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Lifetime Pet Cover is one of the few UK pet insurance companies to provide cover for previous medical conditions—but their pre-existing pet insurance coverage is not as robust as some other options. While Lifetime Pet Cover's policies offer sensible terms they may not be the cheapest for your dog or cat. Read our review to learn about Lifetime Pet Cover features and how their coverage compares to competitors, to help you decide if Lifetime Pet Cover is best for you and your pet.
In This Review
- Overall Review
- Lifetime Pet Cover Policy and Coverage Options
- Customer Experience Ratings
- Comparing Lifetime Pet Cover to Competitors
Choosing the best policy for you and your pet will depend on your individual situation. There may be other cat or dog policies with better features available in the marketplace. You may want to read about other options in our article on the Best, Cheap Dog and Cat Insurance.
Lifetime Pet Cover Review: Our Thoughts
In our opinion, Lifetime Pet Cover can be a solid option for your dog or cat insurance, with strong customer reviews, coverage for previous conditions, no upper age limits for acceptance, dental injury coverage and a range of coverage levels to suit different needs. However, Lifetime Pet Cover are not necessarily the cheapest in the market, especially for dogs, so those on a tight budget may need to look elsewhere for cheap pet insurance.
To get a quote, you can either use our pet insurance partner Compare Cover to get quick quotes from a wide range of pet insurance companies including Lifetime Pet Cover, M&S, John Lewis, Pet Protect, Animal Friends, etc. or go direct to the Lifetime Pet Cover website.
Lifetime Pet Cover plans are stripped back compared to some others in the market, but in our view this helps the company offer more affordable prices for the essential components of pet insurance (namely, solid vet fee coverage). For instance, there's no cover for euthanasia, boarding if you're unwell or reimbursement if you need to cancel or curtail a holiday because your pet falls ill or is injured. In addition, there is no vet helpline to call with questions.
Customer ratings of Lifetime Pet Cover are generally positive, but some customers have been caught unaware because they hadn't read the fine print. While we've tried to highlight some of the more notable exclusions and conditions here in our review for you to help you better understand the product, we also recommend that you read the policy wording before making a purchase.
Time to Claim: Pet owners need to submit claims before 90 days have passed since the end date of veterinary treatment for any condition, illness or injury.
Excess: The excess is payable by the pet owner and is the first amount of each unrelated claim for a new condition. The standard Lifetime Pet Cover excess for pets under 7 years of age is £95. In addition to this standard £95 excess, older pets also pay a percentage of vet bills that is called "co-insurance". For example, dogs aged 7 through 11 years pay 20% of vet bill claims after the excess. For dogs 12 years and older the co-insurance jumps up to 25%.
What to Look Out For with Lifetime Pet Cover
Here are some exclusions and conditions which stood out to us because they differ from what is standard amongst the majority of pet insurance plans in the UK. This is not a full list of exclusions and conditions—for full information please see the policy documents.
- Your pet must be registered at a veterinary practice in the UK on the policy start date.
- Your pet must have annual check ups.
- Your pet must have up-to-date worming, vaccinations and boosters in line with vet recommendations (i.e., Distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, kennel cough and parvovirus for dogs; Feline infectious enteritis, feline leukaemia and cat flu for cats).
- Dogs must be microchipped.
- Lifetime Pet Cover will only pay for one "dietary indiscretion" during any one period of insurance. A dietary indiscretion is when your pet accidentally eats something which results in illness or injury (e.g., ingesting a foreign body, object, drug or toxin).
- Dental treatment covered so long as your pet had its teeth checked by a vet in the 12 months before the onset date of the claim. If any treatment was recommended as a result of the check this must have been carried out.
- Extra costs for treating your pet outside usual surgery hours are not covered unless the vet confirms that the condition was an emergency.
- If the claims handler decides that treatment was not necessary or was excessive compared to normal treatment, they may request a second opinion from their vet of choice. As a result, they may only pay what this second vet decides was a necessary cost of treatment.
- A dog on a designated road must be on a collar and lead under control (as per the law, as discussed in our article, Is it Illegal to Walk a Dog Without a Lead?)
