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PDSA Pet Insurance Review

PDSA offers pet insurance for dogs and cats living in the UK, with vet cover ranging from £1,500 up to £8,000. Choose between Accident Only, Time Limited and four Lifetime pet insurance plans to suit the needs of you and your pet.

In this review we try to explain many of the features of PDSA's pet insurance plans. Please read through the policy wording yourself to understand if this is the best policy for you and your pet. There may be other pet insurance products on the market with better features.

Pros

  • Excess/copay doesn't increase for older pets
  • No upper age limit (even for new lifetime policies)
  • Prescription food covered
  • Euthanasia cover

Cons

  • Dental cover for accidents only
  • Reimbursement of medicines limited to 100% mark up on the manufacturer’s or wholesaler’s price
  • Must notify PDSA before any complementary treatments begin
  • 60 days to submit claims for reimbursement
  • Must call or email PDSA for a claim form (not available online)
  • Time Limited policies: 12-month clock starts from when condition first noticed (not when treatment starts)
  • Out-of-hours charges not covered unless life threatening or changing

In This Review

PDSA Pet Insurance Review

PDSA offers Accident Only, Time Limited ("Classic") and Lifetime ("Advance," "Advance Plus," "Ultimate" and "Ultimate Plus") pet insurance policies for dogs and cats. A variety of coverage options provides additional choice within the Lifetime range.

In terms of pricing, PDSA's accident & illness policies came out more expensive than average in our recent survey of a dozen popular UK insurers. While the PDSA Accident Only premium was around 20% cheaper than average, the accident & illness Time Limited and Lifetime policy premiums were roughly 20% higher than average.

In order for your policy to remain valid and for your claims to be reimbursed, pets must have a regular annual check-up with the vet, including vaccinations against the following:

  • Dogs: distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parvovirus
  • Cats: feline infectious enteritis, feline influenza, feline herpes virus, feline calicivirus and feline leukaemia

We should note also that vet referrals are only reimbursable if the second vet disagrees with the first. If the two vets come to the same conclusion on diagnosis or treatment, then PDSA will only pay for one claim. Additionally, diagnosis procedures performed for a second time by the referral vet are not covered.

Prescription Food

Prescription food to dissolve bladder stones or crystals in urine is covered up to a maximum of £100 per period of insurance, as long as it's prescribed by the vet (and can only be bought from your vet or an online pharmacy).

Excess

The excess is payable each year for each illness or injury, and consists of a £75 fixed excess and a 10% variable excess (copay). After paying the £75 fixed excess for a condition, the petowner is then responsible for 10% of all remaining vet bills associated with that condition.

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.

The excess stays the same as your pet ages; the excess does not increase for older pets.

Claims: When to Submit

In order to be reimbursed, you must submit the claim form, invoices and a full clinical history to the PDSA within 60 days of first treatment. Separately, you must notify PDSA within 60 days of discovering the incident. By missing the 60-day window, your claim may not be paid.

Claims forms are not available. To receive a claim form, you must either call (0333 234 0599) or email (petclaims@ultimateservices.co.uk).

PDSA can pay your claim settlement directly to you vet. It may be worth asking your vet if they will accept payment from PDSA and/or send in claims forms on your behalf.

PDSA Insurance for Older Pets

Once your pet transitions into the "older" category—9 years for dogs and 11 years old for cats—you are not longer able to claim under Death Due to Illness. This is the only change to policy cover for "older" pets.

There is no change to the excess as your pet ages, nor are there any upper age restrictions for new policies. A new PDSA policy can be taken out regardless of your pet's age.

Older pets are welcome to sign up to new policies (even Lifetime), although owners of older pets are likely to pay higher premiums.

PDSA Notable Features

Here is a brief overview of the notable features of Argos dog and cat insurance. For a complete rundown of the details and exclusions, please refer to the policy documents.

  • Excess: Unusually, PDSA imposes both a fixed AND a variable excess on vet bills—£75 and 10%, respectively.
  • Older Pets: Pets of any age can sign up for new PDSA insurance policies (even Lifetime). Additionally, the excess does not rise for older pets.
  • Claiming: You must call (0333 234 0599) or email (petclaims@ultimateservices.co.uk) for a claims form. All claims must be submitted within just 60 days.
  • Petanswer: PDSA policyholders can call the petanswer helpline with queries 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Petanswer telephone: 0303 334 0611.
  • Cover for Holiday Cut Short: Cover if you have to cancel or curtail your holiday because your pet needs emergency life-saving surgery within 7 days of departure
  • Boarding Cover When You're Unwell: Boarding fees when you're at hospital for more than 96 hours
  • Dental: Cover for dental treatment resulting from accidents only (illnesses like decay or infection not covered)
  • Travel: Cover for up to 30 days in each policy year for travel in EU PETS scheme countries on Classic, Advance, Advance Plus and Ultimate cover (or 90 days on Ultimate Plus)
  • Euthanasia: up to £100

PDSA Quote Comparison

In order to give you a general idea of how prices vary by features, we gathered dog insurance quotes for each of PDSA's pet insurance products for a three-month-old male cockapoo. Use this information to help decide what type of policy and premium fits in your budget.

chart showing price comparison of dog insurance for PDSA
How Prices Vary Across PDSA Dog Insurance Policies

Keep in mind that some breeds (e.g., bulldogs) and older pets will cost more to insure. For more information on how prices are affected by breed and age, please read our article on the Average Cost of Pet Insurance in the UK.

