Sainsbury's Pet Insurance Review: The Features and Price for You?

Sainsbury's Pet Insurance Review: The Features and Price for You?

Good features like dental illness and injury and a long claims window.

Good for

  • Dental illness & injury cover
  • Having a long time to claim
  • Euthanasia cover
  • 24/7 Vet helpline

Bad for

  • Those with older pets needing a new policy

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.

Compare Cheap Pet Insurance

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

{"applyCallToAction":"Get Quotes","defaultSelectedItem":"pet","description":"Pet cover can help with vet bills. Protect your dog or cat today.","formType":"Insurance","onCurrent":true,"options":[{"label":"Car Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=http%3A%2F%2Fnimblefins.quotezone.co.uk%2Fcar%2Findex.php%3Fid%3D76f4ecd6e1ca7c2f442633593566fdaa","value":"car"},{"label":"Home Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=http%3A%2F%2Fnimblefins.quotezone.co.uk%2Fhome%2Findex.php%3Fid%3D76f4ecd6e1ca7c2f442633593566fdaa","value":"home"},{"label":"Motorbike Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=http%3A%2F%2Fnimblefins.quotezone.co.uk%2Fbike%2Findex.php%3Fid%3D76f4ecd6e1ca7c2f442633593566fdaa","value":"motorbike"},{"label":"Pet Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.comparecover.com%2Fxml%2Faffiliate.cfm%3Faffiliate%3Dnimblefins%26affiliatenumber%3D223%26type%3Dpet","value":"pet"},{"label":"Travel Insurance","url":"https:\/\/www.nimblefins.co.uk\/redirect?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.comparecover.com%2Fxml%2Faffiliate.cfm%3Faffiliate%3Dnimblefins%26affiliatenumber%3D223%26type%3Dtravel","value":"travel"}],"title":"Compare Cheap Pet Insurance"}

We are very glad to report that as of 1 October 2019 Sainsbury's has added Lifetime cover to their offerings. Now pet owners can choose between Time Limited and Lifetime cover for their cats and dogs, both of which include dental illness & injury, euthanasia and EU cover as standard.

While we always prefer Lifetime cover, their time limited type of pet insurance offers a massive perk compared to other time limited plans due to how Sainsbury's starts the 12-month clock ticking.

In This Review

Choosing the best insurance policy for you and your dogs or cats will depend on your individual situation. There may be other pet insurance policies with better features available in the marketplace, such as those highlighted in our Best Pet Insurance article. Please be sure to read the terms and conditions before buying.

Sainsbury's Pet Insurance Review

Sainsbury's can be a good option for pet insurance, as their prices are competitive and you get features like dental injury & illness, euthanasia and cover in the EU. Customers have the choice of two types of pet insurance:

  • Time Limited pet insurance plans in which each illness or injury is covered for up to 12 months or up to the vet fee limit of £3,000 (whichever comes first)
  • Lifetime pet insurance which provides up to £2,500, £5,000 or £7,500 of cover per year, which renews each year and can be used to treat new or ongoing/chronic conditions.

Here is an overview of features available on Sainsbury's pet insurance plans, and how they compare to features you should look for from a good policy (as indicated by the Money Advice Service).

