Although price should not be the deciding factor when shopping for pet insurance, it is important to a lot of pet owners. So we've looked into what you can do to get cheap pet cover and where you can go to find it.
How to get cheap pet insurance
Here are four main things you should consider to help get cheaper cover:
- Look for a specific type of policy - accident-only, per-condition or time-limited policies tend to be cheaper, or weigh up a lifetime policy with lower cover levels
- Consider a policy with a higher voluntary excess or bigger co-payment
- Shop around
- Consider a breed or a pet that is cheaper to insure
1. Look for a particular type of policy
Some policy types such as accident-only and time-limited offer a basic level of protection but cost less. As these policies tend to come with lower limits for vet fees, it is important to understand what you're covered for in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
- Accident-only insurance is a type of cover that will only pay out if your pet was in an accident, meaning you won't be covered for illness or diseases.
- A time-limited policy provides a level of vet fee cover that can be used until you've exhausted the limit or the policy year has run out.
You can claim up to your limit for any condition, unless it's been excluded, until you've hit your maximum cover level, or you've reached the end of your policy year.
Time-limited policies can be restrictive in that conditions you've claimed for in one year, may be excluded for cover upon renewal.
- A per-condition policy will give you a set amount of cover to use per condition your pet suffers with.
This means if you needed to claim for a stomach condition you could claim up to the specified amount for that illness. If you claimed the full amount in the first two months you would reach your limit and could not claim for that same condition again. Although you could claim for another condition.
- A liability-only policy can cost you around £20 for the whole year but it will not include any cover for veterinary conditions, accidents, illness or loss. It will only cover you for legal fees if your dog hurts somebody, damages somebody's property or causes an accident. Bought By Many is one of the few insurers that offers a liability-only policy.
It is important to remember that cheaper policies will come with lower limits for vet fees and going over the limit would mean having to pay for treatment yourself.
Financial expert Which? recommends that owners of pedigree dogs get at least £7,000 of cover per year; non-pedigree dog owners at least £4,000 and cat owners a minimum of £3,000.
2. Go for a higher voluntary excess and co-payment
Many pet insurance providers offer different options for excess and co-payment. Going for a higher excess and a larger co-payment would lower your monthly premiums. It would also mean, however, that if you claimed, you’d have to make a higher contribution to your claim.
That said, a higher level of excess and a bigger co-payment can make a difference to your premiums. For example, to insure a Dachshund on our Regular with no excess would cost around £19.53 a month, while adding £69 excess + 20% co-payment takes the premium down to around £13.59 a month.
Select Regular when getting a quote and use the slider to adjust your excess and co-payment.
3. Shop around
Get quotes from a number of insurers and try different comparison sites because insurers may not feature on all comparison sites.
Get as many quotes as possible make sure you compare like-for-like cover when looking at price.
4. Get a breed or a pet that is cheaper to insure:
If you're still considering what pet to get, try comparing quotes for different pets and breeds to compare prices.
One way of finding cheaper pet insurance is by choosing a pet you know is going to be cheaper to cover. For example, cat insurance usually costs less than dog insurance and a pedigree dog would cost more to insure than a mixed-breed dog.
In addition, some breeds might be cheaper to insure than others - pet insurance for a three-year-old dachshund based in Milton Keynes started from £4.82 per month, while quotes for an English Bulldog of the same age and address started from £9.08 per month. (The quotes were obtained from GoCompare in November 2018).
The reason some breeds are more expensive to insure than others is they pose a greater risk to insurers due to genetically-related conditions that cost a lot to treat.
For example, flat-faced dogs usually cost a lot to insure because they are likely to suffer from breathing problems.
Find out more about the difference between pedigree, crossbreed and mixed-breed dogs and cats.
Other things that can help you get cheap pet insurance:
- Keep your pet as healthy as possible, a past claim can increase your premiums.
- Buy pet insurance as soon as you get your pet – younger, healthy pets are cheaper to insure. However, be aware that your price may rise each year at renewal as your pet gets older.
- If you have more than one pet, compare multi-pet insurance discounts and get quotes from different providers to see which one can offer you the cheapest cover with a good level of protection.
- Check whether the policy you want is cheaper if you pay in one go, rather than in monthly instalments.
Where to get cheap pet insurance
You can also use comparison sites to see what the cheapest policies on the market offer. Be mindful when getting quotes on comparison sites as some insurers might have created their cheapest policies in order to appear higher up in comparison site results. Always check the limits offered are adequate.
We’ve researched the cheapest pet insurance policies offered by some of the pet insurers in our top ten best pet insurance list and have compared cheap pet insurance quotes for cats and dogs.
Cheap pet insurance for old cats and dogs
If your pet is older, finding cheap pet insurance might be more difficult as the older pets get the more likely they are to suffer from health problems, which is why insurers see them as higher risk.
A lot of insurers will even refuse to insure pets over a certain age. It is possible to find a cheaper pet insurance policy for an older pet, however. We’ve looked into 9 of the best pet insurance companies on the market that might be able to offer a well-priced policy for an older pet.