PDSA Premiums vs. the Market Average

In our recent study PDSA quotes were 15% - 20% more expensive than average, with the exception of Accident Only cover which was 24% cheaper than average. It can be difficult to compare quotes across insurers, however, due to significant variation in excess and coverage amounts. We think it is still useful to compare the average cost of PDSA policies to the market average, which we did by policy type (i.e., accident only, time limited, max benefit, lifetime).

chart showing price comparison of dog insurance for Animal Friends vs the market average premium
How Animal Friends Dog Insurance Premiums Compare to the Market

As you can see the table below, with the exception of Accident Only, average PDSA premiums were higher for less average vet cover.

Policy TypeAverage Annual PremiumAverage Vet CoverAverage Excess
Accident OnlyPDSA (Accident Only)£68£2,000£75 + 10%
Market Average£89£2,286£104
Time LimitedPDSA (Classic)£231£2,000£75 + 10%
Market Average£189£2,357£101
LifetimePDSA (average of Advance, Advance Plus, Ultimate, Ultimate Plus)£482£4,250£75 + 10%
Market Average£419£6,924£135

Types of PDSA Policies

PDSA offers pet owners the choice between an Accident-Only plan, a 12-month Time Limited plan and four Lifetime pet insurance plans. Generally speaking, Lifetime policies are the most comprehensive type of pet insurance. If you'd like to learn more about what's covered by pet insurance in general, please read our article What Does Pet Insurance Cover in the UK.

Accident Only Cover

PDSA's Accident Only pet insurance does not provide any reimbursement for vet bills related to illness, such as infections or tumours. As a maximum benefit plan, each accident is entitled to £2,000 of cover. After an accident, this level of cover goes down as you claim, and does not reset when you renew your policy. For example, if your pet had multiple injuries like a broken leg and internal bleeding from a traffic accident, you would pay one excess (£75 plus 10% of remaining vet bills) for the treatment of all related injuries; vet bills for the treatment of both the broken leg and the internal bleeding would be covered up to £2,000.

You would, however, have a separate £2,000 of cover for a subsequent accident since the policy limits are "per incident."

Time Limited Cover

PDSA's Classic pet insurance products cover up to £2,000 per incident (illness or accident), for treatment expenses lasting up to 12 months from the time first noticed by you or your vet—NOT when treatment starts. This is an important point, as the clock may start ticking sooner than you expect, especially if treatment is delayed for any reason. If you opt for a PDSA Time Limited plan, it's probably best to start your dog or cat's recommended treatment ASAP.

You may claim for many treatments related to any one incident until you've reached £2,000 of reimbursement or 12 months have passed (whichever comes first). After that time, you can never claim for that incident again. You are able to claim on multiple, unrelated incidents at the same time, however.

One of the largest drawbacks of time-limited policies is that bilateral conditions are counted as one condition—conditions that affect one part of your pet's body of which it has more (e.g., ears or eyes). For example, an infection in one ear would start the 12-month clock ticking for BOTH ears.

Keep in mind that you may end up paying the fixed £75 excess twice for one incident. Claims related to that incident that spread over the full 12-months probably fall in two different policy years. You pay the excess once per incident, per year.

Lifetime Cover

PDSA offers four levels of Lifetime insurance, ranging from £1,500 to £8,000 of vet bill cover per year. As lifetime policies, the level of cover resets each year when you renew. Also, there is no time limit on how long you can claim (in contrast to the Time Limited policy), which is useful for treatment costs associated with recurring or chronic conditions.

PDSA Pet Insurance Coverage Amounts

BenefitAccident OnlyClassicAdvanceAdvance PlusUltimateUltimate Plus
Product typeMaximum benefit12 monthLifetimeLifetimeLifetimeLifetime
Veterinary fees£2,000£2,000£1,500£3,000£4,500£8,000
per incidentper incidentper yearper yearper yearper year
Fixed excess (per incident, per year)£74£75£75£75£75£75
Variable excess (per incident, per year)10%10%10%10%10%10%
Inner limit MRI costn/a£1,000£1,500£1,500£1,500£1,500
Inner limit CT scan costn/a£600£900£900£900£900
Death of your pet (illness) - dogs under aged 9 & cats under aged 11n/a£500£500£700£1,000£1,500
Death of your pet (injury)£200£500£500£700£1,000£1,500
Advertising costsn/a£250£250£250£250£250
Reward costsn/a£250£250£450£750£1,250
Theft and strayingn/a£500£500£700£1,000£1,500
Boarding feesn/a£500£500£700£1,000£1,500
Third party legal liability (dogs only)£1M£1M£1M£1M£1M£1M
Third party legal liability excess£249£250£250£250£250£250
Holiday cancellation/curtailment£250£500£500£700£1,000£1,500
Quarantine costs£150£150£150£150£150£150
Overseas cover30 days30 days30 days30 days30 days90 days
Loss of PETS passport£250£250£250£250£250£250
Emergency expenses cover abroad£150£150£150£150£150£150
HelplinesYesYesYesYesYesYes

PDSA Customer Experience Ratings

PDSA only ranks 3 out of 5 stars on Trust Pilot, but the data may not be reliable—only 12 reviews were posted, many of which are for PDSA generally not PDSA insurance specifically.

Defaqto has awarded a 5 Star rating to PDSA'a Ultimate and Ultimate Plus policies.

Other Useful Information

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