M&S pet insurance review

20 min Read Published: 19 Mar 2021

m&s pet insurance

In this independent review, we look at Marks and Spencer's pet insurance including its key features, the policies it offers and how much it costs. We also compare M&S pet insurance to other pet insurance providers to see how it compares. We recommend that you read the review in full, however, if you wanted to jump to sections of the article you can do so via the following links.

What is M&S pet insurance?

M&S Bank was launched in 1985 under the name St Michael Financial Services, launching M&S personal loans in 1989, the first of its financial products. It later launched its pet and travel insurance in 2002 and now offers a host of other financial products including current accounts, mortgages and credit cards.

Marks and Spencer's pet insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance plc who also underwrite Tesco Bank, More Than and John Lewis pet insurance premiums.

M&S pet insurance features

  • M&S voucher with an M&S Premier and Standard policy*
  • 15% online discount for new customers
  • 24-hour free vet helpline with vetfone
  • Insurance for dogs and cats
  • Lifetime and Time-limited pet insurance policies
  • 5% multi-pet discount

*£50 M&S voucher if you open a premier policy and £30 M&S voucher if you open a standard policy directly via the M&S website before 29/04/21

What does M&S pet insurance cover?

Marks and Spencer Bank has three pet insurance policies and each one offers a different level of cover. The most comprehensive insurance policy offered is the M&S Premier policy which is an annual limit lifetime pet insurance policy. The M&S Standard cover is also an annual limit lifetime pet insurance policy and the M&S Essential cover is a time-limited pet insurance policy. We explain each policy type in more detail below:

M&S Premier - lifetime pet insurance policy

This is the most comprehensive pet insurance policy with M&S Bank as it is a lifetime pet insurance policy that offers the most vet fee cover for your pet. Lifetime pet insurance usually insures your pet for lifelong and chronic conditions and this type of lifetime policy is an Annual Limit lifetime policy which means your pet is insured for a maximum vet fee limit per year which then renews annually. For example, your pet will be insured for £7,000 each policy year for all conditions. That means you can claim more than once in a policy year up until the vet fee limit, once this has been reached any further treatment that year would need to be self-funded. These limits then renew the following policy year.

M&S Standard - lifetime pet insurance policy

The M&S Standard pet insurance policy is also an annual limit lifetime policy with a maximum vet fee limit of £4,000, however, this particular policy restricts you to claim a maximum of £1,000 per policy year for each illness or condition. This means that if you exceed the £1,000 limit for a particular condition any further treatment that year would need to be self-funded. You can then only claim a total of £4,000 in vet fees in one policy year. These limits then renew the following policy year.

M&S Essential - time-limited pet insurance policy

Time-limited pet insurance insures your pet for a maximum amount per condition, but the condition is only covered for a period of 12 months from the first date of treatment or until the condition limit has been reached, whichever comes first. The M&S Essential pet insurance policy insures your pet for up to £3,000 per illness or injury or for 12 months from the first date of treatment, whichever comes first.

M&S pet insurance policy exclusions

In this section, we share some exclusions that apply to an M&S pet insurance policy. It is not an extensive list so you must ensure that you check all policy documents carefully before opening a policy so that you know exactly what your pet is covered for.

An M&S Bank pet insurance policy will not pay out claims for the following:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Any illness or injury within the first 14 days of the policy
  • Fraudulent claims
  • Distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parvovirus in dogs and enteritis, cat flu and feline leukaemia in cats if your pet has not received vaccinations for these illnesses
  • Claims for pets younger than 8 weeks old
  • Deliberate acts caused by you or your family
  • Dogs trained to attack
  • Pets used for commercial breeding (bred from more than twice in its lifetime) or monetary gain
  • Putting your pet to sleep if your pet was found to be worrying livestock
  • Death due to pregnancy or birth
  • Dogs registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

If you have a change in your personal circumstances you must notify M&S Bank within 30 days otherwise you could see an increase in your premiums or a claim not being paid or partially paid. Changes of circumstance include:

  • A change of address
  • You no longer own your pet
  • Your pet no longer lives at your address
  • Your pet has been trained to attack
  • Your pet is used for commercial purposes such as security
  • Your pet has been used for breeding or monetary gain
  • Your pet is neutered or spayed
  • Your pet is involved in an incident that involves legal action

M&S pet insurance policies

M&S has three pet insurance policies to choose from and we highlight the key components of each one in the below table. To find out how much each policy costs, jump to the How much does M&S pet insurance cost? section of the article.

