Do your pets need travel insurance?

Ronny Lavie By Ronny Lavie

Having a pet can add an extra layer of complexity to planning a holiday. Do you leave them with family or friends, take them to a kennel or cattery, or bring them with you?

Taking them on a long-haul flight (though possible) can be tricky, but trips in Europe, and certainly within the UK, are more than doable.

PetsPyjamas even offers dog-friendly holidays on its website. You can compare hundreds of places to stay around the UK, and even a few locations in Europe, that allow dogs. It has found hotels for everything from beachfront holidays to city mini-breaks and romantic getaways in the country.

But if you’re taking your pet with you, do you need pet travel insurance? You wouldn’t dream of going away without cover for you and your family, so how do you make sure your furry friend is covered too?

Do travel insurance policies include cover for pets?

We couldn’t find any standard travel insurance policies that offer cover for pets. That said, policies do vary so check the small print, or call your provider to find out whether or not a pet can be covered under your policy.

Do pet insurance policies cover my pet abroad?

A lot of the big pet insurance companies do offer cover for your pet while abroad, although it is often an optional extra that costs more. Providers that offer it include More Than, Animal Friends, M&S and John Lewis.

The level of cover available varies massively but John Lewis offers up to £12,000.

We've partnered with More Than to offer our members 20% off pet insurance. Join our pet group to access the discount.

Third-party liability is often available as well, but it is typically for dog travel policies. Some providers limit their cover to travel within Europe, so make sure you read the fine print of your policy.

Read our guides to learn more about the best pet insurance for dogs and for cats.

What about a standalone pet travel insurance policy?

The only dedicated pet travel insurance policy we’re aware of is from E&L.

It offers two levels of cover – single trip of up to 28 days, or an annual multi-trip policy. The cover includes up to £2,500 vet fees, and cover for quarantine fees, holiday cancellation, accommodation and theft or straying. Public liability is included and there’s a 5% discount for booking online.

You can get a quote for pet travel insurance from E&L here.

What is the Pet Travel Scheme?

Travelling with pets in EU countries is relatively easy because of the Pet Travel Scheme – a government initiative that means your dog, cat or ferret does not have to spend time in quarantine when coming back to the UK from the countries included in the scheme.

The condition for this is that your pet must have an EU pet passport. You can get one through your vet, but your pet must meet the following criteria:

  • Be microchipped
  • Be vaccinated against rabies
  • Have a blood test to confirm the rabies vaccination was successful
  • Have treatment for tapeworms and ticks (and have an official certificate to show for it)

You will need to sign a declaration that you are not going to transfer or sell ownership of your pet.

For travel to countries that are not listed in the scheme, you are required to wait at least three months after the blood test before you can travel, so it’s best to plan ahead.

You can find out more information about the scheme on the government's website.

If you’re travelling further afield you’ll need to check the laws of the country you’re visiting. You don’t want to be accused of smuggling dogs into a country as Johnny Depp was in Australia.

How about travel within the UK?

Some pet insurance policies may cover your pet away from your home if you’re going on holiday in the UK. Read your policy document or call your provider to make sure.

There are hotels in many of the UK’s top tourist destinations that cater for pet owners, which is certain to make your trip easier and more enjoyable.

For the complete pet-friendly experience, have a look at PetsPyjamas' website for their exclusive pet-friendly hotel packages.

Wherever you choose to travel with your pet, we hope you all have a wonderful and safe time away!

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