Pet insurance can provide both peace of mind and financial protection in case your beloved pet is ever injured or falls ill. But how much should you expect to pay for pet insurance in the UK? Pet insurance costs range from just over £3 a month to over £100 a month in the UK.
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- Average cost of pet insurance in the UK
- Pet insurance quotes
We've researched two dozen UK pet insurance brands to find average costs for dogs and cats, by age of pet, policy type, and even some different breeds. Use this information to help you understand what type of pet insurance policy fits in your budget and if quotes you receive fall in line with the rest of the market.
Average Pet Insurance Cost UK
According to the ABI, the average pet insurance premium in the UK was £327 in 2022 (FYI this is up from from £271 in 2019), but your costs can be significantly higher (or lower) depending on the type of cover you buy, the age and breed of your pet, etc.
For instance, our research shows that the cost of "accident only" pet insurance insurance can come in under £100 a year, but accident only pet insurance simply covers accidents and won't cover the primary reason pet owners seek out vet treatment—their pet falling ill. Pet insurance that covers BOTH accidents & illnesses starts from around £125 a year for both dogs and cats.
A few years ago it was hard to find dog insurance for this price, but there are now more low-vet-limit, cheaper policies on the market for dogs. But before you buy one of these 'cheap' policies, be sure to check the vet limit because the cheapest policies might have as little as £1,000 of vet fee coverage, which might cover, say, a minor issue like an ear infection but won't come close to covering a serious condition or surgery. For example, treatment for a dog's arthritis can cost over £2,000; an MRI can cost over £2,000; surgery for a fractured femur can cost £8,000.
Prices vary significantly by the type of cover—for instance, policies that limit coverage to 12 months for any condition (Time Limited polices) cost roughly 20% to 50% less than policies with no time limits and that renew each year (Lifetime policies). The cost of Maximum Benefit policies, which have no time limit but do impose a non-renewing per-condition limit, can sometimes cost as much as Lifetime cover despite offering less desirable cover.
Average cost of pet insurance per month
Pet insurance that covers BOTH accidents & illnesses can now be found for £8 per month for dogs and cats, assuming you're going for a cheaper policy with no more than £2,000 of cover; policies with the highest limits (e.g. £6k to £10k of vet cover) typically start from £20 per month. Lifetime policies typically cost more, with the exception that in the top tier of vet limits you can often find lifetime plans for less than time limited and max benefit coverage—this is simply because in that vet fee range there are very few time limited and even max benefit policies but an abundance of lifetime plans, so that space is simply more competitive leading to more options and deals.
Note, these prices reflect the average of the 5 most affordable plans we found, but many plans will cost even more.
Here is the same information displayed in a graph, with the addition of monthly insurance costs for cats.
Pet insurance costs increase with age
You should budget for rising pet insurance costs as your pet ages. This is not surprising, since pets will suffer more age-related health problems as they grow long in the tooth—just like their owners. In fact, some insurers even stop offering new lifetime policies once your pet hits a certain age—generally around 8 years for dogs and 10 years for cats. Prices tend to double by around 7 to 9 years of age.
Is pet insurance worth it?
According to the ABI, the average dog insurance claim in 2022 was around £800 and the average cat insurance claim was around £684. Anyone making one of these types of claims every few years would find pet insurance to be worth the financial investment, assuming they pay around the average cost of cover (around £327). Pet insurance payouts topped a record £1 billion in 2022.
A broken bone can cost thousands to fix, hip dysplasia can cost £13,000, gastroenteritis can cost £700, epilepsy over £3,000, and soft tissue sarcoma can cost over £12,200. Vet bills are nothing to sneeze at.
The ABI also said that, in 2021, 4.3 million pets in the UK were protected by pet insurance and in 2022 over 1.3 million claims were made, so a LOT of pet owners use pet insurance.
That said, some pet owners prefer to save the premiums and self fund any problems that come up. But that's a bit too risky for most people, in our opinion, given the cost of treatments. We personally have pet insurance for our pets.
How Much is Dog Insurance?
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Based on our research of two dozen UK pet insurance companies, we found that the cost of dog insurance for a young, mixed breed dog starts from around £10 per month for Time Limited and Max Benefit policies and a touch more (£11 a month or £134 a year) for Lifetime cover. Policies with higher vet fee limits, renewing limits and better features can cost multiples of these figures. The best type of cover is widely considered to be Lifetime (or hybrid plans that have elements of both lifetime and maximum benefit cover) because vet limits reset each year.
