LV= offers pet owners decent value for their money, especially when it comes to Lifetime cover for ever-popular French Bulldogs and English Bulldogs, which are quite expensive to insure. Customers have a choice of either Time Limited or Lifetime pet insurance with five levels of pet insurance offering vet cover ranging from £1,500 up to £10,000. If you'd rather go with a pet specialist insurer, read our review on Agria Pet Insurance.
We'll do our best to clarify some features of LV='s pet insurance plans, but be sure to read the policy wording before you sign up. Choosing the best policy for you and your pet will depend on your individual situation. There may be better pet insurance policies with more beneficial features available in the marketplace.
LV= Pet Insurance Key Facts
- No upper age limit on new policies
- 12 months to make claims
- EU Travel cover (no time limit on trip duration)
- Dental cover
- Holiday cancellation and unwell boarding cover available
- Prescription food not covered
- Premium may increase according to claims history
- Dental cover doesn't include disease/decay on Time Limited plans
- Excess increases with age (through addition of 20% vet bill copay)
- Euthanasia not covered
- No vetfone to call with queries
In This Review
- Overall Review
- Policy and Coverage Options
- Customer Experience Ratings
- Comparing LV= to the Competition
LV= Pet Insurance Review
LV= offers solid value plans, and particularly stands out for reasonable prices for notoriously-expensive-to-insure Bulldogs. Pet owners get a long time to submit claims for reimbursement (up to 12 months) and the standard, compulsory excess is a reasonable £75.
Time limited policies providing up to 12 months of vet cover for accidents or illnesses for dogs and cats, with up to £1,500 or £2,500 of vet fee cover per condition. With Time Limited policies, you're only reimbursed for a certain condition for up to 12 months or once you've reached the vet fee limit, whichever comes first. Time Limited policies therefore are quite restricted in nature as they don't provide long-term cover for recurring or chronic conditions.
LV= also offers three Lifetime policies with vet cover of £3,000, £5,000 or £10,000. With a Lifetime policy, there is no time limit imposed on covered treatments—that is, you can keep claiming for a condition year after year (so long as the policy remains valid). The only limit is the amount you can claim in total across all conditions over each policy year. When you renew, the amount you have available for the next year resets to the policy limit again.
Dental: All of LV='s pet insurance policies cover dental damage due to accident as well as the removal of milk teeth, as long as your pet was first insured with LV= before 16 weeks of age. Additional coverage of other decay and disease is available through the Lifetime plan—provided your pet has an annual dental exam with the vet and you follow up with any recommended treatment.
|Policy Type||Dental Cover|
Time Limit to Claim: Policyholders have up to 12 months after treatment date to submit all claim forms and accompanying documentation. Claims with paperwork submitted after this time will not be reimbursed.
Excess: LV= pet insurance policies all have a compulsory fixed excess of £75. On Time Limited policies, you would pay this once per condition. On Lifetime policies, the excess is paid once per condition per year. For example, on a Lifetime policy, if your pet receives treatment for one condition spanning across two policy years, you pay the excess twice—once in each of the policy years in which you claim for treatment for the condition.
In addition to the compulsory excess, policyholders can choose an additional voluntary excess of £75 or £125, which you pay in addition to the mandatory £75 excess, bringing your total excess to either £150 or £200. Raising your excess should have the effect of lowering the premium.
For dogs aged 8+ and cats aged 10+, you also pay a copay of 20% of all remaining vet bills (after the fixed £ excess is paid).
Example of How Excess and Copay Work for Older Pets with LV=
|Amount LV= will Pay||£832.50|
|Total Amount Paid by Policyholder||£167.50|
To learn more about the potential repercussions of raising your excess, see our article on the trade offs of choosing a higher excess/lower premium.
LV= Insurance for Older Pets: While pet insurance premiums generally rise as your pet ages, due to higher expected veterinary costs for older pets, LV= advises that premiums for older pets will go up more substantially if you have made claims against the policy. Death Due to Illness cover won't pay out once your dog turns 9 or your cat turns 11. LV= plans will still pay out for Death Due to Accident past these age limits, but only if your vet provides written confirmation of cause of death.
Perhaps the most significant change to cover for older pets is a higher excess for veterinary costs. In addition the the fixed payment, owners of dogs aged 8+ and cats aged 10+ also pay 20% of all remaining vet bills.