Sainsbury's Pet Insurance Features

FeatureA good policy includesDoes Sainsbury's Deliver?Sainsbury's Lifetime Coverage
"Must Have" Features
Vet fee limit£4,000+
thumbs up
Lifetime cover: £2,500, £5,000 or £7,500; Time limited cover: £3,000
Vet cover for accidentsIncluded
thumbs up
Included
Vet cover for illnessesIncluded
thumbs up
Included
Vet cover for long-term and ongoing conditionsIncluded
thumbs up
If you buy Lifetime cover
Hereditary and congenital conditionsIncluded
thumbs up
No exclusions for hereditary or congenital conditions
Dental care for illnessIncluded, if pet has regular dental checks and advice followed within 6 months
thumbs up
"Pet needs annual check-ups and recommended actions taken within 6 months; treatment to relieve suffering; dental crowns, root canals or fillings not covered."
Dental care for injuryIncluded, if pet has regular dental checks and advice followed within 6 months
thumbs up
Included
Alternative treatmentsHomeopathy, acupuncture and physiotherapy as recommended by vet
thumbs up
Included
Time to claimAt least 6 months
thumbs up
Submit within 12 months of treatment
Out-of-hours emergenciesIncluded
thumbs up
As long as vet confirms that moving your pet or waiting until normal surgery hours would either endanger its life or significantly worsen the condition
24/7 vet helplineIncluded
thumbs up
0303 334 0796
LiabilityIncluded
thumbs up
Included for dogs
"Should Have" Features
Fixed excessIncluded
thumbs up
Fixed £99 for dogs up to 8 years old, cats up to 10 years old
No change to excess for older petsIncluded
thumbs up
Excess for older pets is greater of £99 or 20% of claim
EuthanasiaIncluded
thumbs up
Included
Holiday cancellation and unwell boarding coverIncluded or add on
thumbs up
Included
Prescription FoodIncluded
thumbs up
Up to 25% for a maximum of 6 months per condition; treatment of obesity excluded
Death due to accident or illnessIncluded or add on
thumbs up
Included for dogs up to 8 years old, cats up to 10 years old
Lost or stolen coverIncluded or add on
thumbs up
Included
"Could Have" Features
Vet cover for pre-existing conditionsCover for pre-existing conditions after a healthy period
thumbs up
Not covered
New policies for older petsAvailable
thumbs up
Policies available up to a dog's 8th birthday or cat's 10th birthday
Multi-pet discountAvailable
thumbs up
£1 per-pet, per-month discount
Cover abroadIncluded or add on for £1,500 of cover up to 90 days travelling to PETS countries
thumbs up
Included

Excess and Claims

Time Limit to Claim: Policyholders have up to 12 months after treatment date to submit all claim forms and accompanying documentation. Claims submitted after 12 months will not be reimbursed.

Excess: Pet owners of younger pets will pay a £99 excess towards each new condition. Those with older pets—that is, dogs aged 8+ years or cats aged 10+, or 5+ years for some select breeds—pay the greater of £99 or 20% of all remaining vet fees.

Pet ageExcess
Dogs under 8 and cats under 10 (or 5 years for some breeds)£99
Dogs 8+, cats 10+ (5+ for some breeds)either £99 or 20% of remaining vet bills, whichever is greater

Owners of older pets looking for new insurance will have to look for pet insurance elsewhere. However, older pets who are already covered by a Sainsbury's policy are not booted out once they hit the age limit—but be aware that premiums may increase as your pet ages due to higher expected vet costs. as with all pet insurance.

Out of Hours/Second Opinions: Cover of fees for visiting a surgery out of regular hours is covered only if the vet confirms an emergency consultation was necessary. It may be worth calling the Vet Assistance line if you're uncertain to get advice. If you ever decide to take your pet to another vet for a second opinion, be sure to contact Sainsbury's Bank before you make the appointment—otherwise they won't cover any related costs. Furthermore, if Sainsbury's decides that the original diagnosis or treatment was correct, they won't pay any costs related to the second opinion.

Why Sainsbury's Time Limited plans are better than the competition

If you're in the market for a Time Limited plan (which do have significant limitations), the Sainsbury's plans stand out from the competition with a massive benefit to pet owners. Most Time Limited policies start the 12-month cover clock ticking from the time the condition was first noticed by you or a vet. Sainsbury's delays the start of the clock, essentially giving the pet owner longer cover, by instead starting the 12-month clock when your pet is first treated (as in, seen by the vet). Treatment is defined by Sainsbury's as "any examination, consultation, advice, tests, X-rays, medication, surgery, nursing and care." If you delay between noticing a condition and seeking advice or treatment from a vet, this seemingly-small detail can provide months of extra cover.

