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Debenhams offers Accident Only, Time Limited and Lifetime pet insurance for dogs and cats. Prices seem to be competitive and they include some features as standard that are often not included or available for an extra cost, such as cancellation, emergency boarding, EU travel, etc. cover. Beware of the shorter time to submit claims, however.
In This Review
- Our Thoughts on Debenhams Pet Insurance
- Debenhams Pet Policy and Coverage Options
- How to Claim and Other Useful Info
- Comparing Debenhams to the Competition
There is no one "best" pet insurance—the best for you will depend on factors like price points and features that you might find valuable. Please use the information in this review to help you learn about pet insurance and narrow down your choices.
Debenhams Pet Insurance Review
Debenhams offers five pet insurance policies, with your choice of Accident Only, Time Limited and Lifetime. Debenham's plans are quite comprehensive—in addition to vet fees, and liability, they include dental injury (not illness), a 24-hour vet line advice, euthanasia, holiday cancellation, emergency boarding, advertising & reward, EU travel, etc. There's no cover for burial or cremation, nor a 24-hour vet advice line to call with questions, however.
|Plan Name||Type of Plan||Vet Cover Limit|
|ACCIDENT ONLY||Accident Only/Time Limited||£2,750 per condition|
|ESSENTIAL||Time Limited||£2,500 per condition|
|BASIC||Lifetime||£1,000 per condition, per year|
|EXTRA||Lifetime||£3,500 per year|
|ELITE||Lifetime||£8,500 per year|
Be aware that the time to submit claims is on the short side: within 90 days, or before your renewal date (whichever comes sooner). Another detail to take notice of—the annual Benefit Limit for Debenhams' cheapest Lifetime plan ("Basic") has a per condition limit. This £1,000 Benefit Limit is applied separately to every unrelated injury, illness or condition claimed for per policy period. (Meaning, you can only claim up to £1,000 each year per condition, but you could theoretically claim for multiple conditions each year, up to £1,000 for each.) In addition, if the total Veterinary Fees are likely to exceed £1,000 you must inform BDML Connect Limited immediately on 0333 234 0580 for pre-authorisation; they may wish to obtain a second opinion from their veterinary advisor.
While the offer may change, at the time of writing you could get a Debenhams' gift card for signing up (we've seen offers for £10 and £30 gift cards).
Out of Hours Care: Any costs for house calls/out-of-hours calls/non-essential hospitalisation and ambulance costs (where covered) are excluded unless a vet confirms that your pet was suffering from a life-endangering condition or your vet can confirm in writing that is was essential and not to have done so would have seriously worsened Your pet’s condition. If the out of hours visit was not essential Debenhams will cover the normal consultation fees only. Please note, they will not pay ambulance fees from your normal veterinary clinic to a transferred night veterinary clinic or referral clinic.
Time to Claim: Debenhems will only pay for claims made within 90 days of the incident occurring or your renewal, if sooner. Pay particular attention to this—if an incident happens in the last three months of your policy year, you'll need to make sure to submit your claim before your renewal date. Regarding claims, also be aware of language in the policy wording that says they'll "pay the claim amount for normal and customary Veterinary Fees" that are "reasonable, necessary, essential and not excessive."
Excess/Copay: The excess and copay/variable excess are the amounts you pay toward a claim. With a Debenhams policy, the standard Veterinary Fees Excess is £85, whether you buy direct or from a comparison site. If your dog is aged 5 and over, or your cat is aged 7 and over, you also pay a 10% variable excess towards each claim for Veterinary Fees, Complementary Medicine, special diet, CT/MRI Scans and cruciate ligament claims. This is in addition to the applicable standard Excess and applies to continuation claims (meaning, besides the fixed £85 excess that is paid once per condition, per policy period—or just once per condition on Accident Only policies—you'll pay 10% of all vet bills once your pet reaches those cut-off ages).
Standard Excess for Accident & Illness Policies
|(payable for each condition, each policy year)||Dogs aged 4 and under, Cats aged 6 and under||Dogs aged 5 and over, Cats aged 7 and over|
|Dog||£85||£85 + 10% of remaining vet fees|
|Cat||£85||£85 + 10% of remaining vet fees|
The 10% copay amount is calculated after the fixed amount has been deducted, for example:
|Example of Debenhams Excess for Dog Age 5+|
|10% Variable Excess||10% of £415 = £41.50|
|You Pay||£85 + £41.50 = £126.50|
Older Pets: In addition to the addition of a 10% variable excess for older pets, be aware that once your pet reaches 8 years of age, there is no longer cover under the Death of a Pet from Accident or Illness section of your policy.
Other Key Debenhams Pet Insurance Facts
- Dental injury due to accident covered only (not dental illness)
- Euthanasia covered if to alleviate incurable and inhumane suffering and your vet has recommended it
Debenhams Price Comparison
We've researched prices from dozens of pet insurance policies, and found that Debenhams policies offer average value for money. Here are some sample annual costs for a young, healthy cat and dog Debenhams's 5 different plans, for comparison purposes.
Annual Cost of a New Debenhams Pet Policy, by Pet Age
Debenhams premiums seem to be around the average cost of pet insurance for dogs and cats. Prices will go up with your pet's age, as with most pet insurance plans, as you can see in the following chart.
