SunLife Pet Insurance Review: Enough for Your Needs?

SunLife Pet Insurance Review: Enough for Your Needs?

Good for

  • Lifetime cover available for older pets

Bad for

  • No dental illness cover
  • Only 60 days to submit claims
  • No death benefit without receipt/proof or purchase
  • Inner limits on MRI/CT scans

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.

SunLife is no longer selling new pet insurance policies. To get quotes from other UK pet insurers such as Animal Friends, Scratch & Patch and 4Paws, please click the blue button below.

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

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SunLife offers Accident Only, Time Limited and Lifetime pet insurance for dogs and cats. While those with older pets might like that SunLife has no upper age limit for Lifetime cover, it may not suit all pet owners due to the shorter time to claim and certain inner limits. Our pricing analysis showed that SunLife isn't necessarily any cheaper than Petplan, which is generally considered to be the gold standard of pet insurance. Find out how SunLife policies differ from competitors, to help you decide if the coverage suits you and your pet.

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. You may want to read about other options in our article on Cheap Dog and Cat Insurance.

SunLife Pet Insurance Review

SunLife pet insurance offers lifetime, time limited and accident only cover for dogs and cats. Our pricing analysis found their prices are roughly in line with market averages, however in our opinion they don't necessarily offer the best value due to shorter times to claim and inner limits. You can compare prices versus other pet insurance providers here.

Those wishing to pay monthly benefit from paying 0% APR (subject to acceptability criteria).

What to Look Out For

  • Death benefit claims not supported by evidence of purchase price or receipt are not covered
  • Inner limits on cruciate ligament treatment
  • Inner limits on CT/MRI scans

Time to Claim: Pet owners are supposed to submit claims as soon as possible, but definitely within 60 days of the incident occurring. Claims submitted after this time may not be paid. In the case of alternative medicine, advertising cost or complementary treatment you must contact the insurer before treatment or incurring any costs.

Insurance for Older Pets: Dogs aged 5 years or over incur an additional 10% variable excess of each claim payment in addition to the deduction of the standard excess; cats 7 years of age or older incur the additional 10% variable excess. There's no age limit so pets of any age can get a new policy, although prices will be higher for older pets.

Excess: The standard excess is £80 for dogs and £70 for cats. Older pets also pay a variable excess of 10% of vet bills for dogs aged 5+ and cats aged 7+.

Bilateral Conditions: On policies with a benefit time limit (e.g., the Bronze plan), for bilateral conditions they treat all occurrences of an illness as the same illness and apply just one vet fee limit, regardless of where the clinical signs are noticed in or on your pet's body. For example, if your dog has hip dysplasia in both legs it would be treated as one condition, with only one condition limit to use for both legs—in this case, therefore, treatment of both legs would be subject to the plan's £ vet limits and also the 12-month treatment window.

SunLife Key Facts

  • No upper age limit: New plans available for older pets, too
  • Payment options: Can pay monthly for no additional cost (i.e., no interest charges)
  • Choice of type of plan: Accident Only, Time Limited and Lifetime plans available
  • Vet fee limits: Cover available up to £7,000 for dogs and £4,000 for cats
  • Excess: Increases for older pets through addition of a 10% variable excess
  • Pre-Existing Conditions: Are not covered

Customer Experience Ratings

SunLife is rated 4.8 out of 5 stars for customer experience, according to more than 3,000 customers surveyed through feefo. On Trustpilot, over 1,400 customers have given SunLife a solid 4.7 out of 5 stars.

We scoured hundreds of customer comments but couldn't find any related to pet insurance specifically, however. These ratings relate to SunLife overall, most specifically their life insurance product—and mostly relate to the buying process rather than claims. Here are some real customer comments to give you an idea:

"After searching for Insurance I found that Sunlife provided the best value for money."

"Easy to deal with, good value for money"

"I did a comparison search for life insurance, out of all the companies SUNLIFE have done nothing but bombard me, endless phone calls, hassling me through emails, and even through the post, even when I said stop."

"very very helpful if it wasn't for someone phoning me I may have not done this.Thank you."

SunLife Quote Comparison

According to our research, SunLife's mid-tier Silver and top-tier Gold plans are comparable in price to market averages, if not higher. For example, we found their £7,000 Gold plan cost £462 a year for a young, medium-sized, crossbreed dog, which is even more that Petplan's cost of £413 for the same dog. Direct quote comparisons can be tricky for pet insurance, since coverage levels and excess amounts vary across insurers—for example Petplan has a higher £110 excess compared to SunLife's £80 excess.

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

InsurerExcess~£4k Vet Cover~£7k Vet Cover
chart showing how SunLife dog insurance quotes compare to the average in the market
SunLife Lifetime pet insurance is not always cheaper

SunLife Notable Features

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

SunLife Pet Insurance
VetlinePet owners can call the 24 hour Veterinary Helpline with queries (0333 777 3643)
Complementary TherapyAcupuncture, hydrotherapy, osteopathy, physiotherapy and chiropractic therapy recommended by your vet and carried out by a suitably qualified person that has been specifically recommended by your vet, subject
Dental CoverCover for dental injuries due to accident (not illness)
Holiday CancellationCover for non-recoverable cancellation and curtailment costs incurred by you if during the period of insurance you cancel your holiday within 7 days prior to departure or you come home early (e.g., because your vet believes your pet needs lifesaving treatment or surgery)
Boarding if You're UnwellBoarding costs if you're in hospital for 96 or more consecutive hours
TravelCover while you travel on holiday with your pet in the European Union States and Territories included in the Pet Travel Scheme for up to 30 days in each period of insurance (Bronze) or 180 days (Silver and Gold)
Congenital & Hereditary DiseasesCovered
EuthanasiaCovered when recommended by your vet for humane reasons, but cremation, burial or disposal are not covered

Types of SunLife Policies

SunLife offers three types of policies—accident only, 12 month and lifetime. Generally speaking, Lifetime policies are the best type of cover, in particular 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 offers less comprehensive cover but can generally be secured for a lower price.