Lifetime Pet Cover is one of a handful of UK pet insurance companies which may provide coverage for a condition, illness, injury or bilateral condition which occurred or first showed signs before your policy start date. In essence, your pet will be covered for a previous condition if he or she has been healthy, symptom free and treatment free for 2 years. (As a result, chronic conditions that pre date your policy start date will not be covered.) Specifically, the Lifetime Pet Cover policy wording states that a condition will cease to be a pre-existing condition if:
- a) The condition has been treated and your pet has fully recovered, leaving no susceptibility to future problems or underlying weakness and since that point;
- b) The condition has been treated and Your Pet has not received any treatment for or in connection with the condition for a continuous period of 24 calendar months;
- c) There are no symptoms or vet consultations relating to the condition for the previous 24 months.
Better Options for Pre-Existing Conditions?
That said, if your pet has had a more recent or lingering condition that you want covered, you might be better off looking at Scratch & Patch or Bought By Many.
Scratch & Patch can cover your pet for certain pre-existing conditions immediately under their "Champ" product line. As part of the quotation process you'll need to provide information on your pet's medical history, which will determine if they can provide cover for your pet's pre-existing conditions or not—and at what price. (See our review of Scratch & Patch here or click to get a quote here.)
Bought By Many's pre-existing policy covers conditions so long as your pet has been healthy for three months before you purchase your policy. These recent pre-existing conditions (between 3 months and 2 years in the past) will be covered for a limited amount initially, with cover starting at £500 and potentially rising to £7,000 over time if you don't claim for them—once a condition has been gone for 2 years you get full cover for that issue. (See our review of Bought By Many here or get a quote here.)
Lifetime Pet Cover Key Facts
- No upper age limit for acceptance
- 90 days to submit claims (after the end date of the veterinary treatment)
- Vets fees cover from £2,000 up to £10,000 per policy year
- Lifetime cover available
- Vet cover anywhere in the world up to 3 months
- Dental covered, subject to conditions
- £1,000,000 Public Liability Limit of Indemnity
- Pay yearly or monthly
Lifetime Pet Cover Quote Comparison
According to our research, a Lifetime Pet Cover insurance policy may be more expensive than the average cost of pet insurance for dogs and cats. This is not necessarily surprising, however, as they'll cover past health conditions that your pet suffered from in previous years, unlike most pet insurance plans.
For example, insuring our sample 5-month-old, spayed, medium-sized, crossbreed dog with £6,000 of vet coverage costs an estimated £700 per year from Lifetime Pet Cover, which is 73% more than £7,000 of lifetime cover from the gold standard of UK pet insurance, Petplan. Petplan, however, doesn't provide any cover for pre-existing medical conditions. For an in-depth analysis comparing Lifetime Pet Cover prices to other pet insurance plans for pre-existing conditions (i.e., VetsMediCover and Bought By Many), see our article on UK Pet Insurance Plans for Pre-Existing Conditions.
Annual Quotes for Lifetime Policies for 5-Month-Old, Spayed, Male Crossbreed Dog
|Annual Quotes for Lifetime Policies for Young, Crossbreed Dog||Lifetime Vet Cover||Annual Price Estimate|
|Lifetime Pet Cover Level 1||£2,000||£343|
|Lifetime Pet Cover Level 2||£3,000||£498|
|Lifetime Pet Cover Level 3||£4,000||£621|
|Lifetime Pet Cover Level 4||£6,000||£712|
|Lifetime Pet Cover Level 5||£10,000||£830|
|Bought By Many Regular||£7,000||£432|
|UK Market Average||£6,300||£402|
Lifetime Pet Cover Notable Features
Below is a brief overview of the more notable features of Lifetime Pet Cover dog and cat insurance. For a complete rundown of the details and exclusions, please refer to the policy documents.
