The best pet insurance in the UK – 2021

21 min Read Published: 11 Jun 2021

Best and cheapest pet insurancePet insurance can be complex and so in this article, we take a look at some of the best pet insurance providers. I recommend you read the full article, however, you can jump to sections of the articles using the links below:

What is pet insurance and how does it work?

Pet insurance is an insurance policy designed to cover the cost of large or unexpected vet bills for the treatment of your pet. There are different types of pet insurance and different levels of cover which we look at in more detail in our article 'What is pet insurance?'

The best pet insurance you can get for your pet is a lifetime policy. Lifetime pet insurance is the most comprehensive policy and it will cover your pet for its life. If you take out a lifetime policy when your pet is young it will ensure your pet is covered for any long-term illnesses should they develop.

When you take out a pet insurance policy you pay a monthly or annual premium which you continue to pay in the hope that you do not need to claim. If you do need to make a claim on your pet insurance policy, your policy should cover the cost of the treatment your pet receives; the amount of money you get towards the cost of the treatment depends on the type of policy you take out. For more information on how much pet insurance costs read our article 'How much does pet insurance cost?'

Compare the best pet insurance providers

Below I have listed the best pet insurance providers including a brief summary of the policy types and the maximum level of cover you can get.

Best annual condition limit lifetime pet insurance

animal friends logo Animal Friends*

  • Pet insurance policies: Offers 4 policy types - Accident only, Time-limited, Maximum Benefit and Lifetime cover
  • Maximum vet fee cover: Vet fee cover up to £6,000 (policy dependant)
  • Pets insured: Cat, dog or horse
  • Multi-pet discount: 0%
  • Online discount: 0%
  • Extras: Free vet video calls 24/7
  • Why we like it: Animal Friends offers a range of pet insurance policies that have good levels of veterinary fee cover and are also affordable. Every pet insurance policy bought also helps to support animal charities

Find out more about the best lifetime pet insurance in our article, 'Compare the best lifetime pet insurance'.

Best annual limit lifetime pet insurance

bought by many logo Bought by Many*

  • Pet insurance policies: Only offers lifetime pet insurance
  • Maximum vet fee cover: Vet fee cover up to £15,000 (policy dependant)
  • Pets insured: Cat or dog
  • Multi-pet discount: 15%
  • Online discount: 0%
  • Extras: Free vet video calls 24/7, 0% excess option for pets under 9 on a Regular policy, Online claims process
  • Why we like it: Bought by Many offers the highest amount of annual limit lifetime veterinary fee cover on the market. It will also cover pre-existing conditions that have not shown signs/symptoms for over 2 years. There is a specialist Bought by Many pre-existing condition policy for recent conditions too (exclusions apply)

Find out more about the best lifetime pet insurance in our article, 'Compare the best lifetime pet insurance'.

Best maximum benefit pet insurance

direct line logo Direct Line 

  • Pet insurance policies: Offers time-limited and maximum benefit pet insurance
  • Maximum vet fee cover: Vet fee cover up to £8,000 (policy dependant)
  • Pets insured: Cat or dog
  • Multi-pet discount: 12.5%
  • Online discount: 0%
  • Extras: Partnered with Pet Drugs Online for discounted medication and pet food, Online claims process, Free vet video calls 24/7
  • Why we like it: Whilst its maximum benefit vet fee cover does not renew annually it still offers the most maximum benefit vet fee cover on the market (alongside More Than pet insurance). Direct Line also allows you to tailor your policy to suit your needs with the option to add extra cover for holiday cancellation and loss and theft. It is not on any comparison sites so you would need to visit the site directly to get a quote

Find out more about the best maximum benefit pet insurance in our article, 'Compare the best maximum benefit pet insurance'.

Best time-limited pet insurance

Asda pet insurance review Asda Money

  • Pet insurance policies: Offers accident-only, time-limited and lifetime pet insurance
  • Maximum vet fee cover: Vet fee cover up to £10,000 (policy dependant)
  • Pets insured: Cat or dog
  • Multi-pet discount: 10%
  • Online discount: 0%
  • Extras: Fixed policy excess, funeral and cremation cover, free 24/7 vet advice line
  • Why we like it: Asda pet insurance offers a good amount of veterinary fee cover with its time-limited policies. Its prices are competitive and it covers holiday cancellation, loss and theft and emergency boarding as standard

Find out more about the best time-limited pet insurance in our article, 'Compare the best time-limited pet insurance'.

