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.

NimbleFins' Swinton Pet Insurance Review: Good Cover for You?

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

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Popular insurance broker Swinton launched a new pet insurance offering at the end of 2021, but how does it stack up? Our research has found that Swinton offers pet owners good value for money, and many desirable features. But as with nearly all products you need to be sure they cover the features that are important to you. Read our review to find out more.

We'll do our best to clarify some features of Swinton pet insurance plans, but be sure to read the policy wording before you sign up. Choosing the best policy for you and your pet will depend on your individual situation. There may be better pet insurance policies with more beneficial features available in the marketplace.

In This Review

Swinton Pet Insurance Review

Swinton offers solid value plans and, when we did a price check, stands out for reasonable prices. They offer what is arguably the "best" type of pet insurance only—lifetime pet insurance—which provides more comprehensive and longer-lasting cover because it will cover both new and recurring conditions, so long as they began after the policy first started (that is, there weren't pre-existing conditions that started before you signed up with Swinton). This means you can get long-term cover for recurring or chronic conditions, which we think is important—that is, you can keep claiming for a condition year after year (so long as the policy remains valid and you haven't hit the annual limits).

Swinton offers two tiers of cover (Essentials and Classic), each of which can be purchased at one of three levels of vet cover: £2,000, £4,000 or £7,000. These limits refer to the amount you can claim in total across all conditions in each policy year. When you renew, the amount you have available for the next year resets to the policy limit again.

Pet owners should be aware that Swinton has a few "inner limits" for certain conditions. Inner limits essentially cap the amount they'll pay for the named conditions, which are:

  • Cruciate ligament disease (inner limit only applies to Essential policies, not to Classic policies)
  • Dental treatment
  • CT/MRI scans
  • Complementary treatments
  • Food prescribed by a vet
  • Behavioural conditions

Inner limits are included within the maximum vet fee limits of the policy, so for example if a dog needed a £2,000 MRI (not an unreasonable cost for an MRI) and had the £2,000 Essentials plan, the policy would cover up a max claim of £1,000 for the MRI (the inner limit for MRIs on that plan), leaving the dog owner to pay the remaining £1,000 of the MRI bill.

We like that Swinton gives pet owners up to one year to submit claims. The one year time limit applies to the time since first diagnosis of the illness by a vet (or since the date of an accident in case of an accidental injury).

Essentials vs Classic

Essentials and Classic policies are similar in the basic vet fee and third party liability coverage offered. But Classic offers some features not available on the Essentials plans—which is why the Classic plans are rated with 4 or 5 Defaqto stars (vs. 3 stars for the Classic policies). Here's what you can get with Classic but not Essentials:

  • Accidental damage. Applies to dogs only, but will help cover the cost of repairs or replacement if your dog causes minor damage to someone else’s property while visiting their property (but no cover for your own property or a family member's property).
  • Theft or straying. Cover for advertising or reward costs if a pet is stolen or goes missing.
  • Death by accident or illness. Cover for the purchase price of your pet if they pass away or need to be put to sleep following an accident or illness (but, not surprisingly, cover drops to £0 for pets being put down due to illness after the age of 9 or 6 for certain breeds).
  • Holiday delay or cancellation. Help to pay for additional costs for prebooked trips if you need to cancel or delay a holiday in the UK, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the EU because your pet has a life-threatening illness or injury.
  • Travelling abroad with your pet. Vet bill cover if your pet falls ill or is injured when travelling within the EU.


The excess is the amount a pet owner contributes towards a claim. The standard, compulsory excess on Swinton pet insurance is payable each year per condition, as is typical for lifetime pet insurance from any provider.

For a condition spanning multiple years, there would be an excess payable on the first claim of each policy year.

The Swinton excess depends on the age and breed of the pet, but starts at a fixed excess of £99. Some breeds are subject to a £139 fixed excess. Also, the excess changes for older pets as it includes 20% of remaining vet fees for older pets (dogs aged 5+ and cats aged 7+) after the fixed excess is paid. Note, this age cutoff is a bit lower than you might find with some other companies—but we hope that might help to keep premiums from rising as rapidly for older pets, on the plus side.

