How to claim on your pet insurance

Alice Morgan
Alice Morgan
Updated 11 July 2022  | 4 mins read

Our pets are important members of the family, so it only makes sense that we want to keep them protected.

But when it comes to claiming on your pet insurance, it can be difficult to find out everything you need to know at an already distressing time.

In this guide, you’ll find information on when you can claim, what you can claim for, and what to do if your claim is rejected.

Key points

  • You’ll usually need to wait 14 days after taking out your policy to make a claim
  • You won’t be covered for routine check-ups or vaccinations
  • Your provider will usually pay out for an approved claim within seven to ten days

When can I claim?

You won’t be able to make a claim straight away when you take out pet insurance unless your policy states otherwise. Usually, you’ll need to wait at least 14 days - this is known as the exclusion period. This can differ between insurers, and some may have different lengths of exclusion period for illnesses compared to injuries.

Once this has passed, you’ll be able to put a claim in as soon as your pet has an accident or becomes unwell and you need to cover the cost of the vet bills. You may need to raise the claim within 30 days for it to be accepted by the insurer.

What can I claim for?

It depends on the policy, but your pet could be covered for:

  • Vet bills for accidents and illnesses, including things like blood tests to diagnose conditions
  • Adverts for lost pets, which could even include a reward if they’re found. If they don’t come home, you could claim compensation, too
  • Third-party liability. Typically, this is for if your dog hurts another dog or a person, or damages their property
  • Euthanasia and end of life treatment
  • Alternative therapies referred by your vet, which could include things like hydrotherapy
  • Boarding if you need help caring for your pet

What can’t I claim for?

It’s important that you’re aware of what’s not covered by your pet insurance. You typically won’t be able to claim for:

  • Routine check-ups, vaccinations, and dental treatments
  • Flea and worm treatments
  • Pre-existing conditions, unless your policy specifically includes them
  • Neutering or spaying
  • Burial or cremation costs

The process

When you’re taking out pet insurance, you should read through all of your policy documents to get a full understanding of what exactly your pet is covered for.

As soon as you know you need to make a claim, double check to see whether you’re covered before speaking to your pet insurance provider.

Within the documents, there should be details of how to submit a claim, whether it’s online or over the phone.

You’ll usually need to fill out some forms, giving as much information as possible, so your provider can work out how much money you’re owed. You’ll also need to pay your excess, if this is part of the terms of your insurance policy.

From there, your provider will be in touch to keep you updated on your claim. They’ll let you know whether your claim has been successful, and where they’ll be sending the money. It could be directly to your vet, or to you.

What do I need to claim?

You’ll need a few things ready to submit your claim, such as:

  1. Your personal information, and your pet’s details, such as your names and address
  2. Details of what you’re claiming for
  3. Your vet’s details if your pet has been examined or treated there - your insurer could contact your vet directly to discuss what treatment has been given
  4. Invoices for any treatment your pet has received, or boarding fees
  5. Your pet’s medical history, and receipts from any previous treatments

It’s a good idea to have all of this handy before you start submitting your claim, to make the process quicker.

Will my premium go up?

Once you make a claim on your pet insurance, your premium will typically go up. This is because you’re more likely to need to claim again, so you’re charged more to offset the risk.

Bear in mind that if you switch to a new provider, any illnesses you’ve claimed for in the past will be classed as pre-existing conditions. They might charge you extra to cover them, or exclude them from your policy completely.

Is the money paid directly to me?

It depends on your provider.

Often, the money will be paid directly to you, if you’ve already settled the bill with your vet out of your own cash.

However, it can go to your vet, if you haven’t paid your bill yet.

How much can I claim?

You’ll need to check your policy to find out how much you can claim. There’ll usually be an annual limit.

Depending on the type of policy you take out, you could have an annual limit for treatment needed (£7000, for example), or you may be given limits to treat specific conditions (like £2000 for skin disease treatment).

If you’re not sure how much you’re covered for, speak to your pet insurer.

How much excess will I need to pay?

This is an agreed set amount when you take out your policy.

An insurance excess is the amount you’re willing to pay towards each claim you make. If you can afford to pay a higher excess, it could make your premiums cheaper. Some policies also now offer a combined excess - where in addition to the fixed excess you choose, for example £100, you will also contribute a percentage towards the remaining cost of the claim, for example £100 excess + 20% of the remaining claim amount. Make sure you consider all options before agreeing to an excess amount.

However, make sure that the higher excess you decide agree on is affordable in the event of a claim. It's also worth noting that the higher the excess you choose, the higher the trigger point for a claim to be made. 

Before you claim on your insurance, always make sure it’s worth it when you take the excess into account. For instance, if your excess is £150 and the vet’s bill is £170, consider paying it yourself rather than claiming as it could bump up the price of your premiums.

How long does it take?

Your pet insurance provider will usually pay out within seven to 10 days of you submitting a claim.

If you need the money urgently, try and talk to your provider to see if they can speed up the process for you.

When should I complain?

You should make a complaint if the process is taking longer than your provider said it would, or if you feel your claim has been rejected unfairly.

Talk to the insurer first to see whether they can resolve your problem by following their complaints procedure.

If you’re not satisfied with the outcome, take it up with the Financial Ombudsman who can look into it further for you.