Sainsbury's Pet Insurance Discounts

  • Multi-pet discount: For up to 6 pets, receive £1 per pet per month discount (so a minimum discount of £24 per year for two insured pets)
  • Up to 12.5% discount for Nectar card holders: Rate may be less and depends on previous transactions made at Sainsbury's supermarkets
  • Double Nectar points on Sainsbury's shopping and fuel: Receive double base points at Sainsbury's while your insurance policy is in force (max of 20,000 points per month)

Types of Sainsbury's Dog and Cat Insurance Policies

Maximum benefitLifetime £2,500Lifetime £5,000Lifetime £7,500Time limited £3,000
Dental Cover (routine dental not included)up to £2,500up to £5,000up to £7,500up to £3,000
Complementary Treatmentup to £750up to £1,500up to £1,500£500
Physiotherapyup to £750up to £1,500up to £1,500£500
Behavioural illnesses (excludes the cost of any damage to your home)up to £2,500up to £5,000up to £7,500up to £3,000
Overseas veterinary treatmentup to £2,500up to £5,000up to £7,500up to £3,000
Maximum benefitLifetime £2,500Lifetime £5,000Lifetime £7,500Time limited £3,000
Death from accident/injuryup to £1,500up to £1,500up to £1,500£1,000
Death from illnessup to £1,500up to £1,500up to £1,500£1,000
Cremationup to £200up to £200up to £200£200
Advertising & reward (dogs must be microchipped)up to £1,500up to £1,500up to £1,500£1,000
Theft or straying (dogs must be microchipped)up to £1,500up to £1,500up to £1,500£1,000
Emergency boarding kennel/cattery fees (if you're hospitalised for over 48 hours)up to £1,500up to £1,500up to £1,500£1,000
3rd party liability (dogs only)up to £2 millionup to £2 millionup to £2 million£2 million
Maximum benefitLifetime £2,500Lifetime £5,000Lifetime £7,500Time limited £3,000
Holiday cancellationup to £1,500up to £3,000up to £3,000£1,000
Quarantine costsup to £1,500up to £1,500up to £1,500£1,000
Loss of healthcare certificateup to £250up to £250up to £250£250
Emergency expenses abroadup to £1,500up to £1,500up to £1,500£1,000

Sainsbury's Pet Insurance Customer Experience Ratings

143 customer reviews at reviewcentre.com rank Sainsbury's pet insurance 1.8 out of 5 stars, with most complaints about difficulty having claims approved (e.g., denying claims due to pre-existing conditions) and premium increases. Sainsbury's is now working with a different underwriter, however, so it's possible that these customer complaints will not reflect service going forward. Time will tell. Policies are now underwritten by Pinnacle Insurance plc.

Defaqto rates Sainsbury's Lifetime policies with 5 out of 5 stars, and their time limited policy with only 3 stars.

How does Sainsbury's Pet Insurance Compare to Competitors?

To better understand the value of Sainsbury's 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.

Sainsbury's Pet Insurance vs PetPlan

PetPlan Pet Insurance is the largest insurer of dogs and cats in the UK. Due to this, many vets are accustomed to submitting claims on behalf of pet owners, which can save you a lot of hassle—plus you get a full 12 months to submit claims for reimbursement. PetPlan is reliable but you may pay a bit more for their insurance. 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.

Quick Takeaway: PetPlan has some very solid plans, with their mid-range, most-competitive Classic+ plan providing £7k of cover. If you're very conscious of keeping your premium low it might be worth checking both companies to see how prices compare.

Sainsbury's Pet Insurance vs Tesco Pet Insurance

Tesco offers quite comprehensive cover, but you'll have to pay up for their Premier Plan if you want dental illness cover (e.g., tooth decay or gum disease). Lifetime plans provide £7.5k or £10k of vet cover a year; there's no low-tier Lifetime offering (e.g., around £3k of vet cover each year) so Lifetime prices start around £500 for a healthy, young dog. Tesco features include access to a vetfone, no upper age limit for new policies, no change in excess for older pets and 12 months to submit claims.

Quick Takeaway: Tesco can be a good option for comprehensive Lifetime cover, but Sainsbury's Bank has some lower-coverage plans that might prove to be more affordable; plus Sainsbury's includes dental illness.

Sainsbury's 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.

Quick Takeaway: Agria can be a sensible way to get comprehensive Lifetime cover from a specialist for a lower premium, but be aware that you'll have a 10% copay in addition to the £95 fixed excess. If you don't want a copay then Sainsbury's might be a better fit.

Sainsbury's Pet Insurance vs Argos Pet Insurance

Argos Pet Insurance is a good option for those with older pets. Not only are older pets eligible for Lifetime cover regardless of age, but 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 need a new Lifetime policy for your older pet, Argos plans may be a more viable option.

Other Useful Information

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.