Debenhams Pet Insurance Notable Features
Below is a brief overview of the more notable features of Debenhams dog and cat insurance. For a complete rundown of the details and exclusions, please refer to the policy documents.
|Debenhams Pet Insurance Features|
|Dental Cover||Cover for dental injuries only|
|Holiday Cancellation||Cover for the cost of travel and accommodation expenses you lose up to £500 or £1,500, depending on plan, if you have to cut short/cancel a trip because you pet needs emergency lifesaving treatment/surgery while you're on holiday or in the 14 days before your holiday starts|
|Boarding Fees if You're Unwell||Boarding costs up to £500 or £1,500, depending on plan, if you or an immediate family member are in hospital for 4 or more consecutive days, subject to some exclusions|
|Death and Loss||Cover for the purchase price from £500 to £1,500, depending on the plan, if your pet strays or is lost, stolen or sadly dies from illness or injury|
|Travel||Cover for up to 30 days per policy year when travelling to member countries in the EU through the PETS travel scheme (or 90 days for Elite and Extra plans) made up of no more than 2 Holidays in total per Policy Period; provides up to the standard vet fee cover for emergency vet expenses (not for any conditions that were present before you left the UK)|
|Congenital & Hereditary Diseases||These are not specifically excluded; as long as your pet showed no signs before your policy started or in the first 14 day waiting period, we think they'd be covered subject to other exclusions|
|Prescription Diets||Up to a maximum of £100, for up to 60 days per Policy Period, as long as it is prescribed by your vet and can only be bought from a veterinary surgery or online pharmacy and it is to dissolve bladder stones or crystals in urine and for no other purpose. They will deduct 53p a tin and £1.00 per kilo as your normal feeding costs for your pet. They will not be liable for any other dietary costs under this policy. Once resolved, they will not continue to pay as a preventative measure to stop the stones re-occurring.|
|Cremation and Burial||n/a|
|Euthanasia||Covered to alleviate incurable and inhumane suffering and your vet has recommended it; always excluding the costs of your pet being euthanised for financial reasons or because of behavioural problems; reimbursement depends on age|
|Pet Health Helpline||n/a|
Debenhams Coverage Amounts
|Policy Type||Lifetime||Lifetime||Lifetime*||12 Month||12 Month|
|Vet Fees||£8,500 per year||£3,500 per year||£1,000 Per Condition, per year||£2,500 Per Condition||£2,750 Per Condition|
|Death from illness||£1,500||£1,000||£750||£500||n/a|
|Death from accident||£1,500||£1,000||£750||£500||£500|
|Third party legal liability (dogs only)||£1,000,000||£1,000,000||£1,000,000||£1,000,000||£1,000,000|
|Third party legal liability excess||£100||£100||£100||£100||£100|
|Advertising and reward||£1,500||£1,000||£750||£500||£500|
|Loss by theft or straying||£1,500||£1,000||£750||£500||£500|
|Overseas travel||90 days||90 days||30 days||30 days||30 days|
|Pet minders helpline||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Pay vet direct||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Find a vet helpline||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bereavement counselling helpline||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
^ Note: MRI, CT, Cruciate limits are sublimits within the overall vet fee limits, not in addition to the vet fee limit.
How does Debenhams Pet Insurance Compare to Competitors?
To better understand the value of Debenhams pet insurance you need to look at it in the context of other available options. We compared it to other plans in the market so you can see which may be more suitable for you.
Debenhams Pet Insurance vs PetPlan Pet Insurance
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 might make getting reimbursed a bit easier. PetPlan policies include dental illness and injury but don't cover euthanasia. However, older pets (i.e., dogs aged 5 or 8 depending on breed, cats aged 10) are not eligible for new Lifetime policies and can only sign up for a Time Limited policy. Also, be aware that the excess increases for older pets through the addition of a 20% copay, but at potentially a higher pet age—8 years for most dogs (5 for some breeds) and 10 for cats.
Bottom Line: If you want euthanasia cover to help with the financial burden of end-of-life care should your vet decide that you pet should be put to sleep to alleviate suffering, Debenhams may be a better option. (Costs of cremation/burial aren't covered on either plan, however). If your priorities are dental illness cover, a longer time to claim or insurance from a pet specialist, then PetPlan may suit you better.
Debenhams Pet Insurance vs John Lewis Pet Insurance
John Lewis Pet Insurance offers comprehensive Lifetime plans with £3,000, £7,500 or £12,000 of vet cover. Pet owners have a long time to submit claims and have their choice of excess—so those hoping for a lower excess can choose one as low as £60. The excess will rise for older pets, however, becoming the higher of your fixed £ excess and 20% of the vet bill for each condition each year. Other features include travel for up to 3 trips up to 60 days each with your pet to EU countries that are part of the PETS scheme, dental injury (but not illness), a 24-hour vetfone, euthanasia cover, cover if your holiday is cut short due to your pet being ill and boarding cover if you are hospitalized unexpectedly. Expect to pay around £375 for £3k of cover with a £60 excess or £550 for £7.5k of cover. A higher excess will bring the price down.
Bottom Line: Another solid pet insurance option.
Debenhams Pet Insurance vs Animal Friends Pet Insurance
Animal Friends Pet Insurance is another specialist pet insurer, whose plans stand out for lower-than-average premiums (partially achieved through per condition limits, even on Lifetime plans) and they publicly state on their website that they don't penalize for claims by increasing premiums upon renewal. Those with older pets can insure their cats and dogs, as there is no upper age limit for new policies, even Lifetime cover. They don't have dental cover or a vet line to call with queries, however, plus claims need to be submitted quickly, within 90 days. Our price check showed a range of £130 to £390 for Lifetime cover for a healthy, young crossbreed dog, significantly lower than average. But beware of lower per-condition limits.
Bottom Line: Those looking for a lower-priced Lifetime plan might also want to consider Animal Friends, or those looking to insure an older pet—if you're comfortable with per-condition annual limits on Lifetime plans.