Pet insurance is a minefield and it can be confusing trying to find the best insurance for your pet. Pet insurance is designed to cover the cost of veterinary bills should your pet need treatment for an illness or injury. There are four main types of pet insurance and in this article, we take a look at maximum benefit pet insurance, including the best maximum benefit pet insurance providers, how much maximum benefit pet insurance costs and the alternatives to maximum benefit pet insurance.
For more information on pet insurance and how it works, you may find these articles useful:
What is maximum benefit pet insurance?
Maximum benefit pet insurance insures your pet for veterinary treatment should your pet sustain an injury or develop an illness. With maximum benefit pet insurance, your pet is insured for a maximum vet fee limit per condition. Most maximum benefit pet insurance policies insure your pet for the cost of veterinary fees due to illness and injury, death due to illness or injury and third-party liability. Your pet will not be covered for routine treatment such as vaccinations and worming. Unlike lifetime pet insurance, the vet fee limit on a maximum benefit pet insurance policy does not renew annually and therefore once the limit (usually per condition) has been reached any further treatment must be self-funded.
How does maximum benefit pet insurance work?
Maximum benefit pet insurance insures your pet for a set amount per condition for the duration of your pet's policy. If your pet is insured up to a maximum of £4,000 per condition, it means you can claim up to £4,000 per condition until the limit is reached for that condition. Unlike time-limited pet insurance, where there is usually a 12-month time-limit on the claim, you are not restricted on how long you have to claim for the condition and therefore can claim more than once for the same condition until the limit is reached. You can also claim for more than one condition up until the maximum limit for each condition. However, once you have reached the limit, any further treatment for the condition will need to be self-funded.
For more information on maximum benefit pet insurance read our article "Maximum benefit pet insurance explained".
The best maximum benefit pet insurance
There are a variety of pet insurance providers that offer maximum benefit pet insurance policies, however, in the below table we compare six of the leading maximum benefit pet insurance providers. To find out more about each provider click on the link in the 'More information' section of the table.
Maximum benefit pet insurance comparison
(scroll right to view the full table)
|Animal Friends||Direct Line||Healthy pets||Scratch & Patch||Tesco Bank||
The Insurance Emporium
|Good for...||..free vet video calls||...generous vet fee cover||...introductory discount||...no compulsory co-payment||...Clubcard discount||
... insuring senior pets
|Number of maximum benefit policies offered by insurer||3||1||3||1||2||3|
|Maximum vet fee cover (depending on the policy you choose)||Up to £4,000||Up to £8,000||Up to £7,500||Up to £4,000||Up to £7,500||Up to £7,500|
|Death cover||Optional extra||
Loss of pet cover
|Optional extra||Policy dependant|
|Third-party liability||Up to £2m||Optional extra||£1m||£1.5m||£2m||£1.5m|
|Video vet calls|
|Excess options||£99||Cats: £80
|Pets aged up to 5: £99
Pets aged 5-6: £99 + 15% co-payment
Pets aged 6+: £100 + 20% co-payment
|Dogs under 8 and cats under 10 £100/£125 Dogs over 8 and cats over 10: £250/£275||£60/£120/£200||Between £85 - £115 depending on the pet and policy type|
|Animal Friends pet insurance||Direct Line pet insurance||Healthy pets pet insurance||Scratch & Patch pet insurance||Tesco Bank Pet insurance||The Insurance Emporium pet insurance|
How much does maximum benefit pet insurance cost?
How much you pay for your pet insurance policy will vary depending on the age, type and breed of your pet. Where you live also affects the cost of your pet insurance as well as the type of policy you choose. Maximum benefit pet insurance is not as comprehensive as lifetime pet insurance as your vet fee cover does not renew annually, however, it still offers a generous amount of cover for veterinary fees.
In the comparison table below we share the monthly cost of six maximum benefit pet insurance policies for a 1-year-old dog and cat with no underlying health conditions and living in a South East postcode. For the purpose of the table, we have chosen to compare the most comprehensive maximum benefit pet insurance policies with each provider.
