It can be hard to know which type of pet insurance is best for your pet, especially as there are so many different types of policy to choose from. In this article, we take a look at time-limited pet insurance explaining how it works, which providers offer the best time-limited pet insurance and the alternative types of pet insurance you may wish to consider.
If you would like more information on how pet insurance works and the different types of pet insurance you may find these articles useful:
- A complete guide to pet insurance
- What are the different types of pet insurance?
- The best pet insurance for cats
- The best pet insurance for dogs
What is time-limited pet insurance?
Time-limited pet insurance will insure your pet for illness and injury. This means that if your pet requires veterinary treatment you will be able to reclaim the cost of the treatment, depending on how much veterinary fee cover you have on your policy. But what does time-limited pet insurance mean?
A time-limited pet insurance policy means your pet is insured for a set veterinary fee amount or for a set period of time, whichever comes first. In most cases you are only insured for a set condition for a maximum of 12 months or until the vet fee limit has been reached, whichever comes first. The 12 month time period generally starts from the first clinical signs of the condition but this does differ depending on the pet insurance provider you choose, as some insurers start the 12 month period from the first date of treatment. It is important to always read your policy documents carefully so you know exactly how much and how long you are covered for.
How does time-limited pet insurance work?
If you choose to open a time-limited pet insurance policy you will be covered for veterinary fees for treatment due to illness and injury. It is also possible to be insured against loss and theft of your pet, holiday cancellation due to your pet requiring emergency treatment and death of a pet due to illness or injury. The actual amount of cover that you get on a time-limited pet insurance policy varies by provider and some insurers only offer loss and theft, holiday cancellation and death of a pet at an additional cost.
When choosing a time-limited pet insurance policy you can choose how much your pet is covered for in terms of the total value of veterinary treatment they can receive. Time-limited vet fee cover is usually around £3,000 per condition but this does vary between providers. For example, if you needed to claim you could be insured for up to £3,000 per condition for a period of 12 months or until you reach the limit, whichever comes first. Once you have reached the vet fee limit, or the 12-month time limit has passed, your pet will no longer be covered for the particular condition as it is now deemed as pre-existing.
When considering time-limited pet insurance it is important to be aware of bi-lateral conditions. A bi-lateral condition is a condition that your pet can suffer from on parts of its body that are the same such as ears and legs. For example, if your pet had treatment for elbow dysplasia on its front right leg and then suffered from the condition in its front left leg a few years later, the condition would not be covered in the second leg as it is considered as bilateral and therefore treated as one. If your pet suffers from the condition in both legs at the same time the condition will be treated as one but this could significantly limit the level of cover you have or how long your pet is covered for.
For more information on time-limited pet insurance and how it works read our article 'Time-limited pet insurance explained'.
The best time-limited pet insurance
There are a number of insurers that offer time-limited pet insurance and we summarise some of the best insurers in the comparison table below.
|Animal Friends||Asda||PDSA||Petplan||Scratch & Patch||
The Insurance Emporium
|Good for...||Free vet video calls||Dental cover||Simplicity - offers vet fee cover only||Paying out claims||No co-payment||
Vet fee cover amount
|Number of time-limited policies offered by the insurer||3||2||2||1||1||3|
|Maximum vet fee cover per condition (policy dependant)||Up to £4,000 (annual limit applies and varies per policy)||Up to £5,000||Up to £5,000||Up to £3,000||Up to £3,000||Up to £6,000|
|Excess options||£69, £99 or £159||£100 - £250||£75-£120 (policy dependant)||£85 dogs
|£100/£125 dogs under 8 and cats under 10
£250/£275 dogs over 8 and cats over 10
Cat: £95 - £115
|Death cover||Up to £1,000||Up to £1,000||Accident only up to £250||Up to £1,000 (optional)||Up to £500||Up to £1,500|
|Loss of pet cover||Up to £1,000||Up to £1,000||Up to £500||Up to £1,000||Up to £750||Up to £1,500|
|Holiday cancellation||Up to £1,500||Up to £1,000||Up to £1,000||Up to £750||Up to £1,750|
|Emergency boarding||Up to £1,000||Up to £1,000||Up to £1,000||Up to £750||Up to £1,250|
|Third-party liability||Up to £2m||Up to £1m||Up to £1m||Up to £1m||Up to £1m||Up to £1.5m|
|Video vet calls||phone line|
|More information...||Animal Friends pet insurance||Asda pet insurance||PDSA pet insurance||Petplan pet insurance||Scratch & Patch pet insurance||The Insurance Emporium pet insurance|
How much does time-limited pet insurance cost?
