Best pet insurance 2023

From vet fees to holiday cancellation and dental cover – only the most comprehensive pet insurance policies get our Best Buy recommendation, giving you optimum peace of mind.

We’ve also surveyed pet insurance customers, asking about everything from customer service to ease of applying, to find the UK’s best provider.

  • Find out more: how to get cheap pet insurance

Best pet insurance policies

The policies in the tables below are our Best Buys, based on our expert analysis of 116 cat insurance policies and 132 dog insurance policies.

These are lifetime policies that offer high levels of cover and meet our minimum cover criteria.

These tables were last updated in December 2022. We recommend checking policies before buying.

For our full analysis of policies, see our guides to cat insurance and dog insurance.

We weren’t able to rate all of the insurers for their levels of service, but we’ve shown the scores of those we were able to test.

Best pet insurance companies

Find out which providers had the most and least satisfied customers, and which are best at dealing with claims, according to our unique member survey.

Clicking on an insurer name takes you to our in-depth review.

What does pet insurance cover?

Not all policies will include all these types of cover, and limits and exclusions might apply. See our individual insurer reviews for more details.

Find out more: pet insurance explained

What are the five different types of pet insurance?

While only lifetime policies can get our Best Buy recommendation, we’ve rated all types of policies. See our guides to cat insurance and dog insurance.

Lifetime cover pet insurance

Lifetime cover is the most comprehensive pet insurance. It pays out for ongoing issues your pet might have throughout its life.

There are two main types of lifetime cover:

  • Annual cover has a maximum overall limit that includes all conditions your pet could experience, which resets each year. Some policies might also have a lower maximum amount you can claim per year for any single condition.
  • Per condition per year has a maximum limit for specific conditions that your pet might have, which resets each year.

Both types cover ongoing illnesses every year unless you cancel your policy.

Compare the best cat litter.

Non-lifetime cover pet insurance

Non-lifetime cover is less comprehensive and excludes certain conditions after you hit your claims limit.

There are two main types of non-lifetime insurance:

  • Per condition cover (also commonly referred to as ‘max benefit’ cover) pays a limited amount for each condition, and the condition is excluded from future payouts once the limit has been reached.
  • Time-limit per condition cover has both a per-condition limit and a time limit, typically 12 months, before the condition is excluded.

With a time-limit policy, even if your limit for a particular condition wasn’t reached, the condition would eventually be excluded after 12 months.

Accident-only pet insurance

This provides a fixed sum of money for each accidental injury to help pay for your pet’s treatment. It’s the cheapest type of pet insurance policy but excludes cover for illness entirely.

Is it worthwhile having pet insurance?

There is no NHS equivalent for pets. All procedures that your pet needs to ensure they are healthy such as dental care, vaccinations, flea treatment and even microchipping will come with a fee.

Data from Confused.com revealed that the average cost for a visit to the vet including consultation and diagnosis costs £50-£60. This doesn’t include the price of treatment which can vary from £186 for diabetes to £1686 for Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome.

If you choose not to take out a pet insurance policy, you will need to cover these costs in full yourself. And depending on how unwell your pet is, over time these costs could add up to a hefty pet bill. Pet insurance is there to ensure both you and your pet are covered when disaster strikes and a healthcare plan is needed to keep your pet fit and healthy.

And while pet insurance may seem like an unnecessary cost if your pet is healthy, a survey of Which? Members revealed that only 17% of pet owners with insurance had never made a claim. So, it is likely you will need to make a claim at some point during your pet’s life.

How can I save money on my pet insurance?

There are a number of things you can do to save money on your pet insurance such as taking out a policy when your pet is healthy. The insurers will see your pet as low risk and therefore your premiums will be considerably lower as a result.

If you can pay annually for your insurance policy you will save money in the long run. This can be tricky as it will be a large lump sum up front, however, if you add up your monthly instalments over the year, you do pay more for your plan.

Making sure you do your research before taking out a pet insurance policy is the best way to find cheap pet insurance. Comparison websites are a great way to see what you can expect to pay for your insurance and how different companies can offer you different policies to fit your needs.

Does pet insurance cover surgery?

Most pet insurance policies will cover veterinary fees, which includes surgery, as well as the cost of diagnosing and treating illness and or injuries. Your cover should also include any x-rays, scans, bandages and hospital stays. Some will even cover a referral to a specialist if your pet has more specific needs.

However, what isn’t covered is any pre-existing conditions your pet had prior to taking out your insurance policy. So, if for example your dog already suffers with hip dysplasia when your pet insurance cover starts, your insurer will not cover any costs that you incur in order to take care and treat the dysplasia.

Some insurers may offer you insurance to cover your preexisting condition but your premiums may be higher to cover it. The best thing to do is ask your vet as they may know of an insurer that will be best suited to you and your pet’s needs.

Why has my pet insurance premium gone up?

As your pet gets older, they are more liable to illness and injury and so with each year they become a riskier investment for your insurer. They will be taking precautionary measures by increasing your premium as they predict your pet may be more likely to make a claim year on year.

Another reason for your pet insurance increase is that medical advances are continuously happening. This means there are more tests and procedures available to pet owners which in turn increases the amount of claims the insurer receives. MRI scanning is a relatively new procedure that was unavailable to pet owners a few years ago.

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