Accident-only pet insurance explained

9 min Read Published: 08 Jun 2021

Accident only pet insurance explained

Accident-only pet insurance is the most basic and usually the cheapest type of pet insurance policy. It does not offer cover for veterinary treatment required as a result of an illness but will pay out if your pet is injured in an accident. In this article, we take a look at accident-only pet insurance including how accident-only pet insurance works, how much it costs and the alternatives to accident-only pet insurance.

What is accident-only pet insurance?

Accident-only pet insurance covers your pet should it have an accident and require veterinary treatment. It usually does not pay out for treatment relating to any illness. Because of this, accident-only pet insurance is the most basic pet insurance policy available and is therefore often cheaper than other pet insurance policies. If you would like your pet to be insured against illness then you may wish to skip to the alternatives to accident-only pet insurance section of this article.

Most accident-only pet insurance policies will also only insure your pet for a set amount per accident it sustains. Usually, once this limit is reached you can no longer claim for any further treatment related to that accident. However, some policies do have a time limit for when you can claim for treatment, usually up to 12 months after the accident. As long as you renew your accident-only pet insurance policy you should be able to claim for future accidents.

How does accident-only pet insurance work?

Accident-only pet insurance policy premiums can be paid monthly or annually and in the unfortunate event that your pet is involved in an accident you can claim for the cost of the veterinary fees. Accident-only pet insurance will only cover the cost of veterinary fees due to your pet being in an accident or complications caused by your pet being in an accident. It does not cover the cost of treatment relating to any illness. Each accident-only pet insurance provider offers varying levels of cover so make sure you check the terms and conditions of the policy to ensure you understand exactly what you are covered for.

Here is a brief summary of what most accident-only pet insurance policies cover:

What is covered by accident-only pet insurance?

tick Veterinary fees due to an accident

What isn't covered by accident-only pet insurance?

cross Veterinary fees due to illness

cross The policy excess

cross Pre-existing conditions

cross Routine care such as worming and vaccinations

Some accident-only pet insurance providers also offer cover for third party liability, dental treatment due to an accident and death/euthanasia due to an accident but this varies between providers. It is best to check with each provider carefully before taking out any policy.

How much does accident-only pet insurance cost?

The cost of accident-only pet insurance will vary largely depending on the age, type and breed of your pet. Where you live can also affect the cost of your pet insurance policy. The below table shows three example quotes for accident-only pet insurance. Bear in mind, when comparing pet insurance policies that different policies will offer differing levels of cover and some accident-only policies require an additional co-payment should you make a claim. A co-payment is where you pay a certain percentage of any vet fees, after deducting the policy excess. It is important to check the terms and conditions of each policy before committing so you fully understand what your pet is insured for. Accident-only pet insurance is usually the cheapest pet insurance policy and if you would like more information on the cost of other types of pet insurance read our article "The best and cheapest pet insurance".

Comparison table - accident-only pet insurance cover for a 1-year-old cat and dog 

Animal Friends The Insurance Emporium RSPCA
Excess £99 £75 £100
Vet fee cover £2,500 per accident per policy year (£15,000 lifetime condition limit) £2,500 per injury/accident
£2,500 for each injury*
Mixed breed dog £4.48 £5.87 £7.28
Mixed breed cat £3.01 £4.69 £5.60

*12-month claim limit applies 

Pros and cons of accident-only pet insurance

Pros of accident-only pet insurance

  • Usually the cheapest pet insurance policy
  • Veterinary fee cover for injury caused by an accident

Cons of accident-only pet insurance

  • Doesn't cover veterinary bills incurred due to illnesses
  • No cover for pre-existing conditions
  • Some insurers limit cover for an accident to a maximum of 12 months

Alternatives to accident-only pet insurance

If you are looking for a more comprehensive pet insurance policy then you may wish to look at the alternatives to accident-only pet insurance which we cover in more detail below.

Lifetime pet insurance

This is the most comprehensive type of pet insurance policy and is therefore typically the most expensive, however, it offers the best protection for your pet. Lifetime pet insurance comes in two forms; annual limit per condition or annual lifetime limit cover. Both of these types of lifetime pet insurance cover your pet for the duration of its life. Annual limit per condition covers your pet for a set limit per condition each year which renews annually while annual lifetime limit insurance covers your pet for a set limit across the lifetime of your pet for each condition. For more information on lifetime pet insurance read our article "Lifetime pet insurance explained".

Maximum benefit pet insurance

Maximum benefit pet insurance is not as comprehensive as lifetime pet insurance but it still offers a great level of cover for your pet. Maximum benefit pet insurance covers your pet for a set amount per condition. This means that you can claim for the condition up until the limit is reached, there is no time limit and once the limit has been reached the remaining treatment will need to be self-funded. For more information on maximum benefit pet insurance read our article "Maximum benefit pet insurance explained".

Time-limited

Time-limited pet insurance is generally cheaper than maximum benefit and lifetime pet insurance because whilst it offers cover for veterinary fees for both illnesses and accidents it only offers cover for a set period of time. For example, veterinary fees for an illness will only be covered for up to 12 months after the first date of treatment or until the cost limit is reached, whichever comes first. For more information on time-limited pet insurance read our article "Time-limited pet insurance explained".

In the below comparison table we summarise the key differences between the different types of pet insurance policies available:

Types of pet insurance policy

Lifetime pet insurance Maximum benefit pet insurance Time-limited pet insurance
Accident-only pet insurance
Vet fee cover for illness
Vet fee cover for injury
Vet fee cover amount renews annually
Vet fee cover per condition *
Vet fee cover for a set time period (usually 12 months) *

*policy dependant

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