The cost of your pet insurance policy varies depending on the age, type and breed of your pet. The type of pet insurance you choose will also affect the cost of your premium, as well as the excess that you choose. In the below comparison table we compare the cost of time-limited pet insurance.
The quotes below are based on a 1-year-old mixed breed dog and cat with no underlying health conditions and living in a South East postcode. The quotes are based on the most comprehensive time-limited pet insurance policies for each of the providers. For more information on pet insurance and how much it costs read our article 'How much does pet insurance cost?'
Another quick and easy way to compare the cost of pet insurance is via a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket* or Compare the Market*. Comparison sites allow you to easily compare the cost of multiple time-limited pet insurance policies to find the best cover and price for your pet. It is worth considering though that not all comparison sites are whole of market so you may be able to get a better deal elsewhere.
Time-limited pet insurance policy cost comparison
|Animal Friends*||Asda||PDSA||Petplan||Scratch & Patch|
|Policy name||Time-Limited Prime Plus||12-month £5,000||12-month cover||Essential cover||Silver cover||
|Maximum vet fee cover||£4,000 per condition (£10,000 annual limit)||£5,000||£5,000||£3,000||£3,000||£6,000|
|Excess options||£99||£100||£100*||£85 dogs
|Dog (Monthly cost)||£12.32||£13.55||£22.15||£18.66||£16.68||£23.22|
|Cat (monthly cost)||£9.55||£12.76||£14.92||£12.84||£10.80||£13.57|
*The excess selected was £100 as it was the lowest policy excess with the PDSA and closest to the other policy excesses to make a fair comparison
(Quotes correct as of 10/02/22)
Pros and cons of time-limited pet insurance
Pros of time-limited pet insurance
- Provides cover for veterinary treatment related to both illness and injury
- Offers a good level of cover at a lower cost than other pet insurance policies
- Good for senior pets and owners who do not want to pay high premiums
Cons of time-limited pet insurance
- Claims are limited to a set period of time (usually 12 months)
- Vet fee limit or time limit could be reached relatively quickly leaving you uninsured for an ongoing condition
- Not recommended for pets with lifelong or chronic conditions
Alternatives to time-limited pet insurance
There are four main types of pet insurance and in the below comparison table we briefly summarise the differences between each pet insurance type.
|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)||*|
Time-limited pet insurance vs Lifetime pet insurance
Time-limited pet insurance is not as comprehensive as lifetime pet insurance as the vet fee cover does not renew annually. Depending on the policy you choose you could get up to £15,000 of annual vet fee cover, compared to a maximum of £6,000 of vet fee cover with a time-limited pet insurance policy. There are two different types of lifetime pet insurance; annual limit lifetime pet insurance and annual condition limit lifetime pet insurance. Annual limit lifetime pet insurance will cover you for a set amount for multiple conditions each year whereas annual condition limit lifetime pet insurance will insure you for a set amount per condition per year.
Both lifetime and time-limited pet insurance policies cover your pet for injury and illness but the vet fee cover renews each policy year with a lifetime pet insurance policy. Time-limited pet insurance limits you to a 12 month claim period or up to the vet fee limit, whichever comes first. For more information on lifetime pet insurance read our article 'Lifetime pet insurance explained'.
Time-limited pet insurance vs Maximum benefit pet insurance
Maximum benefit pet insurance will insure your pet for a set amount per condition until the condition limit is reached. The vet fee cover does not renew annually like with lifetime pet insurance and there isn't a time limit on claiming like with time-limited pet insurance. Depending on the pet insurance provider you choose, you can get up to £8,000 of vet fee cover with a maximum benefit policy compared to a maximum of £6,000 of vet fee cover with a time-limited policy.
Both time-limited and maximum benefit pet insurance policies cover for illness and injury but the vet fee cover does not renew annually. If you would like to find out more about maximum benefit pet insurance read our article 'Maximum benefit pet insurance explained'.
Time-limited pet insurance vs Accident-only pet insurance
Accident-only pet insurance is the most basic of the four pet insurance policies and it only covers your pet for veterinary treatment due to an accident or injury, your pet will not be covered for illness. Depending on the pet insurance provider you can get up to £6,000 of vet fee cover with a time-limited pet insurance policy, compared to a maximum of £3,500 with an accident-only pet insurance policy. Time-limited pet insurance will insure your pet for a set amount or for a set period of time, whichever comes first. Most accident-only pet insurance policies do not enforce a time limit but it is worth checking the policy information carefully as some providers may restrict the policy with a time limit. For more information on accident-only pet insurance, read our article 'Accident-only pet insurance explained'.
If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. The following link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses or take advantage of any exclusive offers - Animal Friends, MoneySuperMarket, Compare the Market