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We love our pets and when they’re ill or have suffered an accident, we want them to get the best medical treatment possible. And that’s why taking out pet insurance is the best thing you can do for your best friend.

Otherwise, you could be left thousands of pounds out of pocket for pet vets if they are involved in an accident or their medical condition requires it. The average pet insurance in the UK today is around £750 a year – and that’s not exactly a paltry sum (worse still if it comes along unexpectedly).

Pet insurance can cover a range of possibilities, from flea treatments to broken bones and complicated surgery treatments. What type you get depends on the age of your pet and how much you want to spend.

The majority of pet insurance is for cats and dogs. Insurance is available for smaller animals such as hamsters, guinea, pigs, rabbits etc but these animals tend not to live to a good age anyway, which is when health problems typically start to set in.

Like humans, cats and dogs tend to be more prone to certain illnesses as they age. This, in turn, means your insurance tends to rise with each passing year.

What does it generally cover?

Vet treatment. This is usually for any accidents your pet is involved in and injuries sustained as a result. It also encompasses numerous medical conditions that require veterinary treatment, including homoeopathic treatments suggested by a vet.

Dental Fees:

pet dog and cat in a gardenFor most insurance policies the treatment is usually a result of accident and injury and not for cosmetic reasons.

Behaviour training:

There is a minimum sum for the cost of the training and it needs to be carried out by a vet or other animal professional.

Kennel fees:

In the event you have to go into hospital for four or more days and don’t have anyone to watch your pet, then you can get an insurance policy to pay for his or her stay in kennels or a cattery.

Loss and theft:

To claim if your pet goes missing then you will need a receipt to show how much you paid for him or her in the first place. This isn’t to say you won’t be able to claim but rather you’ll get the ‘market rate’ rather than what you spent initially. Most of these policies though are aimed at recovering your pet so will payout for advertising and even payment of a reward.

Death by injury or illness:

This too requires proof of the cost of your animal as well as possibly a death certificate from a vet. It could also take euthanasia into account. There’s usually a maximum age limit for this type of policy.

Medical treatment overseas:

If your pet takes ill or is injured on holiday then you can cover any treatment with this type of policy. The cost of treatment usually has to be above a certain minimum amount.

Venomous animals:

This takes into account lizards, snakes, spiders, toads and any pet which contains poison in its bite or sting. Having a potentially dangerous pet like this means you might also be able to take out liability insurance.


Most insurance companies will only cover dogs. The payout refers to any person or property that is injured or damaged respectively and is usually for up to £1 million. Can be a comprehensive cover or third party.



Continued and comprehensive cover throughout the lifetime of your pet. Payment will increase with age though.


Paying for 12 months at a time with the option to switch at the end of the period if you don’t want it to roll over. The cover isn’t as comprehensive as life insurance.

Accident only

This type of cover pays out when a dog is hit and injured by a car. It doesn’t apply to costs for medical treatment.

How to get a cheap pet insurance quote?

Do plenty of research before signing up for any policy – not just to find the cheapest, but also the best cover for you and your animals. Meanwhile, you rarely get anything for nothing these days so beware that a very inexpensive policy will result in a much-reduced cover.

Check out what your animal could be susceptible to to get the best quote. Certain breeds of cats or dogs can be prone to arthritis or heart problems when older, for instance, while pedigree cats and dogs are more at risk of being stolen, thanks to the fact they cost so much in the first place.

Tips on signing up for pet insurance

If you know you’re going to take out pet insurance at some point then the time to do it is while your animal is young and healthy. That way you can build up premium points and ongoing insurance will be cheaper as your pet ages.

  • Be careful to check what types of breeds of cat or dog are covered by your insurance policy since some policies can rule out certain breeds which are prone to particular health conditions.
  • If you have more than one pet then getting them all put onto the same insurance policy should result in a discount (the more animals on the policy, the more you’ll save)
  • To possibly get cheaper cat insurance you could microchip him or her. You could also consider getting them neutered since this will reduce risk (this applies to dogs too)
  • If you pay a higher excess then you can expect to have lower ongoing insurance payments
  • It’s important to continue to have your pet inoculated and wormed etc – not doing so could cause some insurance policies to become null and void

Frequently Asked Questions

 Am I covered instantly the minute I start paying my insurance policy?

Not necessarily. Many policies don’t provide cover for the first 14 days (again, always read the small print).

If I take out lifetime cover for my pet will I be covered for any condition that it didn’t have before taking out the policy – even if the treatment is ongoing?

Yes, it’s only if your pet develops a condition before you get pet insurance eg a skin or food allergy, that they won’t be covered for this particular condition or illness.

My Labrador is nine years old and has never been covered y pet insurance. I’m beginning to think I should take out a policy now. Do you think this is wise?

To be honest, you’ll probably find it extremely difficult to get her insured at this age. Usually, insurance companies only accept dogs up to the age of seven or eight.

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