The best and cheapest pet insurance

16 min Read Published: 20 Nov 2020

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.

 

animal friends logo Animal Friends - best for comprehensive cover

  • Offers 4 policy types - Accident only, Time-limited, Maximum Benefit and Lifetime cover
  • Vet fee cover up to £6,000
  • Free vet video calls 24/7
  • Insure your cat, dog or horse
  • Vet can claim online on your behalf
  • Every policy bought helps to support animal charities

bought by many logo  Bought by Many - best for multi-pet discount & no excess

  • Offers 6 policy types - Liability only, Value, Pre-existing, MoneyBack, Regular and Complete
  • Vet fee cover up to £15,000
  • Free vet video calls 24/7
  • Insure your cat or dog
  • Zero excess option for pets under 9
  • Online claims process
  • 15% multi-pet discount

direct line logo Direct Line - best for dealing directly with your vet

  • Offers 2 policy types - Essential (time-limited) and Advanced cover (maximum benefit)
  • Vet fee cover up to £8,000
  • Free vet video calls 24/7
  • Online claims process
  • Partnered with Pet Drugs Online for discounted medication and pet food
  • 12.5% Multi-pet policy discount
  • Insure your cat or dog

m&s bank logo M&S - best for low excess

  • Offers 3 policy types - Premier, Standard or Essential cover
  • Vet fee cover up to £7,000
  • 24-hour access to Vetfone a freephone pet helpline
  • 15% online discount
  • 5% multi-pet discount
  • Insure your cat or dog

pet plan logo Pet Plan - best for paying out claims

  • Offers 2 policy types - 12 Month Cover and Covered for Life
  • Vet fee cover up to £12,000
  • Can pay your vet directly
  • 90% of claims paid within 5 days
  • 97% of claims paid
  • £12 discount per pet per year (if more than one pet is insured)
  • Insure your cat, dog or horse
  • Partnered with Exotic Direct for insurance for birds, reptiles and small mammals

 The Insurance Emporium  - best for an introductory discount and senior pets

  • Offers 5 policy types - Public Liability only, Accident only, Time-limited, Maximum Benefit and Lifetime cover
  • Vet fee cover up to £8,000
  • Specialist insurance for cats and dogs over 8
  • 20% introductory discount on the first year
  • 10% Multi-pet policy discount
  • Insure your cat, dog or horse

waggel logo Waggel - best for managing your policy on your phone

  • One policy type with different levels of cover
  • Vet fee cover up to £10,000
  • Free vet video calls 24/7
  • Insure your cat or dog
  • Manage your policy via an app on your phone
  • Track claim as it progresses

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, there are different cashback offers for different policies. 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 Compare the Market so it is worth looking around for the best cashback deal. Remember, if you are looking to switch pet insurance providers that any pre-existing conditions will not be covered.

The best pet insurance for dogs

In the below comparison table we have compared some of the best Lifetime and Maximum Benefit policies for dogs. The below quotes are based on a 5-year-old mongrel with no health problems.

A comparison table for the best pet insurance for dogs

Animal Friends Insurance Emporium Direct Line
Good for Comprehensive cover Introductory discount
Dealing directly with your vet
Cost (monthly) £40.56 £49.29 £47.13
Level of cover Lifetime Prestige offers £6,000 cover for each condition each year Lifetime cover policy £8,000 per condition for life
Maximum Benefit policy up to £8,000 for each condition each year
Policies 4 policies 5 policy types with additional tiers
2 policy types: Essential & Advanced cover
Optional extras e.g death & euthanasia cover Already included tick tick
Video Vet Calls tick tick
Trustpilot score 4.4/5 4.5/5 4.2/5

 

The best pet insurance for cats

In the below comparison table we have compared some of the best Lifetime and Maximum Benefit policies for cats. The below quotes are based on a 5-year-old moggy with no health problems.

A comparison table for the best pet insurance for cats

Animal Friends Bought by Many Waggel
Good for Comprehensive cover Reliability - Voted most trusted pet insurance provider in 2019
Managing your policy on your phone
Cost (monthly) £15.09 £20.08 £25.73
Level of cover Lifetime Prestige offers £6,000 cover for each condition each year Annual limit of £15,000 which renews each year
Annual limit of £10,000 which renews each year
Policies 4 policies 6 policy types
2 policy types: Essential & Advanced cover
Optional extras e.g death & euthanasia cover Already included tick tick
Video Vet calls tick tick tick
Trustpilot score 4.4/5 3.5/5 3.1/5

 

Cheapest pet insurance for dogs

In the below comparison table we compare 3 of the cheapest quotes for a 5-year-old large mongrel dog with no pre-existing health conditions. The cost of your dog's pet insurance cover will vary, largely depending on the age and breed of your dog and whether it has any pre-existing health conditions. It will also depend on the type of policy you choose. The below table is based on time-limited policies which is a cheaper pet insurance policy as you are insured up to the cost limit or until the time period is reached (this is usually 12 months).

A comparison table for the cheapest time-limited pet insurance for dogs

Animal Friends Perfect Pet More Than
Cost £10.79 £16.58 £16.58
Policy Type Time-Limited Time-Limited Time-Limited
Excess £99 per condition per year £90 per condition
£100 per condition per year & 20% of the claim
Level of cover £1,000 per condition £1,000 per condition £1,500 per condition
Annual limit £4,000 Unlimited conditions Unlimited conditions

 

Cheapest pet insurance for cats

In the below comparison table we compare 3 of the cheapest quotes for a 5-year-old moggy cat with no pre-existing health conditions. The cost of your cat's pet insurance cover will vary, largely depending on the age and breed of your cat and whether it has any pre-existing health conditions. It will also depend on the type of policy you choose. The below table is based on time-limited policies which is a cheaper pet insurance policy as you are insured up to the cost limit or until the time period is reached (this is usually 12 months).

A comparison table for the cheapest time-limited pet insurance for cats

More Than Liverpool Victoria The Insurance Emporium
Cost £5.40 £6.37 £7.00
Policy Type Time-Limited Time-Limited Time-Limited
Excess £100 per condition & 20% of the claim £75 per condition £95 per condition
Level of cover £1,500 per condition £1,500 per condition £1,000 per condition
Annual limit Unlimited conditions Unlimited conditions Unlimited conditions

 

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 article 'Do I need pet insurance?'

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

  • 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. Some policies allow you to insure your pet from 4 weeks, as this will ensure your pet is covered should any health conditions arise at a later date.
  • 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 is 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 previous veterinary practices your pet has been registered to as they will check your pets medical history when you 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
  • Policy may not cover all incurred expenses
  • Does not cover routine expenses

 

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.