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Types of Pet Insurance

Whilst Lifetime Pet Cover only offer lifetime policies, we think it's important that you're aware of the other types of pet insurance that are available to you in the UK. 

Only with this information can you make the best decision for your pet.

One of the most important concerns for pet owners is ensuring their pets are protected as best as possible for every situation. 

One type of protection that some pet owners do not immediately consider is pet insurance. Pet insurance can serve as a safety net that will help you cover unexpected costs that arise during the course of taking care of your pet. This is particularly important when faced with vet bills that you may not otherwise be able to afford.

Lifetime Pet Cover's Buster the Beagle in his house

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Consider a situation in which you face an expected expense related to your pet. Would you be able to deal with the cost out of pocket?

Many pet owners think of pet insurance as an unnecessary expense. On average, pet insurance costs owners £271 a year, making this concern an understandable one.

However, what you have likely not considered is that the average pet insurance claim is £817, according to ABI, which is far more than the annual cost of the insurance. This does not take into account a situation in which, for example, your pet develops a major or on-going illness. In such a case, insurance claims can rise into the thousands of pounds.

On the surface, it may seem that you are unnecessarily spending hundreds of pounds on pet insurance. However, in a case where you need to submit a claim, the same insurance can help you save far more money than it costs.

Which Animals Can You Insure?

In the UK, pet insurance policies are generally taken out for cats and dogs. In fact, most insurance providers will only provide dog insurance and cat insurance. While it is possible to find insurance policies for other animals, like smaller mammals (rabbits, hamsters, etc.), exotic pets, and horses, they are not always advantageous.

This is for two reasons: many of these animals have shorter lifespans than cats and dogs, so the advantages of insurance are not as great. Furthermore, exotic and expensive pets are harder and more expensive to insure because they are specialist and therefore not all insurance companies offer cover.

When it comes to venomous animals like snakes, very few insurance companies offer pet insurance for them. However, the inherent danger of such animals means that you should consider liability insurance for them.

If your pet isn't a cat or dog but they are expensive or valuable, like a horse, it is still worth considering insurance. In case of theft or unexpected vet bills, you may find that the insurance will be worthwhile.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Each insurer’s plans are unique and offer a varied breadth of cover. However, most pet insurance policies will provide cover for some or all of the following:

What Are the Types of Pet Insurance Available in the UK?

While each provider's policies are different, in general, there are 4 pet insurance types that you can choose from. These are:

Lifetime Policies

    A lifetime pet insurance policy will cover veterinary fees up to a pre-determined maximum amount which is reinstated every year that the policy is renewed.

    Lifetime can be considered one of the most comprehensive types of pet insurance available for cats and dogs as it's the only type that will continue to cover ongoing or recurring conditions, like arthritis or diabetes, for the life of the policy where others would exclude treatment for pre-existing conditions from new or renewed policies.

    Unlike other options available, like "Time Limited" or "Max Benefit", there are no limits on the number of claims that can be made each year, providing they don't exceed the annual cover limit.

    Lifetime pet insurance is often the more expensive option available, however it does give you the peace of mind that your furry friend's ongoing conditions will be covered for the life of the policy, even after renewal, so long as it doesn't pre-date the policy.

    Lifetime cover is the only option that Lifetime Pet Cover offer customers. If you think a lifetime policy meets your needs, please take a minute to get a quote by clicking here.

Dog holding a stick in his mouth in a sunny field

Maximum Benefit Policies

    These policies are also known as money-limited policies or per condition policies. They are a mid-budget pet insurance option that provides a fixed amount of cover for each injury and illness. This limit remains in place for the duration of the insurance policy and there is also no time-limit on your claim. This means that it is possible to submit claims several times for the same condition, as long as the financial limit is not reached.

    If you wish for the cover to last for as long as possible, you will need to renew your policy each year. Keep in mind that once the cover limit for a particular condition is reached, that condition is then considered a pre-existing condition. This means that you will need to bear the costs of the treatment going forward, even after renewal.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that if your pet has been treated for a condition that later appears in another body part, many maximum benefit policies will consider it to be the same condition. This means that claims submitted for any previous treatment your pet has already undergone are taken into account when your new claims are reviewed and it will likely be treated as a pre-existing condition. This is because such issues are treated as recurring conditions. They are combined with the previous occurrence and treated as one condition for the policy's duration.

