NimbleFins' Petplan Review: The Best Pet Insurance for Your Pet?

NimbleFins' Petplan Review: The Best Pet Insurance for Your Pet?

Petplan is the biggest pet insurance brand in the UK with solid cover and a great reputation, but if you're looking for a really cheap policy they might not be for you.

Good for

  • Dental injury AND illness
  • Quick reimbursement
  • Long window to submit claims
  • Vets accustomed to submitting claims

Bad for

  • Anyone wanting a new Lifetime policy for an older pet
  • Higher premiums
  • No vet nurse helpline

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

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.

Petplan pet insurance is not only the UK's largest pet insurer but is also one of the best pet insurance providers for financial protection in case your beloved dog or cat is injured or falls ill. Customers can choose between £3,000 and £12,000 of vet fee cover, but before you buy check out our price comparison because Petplan can be on the expensive side so they might not suit everyone. They can still be really good value, however.

If you're on a tight budget, you may want to consider options like BoughtByMany, 4Paws, VetsMediCover, Scratch & Patch and Animal Friends—you can quickly compare quotes from these other brands through our pet insurance partner Compare Cover (NOTE: Petplan is NOT in their panel but 25 other pet insurance brands are).

In This Review

Choosing the best policy for you and your pet will depend on your individual situation. Read about other options in our article comparing UK pet insurance companies where we discuss some budget pet insurance plans.

Petplan Pet Insurance Review

Petplan is the UK's largest pet insurer and is owned and underwritten by Allianz Insurance plc. While Petplan prices aren't the cheapest, with Petplan you get a pet-specialist insurer with a solid reputation and all-around cover, plus rules on submitting claims that are favourable to the pet owner.

It feels like Petplan is not out to get you like some insurance companies, instead being one half of a lasting, two-way partnership to help pet owners manage the costs of pet health care. (Although, it should be noted that Petplan, like other pet insurers, doesn't cover any routine checks or maintenance like wormer and flea treatment.)

What types of cover are available?

Petplan offers one Time Limited ("Essential") and three Lifetime ("Covered 4 Life") pet insurance policies for dogs and cats with a vet coverage between £3k and £12k.

Petplan policiesTypeCover Limit
EssentialTime Limited£3,000
ClassicLifetime£4,000
Classic+Lifetime£7,000
UltimateLifetime£12,000

While Petplan premiums may be noticeably higher than the average cost of pet insurance, Petplan cover tends to be quite comprehensive and even covers dental illness (so long as your pet has annual vet dental checks).

If you have an older pet and are looking for a new Lifetime policy, however, you'll need to look elsewhere (e.g., Animal Friends). And if Petplan is outside of your budget, there are many cheaper Lifetime pet insurance options available in the UK that you may find more suitable.

For answers to some frequently asked questions about Petplan, please see our article Petplan: Frequently Asked Questions on Google. And here are some highlights about Petplan:

  • Petplan is the UK's No.1 pet insurer, insuring over 1.3 million pets nationwide.
  • Award-winning pet insurance includes cover for congenital, hereditary and behavioural conditions.
  • 98% of Covered for Life claims paid—that’s over £5 million paid every week to help Petplan pets get the veterinary treatment they need.
  • You won’t pay more for claiming.
  • The UK’s most trusted insurer and over 90% of customers renew each year.
  • Vets choose to partner with them.
  • Exclusive customer support and advice through pethood.
  • Extra 10% online discount.

We'd also like to point out a recent improvement they made, which we think is really important. Petplan now covers costs related to putting your pet to sleep—that is, euthanasia. This is covered provided he/she was suffering due to an injury or illness that your vet believes could not be treated. When they previously did not cover euthanasia, this left many pet owners quite upset to find out they had to pay for that as well as deal with the loss of their pet. So we see this new feature as a massive improvement. (Costs related to cremation, burial or disposal are not covered, however.)

Quick takeaway. Petplan is the UK's number 1 pet insurance company for a reason: they offer nearly every type of cover a pet owner could ask for, are well known to vets and have strong customer reviews. They won't be the cheapest cover you can find, but we are reminded of the old saying, "You get what you pay for". Petplan is certainly worth considering if it fits in your budget and the features and coverage suit your needs.