Best accident-only pet insurance

Tesco Bank pet insurance review Tesco Bank

  • Pet insurance policies: Offers accident-only, time-limited, maximum benefit and lifetime pet insurance
  • Maximum vet fee cover: Vet fee cover up to £10,000 (policy dependant)
  • Pets insured: Cat or dog
  • Multi-pet discount: Yes
  • Online discount: 20%
  • Extras: Fixed policy excess, funeral and cremation cover, free 24/7 vet advice line
  • Why we like it: Tesco Bank offers a high level of veterinary fee cover for an accident-only policy. Its policies are limited to a 12-month claim limit but it also covers your pet for dental treatment due to an accident and for public liability claims.

Find out more about the best accident-only pet insurance in our article, 'Compare the best accident-only pet insurance'.

Best pet insurance for paying out claims

pet plan logo PetPlan

  • Pet insurance policies: Offers time-limited and lifetime pet insurance
  • Maximum vet fee cover: Vet fee cover up to £12,000 (policy dependant)
  • Pets insured: Cat, dog, rabbit or horse (partners with Exotic Direct for exotic pets)
  • Multi-pet discount: £12 discount per pet per year (if more than one pet is insured)
  • Online discount: 10%
  • Extras: My Petplan portal, 97% claim payout rate
  • Why we like it: Petplan is one of the most popular pet insurers in the UK and with over 40 years in the pet industry the policies are designed to provide your pet with the best cover. It is also committed to not penalising you if you need to make a claim and can arrange for your vet to be paid directly

Best pet insurance for senior pets

 The Insurance Emporium 

  • Pet insurance policies: Offers Public Liability only, Accident only, Time-limited, Maximum Benefit and Lifetime cover
  • Maximum vet fee cover: Vet fee cover up to £8,000 (policy dependant)
  • Pets insured: Cat, dog or horse
  • Multi-pet discount: 10%
  • Online discount: 20%
  • Extras: Can choose to pay your premium Lunar monthly (every 28 days), specialist policies designed for senior pets, My Emporium customer portal
  • Why we like it: There's a wide range of policies to choose from that offer good levels of cover and are also affordable. The senior pet policies mean you can still comfortably insure your pets even as they age

Best pet insurance for member benefits

waggel logo Waggel*

  • Pet insurance policies: Only offers Lifetime cover
  • Maximum vet fee cover: Vet fee cover up to £10,000 (policy dependant)
  • Pets insured: Cat or dog
  • Multi-pet discount: 0%
  • Online discount: 0%
  • Extras: Exclusive member rewards and discounts, Personal pet insurance dashboard, free vet video calls 24/7, Refer your friends and get a month's free insurance for each friend you refer
  • Why we like it: Waggel keeps pet insurance simple with an instant online quote and cover for veterinary fees and loss and theft. It does not cover for additional extras such as emergency boarding and holiday cancellation but this means you won't be paying for cover if you do not need it. There is also the option to reduce the cost of your monthly premium by increasing your excess contribution

Best pet insurance for breeders

agria pet insurance Agria* 

  • Pet insurance policies: Only offers Lifetime cover
  • Maximum vet fee cover: Vet fee cover up to £12,500 (policy dependant)
  • Pets insured: Cat, dog or rabbit
  • Multi-pet discount: 0%
  • Online discount: 0%
  • Extras: Free Pet Health helpline, £50 voucher towards pet's annual health check/vaccination, 12 months free access to Pet24, Recommend a friend and get a £20 Amazon voucher each, Agria Breeding and Rehoming Club
  • Why we like it: Agria is one of the few pet insurers that offer pet insurance for pregnancy and birth complications for those wishing to breed from their pets. Agria also offers 5 weeks of free insurance for new litters when they go to their new homes so long as you are part of Agria's Breeding Club

Best pet insurance for pre-existing conditions

scratch and patch logo Scratch & Patch

  • Pet insurance policies: Accident-only, Time-limited, Maximum benefit, Lifetime policies
  • Maximum vet fee cover: Vet fee cover up to £8,000 (policy dependant)
  • Pets insured: Cat or dog
  • Multi-pet discount: 10%
  • Online discount: 0%
  • Extras: 24/7 free helpline, no waiting period when you switch from an existing pet insurance policy, 95% claims payout rate, pre-existing condition insurance
  • Why we like it: Scratch & Patch has a fixed policy excess which increases when your pet reaches a certain age, but you are not required to pay a percentage co-payment to the cost of the claim. It also offers cover for pre-existing conditions and has a handy online tool that allows you to see if the condition will be covered before opening a policy

Best pet insurance for cashback

Get up to £140 cashback with some pet insurance providers with cashback sites such as Top Cashback and Quidco. All you need to do is open a pet insurance policy with one of the providers listed on the sites to receive the cashback offered. It is worth noting that different cashback offers are available depending on the type of policy you choose. When taking out a pet insurance policy via a cashback site it can take a while before you receive your cashback. Top Cashback can take a few months to clear and Quidco says cashback can take up to 9 months to clear for financial products.

