Time-limited pet insurance explained

9 min Read Published: 03 Dec 2020

what is time limited pet insurance

Time-limited pet insurance is a pet insurance policy that offers veterinary fee cover for an illness or injury for a set period of time. In this article, we take a look at time-limited pet insurance including how it works, how much it costs and how it compares to other pet insurance policies

What is time-limited pet insurance?

Time-limited pet insurance is not as comprehensive as lifetime or maximum benefit pet insurance policies, as it only covers veterinary fees for your pet's illnesses and injuries for a set period of time, usually 12 months. Time-limited pet insurance tends to be a cheaper alternative to maximum benefit and lifetime pet insurance however it does not offer the same level of cover.

How does time-limited pet insurance work?

With time-limited pet insurance you pay a monthly or annual premium to your pet insurance provider. The insurer should then cover the cost of veterinary fees should you need to submit a claim for an illness or injury that your pet has sustained. However, time-limited pet insurance is subject to restrictions depending on the level of cover you have and how long ago the condition was diagnosed.

Most time-limited pet insurance policies only cover your pet's illness or injury for 12 months from when the condition was first noticed or until the cost limit is reached, whichever comes first. It is important to check the small print to find out when your pet is covered from as some insurers may start the 12 month period from diagnosis rather than from when your pet has received treatment.

Time-limited pet insurance policies typically cover you for the following:

tick Veterinary fees for illness or injury

tick Death and euthanasia (some policies have this as an optional extra)

tick Third-party liability

tick Loss or theft of your pet

Time-limited pet insurance will not typically cover you for the following:

Routine vaccinations

Pregnancy complications

Dental cover

Pre-existing conditions

How much does time-limited pet insurance cost?

The cost of time-limited pet insurance will vary depending on the level of cover you wish to insure your pet for. The price of your time-limited pet insurance policy will be influenced by the type, age and breed of your pet as well as where you live.

In the below table we have compared the cost of time-limited pet insurance policies for a mixed breed puppy and kitten from three of the top pet insurance providers. For more information on the cost of pet insurance and for a wider comparison of pet insurance policies, check out our article 'How much does pet insurance cost?'

Comparison table - time-limited pet cover for a 6-month-old puppy and kitten 

Animal Friends Insurance Emporium Argos
Excess £99 £85 for puppy £95 for kitten £99
Condition limit £1,000 £1,000 £2,500
Annual limit £4,000 no limit no limit
Cover period 12 months from the condition being noticed 12 months from the condition being noticed 12 months from the condition being noticed
Mixed breed puppy £5.67 £9.18 £10.98
Mixed breed kitten £3.96 £7.00 £6.73

 

How much should I insure my pet for?

The amount of cover you choose is completely up to you, however, it is worth remembering that Veterinary treatment cover does not renew with a time-limited policy, so once the cost or time limit has been reached, any costs incurred over this amount will need to be self-funded.

The pet insurance provider Animal Friends has highlighted the cost of some of the most common treatments for cats and dogs from data compiled in 2019 based on succesful claims from its customers. The cost of veterinary treatment can vary based on each veterinary practice and the condition your pet is suffering from but an example of some of the costs you could expect to incur can be found in the tables below.

A table demonstrating the average cost of the most common closed claims on cat insurance in 2019 with the insurance provider Animal Friends

Condition Average cost
Road Traffic Accident £1,351
Diabetes £1,220
Tumour £983
Heart Disease £955
Kidney Disease £897
Hyperthyroidism £806
Vomiting £791
Lameness £700
Wound £523
Abscess £413

Data compiled by AnimalFriends.co.uk

A table demonstrating the average cost of the most common closed claims on insurance for medium dogs in 2019 with the insurance provider Animal Friends

Condition Average cost
Cruciate ligament damage £2,090
Seizures £1,001
Lameness £964
Gastroenteritis £847
Vomiting £837
Tumour £828
Diarrhoea £733
Osteoarthritis £596
Toxic Ingestion £551
Wound £534

Data compiled by AnimalFriends.co.uk

Pros and cons of time-limited pet insurance

Pros of time-limited pet insurance

  • Cheaper than other pet insurance policies
  • Offers a good level of cover without being too expensive
  • Some policies do not have an annual claim limit so you can claim for multiple conditions in a year should you need to

Cons of time-limited pet insurance

  • Not as comprehensive as other policies
  • Does not offer lifetime cover for your pet
  • Have to self-fund conditions after 12 months or once the condition limit is reached

Alternatives to time-limited pet insurance

There are 3 other types of pet insurance and we summarise the key differences in the table below. Some providers also offer public liability pet insurance which protects you against legal action in the event that your dog bites somebody or damages property. Most pet insurance premiums offer this cover as standard, however, a public liability-only policy does not cover your dog for any illness or injuries that it sustains.

  • Lifetime Pet insurance - the most comprehensive pet insurance policy as it covers your pet for the duration of its life. There are two different types of lifetime pet insurance, annual limit per condition and annual lifetime cover. Annual limit per condition cover insures your pet for a set amount per condition per year. The limit then renews annually for the lifetime of the pet. Annual lifetime cover insures your pet for a set amount for the duration of its life, once this limit is reached any treatment will need to be self-funded.
  • Maximum benefit pet insurance - covers your pet for a set limit per new condition. After the limit has been reached the condition is considered to be 'pre-existing' and will need to be self-funded.
  • Accident only pet insurance - the most basic pet insurance policy as it only covers your pet for accidental injuries. Your pet is not covered if it develops an illness.

The below comparison table summarises the different types of pet insurance policies available

Lifetime cover Maximum benefit Time-limited Accident only
Covers for unexpected injury
Covers for unexpected illness
Covered for a fixed amount for a fixed period of time
Covered for a fixed amount per condition (until the balance is met)
Covered for a fixed amount for life (either per condition or over the pet's lifetime)

 

 

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