Swinton Pet Insurance Key Facts

  • Euthanasia covered (but not cremation, burial or disposal)
  • Free 24/7 Swinton vet line to call with medical queries (0333 332 4473)
  • Up to one year to submit claims from the first diagnosis of an illness by a vet (or one year of the date of an accident)
  • Unwell boarding cover
  • Prescription food covered if prescribed by vet (food for weight loss excluded)
  • Premium may increase according to claims history
  • Dental cover does not include dental illness (e.g. dental caries or periodontal disease)
  • Excess increases with age (through addition of 20% vet bill copay) to help keep premiums down as pets get older
  • Classic only EU Travel cover, holiday cancellation, accidental damage cover, advertising or reward costs, death by accident or illness

Swinton Pet Insurance Customer Reviews & Ratings

Swinton pet insurance has been rated between 3 and 5 stars, showing the features on offer vary with different products. Two Swinton pet insurance products received Defaqto's 5-star rating: Classic £4,000 and Classic £7,000. Their lower-level of Classic cover with £2,000 of vet cover each year earned 4 stars. Their Essential products only achieve a 3-star rating, because they are missing some features which are on the Classic polices such as accidental damage, theft/straying, death by accident/illness and travelling abroad cover (both holiday cancellation cover and vet cover when travelling in the EU with your pet).

Since Swinton has only recently launched pet insurance, we haven't seen online customer reviews to analyze yet. Customer reviews for Swinton generally are quite strong, however. For example, Swinton insurance has been awarded 4.4 our of 5 stars by nearly 20,000 reviewers at Trustpilot.

We scoured hundreds of customer comments to see what customers have to say about their overall experience with Swinton. Here are some real customer reviews:

"Easy purchase. Easy purchase. Good price. Good cover."

"Great service. Good service, knowledgeable person to deal with great price and everything clearly explained. Very friendly service."

"Really easy to compare the cover and pick the most suitable for my budget."

"... I was then asked to call them after several times of trying and being left on hold for more than 20 minutes at a time I still have not spoken to anyone."

Here is a summary of Trustpilot and Defaqto ratings for Swinton insurance:

Swinton Customer Reviews and Pet Insurance Ratings
Trustpilot customer reviews (for Swinton insurance generally)4.4 out of 5 stars
Defaqto Feature Ratings (out of 5)
Swinton Classic (£4,000 and £7,000)5 stars
Swinton Classic (£2,000)4 stars
Swinton Essentials (£2,000, £4,000 and £7,000)3 stars

Swinton Quote Comparison

According to our research, Swinton prices are less than the average cost of pet insurance in the UK.

To compare pet insurance prices for Swinton, we obtained sample quotes for a healthy, young, medium-sized mixed-breed dog. For our test case, Swinton pet insurance prices started from around £19 a month for Lifetime cover, or £228 a year. Older dogs and certain breeds can cost significantly more to insure. Where you live can also impact the cost of pet insurance.

chart comparing pet insurance quotes by policy type for Swinton vs the market average
How Do Swinton's Prices Compare?

These prices reflect a £99 excess.

Types of Swinton Dog and Cat Insurance Policies

Swinton only sells lifetime coverage, which they offer in two categories (Essentials and Classic), each of which comes with a choice of three tiers of vet cover: £2,000, £4,000 or £7,000. Since these are "lifetime" policies, the vet cover limits are per year. Each year when you renew the policy the vet fees cover is reinstated, providing that amount of cover again for the next year.

There are inner limits for some types of claims, including these vet claims: MRI/CT scans, cruciate ligament claims, dental treatment, complementary treatments, behavioural problems, and prescription food. You can see the full details in the table below. Inner limits for these types of vet fees are not in addition to the main cover limit. Instead, it's the max amount you can claim in a year for that type of claim. For example, if you claim the max inner limit of £3,000 for an MRI scan on the £4,000 Classic plan, you'd have £1,000 left for other vet claims in that policy year.