There is also the opportunity to earn cashback on a pet insurance policy with comparison sites such as MoneySupermarket* so it is worth looking around for the best cashback deal. Remember, if you are looking to switch pet insurance providers, pre-existing conditions will likely not be covered.

How to pick the best pet insurance

Understanding the different types of pet insurance available will help you to decide on the best cover for your pet. There are four main types of pet insurance and we explain them in more detail in our article, 'What are the different types of pet insurance?'

Whilst a key consideration will be how much the pet insurance policy costs, you also need to consider if the cheaper policy gives you as much cover as you need should you have a large vet bill. Sometimes the cheapest pet insurance policy is not always the best.

Things to consider before taking out pet insurance

Before taking out pet insurance it is important to understand how pet insurance works and the level of cover you need. This will ensure your pet is properly protected and limits any nasty surprises when it is time to claim. For more information on pet insurance and whether you need it, check out our articles 'Do I need pet insurance?' and '5 things to consider before taking out pet insurance'.

Below we highlight some key points to consider before taking out a pet insurance policy:

  • The age of your pet - the age of your pet will affect the cost of your pet insurance policy. It is also best to insure your pet as early as possible, particularly with a lifetime policy as this will ensure your pet is covered should any health conditions arise at a later date. Some policies allow you to insure your pet from 4 weeks but in most cases your pet can be insured from 8 weeks old.
  • The policy type - there are different types of pet insurance offering different levels of cover. It is important to do your research before opening a policy to ensure your pet is covered. For more information on the types of policy, read our article 'What are the different types of pet insurance?'
  • The policy excess - the policy excess is agreed at the start of your policy and is the amount that you would pay towards each claim. Some policies require you to pay your excess each time you claim, others only require you to pay once per year and will cover multiple claims. The higher the excess you select on your pet insurance policy the cheaper your monthly premium, but remember this is the amount that you will have to pay towards a claim, so claiming on a policy can get expensive. Some insurers also ask for a co-payment as well as a fixed fee which is usually 20% of the claim, so be sure to check the policy documents carefully and read any small print.
  • Read the policy documents - carefully read the policy documents to understand the policy and check any terms and conditions and exclusions that could prevent the provider from paying a claim.
  • Declare your pet's medical history - if your pet has been treated by a vet in the past for any illness or injury it is best to declare these when you open a policy. This will then tell you if there are any exclusions on a policy that may prevent a claim from being paid in the future. Insurance providers will ask for the details of any veterinary practices your pet has been registered with in order to check your pets medical history when it comes to making a claim.
  • Keep up to date with vaccinations and boosters - some insurance providers may refuse to pay out if your pet has not seen a vet for an annual check-up or had annual vaccinations.
  • Policy increases - your insurance premium is likely to increase on renewal and this can be down to numerous factors such as the age of your pet, if you have made a claim and increasing veterinary costs in your area. You can shop around for a better deal on your pet insurance when your policy is up for renewal but remember that if you have made a claim your new provider may not cover you for any pre-existing conditions.

Pros and cons of pet insurance

Pros of pet insurance

  • You are financially protected against unexpected vet bills
  • Offers peace of mind
  • Helps towards the cost of a lost pet
  • Some providers offer free unlimited access to a virtual vet

Cons of pet insurance

  • Can be expensive if you do not need to claim
  • Most policies do not cover pre-existing conditions
  • The policy may not cover all incurred expenses
  • Does not cover routine expenses

How to get cheap pet insurance

The easiest way to compare pet insurance is via a comparison site such as MoneySupermarket*. It is, however, always best to shop around and compare the cost with the provider directly as sometimes it may be cheaper via the provider's website. It is also worth considering that the cheapest pet insurance policy may not always ensure that your pet has the best cover. We share some of the things you should consider before choosing the cheapest pet insurance policy in our article, 'Cheap pet insurance - 5 reasons why it's not always the best'.

 

 

 

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, Bought by Many, Waggel, Agria, MoneySuperMarket

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