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Lifetime pet insurance

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What is lifetime pet insurance?

It’s the most comprehensive pet insurance you can get, paying vet fees for your cat or dog for the whole of its life.

As long as you keep renewing your policy every year, and your pet gets ill or injured, you’ll be covered every time. If that causes related illnesses or injuries to flare up throughout its life, you’ll be covered for those too.

There’s a limit to how much you can claim for each injury or illness though.

There’s either an annual or lifetime limit, depending on the policy you choose:

Annual limit

You’ll be covered for every potential condition your pet could get. But there’s a limit each year to how much you can claim for each condition.

Let’s say you have a £5,000 annual limit per condition. Your dog develops a skin allergy, and it flares up every year. The vet bills and medication come to £4,000 in the first year, so you’re covered for all the treatment. But the next year it costs £6,000 to treat. That means you’ll have to find the £1,000 to cover the remainder yourself.

You can claim £5,000 each year for any other insured condition too.

Lifetime limit

You’ll be covered for each condition up to a certain amount for the whole of your pet’s life. this cover has a specified amount for each potential condition, regardless of how many years they have it.

Let’s say the lifetime limit for arthritis is £20,000 for arthritis. Your pet will be covered for treatment for that condition for the rest of its life, or until the cover limit is reached.

If you reach the cover limit for that condition, but your pet still needs treatment for it, your insurer won’t help cover the costs.

What’s included in lifetime pet insurance?

  • Vet costs
  • Kennels/cattery costs
  • Third party liability cover
  • Dental cover
  • Complimentary therapies, for example acupuncture or hydrotherapy
  • Compensation if your pet is lost or stolen
  • Euthanasia, cremation and burial

Things to watch out for

Some lifetime policies won’t cover the animal for its entire lifetime – there might be upper and lower age limits. You probably won’t be able to take out a lifetime policy for an older pet either. For some breeds of dog, that could be as young as six. If you can, there’ll usually be exclusions around hereditary or age-related conditions.

Check before you buy and ask the insurer if you’re unsure.

How much does lifetime pet insurance cost?

As you might expect, it’s usually more expensive than other types of insurance, because the cover’s so extensive. How much it’ll cost you depends on your pet, its breed and info about where you live, so there’s no standard price.

If you need to claim, there are two costs you’ll be expected to pay an excess and a fixed contribution.

Excess

Just like any other insurance policy, you’ll have to pay an excess if you claim it’s your contribution towards the cost of a claim.

Fixed contribution

You might have to pay a fixed contribution towards the bill too – you’ll sometimes see this called a ‘co-payment’. It’s usually a percentage of the cost of all treatment, minus your excess. Expect to pay this for recurring conditions too.

You can find out exactly how much you’ll have to pay towards any claims in your policy documents.

The pros and cons of lifetime pet insurance

Pros
Cons

With lifetime cover, your pet will be covered for chronic conditions, that other policy types might not include.

You’ll also be protected from the cost of ongoing vet treatment, unlike with an accident only or time-limited policy.

Most pet insurance policies won’t cover pre-existing conditions, but with lifetime cover, if you stay with your insurer, you’ll be covered if those conditions reoccur.

Premiums for lifetime pet cover are high compared to other pet insurance types.

Once you go over your pre-set cost limit, you’ll have to pay for any remaining treatment yourself.

You have to stay with the same insurer year on year to really benefit from a lifetime policy. That means it’s really important you compare your options to find the best one before you commit to an insurer.

What other options are there

Accident only

Covers the cost of treatment only if your pet is in an accident. It’s the most basic level of cover. It’s not suitable for older pets and pre-existing conditions aren’t covered when you renew an accident only policy.

Find out more

Maximum benefit

This gives you an annual sum to claim on throughout the year. It can be per policy, per condition, or both. When you reach the claim limit for a condition, you can’t claim for it again.

Find out more

Time-limited

This has both a per condition limit and a time limit, and conditions are usually excluded after 12 months. That means, when the policy renews, you won’t be covered for the pre-existing condition.

Find out more

Frequently asked questions

  • What type of pet can I cover with a lifetime policy?

    Usually any pet can have a lifetime policy. It’s a good option if you have an expensive pedigree pet that could suffer from hereditary illnesses.

  • Can lifetime pet insurance cover existing conditions?

    Only if you took out the policy before the condition started. If you insure your pet when they’re young, renew the policy every year, and continue to pay your premiums you’ll be covered.

    Generally speaking, regardless of the type of insurance, you won’t be covered for pre-existing conditions. There are specialist insurers that can help, though.

    We’ve partnered with VetsMediCover, an insurer that offers specialist pre-existing conditions pet insurance.

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