Find out how you could cut the cost of pet insurance, without compromising cover levels for your furry or feathered friend.
The best cover for your pet usually isn’t the cheapest option, so it’s always worth shopping around and comparing multiple providers.
"Looking after your pets can be expensive – food, toys and grooming all need to be paid for," comments Gocompare's pet insurance expert, Hannah Isitt. "However, with vet fees rising, it's important to consider the benefits of pet insurance too."
Here are a few ways you can save money on your pet insurance without risking your pet's level of protection.
Make sure your pet's vaccinations are up to date as some insurers take this into account when you get pet insurance, so you could get a discount.
If you don't keep your pet vaccinated they might no longer be covered, or your insurance will become invalid.
Your pet doesn't have to be vaccinated to obtain a quote, but if you're forced to claim for a condition that could have been prevented by a routine vaccination then your insurer may be reluctant to pay out.
When you compare cat or dog insurance, you'll be asked if your pet is microchipped.
Microchipping your pet indicates that you’re a responsible owner and provides extra peace of mind. Pet insurance doesn't usually cover the cost of microchipping, but it makes lost animals easier to find which reduces costs to the insurer and so lowers the cost of your policy.
Microchipping isn’t too expensive though, and some animal charities and shelters offer the service for free.
"The price of pet insurance will vary according to factors like their breed and age, as well as your location," said Hannah. "But microchipping your pet and keeping their vaccinations up to date may help to reduce your premium."
In addition to vaccinations, looking after the health of your pet should help to keep them away from the vet. Make sure they eat healthily and get plenty of exercise, love and attention.
Keeping the vet out of the equation may mean you won't have to claim on your insurance policy, meaning there'll be no excess to pay.
Whether you've got a pair of pooches or a menagerie of animals, multi-pet insurance might be cheaper than insuring your pets separately.
You can insure up to six cats and/or dogs under one policy when you compare with us. But bear in mind that you’ll have the same level of cover for all of them, which might not be ideal if your pets are different ages and some have pre-existing conditions.
If you have an older pet, especially if they have pre-existing conditions, you might struggle to find reasonably-priced cover for them.
But it’s still worth comparing insurance to make sure your pet is fully covered – you might even find a policy that’s tailored for older pets' needs or offers more value for money.
Through GoCompare, there are four main types to choose from listed below from the cheapest and most basic to the most expensive and comprehensive:
A policy that starts out as the cheapest might not be the best value across the lifetime of your pet.
For example, choosing a cheaper policy when your pet is young and healthy may leave you struggling to find an appropriate and affordable option to cover your pet when it's older and perhaps has pre-existing medical conditions.
"There are different products on the market to suit different needs," said Hannah. "Accident only, as it sounds, will only cover accidents and the premiums tend to be the lowest on the market, but there are many more comprehensive policies out there for your pet.
"Many products will have some level of cover for additional extras like boarding fees if there’s an emergency and you’re not able to look after them for a while."
Now this isn’t strictly a money-saving tip – moving house just to save on your pet insurance probably isn't the most sensible idea.
But the veterinary fees associated with your postcode is likely to be reflected in your policy price. Urban areas are likely to be pricier than rural ones.
Paying a higher excess can cut the cost of your pet insurance, but you need to make sure that you're able to pay it if you need to claim.
Co-insurance – or cost sharing – is where you pay a percentage towards the cost of vet fees, in addition to the excess. It’s usually around 10-20% (plus the excess) and your insurer will cover the rest.
“If you are considering co-insurance make sure you read all the terms and conditions,” said Hannah. “Some vet fees can be a few thousand pounds, so having to pay even a small percentage of that could be costly”.
Certain pedigree breeds are more likely to develop hereditary conditions like weak joints or hips due to inbreeding, so an insurance policy could be more costly than for a mixed breed.
Instead, you might want to think about rescuing a pet from a reputable animal shelter or local charity. It’ll cost less than buying from a breeder and you’ll hopefully be given a history of your pet so you’ll have some idea of what costs to expect.
Some providers might exclude treatment for hereditary conditions suffered by pedigree pets and might also charge more for a pedigree pet as they’re more likely to be targeted for theft.
Your insurer might be able to help you if you are struggling to pay for your pet insurance – get in touch with it and see how it can help you.
If you can't afford to insure your pet, you may find it easier to self-insure (put money in a savings account) for when your pet might need vet treatment.
If you can't afford to do this or your pet becomes ill before you've had a chance to build-up a decent sum, then you might be eligible for free or low cost vet service with a charity like PDSA.
Using a comparison site like ours allows you to compare multiple quotes from a variety of insurers in one quick and easy search.