How much does pet insurance cost?

14 min Read Published: 12 Nov 2020

How much does pet insurance cost?

If you have recently welcomed a pet as a new member of your family, it is likely you have considered pet insurance and so may be asking yourself 'is pet insurance expensive?'. In this article, we take an extensive look at the cost of pet insurance for dogs and cats, the factors that can impact the cost, as well as the steps you can take to reduce your monthly premium.

What is pet insurance and how does it work?

Pet insurance is an insurance policy that covers the cost of treating your pet should it become ill or injured. If you have recently welcomed a new pet into your home, getting pet insurance as early as possible will ensure that your pet is covered for any conditions should they arise at a later date. With a pet insurance policy you pay a monthly or annual premium to a pet insurance provider and then claim on the policy if your pet requires medical treatment due to an illness or injury. Some pet insurance providers will pay your vet directly but most reimburse you for any costs incurred during the treatment.

There are different types of pet insurance and each one offers different levels of cover. We have briefly summarised the different types below:

  • Accident only - this pet insurance policy does not offer any cover for an illness and will only provide cover for injuries that are sustained as a result of an accident
  • Time-limited - time-limited pet insurance covers your pet for a condition for a set amount of time and for the amount agreed in your policy. For example, if you chose a 12 month time-limited policy and your pet suffered an epileptic seizure, any treatment would be covered for the 12 month period only (up to the cost of your premium cover). After this date the condition would no longer be covered and you would have to fund any treatment yourself
  • Maximum benefit - Maximum benefit pet insurance covers your pet for a set amount per condition. For example, if your policy limit is £5,000 your pet is covered for each condition within your policy for £5,000. Once the limit is reached you can no longer claim for the condition.
  • Lifetime - Lifetime cover is the most comprehensive cover and offers the best protection for your pet. There are two types of lifetime cover, Annual limit per condition and Annual lifetime cover. Annual limit per condition covers your pet for a set sum of money per condition each year. Annual lifetime cover will cover your pet for a large amount of money for the duration of its life and you can continue to claim until the limit is met.

For more information on pet insurance and how it works, check out our article, 'What is pet insurance?'

How much does pet insurance cost?

The cost of pet insurance depends on multiple factors such as the type of premium, the type of pet, the age and breed of your pet and where you live in the UK. In the below tables we compare the average pet insurance premiums for dogs and cats as this is the most common pet insurance policy type. You can also get pet insurance for horses, smaller mammals such as rabbits and exotic pets. Specialist insurance companies provide these types of policies and the cost will vary based on the type and breed of your pet. Horse insurance can also cover you for additional extras such as the cost of stolen tack, stable damage and the accidental death or injury of the rider. Exotic Direct is a specialist insurer that provides pet insurance policies for exotic animals such as tortoises, lizards, snakes and small mammals.

How much does pet insurance cost for dogs?

In the below table we have gathered pet insurance quotes for two different dog breeds and for a range of ages. The quotes in the below table are based on the following information:

  • Small male mixed breed dog with no underlying health issues, who is microchipped, neutered and aged 6 months, 5 years and 8 years old
  • Male Labrador with no underlying health issues, who is microchipped, neutered and aged 6 months, 5 years and 8 years old

All of the policies quoted in the below table offer some form of lifetime cover which is the most comprehensive cover for your pet. The quotes are correct as of 11/11/20 and will vary depending on the policy you select, the provider, level of cover, where you live and the type, age and breed of your pet.

Comparison Table - Pet insurance costs for a cat

Bought by Many M&S Waggel
Policy name Regular Standard policy Waggel policy
Excess £99 £100 £100
Vet fee cover £7,000 £4,000 £6,000
Mixed breed puppy £21.95 £16.24 £23.36
5-year-old mixed breed £26.13 £19.46 £36.90
8-year-old mixed breed £41.50 £34.31 £54.43
Labrador puppy £32.61 £28.90 £39.49
5-year-old labrador £38.81 £34.96 £62.40
8-year-old labrador £61.63 £62.91 £92.03

Quotes based on a purchase price of £1,000, living at an address with a South-East postcode

How much does pet insurance cost for cats?

In the below table we have gathered pet insurance quotes for two different cat breeds at a range of ages. The quotes in the below table are based on the following information:

  • Male mixed breed cat (moggy) with no underlying health issues, who is microchipped, neutered and aged 6 months, 5 years and 8 years old
  • Male Ragdoll cat with no underlying health issues, who is microchipped, neutered and aged 6 months, 5 years and 8 years old

All of the policies quoted in the below table offer some form of lifetime cover which is the most comprehensive cover for your pet. The quotes are correct as of 11/11/20 and will vary depending on the policy you select, the provider, level of cover, where you live and the type, age and breed of your pet.