Referral or Emergency Vet Cover: Out-of-hours charges to see a vet outside their normal working hours is covered, but you must have written confirmation from the vet explaining why treatment couldn’t wait until normal surgery hours. Similarly, house calls are covered if your vet provides written confirmation that taking your pet to the surgery would have seriously worsened your pet's condition.
LV= Quote Comparison
To compare pet insurance prices, we took a measure of the value a plan can create. Since you would need to pay both the annual premium and at least one excess in order to claim and access the vet cover, we've calculated a Value Ratio equal to the Vet Cover/(Annual Premium + One Excess Payment) to give an estimate of relative value. Then we compared the average Value Ratio of each type of LV= product (i.e., Time Limited and Lifetime) with £75, £125 and £200 excess amounts to average market values (obtained from dozens of quotes from other insurers), for a healthy, young, medium-sized crossbreed dog, as you can see in the chart below.
How Excess Affects LV= Premiums
Is it worth adding a voluntary excess in order to lower your premium? Generally speaking, we find that if you'll claim at least once in a year, most pet owners would be better off with the lower excess/higher premium combination. This is because the change in premium is usually not enough to make up for a higher excess. To try to get an idea of how pet insurance premiums are impacted if you add a voluntary excess, we quoted LV= policies for the inclusion of both a £75 voluntary excess and a £125 voluntary excess (bringing the total excess to £150 and £200, respectively).
To decide if a higher excess is right for you, it's important to consider the financial impact a higher excess might have should you need to claim. Consider that on average choosing a total excess of £150 (instead of £75) will save around £29 in annual premium for a healthy, young, mixed breed dog. An excess of £200 (instead of £75) would save around £43 in annual premium. But, should you need to claim, you'd pay an additional £75 or £125 in excess, more than offsetting the premium savings you achieved. A further claim in a year would make the higher excess option even more expensive, relatively.
LV= Notable Features
Here are some highlights of features available on LV='s pet insurance policies. For more complete details and exclusions, please see the policy documents.
|LV= Pet Insurance Features|
|Dental||Time Limited policies cover injury and removal of first teeth under some conditions; Lifetime policies also cover other conditions subject to annual dental exam/maintenance|
|Cover for Holiday Cut Short||Cover if you have to cancel (less than 7 days before you were due to leave) or curtail your holiday because your pet needs emergency life-saving surgery or goes missing (full details can be found in the Policy Wording|
|Boarding Cover When You're Unwell||Cover for boarding fees when you're an inpatient at hospital for at least 4 days|
|Complementary Therapy||Acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, Chiropractic manipulation, physiotherapy, osteopathy and hydrotherapy (max 5 sessions on Time Limited policies; max 10 sessions on Lifetime)|
|Travel Cover||LV= policies provide cover in the EU (Pet Travel Scheme) with no limit on the trip length. The amount of cover while travelling is the same as if you were in the UK|
|Death due to Illness||Reimbursement of purchase price of your pet (up to £1,500), if he/she dies due to illness. Only available for dogs up to 9 years old and cats up to 11 years old. You must provide evidence of the amount you paid/donated for your pet|
|Death due to Accident||Reimbursement of purchase price of your pet (up to £1,500), if he/she dies due to accident. You must provide evidence of the amount you paid/donated for your pet|
Types of LV= Dog and Cat Insurance Policies
LV= offers two types of pet insurance—Time Limited and Lifetime, with vet cover ranging from £1,500 up to £10,000.
LV= Time Limited
An LV= Time Limited plan can be purchased with either £1,500 or £2,500 of vet cover. With Time Limited cover, vet bills are reimbursable for up to 12 months per condition, up to the vet cover limit. Once either 12 months have passed since your vet was first treated or you have claimed up to the limit, whichever is sooner, you can no longer claim for that condition.
Before choosing a Time Limited plan it's important to understand the repercussions of how bilateral conditions are treated. Bilateral conditions are conditions affecting a body part of which your pet has two (e.g., ears, eyes, ligaments, etc.). For insurance purposes, bilateral conditions are treated as one condition—meaning if you pet has an infection in one eye, then both eyes are excluded from cover 12 months after the first treatment of the infected eye.
