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In our opinion, pet-insurance.co.uk offers relatively poor value for Lifetime cover especially given the exclusion of congenital conditions, making it a poor choice for many breeds such as Bulldogs and German Shephards. For other good value, solid alternatives, we'd recommend looking at Agria Pet Insurance, Pet Protect Pet Insurance or PetPlan Pet Insurance.
Choosing the right cat or dog insurance policy for you will depend upon the individual needs of you and your pet. Use the information in this guide to help you understand which features are important to you in order to make the best buying decision. We also advise reading through the policy wording before you buy.
In This Review
- Overall Review
- Policy and Coverage Options
- Customer Experience Ratings
Our pricing analysis showed that pet-insurance.co.uk doesn't offer the best value and we're not very comfortable with some of the exclusions. Congenital conditions (e.g., congenital heart disease, liver disease, cataracts, etc.) are not covered, even if your pet showed no signs or symptoms before your policy started. Also excluded from cover are injuries and illnesses due to your pet being overweight (unless the weight gain is a result of a diagnosed illness). The plans are not ideal for those who take their pet abroad, as pet-insurance.co.uk cover doesn't reimburse for vet fees incurred if your pet is ill or injured and needs treatment whilst outside of the UK. Also, their terms say that your pet must have a general health check every 12 months, which is an unusual requirement (if not, they might not cover some conditions).
Pet-insurance.co.uk has a simple pet insurance offering—one Time Limited product (called "Standard") and one Lifetime product (called "Lifetime"). While our pricing analysis showed pet-insurance.co.uk's Time Limited policies offer relatively good value relative to the market, we generally don't like Time Limited policies because they only cover a condition for 12 months (which can be especially problematic for bilateral conditions, where a condition on one side of the body also triggers the clock for the other side of the body).
The way petinsurance.co.uk structures its plans is confusing. Vet cover limits for either type are £3,500 or £4,000, depending on how you choose to renew. By renewing annually, your policy will include £3,500 of vet cover; by renewing monthly, your policy will include £4,000 of cover. Monthly renewal operates on a 28-day Lunar cycle—every 28 days you pay a premium and the policy is renewed. We don't understand why it's not monthly in the same sense as other insurers or why the limits vary by how you choose to pay. Seems unnecessarily confusing to us.
There are a few decent discounts on offer. Those with more than one pet can take advantage of a 10% discount for multi-pet policies. And while the 20% year one discount is certainly enticing, don't be surprised that your premium is likely to go up at least 25% the second year, all else equal (because you only get the 20% discount the first year). And don't just plan to use petinsurance.co.uk for one year and then change when the price goes up, because changing insurers at a later date can be very problematic if your pet has developed any pre-existing conditions during the year.
Is the 20% Discount Worth it? Pet-insurance.co.uk's offer of 20% off for your first year is quite appealing, but this does mean your premium would go up 25% in the second year, all else equal. If you plan on switching insurers at that point, please remember that pre-existing conditions are always excluded in new pet insurance policies—so if your pet becomes ill with pet-insurance.co.uk, that condition would be excluded from any new policy should you want to switch insurance companies (unless you pick one of the few policies for pre-existing conditions, but beware these have limitations and cost more). Before buying, be sure that the policy is right for your needs and that the price without discount is still competitive as you won't get the discount after year 1. See the table below to get an idea of what you would pay in year 2 and beyond without the year 1 discount, all else equal.
|Year 1 Premium (after 20% discount)
|Implied Year 2 Premium (no discount)
Time Limit to Claim: Their policy wording says, "on discovering any event giving rise or likely to give rise to a claim under the policy, you must immediately notify and give full details to pet-insurance.co.uk. They don't seem to specify how long one has—that is, what is considered "immediately" and at which point they won't honor a claim. We believe more information regarding this can be found on their claim forms, but these are not publicly available to those without a policy, so we can't say for sure.
How to Claim: Policyholders can request a claim form online, which enables you to download a printable PDF form to your computer. Or you can email [email protected] or call 03300 243 556 to request a claim form.
