It is exciting welcoming a new pet into the family but there are also a lot of associated costs with owning a dog. One of those is pet insurance, which is an insurance policy designed to help cover the cost of large and unexpected vet bills should your dog require treatment due to illness or injury.
In this article, we take a look at dog insurance including what it covers, the different types of dog insurance, how much dog insurance costs and is dog insurance worth it?
What is dog insurance?
Dog insurance is an insurance policy designed to cover the cost of unexpected vet bills. You pay a monthly or annual premium to the insurer and then in the unfortunate event you have to claim, the policy should cover the treatment cost for your dog, minus any policy excess, providing your claim meets the requirements.
There are four main types of pet insurance with the most comprehensive policy for your dog being lifetime pet insurance. We go into more detail about the different types of pet insurance here. For more information on pet insurance and how it works, read our 'Complete guide to pet insurance'.
What does dog insurance cover?
A dog insurance policy is designed to cover the cost of unexpected veterinary bills as a result of an illness or injury sustained by your pet. The total amount of cover you get will depend on the policy you choose. For more information on the different types of pet insurance and the level of cover you can expect, read our article 'What are the different types of pet insurance?'
A typical dog insurance policy will cover the following:
Veterinary fees due to illness or injury
Death due to illness or injury (some restrictions apply as your pet ages)
Loss and theft of your dog
Kennel fees if you are hospitalised in an emergency
Public liability (should your dog injure someone or damage property)
A typical dog insurance policy does not cover:
Routine treatment such as vaccinations and worming
Routine dental treatment (some policies cover dogs for dental treatment due to an accident or an illness)
What are the different types of dog insurance?
There are five main types of pet insurance and we summarise the differences below.
Lifetime pet insurance
This is the most comprehensive pet insurance policy that covers your dog up to an agreed limit each year for veterinary treatment for illness and injury for the duration of its life. The veterinary fee limit renews annually as long as you continue to pay the premium. There are two types of lifetime pet insurance, annual limit and annual limit per condition. Annual limit lifetime pet insurance insures your pet for a set amount per policy year and annual limit per condition lifetime pet insurance insures your pet for a set amount per condition per policy year.
More information on lifetime pet insurance can be found in our article, 'Lifetime pet insurance explained'.
Maximum benefit pet insurance
Maximum benefit pet insurance covers your pet up to a certain amount per illness or injury but unlike lifetime pet insurance, the veterinary fee cover does not renew annually. You can find out more about maximum benefit pet insurance here, 'Maximum benefit pet insurance explained'.
Time-limited pet insurance
Time-limited pet insurance insures your pet for a set amount per illness or injury and for a set period of time, which is usually around 12 months from the onset of the condition or the initial treatment (policy dependent). You can find out more about time-limited pet insurance in our article, 'Time-limited pet insurance explained'.
Accident-only pet insurance
Accident-only pet insurance covers your pet for a set amount per injury and does not cover your pet for illness. Some accident-only policies also enforce a time limit on how long you have to claim but this is dependent on the provider. More information on accident-only pet insurance can be found in our article, 'Accident-only pet insurance explained'.
Liability only pet insurance
Liability only insurance insures your dog against any legal claims should your pet injure somebody or damage their property. Liability only insurance does not provide any cover for veterinary bills due to illness or injury. Most pet insurance policies (excluding accident-only) include liability only insurance as standard.
Do you need pet insurance for dogs?
Dog insurance is designed to help cover the cost of large and unexpected veterinary bills but if your dog is young and relatively healthy, you may be wondering if dog insurance is worth it?
Pet insurance helps to relieve the financial stress and worry when your pet is ill or injured. Some insurers, such as Petplan, can arrange to pay your vet directly so you don't have to pay out any money when your pet receives treatment. It is advisable to insure your pet when it is young with a lifetime policy, such as ManyPets' complete policy*, as it will cover your pet for any long term and chronic illnesses it may develop, so long you continue to pay your pet insurance premium.
When buying pet insurance it is worth remembering that should your pet develop an illness or suffer an injury and you subsequently choose to switch providers, the condition is unlikely to be covered by the new insurer as it would be deemed as pre-existing. However, some insurers such as ManyPets (formally known as Bought by Many), offer pre-existing condition policies that may be able to cover your pet for a pre-existing condition.
Should you get dog insurance?
You should get pet insurance for your dog if you want financial protection in the event of a claim. Whilst pet insurance can seem like an unnecessary expense if your pet is healthy, it often pays for itself fairly quickly should your pet need require expensive treatment or an operation.
There are a variety of pet insurance policies to choose from so you are bound to find a policy that suits your needs. More information on the different types can be found in our article, 'What are the different types of pet insurance?'
