E&L Pet Insurance: How Does it Compare?

E&L Pet Insurance: How Does it Compare?

Good for

  • Significant discounts available the first year when you buy online

Bad for

  • Congenital conditions not covered
  • Vet fees limited to "customary and essential"
  • Excess may increase upon renewal
  • No dental illness cover
  • Shorter time to submit claims
  • No cover for travel abroad
  • No cover for putting your pet to sleep, cremation or disposal

Editor's Rating

3.0/5.0

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.

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E&L offers pet insurance for dogs and cats with cheap plans available for those on a budget. However, those looking for a more comprehensive plan might find better value elsewhere. You may want to look through our article on Best Pet Insurance or Cheap Dog and Cat Insurance to see what else is available in the marketplace.

In This Review

Choosing the best policy for you and your pet will depend on your individual situation. There may be other policies with better features available in the marketplace.

E&L Pet Insurance Review

E&L offers three time limited pet insurance plans for dogs and cats (plus another time limited plan and an accident only plan through our partner Compare Cover. E&L pet insurance policies offer up to a 45% introductory discount if you buy online. Plus, those insuring more than one pet may receive another 10% off. While their cheapest plans available online may initially appear to offer good value, especially considering these discounts, please not that the discounts only last for the first year. After year one, expect prices to essentially double as discussed in the pricing section.

We find E&L's terms to be more restrictive than many other pet insurers in the UK. For instance, E&L won't cover congenital conditions which means treatment for problems like hip dysplasia or cherry eye is not reimbursable. Also, vet fees are limited to "customary and essential" so not all vet fees may be considered to be valid claims.

Beware that if your pet visits the vet at the end of your policy year you won't have much time to submit claims, as all claims must be submitted before your renewal. As a result, claims submitted after the renewal date may not be paid even if they otherwise would have been a valid claim.

E&L offers a slightly different renewal structure than most other pet insurance companies. You can pay your premium annually (every 365 days), calendar monthly (every calendar month) or lunar monthly (every 28 days). Payment can be made by direct debit, credit or debit card or cheque and policies renew automatically (either every year, every calendar month or every 28 days).

What is a Lunar Monthly policy? A lunar monthly policy runs for equal periods of 28 days (a lunar month). Premiums are collected every 28 days as well, at which point a policy is renewed continually at the conclusion of each period. There are a few benefits of a lunar monthly policy. For instance, cancellation is possible each period without penalty.

Veterinary Fees: If your vet charges too much or treatment is deemed excessive then E&L might not fully reimburse you for vet fee claims. They define veterinary fees as the customary and essential amount vets typically charge. E&L may obtain a second opinion from their veterinary advisor if they think veterinary fees appear greater than conventional fees charged by an attending/referral practice; and/or treatment received may not have been required or may have been excessive. Where the second opinion differs or is in dispute E&L may pay only those veterinary fees deemed reasonable and essential by their veterinary advisor.

Excess: The policy wording states that E&L may increase the excess when your policy is reviewed, which will happen at least once a year. The standard excess will start off between £95 and £109, depending on the plan, and may increase with your pet's age.

Standard Excess by Plan
Accident Only£95
Bronze£99
Silver, Gold and Platinum£109

What to Look Out For

  • Time to claim: Should you need to claim, you must contact the E&L claims department ASAP. Claim forms must be returned within 90 days of the incident occurring or your renewal, if sooner. This means that claims for vet visits just before your renewal will need to be submitted immediately, or the claim will not be valid.
  • Keeping your pet healthy: According to E&L, you must have the pet wormed regularly and protect it from infections or contagious disease by keeping it isolated. You must also have the pet vaccinated against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus for dogs, kennel cough (e.g. for boarding kennel or show), and feline infections (e.g., enteritis and cat flu for cats). You must also have your pet vaccinated against any other disease your vet feels is necessary.
  • Congenital conditions are not covered, which means treatment for problems like hip dysplasia may not be reimbursed.

E&L Quote Comparison

E&L offers some of the cheaper plans available in the market, with an Accident Only plans for dogs starting from around £50 per year and a time limited plan with £2,000 of cover for around £100 a year. While these prices are technically quite cheap compared to the average price of dog insurance, those looking for higher vet limits or more comprehensive cover may find more competitive quotes elsewhere.

For instance, we found that from our partner Compare Cover a pet owner could buy £10k of Lifetime cover from EveryPaw or £7k of lifetime cover from 4Paws for around the same price as E&L's £6k time limited policy.

Annual quotes for a young, healthy, medium-sized, mixed-breed dog

Pet Insurance PlanType of CoverVet Fee LimitSample Annual Quote
4PawsLifetime£7,000£250
M&S BankTime Limited£3,000£235
EveryPawLifetime£10,000£233
E&LTime Limited£6,000£232
chart showing how E&L dog insurance quotes compare to the average in the market
E&L pet insurance is not always cheaper

E&L Discount

E&L is offering an online discount up to 55% off to new customers, which can help you secure an enticingly low price initially. This discount is composed of up to 45% for the first pet and 10% for any additional pets.

However, once the year-one discount runs out, from the second year you may pay close to double what you paid the first year. And if your pet has been ill or injured in the meantime then switching pet insurance plans at that point can be tricky (e.g., leaving you without cover for the pre-existing conditions) because there are only a few pet insurance plans that cover pre-existing conditions—and they won't cover pre-existing conditions right away.

