John Lewis Pet Insurance Review: The Right Lifetime Cover for Your Pet?

John Lewis Pet Insurance Review: The Right Lifetime Cover for Your Pet?

John Lewis Pet Insurance isn't the cheapest, but offers a long time to claim and provides new Lifetime cover to older pets; Pet Insurance counts as an Eligible Purchase earning 1 point/£1 spent on the Partnership Card.

Good for

  • Long claims window
  • New Lifetime policies for older pets
  • Choosing your excess

Bad for

  • Covering dental illness

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

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John Lewis offers our favourite type of pet cover—Lifetime pet insurance—for dogs and cats. Lifetime plans provide more peace of mind because they'll cover chronic or recurring conditions throughout your pet's life. According to our value ratio calculations, the best value (e.g., vet cover for the premium and excess you pay) is found in their top-tier Premier Plan with a £100 excess.

Choosing the best policy for you and your dog or cat will depend on your individual situation. You may also like to look at our article, Best Pet Insurance, for other pet insurance options like pet specialist insurers such as PetPlan, Pet Protect and Agria.

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.

In This Review

John Lewis Pet Insurance Review

Underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance, John Lewis pet insurance offers some key features, including Lifetime cover for older pets. We found their Premier plans with £12k of cover offer the best value for money, but you can save £100 a year or so by opting for their mid-range plan Lifetime Plus cover, with £7,500 of vet fee cover per year.

John Lewis only sells one type of pet insuranceLifetime dog and cat insurance, with varying levels of cover (e.g., annual vet cover of £3,000, £7,500 or £12,000) and choice of excess amount (from £60 up to £500). With a lifetime John Lewis policy, conditions which recur or are chronic will be covered over the years, so long as you keep renewing the policy. The ability to tailor the excess amount means you can customize the policy to suit your individual financial situation—by choosing a lower excess, your annual premium will rise but you'll pay less out of pocket per condition each year.

According to our research, John Lewis prices seem in line with comparable lifetime policies from competing insurers, as you can see below in our price comparison. By applying online with John Lewis Finance, you can save 10%. Please note that all prices quoted in this review were obtained online, reflecting the 10% online discount. It appears you'll get nearly this same discount by applying through a comparison site like Compare Cover.

In order to compare the "value" of different policies, we've calculated a Value Ratio, as discussed in Best Pet Insurance. This Value Ratio is a measure of the amount an insured pet can get (vet cover) for the amount the pet owner pays (annual premium + one excess). In our calculations, we assume that a pet suffers one condition or accident in a year, with the result that the pet owner would pay the excess one time (per year/per condition). As you can see, the top-tier Premier plans offer the best value. If these are out of your price range, a mid-tier Plus plan can still provide a Value Ratio that is higher than average among UK Lifetime pet insurance plans and will in most cases still provide an ample amount of cover.

Dog Insurance PlanAnnual PremiumVet CoverExcessValue Ratio
Premier£547£12,000£10018.6
Premier£427£12,000£25017.7
Premier£690£12,000£6016.0
Plus£439£7,500£10013.9
Premier£365£12,000£50013.9
Plus£343£7,500£25012.6
Plus£554£7,500£6012.2
Plus£293£7,500£5009.5
Essential£300£3,000£1007.5
Essential£379£3,000£606.8
Essential£235£3,000£2506.2
Essential£201£3,000£5004.3
UK Average for Lifetime Plans12.2

Claiming: Quite unusually, there seems to be no official deadline for submitting claims. Having spoken in depth with customer service, we discovered that John Lewis has even paid for vet bills on a policy that was no longer active—of course, at the time the vet bills were incurred, the policy was in force and paid. We wouldn't recommend abusing this "no deadline" policy, however, as there's no guarantee they'll be so generous with all claims and, of course, the biggest motivation to submit your claim form in a timely manner is getting paid!

Cover must be purchased when your pet is healthy. Policyholders can't claim for vet fees as a result of an accident in the first 48 hours of cover, or for any changes in their pet's health or behaviour in the first 14 days of cover.

John Lewis Pet Insurance Insurance for Older Pets: John Lewis will sell their Lifetime insurance policies for pets throughout their lives—there is no maximum age limit for new policies so even "older" pets can obtain Lifetime cover.