Petplan Claims

The claims process can definitely be easier with Petplan. As one of the largest UK providers of pet insurance, most vet offices are familiar with the Petplan claim process. As a result, your vet may be willing to send in claim forms on your behalf, saving you lots of hassle. Some vets even accept payment direct from Petplan—it may be worth speaking to your vet about this option, especially for larger vet bills (e.g. for surgery).

Time to Submit Claims: Petplan gives policyholders just about the longest time of any insurer in which to submit claims—within 12 months of the treatment start date. For ongoing treatment, claims must be submitted at least once every 12 months. Again, this claim window is quite advantageous compared to the pet insurance market. (Some competitors require that each claim is submitted individually, even for ongoing treatment, or have claims windows as short as 60 days.)

Petplan Excess

The excess is the amount you pay towards claims. On their time-limited Essential policy the fixed excess is £85-£95 for dogs and £75-£85 for cats, and is paid once for each new condition. Under the Covered 4 Life (lifetime) plans, the fixed excess is £85-£145 for dogs and £75-£135 for cats, and is paid once in each and every year that you submit a claim on a Petplan lifetime policy, per condition. That is, Petplan will deduct the excess from the first claim(s) for each injury/illness in each policy year. The excess increases through the addition of a 20% copay for older pets, as discussed in the next section.

How much is the Petplan fixed excess?DogsCatsRabbits
Time Limited£85-£95£75-£85n/a
Lifetime£85-£145£75-£135£50-£110

When you get a quote, they'll tell you what the fixed excess is for your pet for the coming policy year.

Petplan Pre-existing Conditions

Petplan may decide they can cover a pre-existing condition, but this will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Petplan defines a pre-existing condition as any injury that happened, or illness that showed symptoms before your pet’s cover started. It is also any injury or illness that:

  • Has the same diagnosis or symptoms as the injury, illness or symptoms your pet
  • had before cover started.
  • Is caused by or relates to an injury, illness or symptom your pet had before cover
  • started.

This applies in all cases regardless of whether or not:

  • The injury or illness presents in the same, or different parts of your pet’s body.
  • Your vet confirms the past and current injuries or illnesses are, or are not, linked.
  • You knew, when starting cover for your pet, that you would need to make a claim for
  • the symptom/injury/illness.

Petplan won't cover a pre-existing condition if it's likely to affect your pet for the rest of his/her life (e.g. arthritis).

Petplan may be able to cover a pre-existing condition in the future if a condition may not affect the pet for the rest of his/her life—in which case, Petplan will place a temporary exclusion on your pet's cover for the pre-existing condition and any related conditions.

Petplan will cover a pre-existing condition if they believe the condition is fully resolved and unlikely to happen again.

Petplan Insurance for Older Pets

There's an upper age limit on new Petplan policies. Dogs aged 8+ (or 5+ for some breeds like Bulldogs and German Shepards) and cats aged 10+ are only eligible for time-limited Essential cover—they're not eligible for new "Covered 4 Life" lifetime policies.

This age restriction applies to new policies only—pets who were covered by a Pet Plan lifetime policy before hitting the age cap may continue renewing their lifetime policies as they get older.

Upper Age Limits for New Petplan PoliciesDogsCats
Cover 4 Life (lifetime policies)8 years (5 for select breeds)10 years
Essential (12-month time-limited policies)no upper age limitno upper age limit

The select breeds with a lower age limit for new lifetime policies are: Rottweiler, German Shepard, Bulldog, and a few others. Generally speaking, it's usually breeds with a shorter life span (i.e. they get age-related issues earlier) and/or higher health risks that are subject to the earlier age cut off.

Copay for older pets: Owners of older pets will pay a larger share of vet bills due to the 20% copay for older pets, which is paid in addition to the fixed £ excess. As your pet ages and is likely to suffer increased health problems, Petplan expects you to contribute more towards the cost of care. They're not the only pet insurer to do so, and this helps keep premiums from skyrocketing as your pet ages.

Typically a 20% excess (in addition to the fixed excess) is introduced on Covered for Life policies at a pet's 10th birthday (7th birthday for some dog breeds and rabbits) and on Essential cover at the pet's 8th birthday (5th birthday for some dog breeds). Yet another reason to go for a lifetime policy.

