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Pet insurance

Compare pet insurance quotes in minutes with our partner Stickee Technology [1]

10% of customers pay as little as £8.97 per month[2]

Why should I take out pet insurance?

Pet insurance helps to pay for veterinary treatment for your pet so you can concentrate on getting them on the road to recovery.

There’s no NHS for pets. Veterinary care can be eye-wateringly expensive but most cats and dogs will need treatment for an illness or injury at some point in their life.

Horses might need to have a vet called out to them, which will increase costs, and even smaller animals like rabbits can be surprisingly costly to treat.

It’s difficult to think about your animals being hurt or unwell, but you need to ask yourself: what would you do if you were faced with a vet bill for hundreds or thousands of pounds a year?

Our pet insurance companies

We search for quotes from over 20 pet insurers, including:[3]

  • Animal Friends
  • Tesco
  • Healthy Pets
  • More Than
  • Scratch & Patch
  • The Insurance Emporium

Pet insurance policy types

There are four main types of pet insurance, so it can be hard to decide on the right one for you and your pet.

Think about what you want from your pet insurance. Accident only or time-limited cover is better for expensive, short-term incidents and illnesses. Lifetime and maximum benefit can help cover the cost of treatment for single conditions that go on for many years.

  • Lifetime

    Lifetime pet insurance pays for injuries or illnesses with no time limit on each condition. There’s usually a limit on the amount you can claim in a year for each condition though.

    As long as you keep renewing your policy, you’ll get continuous cover for the illness or injury each year that your policy is in place.

    You’ll only be covered for new illnesses or injuries, not pre-existing ones.

    Lifetime pet insurance
  • Accident-only

    Accident-only pet insurance helps cover the cost of treatment if your pet is involved in an accident.

    It doesn’t cover illnesses, diseases or have any other benefits.

    If you pet has a pre-existing condition, it won’t be covered either.

    Accident-only pet insurance
  • Time-limited

    If you pick a time-limited policy, there'll be a cap on how much you can claim for treatment and a time limit too - usually 12 months.

    You can’t claim again for a condition after the 12-month period is up, or if you reach the cap on treatment costs - whichever comes first.

    Pre-existing conditions aren’t covered either.

    Time-limited pet insurance
  • Maximum benefit

    This covers your pet for each injury or illness up to a specified pre-set limit. The limit doesn't reset each year, so there’s no time limit on how long you can claim, like with an annual policy.

    This means you can keep claiming for the same condition until you reach the pre-set limit, for as long as you keep renewing your policy.

    Maximum benefit pet insurance

Plenty of pets?

You can insure up to six pets with multi-pet insurance. See if you could save

Compare multi-pet insurance

What does pet insurance cover?

It depends on the type of policy you go for, but as well as veterinary treatment for accidents and/or illnesses policies often include:

  • Third-party liability (dogs only)
    This pays the legal costs if your dog’s responsible for hurting someone or causing damage – for example, if they ran into a road and caused a car to swerve and crash.
    Cats are considered ‘free spirits’ by law so cat insurance doesn’t include third-party liability.
  • Some alternative therapies
    If your vet recommends something like hydrotherapy or acupuncture for your pet, some pet insurance policies will cover these treatments.
    You usually won’t be covered for anything that you’re not referred for by your vet.
  • Diagnostic costs for illnesses, like blood tests
    The cost of working out what’s wrong with your pet is covered.
    Diagnostic testing can be quite expensive and some policies will put a limit on the amount they’ll reimburse per test. If your vet’s lab charges more for diagnostics you’ll have to make up the shortfall yourself.
  • Advertising costs to find lost pets
    Most pet insurance policies include some cover for the cost of making posters and putting up advertising for your lost pet. Some will even cover a reward.
    If your cat or dog sadly can’t be found your policy might also offer some compensation.
  • Euthanasia
    At the end of your pet’s life, most pet insurance policies will cover the cost of a vet putting them to sleep if it’s necessary and to prevent further suffering.

What’s not covered?