The price you pay for a dog insurance policy, however, may differ significantly due to factors such as the age and breed of your dog and the level of cover you choose. In fact, breed can be one of the most influential factors, with the cost of pet insurance for bulldogs (both English and French) costing more than 2X as much as other popular dogs.
|Monthly Cost of Cheap Dog Insurance by Breed (age 1 year)|
|Border Terrier||£17.84||Get Quotes|
|Cocker Spaniel||£22.72||Get Quotes|
|English Springer Spaniel||£23.20||Get Quotes|
|Miniature Schnauzer||£24.16||Get Quotes|
|Golden Retriever||£24.30||Get Quotes|
|Labradore Retriever||£31.24||Get Quotes|
|German Shephard||£38.15||Get Quotes|
|French Bulldog||£54.73||Get Quotes|
|English Bulldog||£66.50||Get Quotes|
How Much is Cat Insurance?
After gathering quotes from two dozen UK pet insurers, we discovered that the average cost of cat insurance starts from around £10 per month (£125 a year) for lifetime cover for a young British Shorthair cat. These prices represent the cheapest 5 policies; opting for higher levels of cover or plans with more robust features can cause the price to double, or more.
Average Cat Insurance Costs
Premiums will vary by breed of cat, although the variation across cat breeds is not as significant as it is for dogs.
Owners of female cats pay around 5% less for pet insurance than owners of male cats.
Pet Insurance Quotes
To get quotes from a range of UK pet insurance brands, click the blue button below to compare pet insurance.
Compare Pet Insurance Quotes
Panel includes Animal Friends, Scratch and Patch, Lifetime Pet Cover and more.
Or click to get quotes directly from some pet insurance companies that we have rated highly, click the relevant blue buttons below (for more information on each, read our in-depth product reviews: Petplan review, Agria review, Scratch & Patch review).
PetPlan Pet Insurance is the largest insurer of dogs and cats in the UK. Due to this, many vets are accustomed to submitting claims on behalf of pet owners, which can save you a lot of hassle. PetPlan policies include dental illness and injury but don't cover euthanasia.
Agria Pet Insurance offers comprehensive Lifetime plans for lower-than-average prices, owing to the 10% copay you pay on top of a fixed excess. We like that Agria is a specialist pet insurer with a long history and desirable features such as dental illness, euthanasia and cremation/burial.
ManyPets pet insurance (formerly Bought By Many) stands out for innovative products targeting a giant hole in the UK pet insurance market: Preexisting condition pet insurance. They also offer regular pet insurance for those not needing this specialist cover with good cover at attractive prices.
Dog insurance costs from around £10 a month (£125 a year) for accident and illness cover; prices go up from there for premium plans, higher vet limits, older pets and certain breeds such as bulldogs. Cat insurance costs also start from around £10 a month (£125 a year).
The average cost of pet insurance per month in the UK is around £27, according to data from the ABI, which reflects the premiums actually paid. Our independent research shows that this would be the cost for policies with higher vet limits north of £4k to £7k of lifetime protection. (Cheaper plans are available for half the cost, but with lower vet fee coverage.) Click here to see how prices vary by type of pet and policy.
The average monthly pet insurance premium paid for a dog in the UK is around £27, according to data from the ABI. Our independent research shows there are plans available for about half the cost—but, these may have considerably lower vet fee limits and fewer features. Click here to see how prices vary by breed of dog and type of policy.
Lifetime pet insurance costs anywhere from £10 to £100 a month (£125 to £1,200 a year) or more for a dog, with prices being highly variable depending on the breed and age of your pooch as well as the vet fee limit. Click here to get quotes for your dog.
The cost of insurance for a puppy starts from around £10 a month or £125 a year, but can easily be 2X the cost or more, depending on factors like breed and vet fee limit. Premiums might dip marginally after your puppy leaves the age where they try to eat absolutely everything (which can lead to vet bills for stomach distress or even surgery to clear a blockage!) but generally speaking the cost of pet insurance will rise as your puppy ages. Click here to see how pet insurance costs change as your dog gets older.
This is a personal decision. Keep in mind that the average pet insurance claim is around £800 in the UK, and policies can be purchased for a fraction of this. If you might not easily afford a claim (surgery can run into the thousands of pounds) then pet insurance is probably worth if for you.
Lifetime pet insurance is widely considered to be the best type of cover, because the vet fee limit resets each year when you renew your policy. This is useful for treating chronic or recurring conditions. There are some new hybrid policies that have lifetime and maximum benefit per condition elements that can also provide ongoing cover for recurring or chronic conditions that is similar to lifetime plans.
Unless otherwise specified, prices were for a one-year-old mixed breed dog and a British Shorthair cat.