Petplan Key Facts

  • Choice of Time Limited (£3k) or Lifetime cover (£4k, £7k or £12k)
  • Dental injury or illness covered (annual dental exams required)
  • 90% of claims paid within 5 working days of receipt
  • One year to submit claims

Tip: If you want a Lifetime plan for your older pet, be sure to sign up before your dog reaches 8 years of age (or your cat turns 10).

Petplan Customer Reviews

Is Petplan any good? In a word, yes. Besides a solid set of features, customer reviews for Petplan are very strong. More than 3,000 customers have rated Petplan with 4.5 stars on Trustpilot as well as 4.4 stars on feefo by over 7,000 customers.

To find out what real customers have to say, we scoured online customer reviews to look for common complaints and see what people really like. Here are some quotes from Petplan customers:

"I made a claim recently, it was straightforward through my vet and completely hassle free."

"I have used Petplan for 20 years. Always helpful and polite on the telephone, claim forms very easy to fill in and most importantly quick to settle your claim."

"Surprisingly good value."

"The premium had been increased by a whooping 29% (£724 per year) with no justification given."

"Over the years their premium has been going up and up. this year monthly premium went to over £66 for £4000 cover."

We'd also like to share a personal experience about Petplan from one of our writers at NimbleFins:

"We have Petplan for our Cockapoo and have been very impressed by the service. Our dog, Lucky, has recurrent ear infections and skin allergies that require regular trips to the vet and lots of medication. Petplan has covered his treatments for over two years, as well as covering investigations into a persistent limp in his right hind leg that required an x-ray, physical therapy sessions, a consultation with an orthopaedic specialist and even an MRI. (And his name is 'Lucky'...?)

Our premiums have increased as he's aged, as other customers have mentioned, and are not cheap. However, Petplan has paid out more in claims for our dog than we have paid in premiums over the 4 years we've had cover. In our experience, Petplan has been there to help cover both big one-off vet bills and recurring issues. Yes, the premiums and excess are higher than you might find elsewhere, but we have been very happy with the ease of claiming through the vet, the speed of reimbursement and the no-hassle, no-questions process that has been our experience."

Petplan Prices and Quote Comparison

According to our research, Petplan is one of the more expensive pet insurance brands in the UK. In fact, Petplan prices can be up to 60% more than the average cost of pet insurance you'll find elsewhere for similar coverage limits.

That said, direct quote comparisons can be tricky for pet insurance, since coverage levels, features and excess amounts vary across insurers, but we've compared the Petplan Lifetime policies to competing Lifetime policies with similar vet cover limits from 4Paws, Vetsmedicover, Scratch and Patch, Pet Protect, BoughtbyMany, Legal and General, ASDA and Puffin. We used a 3-year-old Labrador Retriever as our sample dog to see how Petplan prices compare.

Sample Monthly Premiums for Lifetime Cover for a 3-Year-Old, Spayed Male Labrador

Petplan Lifetime Price Comparison£3,000 - £5,000 vet cover£6,000 - £8,000 vet cover£10,000+ vet cover
Petplan£61.2£76.4£103.6
Average from competing pet insurers£41.6£47.1£62.1
Petplan is more expensive by:47%62%67%

We found that Petplan lifetime policies started from £61.20 a month for our 3-year-old Labrador, going up to £103.6 a month for the highest level of cover (£12,000 of vet bills a year). These prices were around 60% higher than the competing plans. The best value could be found on Petplan's Classic plan offering £4,000 of lifetime cover.

chart showing how Petplan dog insurance quotes compare to the average in the market
Petplan is more expensive than competing plans

Petplan prices by breed

We also checked prices for 3-year-old dogs across a dozen popular breeds in the UK. These are just estimates and prices may be different for you, but this can give you a rough idea and you can see how prices compare across the breeds. Dogs that have more genetic health problems like French Bulldogs cost a lot more to insure than dogs that are typically healthier, like terriers.

Petplan monthly price estimates by dog breed (aged 3 years)ClassicClassic+Ultimate
Terrier Cross£37.15£46.40£77.74
Cockapoo£43.95£54.90£74.20
Cocker Spaniel£43.95£54.90£74.20
Border Terrier£46.38£57.93£78.93
Springer Spaniel£49.45£61.77£83.47
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel£57.06£71.28£95.54
Pug£57.06£71.28£95.54
Staffordshire Bull Terrier£58.74£73.38£98.35
Golden Retriever£60.07£75.04£91.00
Labrador£61.19£76.44£103.57
German Shepard£75.10£93.82£183.97
Boxer£118.05£147.48£264.51
Doberman£163.85£204.70£324.44
French Bulldog£163.85£204.70£324.44

Poll

Do you think Petplan is worth the higher premiums? Let us know what you think in our new poll below. After you've voted, you'll be able to see what other people think.