To get an idea of how the cost of E&L pet insurance would increase when the discount no longer applies, the following table illustrates what you'd pay the second year, based on a 45% year one discount.

Year One Pet Insurance Cost, with 55% DiscountYear Two Pet Insurance Cost, with No Discount
£60£109
£120£218
£180£327
£240£436
£300£545

E&L Notable Features

Below is a brief overview of the more notable features of E&L dog and cat insurance. For a complete rundown of the details and exclusions, please refer to the policy documents.

E&L Pet Insurance Features
24 Hour Vet Helplinen/a
Complementary TherapyPhysiotherapy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, homeopathic or herbal medicines (performed by a recognised party on recommendation of vet)
Dental CoverCover for dental injuries only; No cover for dental illness
Holiday CancellationCosts of cancellation or curtailment of your holiday if within 14 days of departure your pet needs emergency life-saving surgery.
Boarding if You're UnwellCosts of boarding your pet if you are hospitalised for at least 3 days
TravelNo cover abroad
Congenital DiseasesNot covered
EuthanasiaNot covered

Types of E&L Policies

E&L offers an Accident Only pet insurance plan and a few time limited plans with varying degrees of cover. They do not offer the most comprehensive types of pet insurance—lifetime cover. Generally speaking, Lifetime policies are best to protect the owner against the financial strain of recurring/chronic injuries/illnesses over the course of the pet's life. While Time Limited cover can typically be purchased for a lower price, it will only cover an illness or accident for up to one year.

E&L Coverage Amounts for Dogs and Cats

Below are coverage levels for E&L's Silver, Gold and Diamond time limited dog and cat insurance. Additionally, an Accident Only plan and a time limited plan with £2,000 of cover are available from our partner Compare Cover.

E&L Pet Insurance LimitsSilverGoldDiamond
MonthlyYearlyMonthlyYearlyMonthlyYearly
Public Liability£1.5m£1.25m£1.75m£1.5m£2m£1.75m
Vet's Fees£4,000£3,500£5,000£4,500£6,000£5,500
£1,000 limit per condition£1,000 limit per condition
Death of Pet£750£500£1,000£750£1,500£1,250
Boarding Kennel/Cattery Fees£750£500£1,000£750£1,500£1,250
Holiday Cancellation£1,000£750£1,500£1,250£2,500£2,000
Advertising and Reward£600£450£800£650£1,000£750
Loss by Theft or Straying£750£500£1,000£750£1,500£1,250
Accidental Damage£500£250£750£500£1,000£750
Burglar Reward£500£250£750£500£1,000£750
Transport Costs£150£100£200£150£250£200
Personal Accident£150£100£200£150£250£200

Customer Experience Ratings

E&L is rated 4.4 out of 5 stars for customer experience, according to close to 500 customers surveyed through feefo. These ratings are not specific to pet insurance, but rather to SunLife overall. Most of these reviews relate to the buying process and praise E&L for an efficient purchasing process and sending documentation out quickly (e.g., same day).

Reviews on TrustPilot reflect a mix of happy customers and customers with serious complaints. We've read through the reviews and it seems some customers are caught out by the terms of the policies (e.g., claims being denied for treatment after the 12 month window on a time limited policy) whilst others have experienced premium increases after claiming, difficulty canceling policies and having to wait a long time to have claims settled.

Other Useful Information

How does E&L Insurance Compare to Competitors?

To better understand the value of E&L 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.

E&L 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.

Bottom Line: If you want a cheaper premium and/or a plan with lower vet limits then E&L might be sufficient, but those wanting lifetime cover from a renowned pet insurance company might prefer Petplan.

E&L Pet Insurance vs Paws and Claws Pet Insurance

Paws and Claws Pet Insurance offers a slightly different type of lifetime pet insurance, with no overall annual limits but limits on the amount you can claim per condition each year. This structure results in slightly lower insurance rates. With no upper age limit and a lower excess, Paws and Claws may have appeal, but beware there's no cover for dental illness.

Bottom Line: Paws and Claws might be an affordable option if you want lifetime cover, so long as you're comfortable with the annual per condition limits.

E&L Insurance vs Agria Pet Insurance

Agria Pet Insurance offers comprehensive Lifetime plans for lower-than-average prices. They're able to charge lower premiums by having the pet owner pay a 10% copay in addition to the fixed excess (of £95 or £160 for dogs, £85 or £160 for cats). We like that Agria is a specialist pet insurer with a long history. Agria plans offer some desirable features, such as dental, euthanasia and cremation/burial, plus congenital conditions are not specifically excluded from cover. The cost for a young, healthy crossbreed dog is around £350 per year for a plan with £6,500 of vet cover and a £95 fixed excess + 10% copay; a British shorthair with an £85 excess + 10% copay would cost around £325 for the same level of cover.

Bottom Line: If you want higher coverage levels, Agria can be a good option—but you'll have to pay a larger share of any vet bills that arise due to the 10% variable excess.

E&L Pet Insurance vs Animal Friends Pet Insurance

Animal Friends Pet Insurance is a 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 buy new policies with Animal Friends, 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 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.

Bottom Line: Those looking for low-cost Lifetime cover may find a cheap plan from Animal Friends, but beware of the per condition limits and lack of dental injury cover and vet helpline.

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.