LV= offers three levels of Lifetime cover, with either £3,000, £5,000 or £10,000 of vet cover per year. Each year when you renew the policy the vet fees cover is reinstated, providing that amount of cover again for the next year.
Lifetime insurance plans continue to reimburse for vet fees associated with recurring or chronic conditions, year after year, so long as the policy remains in force.
LV= Coverage Amounts
|Product Type||Time Limited - £1,500||Time Limited - £2,500||Lifetime - £3,000||Lifetime - £5,000||Lifetime - £10,000|
|Vets fees||up to £1,500 per condition||up to £2,500 per condition||up to £3,000 per policy year||up to £5,000 per policy year||up to £10,000 per policy year|
|Third Party Liability (Dogs)||up to £2 million||up to £2 million||up to £2 million||up to £2 million||up to £2 million|
|Third Party Liability Excess||£250 per claim||£250 per claim for property damage||£250 per claim for property damage||£250 per claim for property damage||£250 per claim for property damage|
|Death from illness or accident||up to £1,500||up to £1,500||up to £1,500||up to £1,500||up to £1,500|
|Advertising / Reward||up to £1,500||up to £1,500||up to £1,500||up to £1,500||up to £1,500|
|Accidental damage to third party property||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||up to £750|
|Loss by theft or straying||up to £1,500||up to £1,500||up to £1,500||up to £1,500||up to £1,500|
|Boarding or pet minding fees||up to £1,500||up to £1,500||up to £1,500||up to £1,500||up to £1,500|
|Holiday cancellation||up to £1,500||up to £1,500||up to £3,000||up to £3,000||up to £3,000|
|Quarantine costs||up to £1,500||up to £1,500||up to £2,000||up to £2,000||up to £2,000|
|Loss of pet's passport||up to £250||up to £250||up to £500||up to £500||up to £500|
|Emergency Expenses abroad||up to £750||up to £750||up to £1,000||up to £1,000||up to £1,000|
|Repeat tick / tapeworm||up to £1,000||up to £1,000||up to £1,000||up to £1,000||up to £1,000|
LV= Pet Insurance Customer Experience Ratings
LV= online customer reviews are quite inconsistent. LV= pet insurance was ranked 9 out of 10 by 535 reviewers at reevoo. But according to trustpilot.com, 173 customers ranked LV= insurance (all types) with 2.3 out of 10. We wonder how reliable these review sites are, given their varied results. Perhaps take with a grain of salt?
How does LV= Pet Insurance Compare to Competitors?
To better understand the value of LV= 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.
LV= Pet Insurance vs Argos Pet Insurance
Argos Pet Insurance may be another decent option for those with older pets, since they're eligible for Lifetime cover regardless of age and there’s no change to excess when your pet ages. You’ll get euthanasia cover and there’s a 24/7 vet helpline to call with questions, but you don’t get vet cover for the treatment of tooth decay or tooth/gum disease. To get an idea of price, our sample quote for a young, healthy dog showed a cost of £360 for £7,000 of Lifetime cover with a £135 fixed excess.
Bottom Line: If you're attracted to LV= for a new Lifetime policy for your older pet, Argos plans can be another good option since the excess won't go up over time.
LV= Insurance vs Agria Pet Insurance
Agria Pet Insurance offers comprehensive Lifetime plans for lower-than-average prices and is one of our favourite pet insurers. Many features are offered as extras, which means that you don't need to pay for certain features if you don't want to—if you never take your pet abroad to Europe, then you don't need to buy the Travel cover. Another way that Agria keeps prices lower is through a 10% copay/variable excess so pet owners contribute more towards vet fees—the pet owner is responsible for the fixed excess (£95 or £160 for dogs, £85 or £160 for cats) than another 10% of vet bills. We like that Agria is a specialist pet insurer with a long history, offering some desirable features such as dental, euthanasia and cremation/burial, sensible out-of-hours reimbursement and cover for congenital conditions. 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: Agria can be another good option for those wanting euthanasia and dental illness cover—but keep in mind you pay a 10% copay after the fixed excess is taken out.
LV= 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 insure their dogs and cats with Animal Friends, as there is no upper age limit for new policies, even Lifetime cover—but there is a 20% copay (in addition to the £99 fixed excess) for dogs aged 8+ and cats aged 10+. Animal Friends doesn'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: If you're very price conscious, you'll probably find a lower premium with an Animal Friends plan.