Petplan Notable Features

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

Petplan Pet Insurance Features
Complementary TherapyAcupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, Chiropractic manipulation, osteopathy and hydrotherapy (performed by a recognised party).
Dental CoverCover for dental injuries and illnesses, provided your pet had a dental exam by a vet in the 12 months leading up to the injury/illness.
Holiday CancellationCover for unused travel and accommodation expenses if 1) you have to cancel/cut short a trip because your pet suffers a serious and unexpected deterioration in his/her health within 14 days of your departure and needs urgent vet treatment, or if your vet confirms that your pet, who was due to travel with you on your journey, was too unwell to travel due to illness or injury; 2) up to 2 days before you leave, your pet goes missing and has not been found prior to your scheduled departure; 3) while you are on holiday, your pet, who has not gone with you goes missing or suffers a serious and unexpected deterioration in his/her health and needs urgent vet treatment; 4) your pet, who has travelled with you on the journey, needs to return home because he/she has suffered a serious and unexpected deterioration in health and needs veterinary treatment.
Boarding if You're UnwellBoarding costs at a licensed boarding establishment or £30 a day towards the cost of someone looking after your pet if you're in hospital for 2 or more consecutive days. This cover is provided while you are in hospital, and once you have been discharged for up to 14 days if you are still unable to care for your pet.
TravelCover for up to 90 days per policy year when travelling to countries in the EU through the PETS travel scheme.
Congenital & Hereditary DiseasesCovered
EuthanasiaCovered
Cremation, burial or disposalNot covered

Types of Petplan Policies

Petplan offers two types of policies—lifetime and 12 month. Generally speaking, lifetime policies are best for younger pets to protect the owner against the financial strain of recurring/chronic injuries/illnesses over the course of the pet's life. Time limited cover can be purchased for older pets that aren't eligible for new Lifetime cover due to age.

Petplan Covered for Life: Lifetime Cover

Petplan's most popular policies are the "Covered 4 Life" lifetime plans. As long as you keep paying your premiums, a lifetime policy will cover injuries and illnesses throughout your pet's life. For example, your dog's ear infections at aged 2, aged 5, aged 6 and aged 9 would all be reimbursable illnesses.

Those looking for lifetime cover should purchase a policy before their pet hits the "older" pet cutoff of 8 years for a dog (5 for some breeds) or 10 years for a cat (and before they develop any pre-existing conditions). "Older" pets are not eligible for new Covered 4 Life policies; however pets who joined Petplan under a lifetime policy before the age cutoff can continue under a lifetime plan as they age.

Petplan Lifetime PlansVet Cover up to
Classic£4,000
Classic+£7,000
Ultimate£12,000

Petplan Essential: 12-Month Cover

Petplan's time limited, 12-month insurance option is called the "Essential" plan. Cover for any injury or illness will last up to 12 months from the first treatment date, but not longer. As a result, recurring or chronic health issues will not be reimbursed beyond one year. (We'd like to point out that Petplan recently changed their terms so that the Essential plan covers up to 12 months from the first treatment date; it used to be 12 months from when the condition was first noticed. This is an improvement for customers.

Essential cover mostly offers the same types of coverage categories as the lifetime plans, albeit with lower coverage limits, as you'll see in the following section.