Will my premium go up if I claim? Very possible. Their policy wording states: "We will review your premium and excess at least once a year. We might make changes to either or both of them if, for example: (a) our future claims experience is likely to be materially better or worse than we expected". So, if you make a claim and the company decides that because of that claim you are more likely to make future claims (e.g. perhaps you claim for an ongoing issue like diabetes) then your premium might go up to reflect this. Given the limitations of switching cover once your pet has a pre-existing condition, we think pet owners need to be aware of this.
Dental: With a pet-insurance.co.uk pet insurance policy, it seems that your dog or cat is covered for damage to teeth due to accident or injury, but that damage due to tooth decay or disease is not covered.
Excess: The website states that excess may vary by where you live and policy type. Our sample quotes produced excess levels of £120 for the Standard (Time Limited) product and £145 (higher than average) for the Lifetime product.
Pet owners on the Standard plan will pay the excess just once per condition. Under the Lifetime policy, the excess is payable once per condition per year. For example, where treatment dates for a certain condition fall over two different years, you must pay the excess twice—once in each calendar year (per condition).
An excess is only due for vet-related fees. No excess is payable on other types of coverage, such as third party liability or holiday cancellation cover.
Pet-insurance.co.uk Insurance for Older Pets: Those with older pets are still able to buy new insurance policies with pets-insurance.co.uk. The excess will remain the same as your pet ages. There is no euthanasia or cremation cover to help pay for costs if your older pet needs to be put to sleep, however.
Death due to illness cover is excluded for any dog or cat aged 8 or over at the policy inception or renewal date—this is a common exclusion. There are further age limitations to Death Due to Illness or Accident cover—the maximum payout is 50% for pets aged 6 or more, or 75% for neutered pets up to age 6. Furthermore, lack of purchase receipt entitles the petowner to only £40 for cats and £75 for dogs.
For reimbursement due to death of a pedigree pet, a recognised club registration document and pedigree certificate must also be provided.
pet-insurance.co.uk Key Facts
- Some prescription food covered
- No change in excess for older pets
- No upper age limit for new policies (even Lifetime)
- Holiday cancellation and unwell cover
- Excess only payable for vet bills (e.g., no excess for 3rd party liability claims)
- 20% discount year 1
- Congenital illness/injury is excluded
- Conditions arising from being overweight are excluded (unless weight gain due to a diagnosed illness)
- No vet cover outside the UK
- Dental cover does not include disease or decay (accident/injury damage only)
- Consultation limit of £45 (£90 for referral vet)
- No vet helpline
- No euthanasia cover
Pet-insurance.co.uk Quote Comparison
Our analysis shows that pet-insurance.co.uk's Time Limited premiums in particular are competitive relative to the market. Pet-insurance.co.uk's Lifetime prices are more expensive than average cost of pet insurance, given level of cover and excess. As comparing prices for pet insurance can be quite difficult due to differences in vet cover amounts and excesses, we've developed a methodology to standardize across products.
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 ratio of Vet Cover/(Annual Premium + One Excess Payment) to give an estimate of value. Then we compared the average value of each type of pet-insurance.co.uk product (i.e., Accident, Time Limited, Max Benefit and Lifetime) with £60 and £120 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 following chart, pet-insurance.co.uk'sLifetime plans do not offer good value relative to the competition.
Pet-insurance.co.uk Notable Features
Here is a brief overview of some of pet-insurance.co.uk's policy features. Please see the Policy Wording, as many conditions apply.
|Pet-insurance.co.uk Pet Insurance Features
|Acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, Chiropractic manipulation, physiotherapy, osteopathy and hydrotherapy (carried out by recognised party)
|Up to £100 per condition (based on rates of 30p/day for a cat and 60p/day for a dog) for vet-prescribed food to dissolve bladder stones or crystals
|Cover for Holiday Cut Short
|Cover if you have to cancel or curtail your holiday because your pet needs emergency life-saving surgery. For surgery within 14 days of departure; trips booked last minute, within 28 days of departure, are excluded.
