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After gathering data and reading through policy fine print for dozens of pet insurance plans, we've made our picks for the best pet insurance for a variety of needs. Whether your priority is price or finding a plan with the most cover and benefits, you should be able to find the right plan for you and your beloved dog or cat.
According to our analysis of a broad selection of pet insurers, the following products stand out to us. The best pet insurance for you will depend on your individual situation and spending patterns, as there is no best insurance company for all needs.
Best Pet Insurance Summary
Here are some companies that stand out to us, and their customer ratings, listed in alphabetical order:
|Customer Ratings||Review count||% 'bad' ratings||Customer rating|
|Scratch & Patch||703||14%||3.9|
Pet insurance comparison
Which company is best? That depends on many factors, like your budget and which features you're looking for. Since budget is so important to many people, we've gathered data for a sample pet to illustrate how premiums can vary from one company to the next.
You may think the best is a company like Petplan, which has a long history of being the largest pet insurance company in the UK, longstanding relationships with practically every vet in the country and reliable service from a specialist. They may cost more initially, however, as you can see in the chart above BUT they say they won't increase your premium as a direct result of making a claim, so in the long run they could end up cheaper.
Some people might think a cheap initial premium is best for their situation, so may prefer a company like ManyPets or Scratch & Patch. But cheaper policies often include less robust features. For example, taking a quick look at the companies above, Tesco doesn't cover behavioural problems, most of ManyPets' lifetime policies don't cover dental illness, and Scratch & Patch doesn't cover dental illness plus there are lower sub-limits for claims like MRI/CT scans, behavioural problems, alternative therapies, dental injury and cruciate ligaments. And these companies may increase your premium if you claim.
Notable All-Around Pet Insurance: ManyPets
We nominate ManyPets (previously Bought By Many) as the best all-around pet insurance company in the UK primarily because they have innovative pet insurance policies catering to what different pet owners need—needs that are not met by other pet insurance providers. For example, they have a 'moneyback' plan that pays back 20% of the premium if you don't claim and the best pre-existing condition coverage in the UK market. And these are two areas of great concern to pet owners—frustration at paying high premiums if they never claim and not being able to switch pet insurers and get covered if a pet has suffered from a health condition.
ManyPets (formerly Bought by Many) has also won the MoneyFacts Pet Insurance Provider of the Year 2021 and is a top-scoring Which? Best Buy, plus they have earned 4.4 stars out of 5 from customers on Feefo.
They have a range of coverage levels for different budgets and needs, and offer a range of desirable features on their lifetime policies like euthanasia, dental illness cover, a 24/7 vet phone and more. Finally, their prices are typically competitive. We think they do an awful lot right.
Update: we've heard that people may be a bit less impressed lately with ManyPets—perhaps reflecting changes since it was bought by a private equity firm in 2021? We're not sure, but their customer rating stats have worsened. For example, last time we checked they were rated 4.7 on feefo, but this had dropped to 4.4 by November 2023. It looks like a lot of complaints relate to difficulty getting through to customer service. We're going to keep an eye on this.
- A plan to cover for pre-existing conditions
- A plan to get money back if you don't claim
- Euthanasia, Travel and Dental cover available
- Option to change excess to suit
- New Lifetime policies open to older pets
Best Cheap Lifetime Pet Insurance: 4Paws, Animal Friends & Pet Protect
In our opinion, Lifetime plans are the best type of insurance for a dog or cat. With a Lifetime plan, vet limits reset each year, providing financial protection for recurring conditions or conditions that take a long time to treat. Keep in mind that the average cost of Lifetime cover is around £332 per year for a dog or £130 for a female cat.
