Animal Friends pet insurance review

20 min Read Published: 17 Jun 2021

animal friends pet insurance

In this independent review, we look at Animal Friends' pet insurance policies including the types of policy available, the level of cover on offer and how much it costs. We recommend that you read the review in full however you can jump to specific sections of the article using the following links:

What is Animal Friends pet insurance?

Animal Friends* pet insurance was founded in 1998 by Elaine Fairfax. Elaine founded Animal Friends with the purpose to help animals not only through pet insurance but by donating to multiple animal welfare charities at the same time. Animal Friends Insurance is underwritten by Red Sands Insurance Company (Europe) Ltd.

To date, Animal Friends pet insurance insures over 800,000 pets and has donated £4.5 million to over 68 charities. Animal Friends won the best pet insurance at the personal finance awards in 2018 and 2019, as well as the best pet insurance provider and best claims service at the MoneyFacts consumer awards in 2017.

Animal Friends pet insurance features

Below is an overview of Animal Friends' policy features:

tick Multiple policy types

tick Policies for cats, dogs and horses

tick Free 24/7 vet video calls with Joii

tick Animal welfare donations with every policy

tick Online claims portal for vets

tick Keep track of your pet's microchip number on your account

What does Animal Friends pet insurance cover?

Animal Friends offers a variety of policies with different levels of cover depending on the pet you decide to insure. For more information on the different policy types, click here.

Lifetime cover

The most comprehensive policy type, lifetime pet insurance offers the best protection as it covers your pet for the duration of its life. Animal Friends offers two lifetime policies with different levels of cover: Annual limit with cover up to £5,000 or Annual condition limit with cover up to £6,000. Its Annual limit lifetime policy provides cover up to the agreed amount each year and once that limit is reached the remaining treatment will need to be self-funded until the annual limit renews. Its Annual condition limit lifetime cover provides veterinary fee cover up to the agreed amount per condition per year, once the limit is reached the remaining treatment amount will need to be self-funded until the annual condition limit renews.

Maximum Benefit

This cover will insure your pet for a set amount with no time limit. However, once the veterinary fee limit is reached it does not renew and any additional claims for the same condition will need to be self-funded. Animal Friends offers 3 different types of Maximum Benefit policies with a maximum lifetime condition limit of £4,000.

Time-limited

Time-limited policies with Animal Friends provides cover for your pet for 1 year from the onset of the condition or until the policy limit is reached, whichever comes first. There are 3 different time-limited policies with Animal Friends with a maximum annual policy limit of £10,000.

Accident-only

This is the most basic level of cover and offers protection in case your pet needs veterinary care due to an accident. There is an annual accident claim limit of £2,500 per accident with a lifetime limit of £15,000.

Standard horse insurance

This time-limited policy provides cover for horses from 1 month to 20 years old. You can choose to cover each condition up to £6,000 for up to 12 months and there is an option to add extras such as public liability cover, cover for tack and loss by theft or straying.

Mature horse insurance

This time-limited policy offers injury cover for horses over 20 years old. You can choose to cover each injury up to £2,000 for up to 12 months and there is an option to add extras such as public liability cover, cover for tack and loss by theft or straying.

Rider insurance

Personal rider insurance provides cover for riders aged 5 and above. The plan provides personal accident, public liability and emergency vet fee cover.

Animal Friends pet insurance exclusions

In this section of the Animal Friends pet insurance review, we highlight some of the key exclusions in an Animal Friends pet insurance policy. It is important that you read each policy carefully to ensure you fully understand the terms and conditions before opening the policy and making a claim.

Animal Friends will not cover:

cross Pets less than 4 weeks old

cross Pets used for breeding purposes

cross Pre-existing conditions

cross Illnesses within 14 days or injuries within 5 days of the policy start date

cross Claims linked to your pet being neutered or spayed

cross Certain cat and dog breeds, a full list of which can be found here

Animal Friends policy types

Animal Friends has a variety of policies* to choose from. Below we compare the different policies available for cats and dogs and in each comparison table, we summarise the key points for each policy. For more information on Animal Friends' Horse and Rider policies visit the Animal Friends website.

Lifetime Policies

Animal Friends Lifetime Policies provide the most extensive cover amongst all of the policies on offer. There are two types of Animal friends Lifetime policies:

  • Annual Limit (Lifetime Assure and Assure Plus) - You can claim as many times as you like in a year for an unlimited amount of conditions but you can only claim up until your maximum policy limit for the year. The limit will then renew each year when you renew your policy.
  • Annual Condition Limit  (Super, Superior, Superior Plus and Prestige) - You can claim as many times as you like in the year up to the limit for each condition. The condition limit will then renew each year when you renew your policy.

