The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

When You Shouldn't Buy Cheap Pet Insurance

Compare Pet Insurance

Pet cover can help with vet bills. Protect your dog or cat today.

{"applyCallToAction":"Get Quotes","defaultSelectedItem":"pet","description":"Pet cover can help with vet bills. Protect your dog or cat today.","formType":"Insurance","onCurrent":true,"options":[{"label":"Car Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=http%3A%2F%2Fnimblefins.quotezone.co.uk%2Fcar%2Findex.php%3Fid%3D76f4ecd6e1ca7c2f442633593566fdaa","value":"car"},{"label":"Home Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=http%3A%2F%2Fnimblefins.quotezone.co.uk%2Fhome%2Findex.php%3Fid%3D76f4ecd6e1ca7c2f442633593566fdaa","value":"home"},{"label":"Motorbike Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=http%3A%2F%2Fnimblefins.quotezone.co.uk%2Fbike%2Findex.php%3Fid%3D76f4ecd6e1ca7c2f442633593566fdaa","value":"motorbike"},{"label":"Pet Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.comparecover.com%2Fxml%2Faffiliate.cfm%3Faffiliate%3Dnimblefins%26affiliatenumber%3D223%26type%3Dpet","value":"pet"},{"label":"Travel Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.comparecover.com%2Fxml%2Faffiliate.cfm%3Faffiliate%3Dnimblefins%26affiliatenumber%3D223%26type%3Dtravel","value":"travel"}],"title":"Compare Pet Insurance"}

The cheapest UK Lifetime pet insurance plans cost hundreds of pounds less a year than the average vet health premium. How are pet insurers able to offer pet insurance for such good deals? By compromising on certain features like cover limits, dental, euthanasia, vet help lines, etc. Read on to find out if the compromises made on cheap plans are worth the cost savings to you.

Finding a cheap pet insurance deal might be just what you need if you can't (or don't want to) pay much out of pocket in premium. But how can one plan be so much cheaper than another? Here are a few ways in which pet insurers keep prices low:

Vet Health Cover Limits

The maximum overall amount of vet fee cover provided on cheaper pet insurance plans is often lower than on more expensive policies. That's not really a surprise (and not always the case). But there is another way in which pet insurance providers can put a cap on vet fee reimbursement for Lifetime plans—through a "per condition" annual limit. How does this work? Besides the overall annual limit, there may be a lower limit for each separate illness or injury.

For example, M&S's Standard Lifetime plan provides vet treatment for all illnesses and injuries up to £4,000 each year, with a total limit of £1,000 for each separate illness or injury claim. This level of cover would not fully pay for very serious/complicated illnesses or injuries that require thousands of pounds in vet bills in a year. But it would provide a financial buffer, such as covering recurring conditions up to £1,000 per year since the annual condition limit resets each year when you renew your policy.

While the inner limit means you can get £4k of overall Lifetime dog cover starting from around £170 a year, you need to decide if £1,000 of cover each year for any accident or illness is sufficient—or if it's worth paying more for, say, Lifetime cover without a "per condition" limit.

Fewer Features

Another way insurance providers can offer reduced prices is by keeping plans basic, without features like dental illness (e.g., decay or disease), EU travel, 3rd party liability, vet phone access, euthanasia cover, etc. It may be hard to put a value of some of these features, but is certainly worth thinking about which you find most important so that you're not paying for features you don't need.

Excess

In some cases, you may find significant price differences for two seemingly-comparable plans. It may be the case that the cheaper policy imposes a higher excess (i.e., the amount you contribute towards claims) and the more expensive policy imposes a lower excess. This could take the form of a different fixed £ excess and/or a percentage-based variable excess.

Reasonable and Essential Vet Fees

While the exact wording can vary, the fine print in some Policy Wordings may indicate that reimbursement for vet fees will be limited to "amounts deemed reasonable and essential", usually by a provider's vet advisor. This means if, for instance, your vet charges more than "reasonable" for a blood test, the provider may only reimburse you for what they consider to be a "reasonable" amount for a blood test. In other words, you might not be fully reimbursed.

Pre-Approval

Some providers will not pay claims over a certain amount unless you received pre-approval. For example, a policy might state that pre-approval is needed for treatments expected to cost £1,000 or more.

Time to Claim

Oftentimes, the deadline you're given to submit claims is shorter on less expensive pet insurance plans. Always check this detail or claims that might otherwise be valid could be denied if you're late with the claims forms. We've seen a time window as short as 31 days (vs. up to a year from more premium providers).

How Much Can You Save on Your Premium?

Pet insurance prices range widely, but the cheapest plans can cost hundreds of pounds per year less, as you can see in the following table. Which is best for you? On one hand, you can save money on the annual premium. On the other hand, you can buy a comprehensive, premium plan with more features, longer claim times, no per-condition limits and no restrictions regarding "reasonable" vet fees. Or perhaps the best plan for you might lie somewhere in between.

How Much is Pet Insurance on Average?DogCat
LowHighLowHigh
Accident Only£45£171£36£127
Time Limited£61£296£48£322
Max Benefit£116£533£94£500
Lifetime£133£733£109£662

Compare Cheap Pet Insurance

Pet cover can help with vet bills. Protect your dog or cat today.

{"applyCallToAction":"Get Quotes","defaultSelectedItem":"pet","description":"Pet cover can help with vet bills. Protect your dog or cat today.","formType":"Insurance","onCurrent":true,"options":[{"label":"Car Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=http%3A%2F%2Fnimblefins.quotezone.co.uk%2Fcar%2Findex.php%3Fid%3D76f4ecd6e1ca7c2f442633593566fdaa","value":"car"},{"label":"Home Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=http%3A%2F%2Fnimblefins.quotezone.co.uk%2Fhome%2Findex.php%3Fid%3D76f4ecd6e1ca7c2f442633593566fdaa","value":"home"},{"label":"Motorbike Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=http%3A%2F%2Fnimblefins.quotezone.co.uk%2Fbike%2Findex.php%3Fid%3D76f4ecd6e1ca7c2f442633593566fdaa","value":"motorbike"},{"label":"Pet Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.comparecover.com%2Fxml%2Faffiliate.cfm%3Faffiliate%3Dnimblefins%26affiliatenumber%3D223%26type%3Dpet","value":"pet"},{"label":"Travel Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.comparecover.com%2Fxml%2Faffiliate.cfm%3Faffiliate%3Dnimblefins%26affiliatenumber%3D223%26type%3Dtravel","value":"travel"}],"title":"Compare Cheap Pet Insurance"}

Comments and Questions

The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.