Petplan Time Limited PlanVet Cover up to
Essential£3,000 per condition, up to 12 months from initial occurrence

Petplan Coverage Amounts

Policy Name:EssentialClassicClassic+Ultimate
TYPE:12-Month Cover Time Limited Policy"Cover 4 Life" Lifetime Cover"Cover 4 Life" Lifetime Cover"Cover 4 Life" Lifetime Cover
Veterinary fees (each year)£3,000£4,000£7,000£12,000
Complementary treatment (each year)£500£1,000£1,000£2,000
Third-party liability (£250 excess for each property damage claim)£1 million£2 million£2 million£3 million
Death from illness or injury£1,000 optional extra£1,500 optional extra£1,500 optional extra£2,000
Advertising & rewards (each year)£1,000£1,500£1,500£2,000
Loss by theft or straying (each year)£1,000£1,500£1,500£2,000
Emergency boarding fees (each year)£1,000£1,500£1,500£2,000
Holiday cancellation (each year)£1,000£1,500£1,500£2,000
Quarantine expenses & loss of documents (each year)£1,000£1,500£1,500£1,500
Emergency repatriation (each year)£500£500£500£500

FAQs

Petplan is arguably one of the best pet insurance companies in the UK, as evidenced by their excellent customer reviews, dominant market share and good features—not to mention that most vets are accustomed to working with Petplan and can submit claims on your behalf. That said, Petplan won't be the best option for everyone, for instance those who want a budget policy, to pay a lower excess or access to a helpline (e.g., to talk to a vet nurse).
The Petplan vetline is not a nurse vet helpline, but is the number for vets to call to order stock, find out about the rewards scheme, etc. The vetline can be reached at 0330 102 1606.
Pet owners can download a Petplan claim form online or your vet may have Petplan claim forms in their office—your vet may even handle the claim for you and submit it to Petplan on your behalf.
Petplan policies only cover pre-existing conditions in some cases or and don't cover cremation/burial (but they do now cover euthanasia); they also don't offer a vet nurse helpline or new policies for older pets.
If you have a time limited policy, then you can only claim for the same problem for up to 12 months from the first treatment date; however on lifetime policies you can claim repeatedly for the same problem, so long as you stay under your annual limit each year.
Petplan does now cover the cost of euthanasia of your dog or cat. However, they don't cover cremation, burial or disposal.
You can get a Petplan quote directly from their website by clicking below:

Consider this if you want a solid plan from the UK's largest pet insurer.

Range of Vet Cover £3,000 - £12,000
Types of Plans Time Limited and Lifetime
Dental Cover Dental illness and injury covered
Excess £75 - £120

Compare your Petplan quote against up to 25 other brands by clicking to get quotes from other pet insurers via our pet insurance partner Compare Cover:

Compare Cheap Pet Insurance Quotes in Under 2 Minutes

Panel of 25 brands. Or to get a quote from Petplan, click the Apply Now button above.

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Petplan Policy Wording

Painful as it might sound, it's always a good idea to read through the policy wording before you buy any insurance policy. Grab a cup of tea, cuddle up with your pet, and have a read. Here are links to the policy wording for Petplan's lifetime and time limited plans, for your convenience.

Petplan Phone Number

If you have any remaining questions, you can call Petplan at 0330 102 6735. We've always found their call service personnel to be knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.

Other Useful Information

How does Petplan Insurance Compare to Competitors?

To better understand the value of Petplan 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.

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

Petplan Insurance vs John Lewis Pet Insurance

John Lewis Pet Insurance offers comprehensive Lifetime plans with £3,000, £7,500 or £12,000 of vet cover. Pet owners have a long time to submit claims and have their choice of excess—so those hoping for a lower excess can choose one as low as £60. The excess will rise for older pets, however, becoming the higher of your fixed £ excess and 20% of the vet bill for each condition each year. Other features include travel for up to 3 trips up to 60 days each with your pet to EU countries that are part of the PETS scheme, dental injury (but not illness), a 24-hour vetfone, euthanasia cover, cover if your holiday is cut short due to your pet being ill and boarding cover if you are hospitalized unexpectedly. Expect to pay around £375 for £3k of cover with a £60 excess or £550 for £7.5k of cover. A higher excess will bring the price down.

Bottom Line: If you're after a slightly lower price for similar cover, our price checks indicated that Petplan offers better value in the £7k range of vet cover.

Petplan 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 partially through per condition limits, including on some Lifetime plans, and they're missing a few features like much less robust dental coverage). Those with older pets may find relief with Animal Friends, as there is no upper age limit for new policies, even Lifetime cover. They recently added a feature providing access to a vet line to call with queries. However, claims need to be submitted more quickly, 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: Those looking for a lower-priced Lifetime plan can probably find suitable cover with Animal Friends, or those looking to insure an older pet. But beware the per condition limits and less favourable claims window.


Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the CEO, Co-founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.

Comments

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.