SunLife Lifetime Cover: Silver and Gold Plans

SunLife's Silver and Gold Lifetime plans offer cover of £3,500 and £7,000 for dogs and £4,000 and £2,500 for cats, respectively. As long as you keep paying your premiums and the insurer offers you renewals, a lifetime policy will cover injuries and illnesses throughout your pet's life. For example, a dog's eye infections at aged 2, aged 5, aged 6 and aged 9 would all be reimbursable illnesses. The Gold plan not only offers higher overall vet limits, but also provides higher cover levels for MRI/CT scans, cruciate surgery, death benefit, holiday cancellation, etc. than the Silver plan.

SunLife Time Limited Cover: Bronze Plan

SunLife's Time Limited, 12-month insurance option is called the "Bronze" plan. Cover for any injury or illness will last up to 12 months, but not longer—this type of cover is not suitable to protect against recurring or chronic health issues, as they won't be reimbursed after 12 months.

SunLife Accident Only Cover: Accident Only Plan

SunLife's Accident Only plan can provide for financial assistance if your dog or cat suffers from an accidental injury, such as a broken leg or swallowing a foreign object. This plan will not protect against illnesses, such as infections, tumors, skin conditions, etc.—it's worth keeping in mind that illnesses are the main reason for visits to the vet, so this plan won't protect against the majority of a typical pet owner's vet fees.

SunLife Coverage Amounts for Dogs and Cats

SunLife Cover Limits for CatsGoldSilverBronzeAccident Only
Cover periodLifetimeLifetime12 months12 months
Vets fees£4,000£2,500£1,250£2,000
Fixed excess (per condition per year)£70£70£70£70
Death from accident£750£500£250£150
Loss by theft£750£500£250n/a
Holiday cancellation£3,000£2,000£1,000£150
MRI limit£1,500£1,250£1,000£1,000
CT scan limit£1,000£800£600£600
Cruciate surgery limit£2,000£1,500£1,250£1,250
Variable excess age 7+ (per condition per year)10%10%10%10%
Death from illness£750 under age 8£500 under age 8£250 under age 8n/a
Advertising & reward£1,500£1,000£750£150
Boarding & kennel fees£2,000£1,500£1,000£150
Third party liability£2,000n/an/an/a
Quarantine expenses£150£150£150n/a
Loss of pet passport£250£250£250n/a
Emergency expenses abroad£150£150£150n/a
Help linesyesyesyesyes
SunLife Cover Limits for DogsGoldSilverBronzeAccident Only
Cover periodLifetimeLifetime12 months12 months
Vets fees£7,000£3,500£1,500£2,500
Fixed excess (per condition per year)£80£80£80£80
Death from accident£1,000£700£400£250
Loss by theft£1,000£700£400n/a
Third party liability£1m£1m£1m£1m
Holiday cancellation£3,000£2,000£1,000£250
MRI limit£1,500£1,250£1,000£1,000
CT scan limit£1,000£800£600£600
Cruciate surgery limit£2,000£1,500£1,250£1,250
Variable excess aged 5+10%10%10%10%

Death from illness
£1,000 under age 6£700 under age 6£400 under age 6n/a
Advertising & reward£1,500£1,000£750£250
Boarding & kennel fees£2,000£1,500£1,000£250
Quarantine expenses£150£150£150n/a
Loss of pet passport£250£250£250n/a
Emergency expenses abroad£150£150£150n/a
Help linesyesyesyesyes

Other Useful Information

How does SunLife Insurance Compare to Competitors?

To better understand the value of SunLife 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.

SunLife Pet Insurance vs PetPlan Pet Insurance

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 might make getting reimbursed a bit easier. 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.

Bottom Line: If you want a lower excess or lifetime cover for older pets, SunLife may be a reasonable option.

SunLife Pet Insurance vs Paws and Claws Pet Insurance

Paws and Claws Pet Insurance offers a slightly different type of lifetime pet insurance, with no overall annual limits but limits on the amount you can claim per condition each year. This structure results in slightly lower insurance rates. With no upper age limit and a lower excess, Paws and Claws may have appeal, but beware there's no cover for dental illness.

Bottom Line: Paws and Claws might be slightly more affordable, so long as you're comfortable with the annual per condition limits.

SunLife 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 higher coverage levels, Agria can be a good option—but you'll have to pay a larger share of any vet bills that arise due to the 10% variable excess.

SunLife Pet 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 can buy new policies 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 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 low-cost Lifetime cover may find a cheaper plan from Animal Friends, but beware of the per condition limits and lack of dental injury cover and vet helpline.

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the 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.


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.