk of health problems, the excess will change when it reaches 7.
Pet excess and pre-existing conditions
Bought By Many offers a policy for pets with pre-existing conditions. You'll receive £500 of vet cover in the first year for pre-existing conditions (this figure will increase if you don't need to claim for the condition), and £7,000 for new conditions.
We cannot cover conditions your pet has received treatment or advice for in the three months before your policy starts.
The policy excess is £99 per claim and you’ll also need to pay a percentage towards pre-existing conditions. For pets under 9 this will be 20% of your claim. For pets over 9 this will be 40% of any claim.
If you’re claiming for a new condition, you can either pay the standard excess or choose to pay and excess and 20% co-payment. These options would have been selected at the time you bought your policy, and would have influenced your premium.
For pets over 9, you’ll need to pay 20% towards any claim for new conditions.
Bought By Many is the only insurer that will cover pre-existing conditions online. The rest of the insurers advise that customers should contact them to discuss their requirements and may not cover the condition at all.
Pet insurance excess need to knows:
- When buying pet insurance, you should check whether the excess is chargeable per claim or per condition.
- Some insurers offer various excess options – consider whether increasing your excess will save you money in the long run.
- Consider what you need your insurance for. If you want to claim for smaller bills, or if you’re only going to use your insurance for larger, more expensive bills, then this will help you to make a decision on which excess level to choose.
- Finally, as your pets get older, the excess can increase or you may be charged a percentage of a claim. Take time to calculate which option would be best for you, based on an estimated vet fee bill.