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, as it only covers veterinary fees for your pet's illnesses and injuries for a set period of time, which is 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.
What does time-limited pet insurance cover?
Time-limited pet insurance policies typically cover you for the following:
Veterinary fees for illness or injury
Death and euthanasia (some policies have this as an optional extra)
Loss or theft of your pet
What is not covered by time-limited pet insurance?
Time-limited pet insurance will not typically cover you for the following:
Routine dental treatment or dental treatment due to illness
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 three time-limited pet insurance policies for a 1-year-old mixed breed dog and cat from different 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?'
Another way to easily compare the cost of time-limited pet insurance is via a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket* or Compare the Market*. This allows you to compare numerous policies to find the best deal for your pet. One thing to remember, however, is that not all comparison sites cover the whole of the pet insurance market and you may therefore find a better deal elsewhere.
Time-limited pet insurance policy cost comparison
|Animal Friends*||Insurance Emporium||Direct Line|
|Excess||£99||£105 for dogs
£115 for cats
|£95 for dogs
£80 for cats
|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 initial treatment|
|Mixed breed dog (monthly cost)||£5.63||£8.39||£11.72|
|Mixed breed cat (monthly cost)||£6.25||£6.26||£8.19|
(Quotes correct as of 20/03/23)
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 annually with a time-limited policy, so once the cost or time limit has been reached on a condition, any costs incurred over this amount for that condition 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 2021 based on successful 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.
Average veterinary fee costs for cats
A table demonstrating the average cost of the most common closed claims on cat insurance in 2021 with the insurance provider Animal Friends.
|Road Traffic Accident||£1,430|
Data compiled by AnimalFriends.co.uk
Average veterinary fee costs for dogs
A table demonstrating the average cost of the most common closed claims on insurance for medium dogs in 2021 with the insurance provider Animal Friends.
|Cruciate ligament damage||£2,275|
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 chronic conditions
- 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.
The different types of pet insurance
The below comparison table summarises the different types of pet insurance policies available.
|Lifetime pet insurance||Maximum benefit pet insurance||Time-limited pet insurance||
Accident-only pet insurance
|Vet fee cover for illness|
|Vet fee cover for injury|
|Vet fee cover amount renews annually|
|Vet fee cover per condition||*|
|Vet fee cover for a set time period (usually 12 months)||*|
Lifetime pet insurance
Lifetime pet insurance is 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 limit 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 limit lifetime cover insures your pet for a set amount per policy year, this means you can claim for multiple conditions up to the policy limit. Once this limit has been reached any treatment will need to be self-funded.
For more information on lifetime pet insurance, read our article 'Lifetime pet insurance explained'.
Maximum benefit pet insurance
Maximum benefit pet insurance covers your pet for a set amount per new condition. After the limit has been reached the condition is considered to be 'pre-existing' and will need to be self-funded. For more information on maximum benefit pet insurance, read our article 'Maximum benefit pet insurance explained'.
Accident-only pet insurance
Accident-only pet insurance is 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. In most instances, your pet will be insured for a set amount per condition and once this condition limit has been reached any further treatment for the accident will need to be self-funded. Some accident-only pet insurance providers will enforce a 12-month time limit on how long you have to claim for an accident so check your policy documents carefully.
For more information on accident-only pet insurance, read our article 'Accident-only pet insurance explained'.
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, MoneySuperMarket, Compare the Market