Animal Friends Lifetime policies

 

Lifetime Assure Lifetime Assure Plus Super Superior Superior Plus Prestige
Cover Type Annual limit Annual limit Annual Condition limit Annual Condition limit Annual Condition limit Annual Condition limit
Excess £99 £99 £99 £99 £99 £99
Annual Condition limit N/A N/A £1,000 £2,000 £4,000 £6,000
Lifetime condition limit Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Annual Policy limit £3,000 £5,000 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Public liability £1.5m £2m £1.5m £1.5m £1.75m £2m
Loss & theft £600 £1,200 £500 £750 £1,000 £1,500
Accident/injury dental cover
Death of pet cover £600 £1,200 £500 £750 £1,000 £1,500

 

Maximum Benefit policies

Maximum benefit pet insurance policies insure your pet for a set amount for the duration of the policy. Animal Friends has three maximum benefit policies to choose from. For example, if your pet is insured for £1,000 you can only claim up to £1,000 in total for any condition or treatment your pet receives. Once the limit has been met you will have to fund the remaining treatment. There is no time limit on this policy, however, if you meet the limit in the first year of the policy the cover amount does not renew so you will no longer be covered for any veterinary fees.

Animal Friends Maximum Benefit policies

Max Value Max Plus Max Extra
Cover Type Maximum benefit Maximum benefit Maximum benefit
Excess £99 £99 £99
Lifetime condition limit £1,000 £2,000 £4,000
Public liability £1.50m £1.50m £1.75m
Loss & theft £500 £750 £1,000
Accident/injury dental cover
Death of pet cover £500 £750 £1,000

Time-Limited policies

Animal Friends Time-limited pet insurance covers your pet for veterinary treatment for 365 days from the onset of the condition until the limit is reached. You can claim for more than one condition in a policy year however the policy has an annual limit so you would need to check this for each individual policy. The annual limits do renew each year, however, you will no longer be covered for any conditions that you have previously claimed for.

Animal Friends Time-limited policies

Basic Plus Prime Prime Plus
Cover Type Time-Limited Time-Limited Time-Limited
Excess £99 £99 £99
Annual Condition limit £1,000 £2,000 £4,000
Annual Policy limit £4,000 £7,000 £10,000
Public liability £1.00m £1.50m £1.75m
Loss & theft £500 £750 £1,000
Accident/injury dental cover
Death of pet cover £500 £750 £1,000

Accident-only Policies

An Animal Friends Accident-only policy covers your pet for veterinary treatment for injuries and complications sustained as a result of an accident. With this policy you can claim for more than one accident a year up until the condition limit, this limit then renews annually, so long as you keep your policy. The policy has a lifetime limit which means you can continue to claim for accidents until the lifetime limit is reached, so long as you do not exceed the annual limit each year.

Animal Friends Accident-only policies

Accident-only
Cover Type Accident-only
Excess £99
Annual Condition limit £2,500
Lifetime condition limit £15,000
Public liability
Loss & theft
Accident/injury dental cover
Death of pet cover

How much does Animal Friends pet insurance cost?

In the below tables we have included examples of the cost of pet insurance for each of the Animal Friends* pet insurance policies for both cats and dogs. The actual cost of your pet insurance will vary depending on the age, type and breed of your pet as well as where you are located. Animal Friends also adds a co-payment of at least 20% to any claims made when your dog turns 8 years old and your cat turns 10 years old.

The cost of Animal Friends pet insurance for a 1-year-old dog

The below quotes are based on a 1-year-old mixed breed dog that lives in the South East and has no underlying health conditions.

Policy Type Policy Name Monthly Cost
Lifetime Annual Condition Limit Prestige £23.26
Lifetime Annual Condition Limit Lifetime Superior Plus £17.51
Lifetime Annual Condition Limit Lifetime Superior £12.25
Lifetime Annual Condition Limit Lifetime Super £6.87
Lifetime Annual Policy Limit Lifetime Assure Plus £21.52
Lifetime Annual Policy Limit Lifetime Assure £14.44
Maximum Benefit Max Extra £15.67
Maximum Benefit Max Plus £11.05
Maximum Benefit Max Value £6.34
Time-Limited Prime Plus £11.01
Time-Limited Prime £7.76
Time-Limited Basic Plus £5.53
Accident-only Accident-only £4.48

(Quotes correct as of 17/06/21)

The cost of Animal Friends pet insurance for a 1-year-old cat

The following quotes are based on a 1-year-old mixed breed cat that lives in the South East and has no underlying health conditions.