M&S pet insurance policy comparison table

M&S Premier M&S Standard M&S Essential
Policy type Annual limit lifetime Annual limit lifetime Time-limited
Maximum vet fee cover per policy year £7,000 £4,000 £3,000
Maximum vet fee cover per illness/injury £7,000 £1,000 £3,000
Complementary treatment* £1,000 £500 £500
Dental cover (injury and illness)
Injury only
Death from illness/injury cover**
Cremation & Euthanasia
Advertising & Reward
Loss or Theft
Emergency boarding
Vet fee abroad
Holiday Cancellation
Third-party liability £2m £1m £1m

*Complementary treatment includes treatment such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy 

**Pets will not be covered for death from an illness if they are over the age of 9 

How much does M&S pet insurance cost?

In this section of the review, we compare the cost of the M&S Bank pet insurance policies. The following quotes are based on a 6-month-old cat and dog with no underlying health conditions and living in a South East postcode. For the purpose of the quotes, the monthly costs are based on a £100 excess fee amount.

The cost of your pet insurance is likely to vary depending on the type, age and breed of your pet. Where you live is also likely to affect the cost of your pet insurance as well as if you have previously made a claim. M&S pet insurance also includes an introductory 15% discount for the first year of your premium so you should anticipate a premium increase the following year. When getting a pet insurance quote with M&S it draws your attention to reasons as to why your pet insurance premium will increase if you renew, and states that 'claims data that shows the cost of looking after your pet's health doubles every four to five years' and that 'if a claim is paid, the price you will pay next year can double'.

M&S pet insurance is underwritten by Royal and Sun Alliance plc which also underwrites Tesco Bank and More Than pet insurance whose customer reviews complain of hefty renewal price increases so this may be something to consider when shopping around for the best deal.

A cost comparison of M&S Bank pet insurance policies

M&S Premier M&S Standard M&S Essential
Policy type Annual limit lifetime Annual limit lifetime Time-limited
Excess* £100 £100 £100
Maximum vet fee cover £7,000 per policy year £4,000 per policy year (£1,000 per condition)
£3,000 per condition for up to 12 months
Monthly cost dog £38.57 £19.33 £19.93
Monthly cost cat £21.32 £12.05 £12.37

*For the purpose of the quote the excess fee is £100 - other options for a pet under 9 include £50 and £150

M&S Bank pet insurance policy excess

An excess is a compulsory fee that is payable when you make a claim. The excess on your policy is your contribution towards the cost of the veterinary fees and will be taken from the total vet fee claim amount before it is paid. M&S offers a choice between three fixed excess fees of £50, £100 or £150 for pets under the age of 9. The excess increases for pets over the age of 9 to £150, £200 or £250. Third-party liability claims have an excess of £250 for any claim concerning the loss or damage to property. The excess for holiday cancellation on an M&S Premier policy is £50. The excess on an M&S Essential policy is payable once per condition and the excess on an M&S Standard and Premier policy is payable once per condition per policy year.

How to make a claim with M&S pet insurance

If you wish to make a claim on your M&S pet insurance policy you will need to call the following number as soon as possible 0800 980 8750 and you will need to have your policy number handy. You can also fill in a claim form which can be downloaded from the M&S Bank pet insurance website and emailed to mandspet.claims@uk.rsagroup.com or posted to M&S Pet Insurance, Freepost – RSKZ-LTHJ-TZEG, PO Box 1361, Peterborough PE2 2QX.

The claims form must be returned within 60 days of the first vet treatment. If your pet is expected to need ongoing treatment you should send your claim form with relevant information and receipts within the first 60 days and then submit claims for the ongoing treatments every 3-6 months. M&S can pay your vet directly if this is something that your vet is able to accept.

M&S pet insurance customer reviews

Marks & Spencer do not have many pet insurance reviews on independent review website Trustpilot and from the four reviews it has received, the latest was in August 2020. Every one of the four reviews gave M&S pet insurance 1 star out of 5 and customers complained of terrible customer service, huge policy renewal costs and an increase in a premium due to a pet being spayed. In addition, M&S pet insurance was rated 1.9 out of 5.0 from 160 reviews on independent review site Review Centre.

