On average, UK pet owners spend about £15 per month on pet insurance. However, this number varies wildly, depending on several major factors.
1. The type of pet you have.
Within the pedigree category, prices vary depending on the cost of the pet and its size (so, insurance for Pugs and French Bulldogs tends to cost more due to their market value, whereas Great Danes and Mastiffs cost more due to their size. This distinction does not affect the cost of pet insurance for cats as much as it does for dogs).
2. The postcode your dog or cat lives in.
Vet prices vary in different parts of the country, and are generally more expensive within London and the South East, pushing pet insurance policy prices up accordingly.
3. The type of pet insurance policy you choose
There are four types of pet insurance policies - Accident Only, Time limited, Per Condition and Lifetime. As with anything else, you get what you pay for, and so prices for the different policies vary dramatically. Accident Only pet insurance cover can cost as little as £3 per month, but Lifetime policies for older or big dogs can be as much as £200 per month.
Lifetime (or ‘yearly limit’) insurance covers vet fees up to the stated limit every year. This can be a good option if you worry about your pet developing a long-term or recurring illness. So long as you renew a lifetime policy each year, the level of vet fees will reset to the full stated limits that you started with.
With a lifetime product, it is important to note that your premiums will increase each year at renewal. This is different to a “Per Condition” policy, where a particular condition can become excluded once the condition limit is reached. Your excess is also likely to increase as your pet gets older.
As well as different polices, there is also a variety of companies on the market, making it all the more difficult to find the one that is right for you and your pet.
Choosing between different pet insurance options
This blog post aims to make sense of the options available through some of the best and most reliable companies in the market, to help you protect your pet when their "fails" more serious.
Industry leaders, such as MoreThan, are often chosen by consumers as a name they know and trust. MoreThan offer comprehensive cover, including up to £12,000 of vet bills cover, as well as enhanced cover for public liability, theft, straying, dental treatment, and even alternative therapies.
Petplan, another major player, offers the same level of comprehensive cover and has a reputation for excellent care – it is thought of as the "Rolls Royce" of pet insurance policies. Their policies tend to be expensive, but, unlike most other providers, their prices do not usually rise after a claim is made.
Alternatively, for people whose priority it is to keep costs down, newer companies such as Helpucover and ProtectYourBubble offer more basic, and subsequently cheap, options to help save the pennies.
It is important to note all insurance companies ask the customer to pay excess in case of a claim – this is the amount you have to contribute yourself towards the claim. With some companies (such as MoreThan) it can be as little as £75, whereas others (such as John Lewis) may charge as much as £140.
Should I just put money into a savings account instead of buying pet insurance?
Some people do choose to self-insure, which means not taking out an insurance policy and putting money aside every month for vet fees instead. This can be a good option for older pets, as some companies refuse to insure pets over the age of 8, but owners must keep in mind that some illnesses can incur very large vet fees, and, crucially, self-insuring does not cover you in the event of your pet injuring another person or causing an accident.
Whichever option you chose, it is important to always read the fine print and ensure you know exactly what your policy covers.
Getting the right insurance may be a challenge, but we are sure all pet owners will agree that the unconditional love they get from their pets is worth the hassle, and the money.