Policy Type Policy Name Monthly Cost
Lifetime Annual Condition Limit Prestige £15.49
Lifetime Annual Condition Limit Lifetime Superior Plus £11.95
Lifetime Annual Condition Limit Lifetime Superior £8.32
Lifetime Annual Condition Limit Lifetime Super £5.26
Lifetime Annual Policy Limit Lifetime Assure Plus £14.40
Lifetime Annual Policy Limit Lifetime Assure £10.92
Maximum Benefit Max Extra £11.13
Maximum Benefit Max Plus £8.51
Maximum Benefit Max Value £4.84
Time-Limited Prime Plus £7.63
Time-Limited Prime £5.86
Time-Limited Basic Plus £4.21
Accident-only Accident-only £3.01

(Quotes correct as of 17/06/21)

How to make a claim on Animal Friends pet insurance

With Animal Friends you can:

  • Claim Veterinary fees - for treatment for an illness or injury
  • Get a pre-authorisation - ask Animal Friends to confirm the claim or cost of any treatment before it goes ahead
  • Repeat medication - claim for any repeat medication for any ongoing health conditions

Veterinary fee claims and pre-authorisation requests can be submitted online by your veterinary practice via the online claim system ‘Pawtal’. No paperwork is required for the online portal and as the vet makes the claim online it can make the process quicker. Animal Friends says it assesses claims submitted via the online Pawtal within 24 hours.

If for any reason you still need to make a paper claim you can download a paper claim form and send the information either via email to claimform@animalfriends.co.uk or by post to Animal Friends Insurance Ltd, Number 1 The Crescent, Sunrise Way, Amesbury, Wiltshire, SP4 7QA. Animal Friends says it aims to process any claims within 5 - 7 working days.

By logging in to your online account you can check the status of your claim and submit claims for repeat medication.

Is Animal Friends pet insurance regulated?

Animal Friends is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority which means it has to comply with strict UK regulations.

If you have a complaint about Animal Friends pet insurance you can take it further with the Financial Ombudsman Service, however, you will need to contact Animal Friends with your complaint first.

Animal Friends pet insurance customer reviews

Animal Friends* pet insurance is rated as ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot with a score of 4.3 out of 5 stars from over 23,000 reviews. 76% of customers rated the provider as ‘Excellent’ citing no delays in claims, great customer service and relatively cheap premiums. 8% of customer rated the provider as ‘Bad’ complaining of issues when paying out claims and discrepancies with some of the policy terms and conditions.

Animal Friends pet insurance pros and cons

Pros

  • Vast range of policies to choose from
  • Good veterinary fee cover
  • Donates money to animal welfare charities
  • Won ‘The Best Pet Insurance’ at the personal finance awards in 2018 and 2019
  • Free 24/7 vet video calls
  • Online portal for vets

Cons

  • Co-payment payable on dogs over 8 and cats over 10
  • Dental and gum treatment is not covered under most policies (excluding Lifetime Assure Plus & Prestige) and there is no way to add it as an optional extra
  • Does not cover pre-existing conditions

Alternatives to Animal Friends pet insurance

It is always best to shop around when purchasing pet insurance in order to understand the levels of cover available and to find the best cover for your pet. In the comparison table below we have compared the most comprehensive pet insurance policy for a 1-year-old mongrel with Animals Friends*, Petplan and Bought by Many*. Read more about the policies in our reviews:

Animal Friends vs Petplan vs Bought by Many

Animal Friends PetPlan
Bought by Many
Excess £99 per policy year £110 per illness/injury
£99 per policy year
Cost £23.26 £62.30 £33.45
Vet fee cover £6,000 per condition per year £12,000 per year
£15,000 per year
Public liability £2million £3million £3million
Loss & theft £1,500 £2,000 £6,000
Death of pet cover (if pet dies through illness or injury) £1,500 £2,000 £6,000
Vet video calls
Trustpilot score 4.4/5 4.6/5 4.2/5

Summary

Animal Friends* has a vast choice of pet insurance policies meaning you are bound to find one that suits your needs. Animal Friends offers a good range of cover for a reasonable price and there is the added bonus of knowing that you are donating to Animal Welfare charities when you take out a policy.

The addition of the Joii 24/7 veterinary advice app means that you could save money on veterinary consultation fees as it enables you to see a vet in order to query minor problems with your pet. Overall, I think Animal Friends offers a good pet insurance product but as with all insurance policies, it is imperative you read the small print to fully understand what is covered in your policy.

 

 

 

 

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