Pet insurance is for the unexpected, not routine treatment, so there are a few things that are usually excluded:

  • Vaccinations and routine vet check ups, or preventative treatment
    You’ll have to pay for vaccinations and check ups for preventative medicine like flea and worm treatments yourself.
  • Neutering and pregnancy
    Pet insurance won’t cover the cost of having your pet castrated or spayed. You’ll also have to pay costs for treatments needed because of your cat or dog becoming pregnant, or giving birth.
  • Pre-existing conditions
    Pet insurance usually doesn’t cover any health issues your pet was showing signs of before you took out the policy.
    If they first become ill while you have lifetime pet insurance, they’ll continue to be covered for that treatment as long as you keep renewing the policy.
  • Dental treatment
    Looking after your pet’s teeth with a scale and polish or extractions is rarely covered by pet insurance. Although most policies will cover emergency dental work for injuries caused by an accident.
  • Cremation and burial costs
    Although euthanasia is covered by pet insurance in some circumstances, you’ll usually have to pay for burial or cremation costs yourself.

Protect your pet

Cats and dogs, young and old can all benefit from the right pet insurance.
You can even get cover for your horse or rabbit.

  • Dog insurance

    Cover for your hound, whatever the shape or size. This insurance can cover injuries, illness and third-party losses, in case your dog causes damage or injury.

     

    Find out more about dog insurance
  • Cat insurance

    Protect your pampered Persian or cuddly moggy. Cat insurance can be taken out for indoor or outdoor cats, to cover all sorts of scenarios that might end in a vet visit.

    Insure your cat or kitten
  • Horse insurance

    Equine insurance for horse and rider. You can get policies that go beyond medical treatment for your horse and also cover loss of use, and theft of or damage to your riding equipment.

    Get cover for horses and riders
  • Rabbit insurance

    Specialist policies can cover small animals too. Treating injuries and illness in rabbits can sometimes cost just as much as for cats and dogs – so find the right cover to give you peace of mind over your bunny’s treatment.

    Read about rabbit insurance

We’re saving people money every single day

93% of customers recommend us for finding pet insurance

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93% of customers who left a pet insurance review recommend GoCompare as of March 2020

How to get a pet insurance quote

You’ll need a few details to hand so that you can get some quotes for your pet:

  1. Information about your pet

    Their breed, age and gender

  2. Where your pet lives

    Does your pet live at your address, or elsewhere?

  3. Your pet’s medical history

    Any pre-existing conditions or previous injuries

  4. Your pet’s behavioural history

    Any problems like aggression to people or other animals

  5. Your pet’s purchase price

    How much you paid to buy or adopt your pet

Think about the future

Lifetime pet insurance is the most comprehensive pet insurance you can get. It'll keep paying vet fees for your cat or dog for the whole of its life, as long as you keep renewing the policy, even if they develop a chronic condition

 

Find out more

Does pet insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

Standard pet insurance almost always excludes pre-existing medical conditions. But recurring illness can be very expensive.

If you’re trying to insure a pet with a pre-existing condition, some specialist insurers will cover them if they haven’t showed any signs of the illness for some time.

If you buy a lifetime policy when your pet’s young, and you keep renewing, you’ll be covered for future chronic health problems.

The alternative is to exclude the condition from your policy and cover any medical treatment yourself. You’ll still be able to claim for other new conditions your pet develops.

Our customers rated us on average

4.6 out of 5

Average rating 4.6 out of 5, from 180 people who left a review for pet insurance only as at March 2020

How much is pet insurance?

For dogs aged one-five, the average cost of insurance works out at just £23.33 a month. For cats it's £10.92.[4]

But cats tend to be cheaper to insure, with older cats costing less than younger dogs – cats aged eight and over cost an average £22.92 a month for pet insurance.

As your dog ages, the insurance costs go up, with the biggest increase after the age of eight. 

How does my pet's age affect pet insurance?

Older pets are typically more expensive to insure. 

As your pet ages, they’re more likely to suffer the diseases and injuries that are a part of getting old – and insurers will charge more to reflect this increased risk.

