Petplan Pet Insurance Review: The Best for Your Pet?

Petplan Pet Insurance Review: The Best for Your Pet?

Petplan pet insurance for dogs and cats offers solid Lifetime cover and value.

Good for

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

Bad for

  • Anyone wanting a new Lifetime policy for an older pet
  • Those wanting to pay a low excess or premium
  • No euthanasia cover

Editor's Rating


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.

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Pet cover can help with vet bills. Protect your dog or cat today.

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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 a Time Limited or Lifetime policy, with cover between £3,000 and £12,000 of vet fee cover in case of the unexpected. According to our analysis of dozens of plans, Lifetime Classic+ is the Petplan policy offering the best value relative to others. 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).

In This Review

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. If your priority is paying a low premium, you may want to read about other options in our article on dog and cat insurance providers where we discuss premium and budget options.

Petplan Pet Insurance Review

Petplan is the UK's largest pet insurer. While prices aren't the cheapest, with Petplan you get a pet-specialist insurer with a solid reputation and rules on submitting claims that are relatively favourable to the pet owner. 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.

Petplan offers Time Limited ("Essential") and Lifetime ("Covered 4 Life") pet insurance policies for dogs and cats with a variety of coverage options. While some Petplan premiums may be a touch 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).

As one of the largest UK providers of pet insurance, most vet offices are familiar with the Petplan claim process. Your vet may be willing to send in claim forms, saving you a bit of hassle. Some vets even accept payment direct from Petplan—it may be worth speaking to your vet about this option. (Most pet insurers are willing to do so.)

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

Time to Claim: 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 as some competitors require that each claim is submitted individually, even for ongoing treatment.

Petplan Excess: The excess is the amount you pay towards claims. With a Petplan policy, the excess is up to £120 for younger pets. On their Time Limited Essential policy you pay the excess (£75 for cats, £85 for dogs) once for each new condition. Under the Covered 4 Life (Lifetime) plans, the excess (£105 for cats, £120 for dogs) 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.

Petplan Insurance for Older Pets: Older pets may face restrictions on signing up to new policies. Once dogs hit 8 years of age (or 5, for some breeds like Bulldogs and German Shepards) and cats 10 years of age, they're only eligible for Time Limited Essential cover. Older pets are not eligible to sign up for a "Covered 4 Life" lifetime policy. (Pets who were covered by a Pet Plan Lifetime policy before hitting the age cap may continue renewing their Lifetime policies as they age, however. The restriction applies to new policies only.)

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 age limitno age limit

Select breeds with a lower age limit are: Rottweiler, German Shepard, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, French Bulldog, Bulldog, Doberman and a few others (usually large breeds and/or those with higher health risks and 3rd party risks).

Those with "older" pets should expect to pay more towards vet bills through the addition of a 20% copay for older pets, which is paid in addition to a 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. 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 on Essential cover at the pet's 8th birthday (5th birthday for some dog breeds).

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
  • Vetline advice
  • 20% copay for older pets (age 5 or 8 for dogs, 10 for cats)
  • New lifetime policies not available for older pets
  • Higher fixed excess of £120
  • Euthanasia not covered

Petplan Quote Comparison

According to our research, Petplan's mid-tier Classic+ Lifetime plan with up to £7,000 of vet cover per year is Petplan's best value plan, relative to other insurance providers. Direct quote comparisons can be tricky for pet insurance, since coverage levels and excess amounts vary across insurers, but we've compared the Petplan Cover 4 Life policies to other Lifetime policies which were closest in terms of vet cover limits.

Annual Quotes for Lifetime Policies for 3-Month-Old, Spayed Male Cockapoo

InsurerExcess£4k Vet Cover£7k - £7.5k Vet Cover£10k - £12k Vet Cover
John Lewis£100n/a£439£547
More Than£75£370n/a£589
chart showing how petplan dog insurance quotes compare the the average in the market
Petplan's Covered4Life £7,000 plan is their best value

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
VetlinePet owners can call the Petplan Vetline with queries (Petplan Vetline phone number: 0330 102 1606)
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 travel and accommodation expenses if you have to cancel a trip because you pet is injured or showing signs of illness within 7 days of your departure and needs immediate life-saving treatment; cover if you have to curtail a trip because your pet goes missing or is injured or shows signs of an illness while you're away, and needs immediate life-saving treatment
Boarding if You're UnwellBoarding costs if you're in hospital for 4 or more consecutive days
TravelCover for up to 90 days per policy year when travelling to countries in the EU through the PETS travel scheme
Congenital & Hereditary DiseasesCovered
EuthanasiaNot 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 Lifetime Cover: "Covered for Life" Plans

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. "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.

Levels of Cover: Petplan's Covered 4 Life plan is available with 3 different levels of cover, as detailed below in Coverage Amounts. The three plan types are named Classic, Classic+ and Ultimate, providing vet cover up to £4,000, £7,000 and £12,000 per year, respectively. According to our analysis, the top-tier Ultimate Plan offers the best value, as you can see in our article Best Pet Insurance.

Petplan 12 Month Cover: "Essential" Plan

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, but not longer. As a result, recurring or chronic health issues will not be reimbursed beyond one year.

Essential cover does not offer the following features that are included in Covered 4 Life plans as standard: death from injury & illness (available as extras), advertising & rewards, loss by theft or straying, emergency boarding fees, holiday cancellation, quarantine & loss of documents and repatriation.

Level of Cover: The Essential plan covers vet bills up to £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 (£85 excess per illness/injury)£4,000 (£120 excess per illness/injury)£7,000 (£120 excess per illness/injury)£12,000 (£120 excess per illness/injury)
Complementary treatment (each year)£500 (£75 excess per illness/injury)£1,000 (£75 excess per illness/injury)£1,000 (£75 excess per illness/injury)£2,000 (£75 excess per illness/injury)
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)n/a£1,500£1,500£2,000
Loss by theft or straying (each year)n/a£1,500£1,500£2,000
Emergency boarding fees (each year)n/a£1,500£1,500£2,000
Holiday cancellation (each year)n/a£1,500£1,500£2,000
Quarantine expenses & loss of documents (each year)n/a£1,500£1,500£1,500
Emergency repatriation (each year)n/a£500£500£500

Customer Experience Ratings

Petplan is rated 4.4 out of 5 stars for customer experience, according to more than 5,000 customers surveyed through feefo.

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. Also, Agria covers euthanasia for humane reasons.

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. Plus you'll get dental illness 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 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 may find relief 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 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.

Comments and Questions

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.