There are four main types of pet insurance and choosing the best for your pet can be confusing. In this article, we take a look at accident-only pet insurance explaining how it works, which providers offer the best accident-only pet insurance and how much accident-only pet insurance costs. If you want to find out more about pet insurance and the different types available, you may find these articles useful:
What is accident-only pet insurance?
Accident-only pet insurance is the most basic type of pet insurance policy as it only insures your pet for injury and does not cover your pet for illness. Because of this, it is usually the cheapest pet insurance policy you can buy. Most accident-only pet insurance policies do not allow you to add additional cover such as holiday cancellation, emergency boarding or loss and theft cover. One exception however is pet insurance provider More Than, which gives the policyholder the option to add loss and theft cover for your pet as well as advertising and reward insurance. These both come at an additional cost.
How does accident-only pet insurance work?
Accident-only pet insurance will cover your pet for veterinary treatment due to an accident or injury. It can be particularly useful for senior pets that are uninsurable on a standard policy due to the pet's age (some providers have upper age limits) or due to pre-existing conditions. There are fewer pet insurance providers that offer accident-only pet insurance policies compared to other policies such as lifetime pet insurance but you can still get up to £3,500 of veterinary fee cover depending on the policy you choose.
Some accident-only pet insurance providers impose a time limit on how long you have to claim for an accident. This is usually 12 months from the accident or date of treatment. If your accident-only pet insurance policy has a time limit, you will have to claim within the timeframe or until the veterinary fee limit is reached, whichever comes first. Once the vet fee limit has been met or you have exceeded the time limit, the condition will no longer be covered and the condition will then be deemed as pre-existing and any further treatment will need to be self-funded.
If you would like more information on accident-only pet insurance read our article, 'Accident-only pet insurance explained'.
Should you buy accident-only pet insurance?
Accident-only pet insurance only covers your pet for veterinary treatment due to injury or accident so if you want to cover your pet for illness then you may want to look at the other types of pet insurance. More information on the other types of pet insurance can be found in our article, "What are the different types of pet insurance?".
Accident-only pet insurance can be an option if you are struggling to get your older pet insured. A majority of pet insurance providers have upper age limits on their pet insurance policies and those that don't have hefty premiums for senior pets, as you are more likely to need to claim as your pet ages. An accident-only policy will ensure you have some protection for your pet should it injure itself or be involved in an accident. It may also be worth considering an accident-only pet insurance policy if your pet has a lot of pre-existing conditions and is unable to get insured for those conditions elsewhere, as the cover does at least provide you with some protection in the event of injury due to an accident.
The best accident-only pet insurance
In this section of the article, we compare some of the best accident-only pet insurance providers. To find out how much accident-only pet insurance costs, jump to the following section of the article.
|Animal Friends||More Than||Scratch & Patch||Tesco Bank||
The Insurance Emporium
|Best for...||Vet video calls||Online discount||No co-payment||Third-party liability cover||Multi-pet discount|
|Number of accident-only policies offered by the insurer||1||1||1||1||1|
|Maximum vet fee cover||£2,500||£2,500||£2,250||£3,000||
|Vet fee cover renews annually|
|Time limit||12 months||12 months||12 months|
|Excess options||£69/£99/£159||£100||£100/£125 for dogs under 8 and cats under 10 £250/£275 for dogs over 8 and cats over 10||£60/£120/£200||£75|
|Co-payment||20% Dogs over 8 and cats over 10||15% for pets over 8|
|Upper age limit|
|Death cover||£250 accident only|
|Loss of pet cover||Optional extra||£250|
|Video vet calls/helpline||Vet video calls||Vet helpline||Vet helpline||Vet video calls||Optional|
|More information...||Animal Friends||More Than||Scratch & Patch||Tesco Bank||The Insurance Emporium|
How much does accident-only pet insurance cost?
In the table below, we have compared the cost of 5 different accident-only pet insurance policies. The quotes are based on a mixed breed cat and dog, with no underlying health conditions and living in a South East postcode. We have provided comparison quotes based on both a young and old cat and dog. It is worth noting that in most cases dogs are considered old from the age of 8 and cats from the age of 10.