Best Cheap Pet Insurance: 4Paws
4Paws Pet Cover is another more affordable provider of health insurance. With 4Paws, you can get £4,000, £7,000 or £12,000 of Lifetime cover starting around £20 per month/£250 per year for a young, healthy mixed breed puppy. The plan provides cover for dental injury AND illness provided your pet has a dental exam every 12 months (with any recommended work carried out). We saw no exclusion for congenital/hereditary conditions in the terms, so genetic issues should generally be covered. The policy wording requests that pet owners submit claims as soon as possible—a call to customer service confirmed that they'll pay claims submitted within 12 months (so you're less likely to have a claim denied due to missing the claims window). The excess is £90 (plus 15% aged 10 years or over, or 7 years for selected breeds). All underwritten by the insurance giants, Aviva, Covéa and QIC.
- Lower premiums
- Travel cover
- Dental injury & illness
- Longer time to claim
- No Euthanasia cover
- No vetfone
Best Cheap Lifetime Pet Insurance Plan: Animal Friends
Across each type of pet insurance, Animal Friends tends to offer some of the cheapest pet insurance costs. For example, we found Animal Friends Lifetime cover for well under £200—per year—and that Animal Friends' cheapest policies were 40% to 65% cheaper than the average cost of insurance in the market. With no upper age limit, Animal Friends may be a good option for those looking for low-cost cover for their cats and dogs.
Animal Friends has the largest range of policies in the market—which is good if you know what you want, but can be a bit overwhelming if you're not sure what is best for you, if we're honest. As part of their range, they have two different types of 'lifetime' cover, so be sure to look carefully at the coverage before you buy.
Specifically, there is an annual condition limit on four of the 'lifetime' options (Super, Superior, Superior Plus and Prestige), but no annual policy limit on those plans. And they have another half dozen traditional 'lifetime' plans, with varying levels of cover (by traditional, we mean an overall vet fee limit that resets each year, with no per condition limits). They also offer accident only, time limited (note the 'per condition' limits here as well) and max benefit plans.
Beware that Animal Friends may limit reimbursement to "vet fees deemed reasonable and essential by their vet advisor". This practice could unexpectedly reduce the amount you receive back should you need to claim, if your vet charges an unusual amount.
- Lower premiums
- Lifetime plans open to older pets
- Most plans don't include dental accident and illness
- Older pets pay a 20% copay in addition to fixed excess
Best Cheap Lifetime Pet Insurer, with Dental: Pet Protect
Pet Protect offers solid cover at prices that won't break the bank—at £180 per year for a young, healthy dog you get £4,000 of cover including both dental injury AND illness (provided your pet has a dental exam every 12 months). Another important feature, especially for some breeds, is that congenital/hereditary conditions are covered so long as there were no symptoms before your policy began. In addition, you have 6 months to submit claims, which we think is quite manageable (some insurers only give you 60 days). There's no vet fone to call with queries and EU trips are covered up to 31 days per year (£1,000 max cover). A defining feature that may not suit all pet owners is that the excess is composed of a fixed £ amount and a mandatory copay/variable excess. The variable excess starts at 5% but rises to 20% to 25% for dogs and cats over 10 years old. This means you pay more if you claim, but your annual premium should be lower as a result.
- Euthanasia cover
- Travel cover
- Dental cover
- Having a longer time to claim (6 months)
- No Death Due to Illness Cover
- No vetfone
- No new policies for older pets (not available to dogs 6+ or 8+, breed dependent, or cats 10+)
- Excess rises as pets age
- Copay (variable excess) in addition to fixed excess
Best Premium Lifetime Pet Insurance with the Highest Coverage: Petplan, Tesco & Agria
Those who want premium Lifetime plan with the highest cover levels (around £10,000 per year) should expect to pay anywhere from £350 up to £750 per year for a healthy, young dog or £250 to £650 for a cat. The premium you pay will largely dependent on the breed and age of your pet, as well as the amount you agree to pay towards any vet bills (i.e., the excess/copay level). Note, Agria and Petplan have the highest customer ratings for pet insurance of the companies we've looked at!
Best Premium Lifetime Pet Insurance Plans, with More Cover and Dental: Petplan Classic+ or Ultimate
As the UK's largest dog and cat insurer, Petplan Lifetime plans are a solid choice from a company that, in all likelihood, already has a relationship with your vet—potentially making it easier to claim. We like their Lifetime plans for the most comprehensive cover—including both dental illness and injury, holiday cancellation, boarding if you're unwell, congenital/hereditary conditions (that arise after the policy starts), 90 days of EU travel cover and a vetline to call with queries.
