In this independent review, we take a look at Direct Line's pet insurance policies including the key features, the policies on offer and how much it costs. We recommend that you read the review in full but you can skip to sections of the article with the following links:
- What is Direct Line pet insurance?
- Direct Line pet insurance key features
- What does Direct Line pet insurance cover?
- Direct Line pet insurance policy exclusions
- Direct Line pet insurance policy types
- How much does Direct Line pet insurance cost?
- Direct Line pet insurance policy excess
- How to make a claim with Direct Line pet insurance?
- Direct Line pet insurance customer reviews
- Alternatives to Direct Line pet insurance
- Direct Line pet insurance pros and cons
What is Direct Line pet insurance?
Direct Line launched in 1985 with just car insurance. Since then it has increased its offering of insurance to include pet insurance, which it started offering to consumers in the late 90s.
Direct Line offers a time-limited or maximum benefit pet insurance policy for cats and dogs and received a 5-star Defaqto rating for its Advanced Cover pet insurance in 2019. Direct Line offers two different policies with cover for each condition up to a maximum of £8,000. More information on the policies available can be found here.
Direct Line pet insurance key features
- Get 12 months pet insurance for the price of 9 if you buy your policy online
- The choice between time-limited and a maximum benefit policy
- Cover for dental treatment due to an accident
- Free 24/7 online vet video calls with PawSquad
- Online claims process
- Discounts on prescriptions, food, medication and more with Pet Drugs Online
- 12.5% multi-pet discount
- The option to customise your pet insurance policy with additional extras
- Able to pay your vet directly
What does Direct Line pet insurance cover?
Direct Line offers two types of pet insurance policy, time-limited and maximum benefit. Whilst it does not offer the most comprehensive level of pet insurance cover, which is lifetime pet insurance, Direct Line's pet insurance policies have a generous vet fee cost limit and offer more protection than accident-only pet insurance which is the most basic level of cover. For more information on the different types of pet insurance read our article - 'What are the different types of pet insurance?'
Below is a summary of the pet insurance policies available with Direct Line:
- Essential Cover - Direct Line’s time-limited policy, this policy covers you for up to £4,000 for each condition. With this policy each condition is covered for up to 12 months after the date of the first treatment, after this, the condition will no longer be covered.
- Advanced Cover - This is Direct Line’s most comprehensive pet insurance policy and covers your pet for up to £8,000 per condition. There is no time limit on this policy and therefore each condition is covered until the cost limit of £8,000 is reached.
Direct Line pet insurance policy exclusions
In this section of the review, we highlight some of the key exclusions within a Direct Line pet insurance policy. For full terms and conditions, you will need to check the individual policy documents.
Direct Line excludes cover for the following :
- Routine care and treatment such as vaccinations and worming
- Spaying or neutering your pet
- Pre-existing conditions
- The policy excess (this is payable once per condition)
- For any illness or injury that occurred within 14 days prior to the policy start date
- Any claim if you have failed to pay your insurance premium
- If illness or injury was sustained outside of the UK (unless you have overseas travel cover included in your premium)
- Any claim related to any behavioural traits or problems
- Pets that are used for breeding, commercial, guard, racing, work or gun dogs unless previously agreed with the insurer directly
- Complications that arise during pregnancy or birth
- If you have not made a claim for treatment within 12 months of the first treatment occurring
- The first £250 for any public liability claim where property was damaged
Direct Line pet insurance policy types
In the below comparison table we compare the key features between the two pet insurance policies that Direct Line offers.
Direct Line pet insurance policies
|Policy type||Time-limited||Maximum benefit|
|Vet fee cover amount||£4,000||£8,000|
12 months from initial treatment
Dental accident cover
Tooth & gum disease
Complementary treatment (e.g physiotherapy)
|24/7 Online vet|
|Third-party liability (dogs only)||Optional extra||Optional extra|
|Overseas travel cover||Optional extra||Optional extra|
|5 in 1 care package||Optional extra||Optional extra|
*If you wish to reduce your insurance premium you can opt to pay a higher excess of £160 for cats and £190 for dogs
Direct Line Pet insurance also has additional policy extras that can be added to enhance your policy. We explain in more detail below:
Third-Party Liability (dogs only)
You can add third-party liability cover to any dog pet insurance policy with Direct Line. Adding third-party liability cover to your pet insurance will insure you for up to £2.5million should your pet be involved in an accident that causes damage to property or injury to a person.
It is worth noting that if you have liability cover with another insurance policy, such as your home insurance, Direct Line will only offer cover if the other policy cover amount has been used. Additionally, there is a £250 excess amount payable should you need to make a claim for property damage.
Overseas travel cover
Overseas travel cover will insure your pet if you are taking them with you abroad, as long as you meet all of the requirements within the UK Government’s Pet Travel Scheme. With overseas cover you are only covered for three overseas journeys in a year as long as each one is no longer than 30 days.