|Lifetime Pet Cover Pet Insurance Features|
|24 Hour Vet Helpline||n/a|
|Dental Cover||Cover for the cost of dental treatment so long as your pet had its teeth checked by a vet in the 12 months before the onset date of the claim; If any treatment was recommended as a result of the check this must have been carried out|
|Boarding if You're Unwell||n/a|
|Travel||Vet cover anywhere in the world for up to three months during the period of insurance, so long as your pet has a valid pet passport and is accompanying you on holiday. All the conditions of the Pet Travel Scheme must be met and a full invoice and any relevant clinical notes must be provided.|
|Congenital & Hereditary Diseases||Coverage includes defects and abnormalities your pet was born with or were passed on by its parents|
|Euthanasia, Cremation, Burial||n/a|
|Complementary Therapy||Includes up to £1,000 per policy year for complementary treatment including herbal or homeopathic medicine as recommended and prescribed by your vet and carried out by a qualified complementary therapist (i.e., a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist or a member of one of the following organisations: Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy, Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, Bowen Technique Therapists, Canine and Feline Behaviour Association, Canine Hydrotherapy Association, McTimoney Animal Association, McTimoney Chiropractic Association, National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists, The International Association of Animal Therapists (UK), Institute of Registered Veterinary and Animal Physiotherapists, Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists, British Veterinary Behaviour Association, National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapist or Institute of Registered Veterinary and Animal Physiotherapists.)|
Types of Lifetime Pet Cover Policies
Lifetime Pet Cover offers 5 levels of lifetime pet insurance—not surprisingly, the only type of pet insurance offered by Lifetime Pet Cover is lifetime plans. Generally speaking, Lifetime policies are the best, most comprehensive cover for pets as they'll help protect the owner against the financial strain of injuries and illnesses that are chronic requiring ongoing treatment or that recur during a pet's life. With a lifetime pet insurance plan there are no time limits on treatment and the vet limits reset each year.
Here are the 5 levels of lifetime cover offered by Lifetime Pet Cover, including the maximum benefit payable in any period of insurance:
- Level 1: Lifetime £2,000 Limit
- Level 2: Lifetime £3,000 Limit
- Level 3: Lifetime £4,000 Limit
- Level 4: Lifetime £6,000 Limit
- Level 5: Lifetime £10,000 Limit
In addition to the annually-renewing vet limits, Lifetime Pet Cover plans have the following coverage limits, which as usual are subject to conditions. Please note that the complementary treatment limits are an inner limit of the vet limits; for example, if your vet limit is £3,000 per year on a Level 2 plan, you can use up to £1,000 of this on complementary treatments.
|Lifetime Pet Cover||Limit|
|Accidental Death and Death from Illness||The purchase price of your pet, up to a maximum of £500 for Dogs and £100 for cats|
Customer Experience Ratings
Lifetime Pet Cover has won "Best Pet Insurance Provider" and "Treating Customers Fairly Champion" awards at the Insurance Choice Awards from the Smart Money Website. The company achieved a rating of 4.91 out of 5 based on 602 customer reviews which cited amazing customer service, value for money and help insuring older pets and/or pets with pre-existing conditions.
Lifetime Pet Cover is rated "Average" by customers on TrustPilot, achieving 6 out of 10 stars—but please note this rating is based on only 13 reviews, which is quite a small dataset from which to draw a reliable conclusion. Positive comments included quick and easy payment of claims, whether direct to the vet or to the pet owner. Negative reviews had two common themes: customers being caught out by the fine print (e.g., the 20% - 25% co-insurance for pets 7 years of age or older) and premiums rising after claiming. They do say on their website that premiums may increase if there is an increase in the probability of future claims—it therefore follows that a claim for a chronic or recurring condition could result in a premium increase when you renew.
On feefo.com, Lifetime Pet Cover received higher ratings of 4.5 out of 5, based on 221 reviews. Highlights included quick payment and helpful customer service. Negative reviews once again centered around customers not reading the fine print (e.g., euthanasia not covered).
Other Useful Information
How does Lifetime Pet Cover Insurance Compare to Competitors?
To better understand the value of Lifetime Pet Cover 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.
Lifetime Pet Cover vs Bought By Many
Bought By Many Pet Insurance offers comprehensive Lifetime plans with £3,000 to £12,000 of cover. They stand out for offering unique policies where you can get some money back if you don't claim, or you can fix your premium for life so it doesn't rise as your pet ages or you claim. They also have a plan covering pre-existing conditions that are are recent as 3 months old and treat all older previous conditions favourably (on all plans, a condition is no longer pre-existing once your pet has been clear for two years).
Bottom Line: If you want euthanasia cover, competitive prices and unique plans, Bought By Many can be a great option to consider.
Lifetime Pet Cover 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 cover for pre-existing conditions or lifetime cover for older pets, Lifetime Pet Cover may be more suitable for you.
Lifetime Pet Cover 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, quite a bit lower than average.
Bottom Line: Those looking for a lower-priced Lifetime plan or pet insurance that shouldn't increase if you claim may find suitable cover with Animal Friends, but beware the per condition limits.