However, older pet owners should be prepared to make larger contributions towards health care costs. Once your pet falls into the "older" category, the amount you pay towards vet bills increases. Owners of older pets are responsible to pay £60, £80, £100, £140, £250 or £500 of each condition each policy year, depending on the level of excess chosen, OR 20% of the treatment costs—whichever is greater.

John Lewis treats both dogs and cats aged 9+ years as "older." It is also worth noting that Death for Illness cover is not available for older pets—that is, owners of older pets won't be reimbursed for the purchase price upon death due to illness or accident.

The excess changes for older pets, to be either your fixed £ excess or 20% of the vet fees, whichever is greater for a condition (as illustrated in the following section).

Excess

Choice of Excess
Younger Pets (under 9)£60£80£100£140£250£500
Older Pets (aged 9 or older)greater of £60 or 20%greater of £80 or 20%greater of £100 or 20%greater of £140 or 20%greater of £250 or 20%greater of £500 or 20%

With a range of excess options on offer, deciding which is the best insurance policy for you can be confusing. If you're not sure whether or not it's a good idea to opt for a higher excess in order to achieve a lower premium, check out our analysis of Higher Excess vs. Lower Excess.

John Lewis Pet Insurance Key Points

  • Choice of three Lifetime plans (£3k, £7.5k or £12k)
  • No official deadline to submit claims for reimbursement
  • Lifetime cover with no upper age limit
  • Dental injury covered, but not dental illness (e.g., decay)
  • 10% discount for online applications
  • Can choose excess amount to suit
  • Owner's contribution to vet bills goes up for pets aged 9 and older

John Lewis Pet Insurance Quote Comparison

In order to compare the price of John Lewis pet insurance to other options in the market, we've gathered quotes across 44 lifetime policies from ten popular UK insurers for a 3-month-old male mixed breed dog.

Our research showed that John Lewis quotes averaged £429 annual premium for £6,833 annual vet cover with a £120 excess. These statistics compare favourably to the average cost of lifetime pet insurance—while the average JL premium was a negligible 2% lower than the average of £419, the £120 average John Lewis excess was a noticeable 14% lower than the average excess of £137. As the average amount of vet cover was nearly the same (£6,833 for JL vs. £6,875 average), the lower John Lewis excess implies that JL policyholders will pay around £17 less per reimbursable claim than with other comparable Lifetime policies, which is better value.

Below you can see samples of our research illustrating trial John Lewis quotes against other popular UK pet insurers M&S, More Than Pet Insurance Review, PetPlan Pet Insurance Review and Tesco Pet Insurance Review that offer comparable policies.

chart showing comparison of john lewis and petplan quotes
Comparison of John Lewis and PetPlan Pet Insurance Prices

Annual Quotes for Lifetime Policies for 3-Month-Old, Spayed Male Mixed Breed Dog

InsurerExcess£3k - £4k Vet Cover£7k - £7.5k Vet Cover£10k - £12k Vet Cover
John Lewis£100£300£439£547
M&S£150£200£362n/a
More Than£75£370n/a£589
Petplan£120£366£416£733
Tesco£120n/a£516£569

Insurance quotes can vary significantly from day to day and according to the details of you and your pet, so please just use this data for general educational purposes only about the pet insurance market; your quotes may reflect a large degree of variation.

Here's How the Premium Changes with a Higher Excess

With John Lewis you can select an excess that best suits your financial situation. Policyholders can choose between paying an excess of £60, £80, £100, £140, £250 or £500 per condition, per year. Changing the excess amount will impact the cost of your annual premium. For instance, the annual premium will be higher when you select a lower excess (the fixed amount you pay towards a claim), because the insurance company pays more of your vet bills.

When deciding upon the excess amount, carefully consider your needs. While choosing a high excess will lower your premium, perhaps significantly, there are drawbacks to a high excess. For example, a policy with a £500 excess will be useful to help cover the high, unexpected costs of a surgery (which can run into the thousands of pounds) but you likely won't be reimbursed for vet bills related to common ailments like ear infections, skin rashes or stomach trouble. With a £500 excess, you pay the first £500 of each condition, each year—insurance will only reimburse for costs beyond the £500 excess, per year, per condition.

chart showing how john lewis pet insurance quotes vary with excess and cover amount
See How John Lewis Pet Insurance Quotes Change with Excess and Cover