M&S pet insurance pros & cons

M&S pet insurance pros

  • Multi-pet discount
  • 15% introductory online discount
  • M&S voucher if you sign up to a Standard or Premier policy before 29/04/21
  • Up to £7,000 of vet fee cover depending on the policy you choose
  • Free 24/7 vet helpline

M&S pet insurance cons

  • Does not pay for the death of your pet due to illness (if over the age of 9)
  • £1,000 annual vet fee claim limit on the M&S Standard policy
  • Does not cover pre-existing conditions
  • Poor record in terms of online customer reviews

Alternatives to M&S pet insurance

In this section of the review, we compare M&S pet insurance to other providers. As M&S pet insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance plc we have compared it to Tesco pet insurance as it is underwritten by the same insurer. We also compare it to two other leading pet insurance providers; Bought by Many and Animal Friends.

M&S pet insurance vs Tesco pet insurance

M&S and Tesco's pet insurance policies are both underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance plc which means that any claim you may need to make will be dealt with by the same insurance company. M&S pet insurance offers three policies; a time-limited policy and two lifetime policies, in comparison to a choice between eight policies with Tesco Bank. Tesco Bank offers Accident-only, Time-limited, Maximum Benefit and Lifetime pet insurance with up to £10,000 in vet fee cover depending on the type of policy you choose. A key difference is that Marks & Spencer's Standard pet insurance policy has a maximum condition claim limit of £1,000 each policy year and Tesco Bank does not have a condition claim limit on any of its lifetime pet insurance policies.

Tesco Bank pet insurance offers £2m of third-party liability cover across all policies in comparison to M&S which offers £1m on its Essential and Standard policies and £2m on its Premier pet insurance policy. Both providers will cover your pet up to the age of 9 should it die due to illness and you also have access to the free 24/7 vet helpline with Vetfone with both providers. Tesco offers a slightly better introductory discount of 20% in comparison to M&S's 15% but despite the enticing introductory rate, remember that your vet fees will almost certainly increase the following year when it comes to renewing because of this.

A comparison between M&S and Tesco pet insurance

M&S Premier Tesco Premier
Policy type Annual limit lifetime
Annual limit lifetime
Maximum vet fee cover per policy year £7,000 £10,000
Excess £100 £120
Complementary treatment such as hydrotherapy  £1,000 £1,000
Dental cover (injury and illness)
Death from illness/injury cover* £1,500 £1,500
Cremation & Euthanasia £200 £200
Advertising £1,250 £1,000
Reward £750 £200
Loss or Theft £1,500 £1,500
Emergency boarding £750 £1,000
Travelling with your pet
Holiday Cancellation £3,000 £5,000
Third-party liability £2m £2m
Monthly cost dog £38.57 £43.81
Monthly cost cat £21.32 £26.83

* For pets aged up to 9 years old 

M&S vs Bought by Many vs Animal Friends

In this section of the review, we compare M&S pet insurance to Bought by Many and Animal Friends. We have compared the most comprehensive lifetime pet insurance policy with each of the providers and the quotes are based on 6-month-old cat and dog with no underlying health conditions and living in a South East postcode.

For more information on Bought by Many and Animal Friends read our reviews:

A comparison between M&S, Bought by Many and Animal Friends pet insurance

M&S Bought by Many Animal Friends
Policy type Annual limit lifetime pet insurance
Annual limit lifetime pet insurance
Annual condition limit lifetime pet insurance
Excess £100 £99 £99
Maximum vet fee cover £7,000 per policy year £15,000 per policy year
£6,000 per condition per policy year
Loss & Theft £1,500 £6,000 £1,500
Death due to illness £1,500 £6,000 £1,500
Cremation & Euthanasia £200 £150 Euthanasia only
Third-party liability £2m £3m £2m
Vet video calls/Helpline Helpline Video calls Video calls
Monthly cost dog £38.57 £31.01 £23.34
Monthly cost cat £21.32 £21.22 £15.34

(Quotes correct as of 09/03/21)

Summary

Overall M&S pet insurance offers good incentives to encourage you to take out a pet insurance policy however I would encourage you to shop around as there is the opportunity to get more for your money with other pet insurance providers.

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