    Lifetime Pet Cover do not offer maximum benefit policies.

Time Limited Policies

    There are usually two parts to a time-limited policy: a fixed sum that will cover your pet’s treatment for a given injury or illness and a set period of time for which the treatment for a given condition will be covered.

    A time-limited policy will allow you to make a claim for an eligible condition at any time during the duration of the policy, up to the fixed sum set for that condition. Most policies have a duration of 12 months from the start of the condition. This time limit is not in reference to the duration of the policy but rather to the duration for which the condition is covered.

    Once the duration is complete or the set amount has been reached, that condition will no longer be covered by the policy. Instead, it will be considered a pre-existing condition and will be excluded from future claims under that policy. After this, you will be liable for any further treatment costs that may be incurred for that condition and potentially any related to it.

    Like maximum benefit policies, time-limited policies also consider the reappearance of a particular condition in another body part to be a recurrence of the same condition. This means that if the recurrence happens after the time limit or the fixed sum provided by the policy has been reached; it will no longer be covered by the policy.

    Lifetime Pet Cover do not offer time limited policies.

Cute cat being stroked by his owner
Golden Retriever lying on a sandy beach

Accident Only Policies

    An accident only policy is the cheapest and most basic form of pet insurance available in the UK. Under such a policy, your pet's veterinary bills will only be covered for treatment following an accident, not illness.

    An accident is a sudden and unexpected event which happens during the policy year, like a broken leg from a fall or ingesting something dangerous.

    In an accident only policy you won't be covered at all for any illness. Illnesses are described as changes to a normal healthy state which can be caused by anything from disease to chronic conditions like arthritis.

    Lifetime Pet Cover do not offer accident only policies.

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

The cost of pet insurance in the UK varies greatly depending on the type of pet you have and the insurance policy that you have opted for. Insurance for dogs is usually higher than that for cats and premiums vary greatly based largely on breed, age, and location.

According to Nimblefins, the average cost of insuring a dog is £274 annually. For cats, the annual average paid for pet insurance £125. However, this average is dependent on a few factors so you may find a policy that is considerably cheaper or more expensive. 

Keep in mind that several factors affect the cost of pet insurance. This includes where you live and the age of your pet. If you have a pedigree pet, you will likely have to pay more as well. Finally, the type of insurance that you choose will also play a large role in determining the amount you pay for your pet insurance – lifetime insurance is significantly more expensive than accident-only insurance, for example but the cover you get in return can be a lot higher.

Final things to consider when buying pet insurance

When choosing an insurance policy, make sure you read all the terms and conditions carefully before purchasing. This will help protect you from the possibility of you unknowingly choosing a policy that does not offer you the benefits you are expecting and require. Furthermore, keep in mind that new policies may not cover claims for accidents or illnesses that occur within a short period of time after the start date of a policy. This is called the cooling off period and for many policies this will last for 14 days after the start date of the policy but it will vary from one policy to another and may be different for accidents and illnesses in the same policy.

Many pet insurance policies require that pets undergo regular treatment, such as vaccinations. Depending on the terms of your policy, if you do not keep up with these treatments, your insurer may refuse to pay out a claim related to the conditions that the vaccinations will have provided protection against.

Keep in mind that most insurance policies will not cover any pre-existing conditions which are any conditions, illnesses, injuries or bilateral conditions which occurred or first showed clinical signs prior to the policy start date, whether diagnosed or not, or existing in any form even if the diagnosis changes. If the insurers quote process requires it, make sure to declare any such conditions that your pet may have when purchasing the policy. If you do not do so, your policy may be void, and your insurer may not pay out any claims.

If your pet does have a pre-existing condition, make sure you read the terms and conditions for a policy and/or call the insurance provider to check what will or won't be covered. With a Lifetime Pet Cover policy, there are certain conditions under which we will no longer consider a condition to be pre-existing. These are:

For more information on pre-existing conditions, we have a guide to help.

Pet insurance helps ensure that your pet is protected just as much as making sure that they cannot run onto a busy road does. As a pet owner, you will undoubtedly take steps to reduce the likelihood of any harm coming to your pet, whether by accident, illness, or mishap. However, in the case that such an incident does occur, pet insurance helps ensure that you have the financial capability to effectively address the issue.

Advice Corner

If you think your pet needs lifetime cover, please take a couple of minutes to get a quote.

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