Pet insurance is an insurance policy, paid annually or monthly, that is designed to cover any unexpected veterinary bills due to your pet falling ill or getting injured. Most people tend to get pet insurance when their dog is a puppy so that it is better protected against any illness that may arise at a later date. However, some people are often reluctant to pay over the odds for dog insurance premiums, especially if their dog is young and healthy.
In this article, we look at what dog insurance covers and how much you can expect to pay for dog insurance via some of the best pet insurance providers in the UK. We also share some things you should consider before choosing the cheapest pet insurance policy.
What does dog insurance cover?
Dog insurance is designed to help pay for unexpected veterinary bills caused by an illness or injury to your pet. Pet insurance provides peace of mind and allows you to go ahead with treatment that could be unaffordable without pet insurance, due to the high cost of veterinary fees. So what does pet insurance actually cover your pet for?
A typical dog insurance policy covers your pet for:
Veterinary treatment for illness (excluding accident-only policies)
Veterinary treatment for injury
Death due to illness or injury
Loss and theft
Depending on the type of policy you choose, you may also get cover for emergency boarding, holiday cancellation and vet fees abroad. More information on the different types of dog insurance can be found in our article, 'What are the different types of pet insurance?'
A typical dog insurance policy will not cover your pet for:
Routine care such as worming and vaccination
The policy excess and any agreed percentage contributions (also known as a co-payment)
Cheap dog insurance
In the below comparison tables, we share some of the cheapest dog insurance policies for each pet insurance type. The quotes are based on a 1-year-old mixed breed dog with no underlying health conditions and living in a South East postcode. The quotes are based on policies with lower veterinary fee cover, so if you wanted to increase the amount of cover you have for your pet the cost of your premium is likely to rise.
The following comparison tables only highlight the cost of pet insurance that covers veterinary fee treatment, however, some insurers such as The Insurance Emporium also offer liability-only pet insurance cover. This type of policy offers legal cover in the event your dog injures someone or damages their property but it does not cover any treatment due to illness or injury. Most pet insurance providers (excluding accident-only policies) include liability cover as standard.
Cheap lifetime pet insurance for dogs
Lifetime pet insurance is the most comprehensive pet insurance for your dog as the veterinary fee cover for illness and injury renews annually. 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 year and annual limit per condition lifetime pet insurance insures your pet for a set amount per condition, per year. More information about lifetime pet insurance can be found in our article, 'Lifetime pet insurance explained'.
Cheap lifetime dog insurance providers
In the comparison table below, we compare some of the cheapest lifetime pet insurance providers. The quotes are based on a 1-year-old mixed breed dog living in a South East postcode.
|Animal Friends*||Perfect Pet||Waggel*|
|Policy name||Lifetime £1000||Elite Monthly||Waggel Lifetime Policy|
|Policy type||Annual limit lifetime||Annual limit lifetime||Annual limit lifetime|
|Annual veterinary fee limit per condition||No limit||£1,000||No limit|
|Annual veterinary fee limit per year||£1000||£1,000 per condition for unlimited conditions||£1,000|
|Policy excess||£159 per year||£90 per condition per year||£250 per condition per year|
|Monthly cost 1-year-old dog||£6.27||£8.50||£8.90|
(Quotes correct as of 11/10/23)
Cheap maximum benefit pet insurance for dogs
Maximum benefit pet insurance isn't as comprehensive as lifetime pet insurance as the veterinary fee cover does not renew annually and so you will steadily start to use up your limit each time you claim. Maximum benefit pet insurance covers your pet for both illness and injury and your pet is covered for a set amount per condition. For more information on maximum benefit pet insurance, and what it covers, read our article 'Maximum benefit pet insurance explained'.
Cheap maximum benefit dog insurance providers
Below, we compare some of the cheapest maximum benefit pet insurance providers on the market. For the purpose of the table, the quotes are based on a 1-year-old dog living in a South East postcode.
|Animal Friends*||Scratch&Patch||Perfect Pet|
|Policy name||Max Benefit Max Value||Gold Maximum benefit||Vital Monthly|
|Policy type||Maximum benefit||Maximum benefit||Maximum benefit|
|Veterinary fee limit per condition||£1,000||£4,000||£1,000|
|Policy excess||£159||£125 + 20% of the remaining claim amount||£90|
|Monthly cost 1-year-old dog||£5.59||£8.84||£9.61|
(Quotes correct as of 11/10/23)
Cheap time-limited pet insurance for dogs
Time-limited pet insurance covers your pet for illness and injury but you are only insured for a set amount per condition and for a set amount of time, which is usually 12 months from the onset of the condition or when the condition was first treated. Time-limited pet insurance is better suited to short-term illnesses as you will only be covered until you reach the vet fee limit or 12 months pass, whichever comes first. To find out more about time-limited pet insurance, read our article 'Time-limited pet insurance explained'.