|Boarding Cover When You're Unwell
|Boarding fees when you're an inpatient at hospital for at least 3 days
|Contribution of up to £90 for house calls/out of hours calls if your pet suffers from a life endangering condition
|Congenital conditions such as congenital heart or kidney disease are NOT covered
|Vet costs if you travel abroad are not covered
Types of Pet-insurance.co.uk Dog and Cat Insurance Policies
Pet-insurance.co.uk offers two types of pet insurance— time limited and lifetime, with vet cover of £3,500 or £4,000 for payments made annually or monthly, respectively. Monthly renewal operates on a 28-day Lunar cycle—every 28 days you pay a premium and the policy is renewed.
For more information on pet insurance cover in general, please see our article on What Does Pet Insurance Cover in the UK.
Standard (a Time Limited product): Pet-insurance.co.uk's Standard product provides 12 months of Time Limited pet insurance cover—either £3,500 or £4,000, depending on your payment schedule. The vet cover is available per policy period for each illness/injury up to 365 days from the date when your pet first displayed clinical signs. Once 365 days have passed since symptoms were first noticed or you have used up your vet limit (whichever comes sooner), you cover for that condition stops.
Lifetime: There is no time limit imposed on treatment windows for Lifetime policies. Lifetime policies cover ongoing vet fees for chronic or recurring conditions (e.g., arthritis, diabetes, etc.) over the life of your pet, up to £3,500 or £4,000 per policy period, so long as you keep renewing your policy. Each time you renew your policy, your vet cover amount resets.
Pet-insurance.co.uk Coverage Amounts
|Lunar Monthly (every 28 days)
|Death of Pet
Customer Experience Ratings
Our reviews focus on the features and prices of products, so we have looked to feefo.com for feeback on customer experience. There, customers rank pet-insurance.co.uk with 4.4 out of 5 stars, based on 352 reviews.
Other Useful Information
How does pet-insurance.co.uk Compare to Competitors?
To better understand the value of pet-insurance.co.uk 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.
pet-insurance.co.uk vs PetPlan
PetPlan Pet Insurance is the largest insurer of dogs and cats in the UK. They're not the cheapest, but policyholders can benefit in other ways. For instance, many vets are accustomed to submitting claims on behalf of pet owners to PetPlan, which can potentially save you a lot of hassle—plus you get a full 12 months to submit claims for reimbursement. 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. Additionally, owners of older pets must contribute more towards vet bills, through the addition of a 20% copay. Also, PetPlan says they won't increase your premium as a direct result of claims.
Quick Takeaway: pet-insurance.co.uk offers a large year 1 discount and will take older pets onto Lifetime policies; if these are not factors for you, we think PetPlan's Covered 4 Life Plans have better coverage/fewer exclusions for a reasonably higher premium.
pet-insurance.co.uk vs Animal Friends Prime Plus
Animal Friends offers some of the cheapest pet insurance on the market, and they'll try not to raise premiums if you need to claim. Animal Friends Lifetime policies work a bit differently in that you'll get unlimited cover per year, but subject to a per condition limit. One of the biggest drawbacks to Animal Friends is that dental is not covered, unfortunately.
Quick Takeaway: According to our analysis, their Prime Plus cover is cheaper with a lower excess and more cover (so better all around value) than pet-insurance.co.uk's Time Limited Plan. With fewer exclusions and lower premiums for similar cover levels, we think Animal Friends plans are better value for most, but remember there's no dental cover for illnesses OR injury.
pet-insurance.co.uk vs John Lewis Essential Pet Insurance
John Lewis' Essential Lifetime plan can be purchased (for a young, healthy, crossbreed dog) for around £300 with £3k of vet cover and a £100 excess. Benefits include access to a free vetfone with queries about the health of your pet and euthanasia cover, plus dental injury.
Quick Takeaway: According to our price checks, John Lewis's Essential Lifetime cover is a better deal, offering better features for a lower price (and excess) than pet-insurance.co.uk's Lifetime cover.