While Petplan has recently added euthanasia cover to their plans, they don't cover cremation, burial or disposal. While Petplan is not the cheapest, we find their mid-tier £7k Covered for Life Classic+ Plan offers a competitive combination of price and value. For close to £400 per year for many young pets you'll get the same features as their top-tier plan, just lower levels of cover and no legal helpline. Petplan is a subsidiary of Allianz and has established working relationships with vets around the country.
IMPORTANT: While initial premiums might be higher, they say they won't increase your premium as a direct result of making a claim, so in the long run they could end up cheaper.
- Dental injury AND illness
- Quick reimbursement
- Long window to submit claims
- Premium won't increase due to claims
- Anyone wanting a new Lifetime policy for an older pet
- Might be more expensive
- Addition of 20% variable excess for older pets
Best Lifetime Pet Insurance Plans, with Lots of Features: Tesco Premier
If you are relatively insensitive to price and are looking for maximum coverage and benefits, we think the Tesco Premier Plan could be a great option. As a Lifetime plan, the £10,000 of vet cover renews each year and the plan includes dental illness and injury cover, up to 12 months to submit claims, a vet phone to call with questions, euthanasia cover (and cremation/burial), boarding in you're unwell and cover for a holiday cut short. Those who travel with their pet to the EU can enjoy 3 trips up to 30 days each with the same cover as in the UK. In addition, those with older pets can take out a new policy as there is no upper age limit—even for Lifetime policies.
- Dental cover for illness and injury
- New policies for older pets
- 12 months to submit claims for reimbursement
- Choose an excess amount to suit
- Euthanasia, cremation and burial
- No prescription food cover
Best Lifetime Pet Insurance Plans, with More Cover and Dental: Agria £6,500 or £12,500
Cheaper Premium Lifetime Alternative: If you like the features of these premium plans but don't like the price tags, a good option may be Agria's £6,500 Lifetime Plan—a base price around £340 for healthy, young dog). Or for roughly a hundred quid more per year you can get £12,500 of Lifetime cover (a lower-than-average price for that level of cover). Agria is able to offer competitive pricing on these Premium plans because pet owners contribute more towards vet fees through the use of a standard 10% copay (in addition to a fixed £ excess) should you ever need to claim. Plus, options like Boarding if You're Unwell, EU Travel, Death and Loss and Holiday Cancellation are extra so you only pay for features you want.
The terms and conditions feel like they were designed by real pet owners, as you can read about in our review. Dental illness and injury are covered, as well as euthanasia. Expect to pay around £450 for the £12,500 Lifetime Plan or £350 for the £6,500 Lifetime Plan for a young, healthy crossbreed dog; the premium for a British Shorthair cat would cost around £400 or £325, respectively. Adding the optional extras discussed above would add around £50 to a dog quote and £22 to a cat quote. Even with these additions, Agria prices are good value compared to other premium plans. Winner of Moneyfacts Consumer Award 2018 for Pet Insurance Provider of the Year and Best Claims Service; 97% of claims are paid.
- Higher vet limits
- Dental injury and illness
- 6+ months to claim
- Optional Extras: Boarding if You're Unwell, EU Travel, Death and Loss and Holiday Cancellation
- 10% copay on top of fixed excess
- Pay extra for EU travel cover
Pre-Existing Pet Insurance: ManyPets
If you want to switch pet insurance, but your pet has had some health issues, you may feel trapped by your current pet insurance company. Historically, it's been hard to switch pet insurance companies and get cover for any pre-existing conditions. However, the UK market is advancing and now there are three companies offering cover for health conditions your pet has suffered from. You can learn more about all of the pre-existing pet insurance companies here, but here is a quick recap for the company that offers the best pre-existing cover, in our opinion:
ManyPets Pre-Existing Condition Pet Insurance
ManyPets (formerly Bought by Many) has a unique approach to pet insurance. ManyPets technically offers the most lenient cover for pets with pre-existing conditions in the UK. All of their policies should cover pre-existing conditions once your pet has been treatment, medication and advice free for two years. Their "Pre-Existing" policy goes even further to protect more recent medical conditions with up to £1,500 of pre-existing condition cover, so long as your pet has been treatment, medication and advice free for three months for the treatment you're claiming for. Read more in our article about pre-existing pet insurance.