Comparison Table - Pet insurance costs for a cat

Bought by Many M&S Waggel
Policy name Regular Standard policy Waggel policy
Excess £99 £100 £100
Vet fee cover £7,000 £4,000 £6,000
Mixed breed kitten £16.61 £13.29 £17.83
5-year-old mixed breed £15.72 £11.46 £20.98
8-year-old mixed breed £19.25 £15.12 £26.29
Ragdoll kitten £19.03 £13.29 £17.83
5-year-old ragdoll £18.01 £11.46 £20.98
8-year-old ragdoll £22.05 £15.12 £26.29

Quotes based on a purchase price of £50, living at an address with a South-East postcode

Cost of pet insurance by location

The cost of pet insurance differs depending on where you live. This is due to the varying living costs and veterinary fees across the UK. Typically, the cost of veterinary treatment in cities and larger towns is more expensive than those in more rural areas. This is largely down to higher maintenance and other factors such as staff wages.

In the below table I have compared the cost of insurance quotes based on location using two different providers. The quotes include quotes for a 5-year-old labrador with no underlying health issues and a 5-year-old Ragdoll cat with no underlying health issues. With Bought by Many the pet insurance premium increases at the Bromley postcode, however it appears to decrease at the Bromley postcode with a Waggel policy.

Comparison Table - Cost of pet insurance by location

Breed (aged 5 years) Policy type Location Cost
Labrador (dog)  Bought by Many regular policy Kent £38.81
Labrador (dog)  Bought by Many regular policy Bromley £41.89
Labrador (dog)  Waggel Policy Kent £62.40
Labrador (dog)  Waggel Policy Bromley £57.43
Ragdoll (cat) Bought by Many regular policy Kent £18.01
Ragdoll (cat) Bought by Many regular policy Bromley £23.42
Ragdoll (cat) Waggel Policy Kent £20.98
Ragdoll (cat) Waggel Policy Bromley £18.42

 

What affects the cost of pet insurance?

The cost of pet insurance can vary depending on a multitude of factors such as:

  • Where you live - as the above table highlights, where you live in the UK can affect the cost of your pet insurance premium. This can be due to the varying cost of living expenses and veterinary treatment.
  • Type of pet - the type of pet you are trying to insure will affect how much your premium costs. Dogs are generally more expensive than cats to insure.
  • Breed of pet - which breed of pet you have will also affect the cost of your pet insurance premium. Some breeds, mostly pedigree, are more susceptible to certain conditions than mixed breed pets.
  • Age of pet - as your pet ages they are more likely to become ill and therefore your chances of claiming increases. This in turn can result in an increase in your pet insurance premium.
  • Pet insurance policy type - the type of pet insurance policy you opt for will affect how much you pay each month. The more cover you choose to have for your pet the more expensive your premium is likely to be.

How to reduce the cost of pet insurance

If you think your pet insurance quote is expensive there are a few ways you can reduce the cost of your premium such as:

  • Increase your excess - opting for a higher excess on your policy will reduce your monthly premium as you are committing to paying a larger amount towards the cost of the vet fees. Remember that this amount you agree to is the amount you owe if you go on to make a claim.
  • Assess the level of cover - take a look at the premium you have and the type of cover. You could potentially reduce the amount of money your pet is covered for or you could opt for a less comprehensive policy. Remember that while this will reduce your monthly premiums, it could impact your ability to claim at a later date.
  • Is your pet microchipped? - some insurance companies may reduce your premium if your pet is microchipped as it is easier to locate your pet should it get stolen or go missing.
  • Is your pet spayed or neutered? - spaying or neutering your pet reduces the risk of certain health conditions later in life. It also eliminates any health problems associated with pregnancy and birth.
  • Do you have more than one pet? - If you have more than one household pet you may be able to benefit from a multi-pet discount
  • Shop around for the best deal - if you have not made a claim on your pet insurance policy you may wish to shop around for a better deal elsewhere. If you choose to shop around having already made a claim you may get a better deal, however the condition you claimed for is unlikely to be covered by the new provider.

 

Looking for a financial adviser near you?

Do you need financial advice? An independent financial adviser can show you how to make the most
of your money. Find your nearest qualified and regulated adviser using this VouchedFor search tool.