John Lewis Pet Insurance Notable Features

John Lewis Pet Insurance Features
Older Pet Lifetime CoverWhile JL expects a higher contribution from the policy holder towards vet bills (through a variable excess) for older pets, they will accept older pets for their Lifetime policies unlike many other insurers
Complementary TherapyAcupuncture, homeopathy, Chiropractic manipulation, osteopathy, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy (performed by or on recommendation of a vet)
Dental CoverCover for dental injuries (but not illnesses)
VetfonePet owners can call the John Lewis vetfone to speak with a UK qualified veterinary nurse 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (John Lewis vetfone phone number: 0800 316 7119)
TravelTravel for up to 3 trips up to 60 days each with your pet to the EU (countries that are part of the PETS scheme) is covered under the Plus and Premier plans
Cover for Holiday Cut ShortCover if you have to cancel or curtail your holiday because your pet goes missing, dies or has to be put to sleep by a vet or needs emergency life-saving surgery. Cancellation covered for life-saving treatment within 7 days of departure
Boarding Cover When You're UnwellBoarding fees when you're an inpatient at hospital for at least 4 days
EuthanasiaCovered up to £100

Types of John Lewis Pet Insurance Policies

John Lewis only offers one type of pet insurance: Lifetime cover. Lifetime policies are generally the most expensive as they cover both illnesses and accidents/injuries, with vet cover resetting each year. Lifetime policies will reimburse you year after year for vet bills related to recurring or chronic conditions, such as ear infections, up to the total vet cover limit per year.

While the amount of money you can use each year resets when you renew the policy, please be aware that the excess resets as well—that is, you'll pay the excess again for each condition claimed, in each year you submit an associated claim.

John Lewis dog and cat insurance can be purchased in three coverage levels: up to £3,000, £7,500 or £12,000 of vet bills, with further differences in cover detailed in the table below.

John Lewis Pet Insurance Coverage Amounts

Policy Name:EssentialPlusPremier
Vet fees - treatment limit per yearup to £3,000up to £7,500up to £12,000
Behavioural treatmentup to £250up to £250up to £500
Treatment foodup to £250up to £250up to £250
Complementary treatment - such as physiotherapy*up to £500up to £1,000up to £2,000
Third party liability (dogs only)up to £1mup to £2mup to £3m
Accidental damage - damage to other people's propertyup to £250up to £500up to £750
Lost or stolen petsup to £500up to £1,000up to £1,500

John Lewis Pet Insurance Ratings and Reviews

John Lewis pet insurance's overall customer rating is 4.4 out of 5 stars, according to 217 reviews on the John Lewis website. It is worth noting that many of the reviews were submitted just after they were purchases, without customers having had any claims experience on their policies.

Defaqto has rated John Lewis's higher coverage policies (i.e., Plus and Premier) 5 out of 5 stars.

John Lewis Pet PlanDefaqto RatingWhich? Policy ScoreWhich? Customer ScoreWhich? Policy ScoreWhich? Customer Score
DogsCats
Essential4 stars51%57%48%55%
Plus5 stars77%57%n/an/a
Premium5 stars96%57%95%55%

How does John Lewis Pet Insurance Compare to Competitors?

To better understand the value of John Lewis Pet Insurance you need to look at it in the context of other available options. We compared this insurer to other similar insurers so you can see which may be more suitable for you.

John Lewis Pet Insurance vs PetPlan

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. 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.

Quick Takeaway: John Lewis's top and bottom-tier Lifetime Plans tend to cost less for a lower excess and more annual vet cover. But if you're after mid-range cover of around £7k in vet fees per year, PetPlan's Classic+ Plan might come in a bit cheaper. Both offer long claim windows. PetPlan includes dental illness cover but John Lewis will reimburse for euthanasia—which is more important to you? The best deal for you will depend on the needs of you and your pet.

John Lewis Pet Insurance vs Tesco Pet Insurance

Tesco offers quite comprehensive cover, but you'll have to pay up for their Premier Plan if you want dental illness cover (e.g., tooth decay or gum disease). Lifetime plans provide £7.5k or £10k of vet cover a year; there's no low-tier Lifetime offering (e.g., around £3k of vet cover each year) so Lifetime prices start around £500 for a healthy, young dog.

Quick Takeaway: According to our analysis, John Lewis prices come in a touch lower than Tesco, but if dental illness cover is important to you then Tesco's Premier plan may be a better option.

John Lewis 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 a lower annual premium, Agria can be a good option—but you'll have to pay a larger share of any vet bills that arise.

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Disclosure

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.