Another way to compare the cost of pet insurance is via a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket* or Compare the Market*. This allows you to compare multiple policies at once to see the best cover and price for your pet. A downside to comparison sites, however, is that they are not always whole of market which means you could miss out on a better deal with another provider.
Accident-only pet insurance policy cost comparison
|Animal Friends*||More Than||Scratch & Patch||Tesco Bank|
|Pet insurance policy name||Accident Only||Accident Only||
|Accident & Injury||Accident Only|
|Maximum vet fee cover (per accident)||£2,500||£2,500||£2,250||£3,000||£3,000|
|Time limit (12 months)|
|Co-payment||20% dogs over 8 and cats over 10||
15% for pets over 8
|1-year-old dog (monthly cost)||£4.61||£6.68||£9.68||£6.65||£5.87|
|8-year-old dog (monthly cost)||£4.61||£4.81||£10.34||£5.32||£5.87|
|1-year-old cat (monthly cost)||£3.10||£12.87||£6.17||£4.00||£4.69|
|10-year-old cat (monthly cost)||£3.10||£4.39||£5.30||£3.08||£4.69|
*£120 excess was chosen for the Tesco policy (two other options are available £60 or £200) The above quotes are based on a mixed breed cat and dog, with no underlying health conditions and living in a South East postcode. (Quotes correct as of 09/02/22)
Pros and cons of accident-only pet insurance
Pros of accident-only pet insurance
- Covers veterinary fees up to the agreed limit due to an accident or injury
- Usually cheaper than other types of pet insurance
- Useful for pets that cannot get insured due to their age or pre-existing conditions
Cons of accident-only pet insurance
- Does not cover pets for illness
- No cover for pre-existing conditions
- May have a time limit as well as an upper claim limit in terms of when you can claim (policy dependant)
Alternatives to accident-only pet insurance
Accident-only pet insurance will insure your pet for veterinary treatment owing to an accident or injury. It does not cover your pet for treatment due to illness. If you would like to cover your pet for illness as well as accidents and injury then you may wish to consider another type of pet insurance policy. We summarise all four main types of pet insurance in the below comparison table and go into more detail about each of the types below the table.
Pet insurance policy comparison table
|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)||*|
Lifetime pet insurance
Lifetime pet insurance is the most comprehensive policy for your pet because the veterinary fee cover renews annually. This means that even if you make a claim or max out your vet fee limit in a policy year, it resets the following year allowing you to claim again up to the agreed limit.
There are two main types of lifetime pet insurance, annual limit per condition and annual limit. Annual limit lifetime pet insurance is the most common lifetime pet insurance policy and allows you to claim for multiple conditions up to a set limit each policy year. If you renew the policy, the vet fee limit then resets. Annual limit per condition lifetime pet insurance is less common but will insure your pet for a set amount per condition per policy year. The vet fee limit will then renew annually. If you would like to find out more information about lifetime pet insurance, read our article "Lifetime pet insurance explained".
Maximum benefit pet insurance
Maximum benefit pet insurance will insure your pet against illness and injury. Your pet will be insured for a set amount per condition but the veterinary fee cover does not renew annually. Once the vet fee limit has been reached your pet will no longer be covered for that particular condition and any further treatment will need to be self-funded.
Whilst the vet fee cover does not renew annually, maximum benefit pet insurance can still offer a good level of cover for your pet and as there is no time limit you could be covered for the majority of your pet's life. To find out more information about maximum benefit pet insurance, read our article "Maximum benefit pet insurance explained".
Time-limited pet insurance
Time-limited pet insurance will insure your pet for both illness and injury but only for a set vet fee amount or for a set period of time. With time-limited pet insurance there is a limit on how long you have to claim for a condition and this is usually 12 months from the onset of the condition (exactly when the time limit starts can vary between providers so check your policy documents carefully).
When you need to claim for a condition with time-limited pet insurance, you can only claim up until the vet fee limit or for up to 12 months, whichever comes first. Time-limited pet insurance is usually cheaper than other pet insurance policies because it offers more restrictive cover but if you would like to find out more information about time-limited pet insurance, read our article "Time-limited pet insurance explained".
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