Our data shows that pet insurance gets more expensive the older your pet gets. That’s because there’s a higher chance of needing expensive treatments for disease and injuries in older animals. The exception is puppies and kittens – animals under one year old are slightly more expensive to insure because they tend to be more accident prone and at risk of injury at this age.

Insurance for older pets frequently has a co-payment applied. This is where you’re asked to pay a percentage of your animal’s treatment costs and the insurer pays the rest. Co-payments are common in cats from around the age of 10 years and dogs from around eight.

You might find policies where you make a co-payment towards veterinary costs will help keep insurance costs affordable as they get older.

How do I make my pet insurance cheaper?

Try our top tips to get those premiums down:

  1. Keep your pet healthy

    Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, get them microchipped and feed them a quality diet. Healthy pets visit the vet less, which means less chance of needing claim which could push up future premiums.

  2. Multi-pet cover

    Put your pets on one policy to see if you can get a better deal

  3. Think about co-insurance

    Pet co-insurance can keep premiums affordable for older pets

  4. Compare pet insurance

    Always shop around to find a great deal

  5. Check your excess

    If you can pay a higher excess towards each claim, your premiums should be cheaper. Be careful though – make sure the excess is still affordable for you if you do need to claim.

We found the UK over 282,700 pet insurance quotes

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GoCompare data from 1 September 2019 to 28 September 2020

Frequently asked questions

  • What’s third party liability pet insurance?

    Third party liability insurance covers you for your dog causing accidental injury or damage to someone, their property or pet.

    This can include paying legal bills if someone takes you to court or tries to sue you due to an incident involving your dog.

    Third party liability insurance doesn’t apply to cats – they’re legally regarded as ‘free spirits’.

  • How do vaccinations affect pet insurance?

    Pet insurance doesn’t cover the cost of pet vaccinations, but keeping your vaccinations up to date might get you a discount on your premiums with some policies.

    If your pet isn’t vaccinated, and you need to make a related claim, your insurance probably won’t cover the cost of treatment.

  • What’s co-insurance?

    Policies may include a co-insurance element - if you claim, you’ll be charged a percentage of the remaining vet fees after the excess has been deducted.

  • Why are pedigree animals more expensive to insure?

    As they have a higher value and are more likely to be stolen, pedigree animals generally will be more expensive to insure. Due to their breeding, they also tend to be more vulnerable to genetic complaints.

  • Can I have pet insurance for two dogs?

    Yes, you can but you’ll need multi-pet insurance to cover them on the same policy and you'll usually get a discount for it. But compare quotes for insuring your dogs separately on their own policies as well as sometimes it'll work out cheaper.

  • Which animals aren’t covered by pet insurance?

    You probably won’t be able to insure dog breeds listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act. You won’t be able to insure some wild animal hybrids either, such as wolfdogs or first generation (F1) savannah cats.

  • Does my address matter?

    Yes. The level of veterinary fees associated with your postcode is likely to be reflected in your policy price and - generally speaking - urban areas are likely to be pricier than rural ones.

  • Will property be covered if my pet damages it?

    Pet insurers tend not to insure against accidental damage in the policyholder’s home, largely because pets are temperamental and it’s difficult for underwriters to assess how well an animal has been trained.

    Many policies will cover the cost of damage caused to another person’s property up to a specified amount, but watch out for exclusions - there are often a lot of them.

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[1]Gocompare.com introduces customers to Stickee Technology Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Gocompare.com's relationship with Stickee Technology Limited is limited to that of a business partnership, no common ownership or control exist between us. Please note, we cannot be held responsible for the content of external websites and by using the links stated to access these separate websites you will be subject to the terms of use applying to those sites.

[3]As of April 2021, there are 21 active pet insurers on the panel at Stickee Technology.

[4]Average price of all dog insurance policies and all cat insurance policies purchased through Stickee Technology September 2019-September 2020.

Page last reviewed: 14 June 2021
Next review due: 14 September 2021

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