The best pet insurance for dogs
There are a host of pet insurance providers who can provide cover for your dog should it fall ill or be involved in an accident. It can feel overwhelming when choosing the right policy for your pet so we have collated some information on some of the best pet insurance providers for your dog in the comparison table below. For more information on each of the providers read our independent reviews:
- Animal Friends pet insurance review
- ManyPets pet insurance review
- Direct Line pet insurance review
- Petplan pet insurance review
- The Insurance Emporium pet insurance review
- Waggel pet insurance review
The best dog insurance providers
Scroll to the right to view the full table
|Animal Friends*||ManyPets*||Direct Line||Petplan||The Insurance Emporium||Waggel*|
|Maximum veterinary fee cover (policy dependant)||Up to £18,000||Up to £15,000||Up to £8,000||Up to £12,000||Up to £8,000||Up to £10,000|
|Free vet video calls/helpline|
|Good for...||free vet video calls||multi-pet discount||discounted medication||paying out claims||older dogs||simplicity|
How much is dog insurance?
How much you pay for a pet insurance policy will vary depending on the type, age and breed of your pet. The type of pet insurance policy you choose will also affect how much it costs. Lifetime pet insurance is usually more expensive than other types of insurance as it is the most comprehensive cover for your dog. Accident-only pet insurance is usually the cheapest because it only covers accidents and does not cover your pet for any illnesses. For more information on the cost of pet insurance for dogs, read our article 'How much does pet insurance cost?'
In the below comparison table, we compare the cost of some of the best dog insurance providers. For the purpose of the table, we have compared the most comprehensive policy with each of the providers and the quotes are based on a 1-year-old mixed breed dog with no underlying health conditions and living in a South East postcode. We have selected excesses that are closer to £100 to make the quotes comparable. You may be able to choose a higher or lower excess with some of the providers.
How much is pet insurance for dogs?
|Animal Friends*||ManyPets*||Direct Line||Petplan||The Insurance Emporium||Waggel*|
|Policy type||Annual limit per condition lifetime||Annual limit lifetime||Maximum benefit||Annual limit lifetime||Annual limit per condition lifetime||Annual limit lifetime|
|Policy name||Prestige||Complete||Advanced||Ultimate||Lifetime Gold||Lifetime|
|Maximum vet fee cover||£6,000 per condition per year||£15,000 per year||£8,000 per condition||£12,000 per year||£8,000 per condition per year||£10,000 per year|
|Policy excess||£99||£99||£95||£110||£135 plus 5% co-payment||£100|
|Monthly cost 1-year-old dog||£25.74||£37.86||£22.75||£70.08||£22.14||£33.98|
(Quotes correct as of 03/01/23)
How to reduce the cost of dog insurance
How much you pay for your pet insurance will vary depending on a number of factors including the age, type and breed of your pet. More information on the cost of pet insurance can be found in our articles, '7 factors that affect the cost of pet insurance' and 'How much does pet insurance cost?'
Below we list a few things you could do in order to help reduce the cost of your dog insurance premium.
- Buy a multi-pet policy - if you have more than one pet you may be able to benefit from cheaper pet insurance premiums with a multi-pet discount
- Get your pet neutered/spayed - neutering or spaying your pet can reduce the risk of certain health complications and help to prevent your pet from straying
- Increase your excess - the excess is the amount you pay towards a claim and usually, the higher the policy excess the lower the pet insurance premiums
For more money-saving tips read our article, 'How to save money on dog insurance'.
Pros and cons of dog insurance
Pros of dog insurance
- Helps cover unexpected veterinary bills
- Can contribute towards the cost of a lost pet
- Can reduce financial stress and worry
Cons of dog insurance
- Can be expensive if you do not need to make a claim
- Does not cover routine treatment such as vaccinations and worming
- Most standard policies do not cover pre-existing conditions
Where can I buy cheap dog insurance?
If you are looking to buy a pet insurance policy for your pet you may want to shop around for a cheaper deal on a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket* or Compare the Market*. It is, however, worth considering that not all pet insurance providers, such as Direct Line, share their policies with comparison sites. Additionally, the best pet insurance policy does not always mean the cheapest, here we share '5 reasons why the cheapest pet insurance policy is not always the best'.
While a comparison site is a quick and easy way to compare multiple pet insurance policies, you may not be getting the best deal and it can sometimes be cheaper to visit the provider directly. In some cases, a policy can be cheaper via a comparison site as there may be a higher excess fee or a co-payment associated with that particular policy. When you pay a higher excess or agree to a co-payment you are effectively contributing more towards the cost of the veterinary fee claim meaning your pet insurance premium is likely to be lower. Make sure that you check your policy documents carefully so you know exactly what you are covered for and how much you are expected to pay in the event of any claim.
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, ManyPets, Waggel, MoneySuperMarket, Compare the Market