If you add overseas cover to your policy it will also include:
- Up to £1,500 towards the cost of quarantine
- Cover up to £250 for the loss of your pet’s passport
- Repeat treatment for tapeworm
- Up to £300 for emergency expenses abroad
5 in 1 care package
Direct Line’s 5 in 1 care package includes the following additional extras:
- Cover up to £5,000 if you need to cancel or cut your holiday short due to your pet requiring emergency treatment or going missing, whilst you are away or 7 days prior to your departure
- Cover for the cost of your pet up to £1,500 should your pet go missing or get stolen and is not found within 45 days
- Up to £1,000 towards the cost of advertising and up to £500 for a reward should your pet get stolen or go missing
- Up to £1,000 towards boarding fees should you have an unexpected stay in hospital for up to 4 consecutive days
- Up to £1,500 towards the cost of your pet should they die due to illness or injury. (Direct Line will only pay out if your pet dies from an illness if your pet is under the age of 11)
How much does Direct Line pet insurance cost?
Below we have compared the cost of Direct Line’s Essential and Advanced pet insurance policies. The quotes are based on a 1-year-old moggy and a 1-year-old medium crossbreed dog with no underlying health conditions. The quotes are based on a location in the South East.
Direct Line pet insurance policy quotes
|Policy type||Time-limited||Maximum benefit|
|1 year old cat (monthly cost)||£7.96||£15.72|
|1 year old dog (monthly cost)||£11.99||£23.67|
(Quotes correct as of 23/02/22)
Direct Line pet insurance policy excess
The minimum pet insurance policy excess is £80 for cats and £95 for dogs. If you wish to reduce your monthly pet insurance premium you can do so by choosing a higher policy excess of £160 for cats and £190 for dogs. The policy excess is payable each time you claim for a new condition.
How to make a claim with Direct Line pet insurance
Direct Line has an online claims process which makes it easy to make a claim should you need to. If you are unable to submit a claim online you can also fill out a claim form which can be submitted via post, however claiming online is the quickest way to get your claim processed. Direct Line states that it is happy to deal with your vet directly if this is something that your veterinary practice supports.
When making a pet insurance claim you will need your policy number, the name and contact details of your veterinary practice and a description of the incident and the problem. Once you have submitted your claim, Direct Line will contact your vet for further information which can take up to 10 days. From this point, you can expect to be contacted by Direct Line within 5 days.
Direct Line pet insurance customer reviews
Direct Line has a Trustpilot rating of 3.8 out of 5.0 stars from over 8,000 reviews, however as Direct Line offers more than one type of insurance policy not all of the reviews are for pet insurance.
Those that have reviewed the pet insurance policies state that there is a great level of cover, helpful customer service and an easy and simple claims process. Some rated the provider as bad and complained of high renewal costs and some problems with claims being paid out.
Alternatives to Direct Line pet insurance
In the below comparison table we have compared Direct Line pet insurance to PetPlan and ManyPets* (formally Bought by Many). The quotes are based on a 1-year-old dog who is neutered and microchipped and has no underlying health conditions. We have compared Direct Line and Petplan’s time-limited pet insurance policies; ManyPets only offers lifetime policies. For more information on Petplan and ManyPets you may wish to read our reviews:
You can also compare pet insurance via a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket* or Compare the Market*. Comparison sites allow you to easily compare multiple providers to find the cheapest policy for your pet. One thing to consider before using a comparison site, however, is that they are not always whole of market so you may be missing out on a better deal with another provider. In addition, some pet insurance providers such as Direct Line and Petplan do not feature on any comparison sites so you would need to get a quote directly via the websites.
Direct Line vs Petplan vs ManyPets
|Type of cover||Time-limited||Time-limited||Lifetime|
|Policy name||Essential||12 Month Cover||Regular|
|Excess||£95 per condition||£85 per claim||£99 once a year|
|Veterinary fee cover||£4,000||£3,000||£7,000|
|Third-party liability||Optional extra (£2.5million)||£1million||£2million|
Loss & theft cover
|(Optional extra)||(optional extra)|
(Quotes correct as of 23/02/22)
Direct Line pet insurance pros and cons
Direct Line pet insurance pros
- 12 months insurance for the price of 9 if you buy online
- Good level of cover for your pet
- Option to add additional extras to customise your policy
- Dental cover for accidents
- Multi-pet discount
- Online claims service
- 24/7 access to a vet with PawSquad
- No percentage contribution (co-payment) is required as your pet ages
Direct Line pet insurance cons
- Some additional extras are included as basics with other pet insurance providers
- No lifetime cover option
- No cover for euthanasia with the Essential policy
- Will not pay out for death due to an illness if your pet is over the age of 11
Direct Line offers a good level of cover for your pet and the ability to add on additional extras to your policy is an attractive feature as it can allow you to tailor your policy to suit your needs. It also means you do not have to pay for any cover that you do not require which in turn may reduce your monthly premium.
It is slightly disappointing that Direct Line does not yet offer a lifetime pet insurance policy as this is the most comprehensive level of cover for your pet, however, its maximum benefit policy offering up to £8,000 of cover per condition, is a great alternative. Direct Line is also happy to deal with your vet directly which can save a lot of hassle with payments when it comes to making a claim.
Overall, I think it is a great product and the access to a free 24/7 online vet as well as discounts while the licensed online pet store, Pet Drugs Online, are exciting additions to the policy which could see you saving money in the long term.
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 - ManyPets, MoneySuperMarket, Compare the Market