Accident Only Pet Insurance Cover: Animal Friends
If you don't want vet cover for any illnesses (e.g., tumour or infection) but only want cover for injury due to accidents (e.g., a broken leg), you'll pay a lot less for an Accident Only plan. Some pet owners choose this option and put aside the money they've saved on premiums, to use if their pet ever falls ill. This can be a risky move, however—the majority of vet visits are due to pets falling ill, not having an accidental injury.
Best Cheap Accident Only Pet Insurance Plans: Animal Friends
For cheap Accident Only pet insurance, you may want to check out Animal Friends, whose Accident Only Plan came out cheapest in our recent check whilst still providing an average level of cover—e.g., dog Accident Only cover for a £45 annual premium with a £99 excess and cover of £2,500 per accident a year (up to a £15,000 lifetime condition limit), which is 40% less than the average cost of Accident Only dog cover. This is a relatively high lifetime condition limit, to protect against ongoing vet fees resulting from an accident.
Dental injuries are not covered with Animal Friends plans, however, so you'd need to pay for, say, fixing a broken tooth on your own. In fact, this is a very basic plan, suitable for those who want the simplicity of a plan that literally only covers vet bills for an accident (e.g., there's no cover for Third Party Liability, Death, Travel, etc.).
- Low premiums
- Open to older pets
- Premiums may not rise if you claim
- No vetline to call with queries
- No dental cover
- Prescription food not covered
- Older pets pay a 20% copay in addition to fixed excess
Here's How Pet Insurance Works
Most people buy pet insurance primarily to help pay vet bills when their pet is injured or becomes ill. For this financial protection you'll pay an annual or monthly premium, which can range from £45 up to £800 a year or more, depending on a number of factors. In return, the insurance company will partially reimburse you for vet bills incurred as the result of injury and/or illness, depending on the policy.
The insurance company won't pay all of the vet bills when your pet is injured or falls ill. You, as pet owner, are responsible for an amount called the excess. The excess is typically around £100, but can vary. Some insurers give you a choice of excess. The excess may be payable once per condition, or perhaps once per condition per year (typical on Lifetime plans). Additionally, you may also be responsible for a "copay" (also known as a "variable excess") on some plans. This copay (typically 10% to 20%) is calculated after the fixed excess is taken out.
Choosing the Best Dog or Cat Insurance Plan for You
Before choosing a pet insurance plan, you'll need to consider a number of factors. First, pick what type of plan you want. Typically, you and your pet will get the broadest and longest cover with a Lifetime plan, although these subsequently cost the most.
Next, there are a few features that vary from insurer to insurer, such as euthanasia cover, dental illness, dental injury, vet line (to call with queries), travel to the EU, boarding when you're unwell, holiday cover (if you have to cut a holiday short due to a serious pet health concern). In addition, you may want to pay attention to the time to claim, which ranges from 60 days to 12 months. If you're not the most organized person, you may need the extra time to submit your claims.
Finally, there is the a choice of vet cover and excess amount. These factors have the largest bearing on premium cost, so it's a matter of deciding what best suits your individual financial situation.
By collecting dozens of data points from various pet insurance plans around the UK, we were able to gain insight on dog and cat insurance plans offered by more than a dozen insurers. The data we collected span all types of variables such as vet cover, premium, excess, changes for older pets, pet cover for travelling abroad to the EU, euthanasia cover, dental injury and/or illness, etc. To see all of the companies we analysed, please see the table below.
|Insurance Companies In Sample|
|Animal Friends||Pet Protect||M&S|
|PDSA||The Kennel Club||pet-insurance.co.uk|