You can also choose to compare the cost of your pet insurance via a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket* or Compare the Market. This allows you to compare multiple pet insurance policies at once to find the best and cheapest deal for your pet. One thing to consider, however, is that not all comparison sites are whole of market which could mean that there may be a better deal elsewhere.
Maximum benefit pet insurance policy cost comparison
(scroll right to see the full table)
|Animal Friends*||Direct Line||Healthy pets||Scratch & Patch||Tesco Bank|
|Pet insurance policy type||Maximum Benefit||Maximum Benefit||Maximum Benefit||Maximum Benefit||Maximum Benefit||
|Policy name||Max Extra||Advanced||Maximum Benefit Gold||Gold||Extra||
Maximum Benefit Gold
|Maximum vet fee cover||£4,000 per condition||£8,000 per condition||£7,500 per condition||£4,000 per condition||£7,500 per condition||£7,500 per condition|
|Monthly cost dog||£17.10||£23.60||£20.65||£20.16||£18.47||£24.85|
|Monthly cost cat||£13.15||£15.67||£12.65||£12.57||£14.28||£16.80|
*£120 excess was selected for the Tesco Bank quotes as this was the closest excess to £100 which is the average across all of the policies
(Quotes are based on the most comprehensive maximum benefit pet insurance policy with each provider and are correct as of 11/02/22)
Pros and cons of maximum benefit pet insurance
Pros of maximum benefit pet insurance
- Good level of vet fee cover but cheaper than lifetime pet insurance
- Covers your pet for ongoing treatment or medication until the vet fee limit is reached
- No time-limit on when you can make a claim unlike time-limited pet insurance
Cons of maximum benefit pet insurance
- Once the limit has been reached you are unable to claim for the same condition again and you may then struggle to get insurance cover elsewhere
- Limit may be reached quickly if your pet has a lot of expensive treatment in a short period of time
- No pre-existing condition cover
Alternatives to maximum benefit pet insurance
There are three alternatives to maximum benefit pet insurance and we summarise the other types of pet insurance available below.
Lifetime pet insurance
Lifetime pet insurance is the most comprehensive pet insurance policy as it will cover your pet for long-term and chronic conditions for the duration of its life. Because of this, lifetime pet insurance is usually the most expensive type of pet insurance and you are most likely to benefit from taking it out when the pet is young. This is because if a pet develops an illness/injury before a pet insurance policy is opened, it will be classed as a pre-existing condition and will not be covered by any insurer unless you choose a pre-existing condition pet insurance policy where there may be some exceptions.
The two main types of lifetime pet insurance are annual limit lifetime pet insurance and annual limit per condition lifetime pet insurance. Annual limit lifetime pet insurance insures your pet for a set amount per year, which means you can claim for more than one condition until the limit is reached. After this, any treatment will need to be self-funded until the limit renews the following year. Annual limit per condition lifetime pet insurance insures your pet for a set amount per condition, which means you can claim up to a total limit for more than one condition each year. If you reach the condition limit in the year, any further treatment will need to be self-funded until the condition limit renews the following policy year.
For more information on lifetime pet insurance read our article "Lifetime pet insurance explained".
Time-limited pet insurance
Time-limited pet insurance covers your pet for veterinary treatment for illnesses and injury. It insures your pet for a set amount for a set period of time, which is usually 12 months from diagnosis or the first date of treatment. For example, your pet may be insured for £3,000 for a period of 12 months or until the limit is reached, whichever comes first. Once you have met the limits on the insurance any further treatment for the condition will need to be self-funded.
For more information on time-limited pet insurance read our article "Time-limited pet insurance explained".
Accident-only pet insurance
Accident-only pet insurance does not cover your pet for illnesses which means you will only be insured for veterinary treatment as a result of an accident. Some accident-only pet insurance policies, such as the RSPCA, will impose time-limits on how long you have to claim for fees relating to the accident. Some policies will have a condition limit on the veterinary fees which means you can only claim up to a certain limit for each condition and other policies have a total claim limit per year for multiple conditions.
For more information on accident-only pet insurance read our article "Accident-only pet insurance explained".
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