Lifetime insurance plans continue to reimburse for vet fees associated with recurring or chronic conditions, year after year, so long as the policy remains in force. Here's a table summarizing the coverage available on Swinton's 6 different policy options:

Swinton Coverage Amounts

Vet fees:£2,000£4,000£7,000£2,000£4,000£7,000
MRI/CT scans*£1,000£2,000£3,000£1,500£3,000£4,500
Cruciate Ligament*£2,000£2,500£3,000£2,000£4,000£7,000
Dental treatment*£1,500£3,000£5,000£2,000£4,000£7,000
Complementary treatments*£500£750£1,000£750£1,000£1,500
Behavioural problems*£750£1,000£1,500£750£1,000£1,500
Prescription food*£100£100£100£100£150£200
Travelling abroad - Vet fees*n/an/an/a£2,000£4,000£7,000
Third party liability£1m£1m£1m£1m£1m£1m
Accidental damagen/an/an/a£250£500£750
Emergency boarding£500£500£500£500£750£1,000
Advertising and rewardn/an/an/a£600£800£1,000
Death by accidentn/an/an/a£1,000£1,500£2,000
Death by illnessn/an/an/a£1,000£1,500£2,000
Holiday cancellations and associated costs per yearn/an/an/a£500£750£1,000
Maximum trip length per yearn/an/an/a30 days60 days90 days

*These are "inner limits" which are essentially lower limits of cover or maximum amounts available for certain conditions. These are not additional amounts.


Swinton pet insurance policies are underwritten by Cranbrook Underwriting Limited. This pet claims service is operated on behalf of Swinton Pet Insurance by Insurance Factory Ltd.
Yes, starting at the end of 2021, Swinton started selling pet insurance as part of their product line. They offer a lifetime product, with cover ranging from £2,000 up to £7,000.
You can submit a claim online or by telephone (0333 035 9951). Swinton won't cover claims made more than one year after the first diagnosis of an illness by a vet or, in the case of an accident, the date of the accident.
Out-of-hours charges to see a vet outside their normal surgery hours are covered, so long as the vet decides out-of-hours treatment is necessary. House calls are covered if your vet decides that your pet’s condition is life-threatening, and moving them would threaten their life.
All of Swinton's pet insurance policies cover dental treatment for damage due to accident, but they don't cover cleaning, decay or disease.
The standard excess on Swinton pet insurance policies is £99. The excess is paid once per condition per year. Some breeds will be subject to a higher excess of £139. Older pets (i.e. dogs 5 years+ and cats 7 years+) also have a 20% copay payable after the fixed excess is taken.
No, Swinton does not cover pre-existing conditions. Read this article to learn more about pet insurance companies that cover pre-existing conditions in the UK. Swinton define a pre-existing condition as "any health problem your pet has had, or is having, treatment, medication or advice for from a vet for prior to the start date of this policy. This also includes any undiagnosed injury (following an accident) or undiagnosed illness which is showing any clinical signs, symptoms or exists in any form on your pet prior to the start of this policy."

Example of How Excess and Copay Work for Older Pets with Swinton

Vet Fee£1,000
Fixed Excess-£99
20% Copay-£180.20
Amount Swinton will Pay£720.80
Total Amount Paid by Policyholder£279.20

How does Swinton Pet Insurance Compare to Competitors?

To better understand the value of Swinton 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.

Swinton Pet Insurance vs Argos Pet Insurance

Argos Pet Insurance may be another decent option for those with older pets, since they're eligible for lifetime cover regardless of age and 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're attracted to Swinton for a new lifetime policy for an older pet, Argos plans can be another interesting option since the excess won't go up over time (but then the premium might be more inclined to rise with age... trade offs).

Swinton Insurance vs Agria Pet Insurance

Agria Pet Insurance offers comprehensive Lifetime plans for lower-than-average prices and is a favourite pet insurer. 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 illness, euthanasia and cremation/burial, sensible out-of-hours reimbursement and cover for congenital conditions. When we last checked, the cost for a young, healthy crossbreed dog was 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: Agria can be another good option for those wanting euthanasia and dental illness cover—but keep in mind it's standard to pay a 10% copay after the fixed excess is taken out with Agria.

Swinton 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). Those with older pets can insure their dogs and cats with Animal Friends, as there is no upper age limit for new policies, even Lifetime cover—but there is a 20% copay (in addition to the £99 fixed excess) for dogs aged 8+ and cats aged 10+. Animal Friends doesn't have dental cover on some plans, but not all, 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. Another plus is that the company is big and has an efficient claims system called Pawtal, which most vets are accustomed to working with, so they can submit claims on your behalf.

Bottom Line: If you're price conscious, both Animal Friends and Swinton offer some comparable plans. But it will take a thorough look through the many Animal Friends offerings to find a policy with the features you need, as the features do vary quite a bit from one policy to the next.

Other Useful Information


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.