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Lifetime pet insurance is the most extensive pet insurance cover you can get for your cat or dog. As long as you keep renewing your policy, it’ll last for their whole life and pay out for every new condition up to the policy limits each year.
Lifetime pet insurance will also pay out for any injuries or illnesses related to ones you’ve previously claimed for that develop at a later date.
Lifetime insurance has a limit each year on either how much you can claim per condition, or the overall amount you can claim for all conditions, or both.
Let’s say your policy has a £5,000 annual limit per condition and a £10,000 overall annual limit.
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.
The next year it costs £6,000 to treat. That means you’ll have to pay £1,000 yourself as the treatment cost exceeded the per condition limit.
But you can still claim up to £5,000 each year for any other insured condition, until the overall annual limit Is reached.
Some lifetime policies have an upper age limit for older pets – it doesn’t apply to existing policyholders, but you wouldn’t be able to take out a new policy if your pet’s over that age. For some breeds of dog, that could be as young as six.
Many policies also ask that you pay a co-payment – a percentage of each claim – when your pet reaches a certain age.
As you might expect, lifetime cover’s usually more expensive than other types of pet insurance, because it’s so comprehensive. How much it’ll cost you depends on your pet, its breed and its age. Your personal information and where you live will also make a difference.
When you compare quotes, you’ll also see that each policy has an excess and some will have a co-payment. Choosing a policy with a higher excess or a co-payment can help keep the costs down, but you’ll have to contribute more towards the cost of any claim.
With lifetime cover, your pet will be covered for chronic conditions. Annual policies on the other hand stop covering a condition a year after it first occurs.
That means you’ll be protected from the cost of ongoing vet treatment, unlike with an accident-only or time-limited policy.
Premiums for lifetime pet cover are high compared to other pet insurance types.
Once you reach the annual or per condition 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.
Be aware that the policy price for future years isn’t fixed. Lifetime pet insurance can and usually does increase in price as your pet ages.
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.
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.
This has both a per condition limit and an overall annual claim limit, and conditions are excluded 12 months after they’re first noted by a vet – even if you haven’t claimed for them. That means you won’t be covered for a previously diagnosed condition after a year, even if you keep renewing your policy.
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Usually any sort of cat or dog can have a lifetime policy. It’s a good option if you have an expensive pedigree pet that could suffer from hereditary illnesses, although their cover is likely to be more expensive if their breed is susceptible to certain 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.