Cheap time-limited dog insurance providers
In the following comparison table, we compare some of the cheapest time-limited dog insurance providers. The quotes are based on a 1-year-old mixed breed dog living in a South East postcode.
|Animal Friends*||More Than||Scratch & Patch|
|Policy name||Time Limited Basic Plus||Time Limited Basic||Silver Time Limited|
|Veterinary fee limit per condition||£1,000||£1,500||£3,000|
|Maximum annual claim limit||£4,000||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|12-month claim limit|
|Policy excess||£159||£100 + 20% of the remaining claim||£125 + 20% of the remaining claim|
|Monthly cost 1-year-old dog||£5.01||£6.01||£6.91|
(Quotes correct as of 11/10/23)
Cheap accident-only pet insurance for dogs
Accident-only pet insurance does not insure your pet for illnesses and so only covers your pet for treatment for accidents. Because of this, it is usually one of the cheaper pet insurance policies for your dog. Some accident-only pet insurance providers also enforce a time limit on how long you have to claim for the accident and this is usually 12 months. If you want to find out more about accident-only pet insurance, read our article 'Accident-only pet insurance explained'.
Cheap accident-only dog insurance providers
In the below comparison table, we compare some of the cheapest accident-only pet insurance providers. The quotes are based on a 1-year-old mixed breed dog living in a South East postcode.
|Animal Friends*||The Insurance Emporium||Tesco Bank|
|Policy name||Accident Only||Accident Only||Accident and Injury|
|Veterinary fee limit per condition||£2,500 (renews annually)||£2,500||£3,000|
|12 month claim limit|
|Lifetime condition limit||£15,000|
|Monthly cost 1-year-old dog||£4.08||£5.43||£6.15|
(Quotes correct as of 12/10/23)
What to consider before buying cheap dog insurance
Whilst pet insurance can seem an unnecessary expense, particularly when your pet is young and healthy, it can quickly pay for itself should you need to claim. Having a cheap pet insurance policy will help to reduce your monthly outgoings but could leave you in a difficult position financially if you need to claim and do not have enough veterinary fee cover. In this article, we share '5 reasons why cheap pet insurance is not always the best idea'.
You are likely to see a lower pet insurance premium whilst your pet is young, fit and healthy and this tends to increase as your pet ages, as will the likelihood of you claiming. Because of this, it is better to take out a pet insurance policy whilst your pet is young as it can ensure you are covered should your pet require treatment unexpectedly. It is worth noting that if you need to make a claim, you are likely to see a rise in your premium upon renewal. If you decide to change insurers after you have made a claim, be aware that the condition you have previously claimed for is unlikely to be covered on the new policy unless you are changing to a pre-existing condition policy.
How to reduce the cost of dog insurance
How much you pay for your dog insurance policy will vary depending on where you live, which policy type you have and what breed of dog you need to insure. Pedigree breeds are more susceptible to certain illnesses and are therefore more expensive to insure. The age of your dog will also affect the cost of your policy as the cost of pet insurance typically increases as your dog ages.
If you are trying to keep your costs to a minimum you could try the following to reduce the cost of your dog insurance premium. For additional tips, read our article 'How to save money on pet insurance'.
- A multi-pet policy - if you have more than one pet in your household some insurers offer a percentage discount
- Neuter or spay your pet - neutering your pet could see a reduction in the cost of your premium as your pet is less likely to stray and will not suffer from complications due to pregnancy and birth
- Microchipping - microchipping your pet can make it easier to be reunited with your animal should it be found
- Increase how much you pay when you claim - opting to pay more when you claim via an increased excess or additional co-payment means you will likely see a reduction in your monthly or annual premium
How to buy cheap dog insurance
The quickest and easiest way to buy a cheap dog insurance policy is via a comparison site such as Quotezone*, Compare the Market* and MoneySuperMarket* as this allows you to compare the cost from a range of providers. It is worth noting, however, that not every pet insurance provider will be shown via a comparison site so you may be missing out on a better deal elsewhere.
You should check the policy excess details carefully when comparing pet insurance quotes via an online comparison site. The cheaper premiums being displayed could be as a result of higher policy excess fees payable upon claims.
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, Waggel, Quotezone, MoneySuperMarket, Compare the Market