Tesco offers pet insurance for dogs and cats at reasonable prices—although not for a Bulldogs! We found their prices for French and English Bulldogs to cost multiples of the average cost of Lifetime cover for a young, healthy Bulldog from other insurers. Generally speaking, however, Tesco's Premier Lifetime plan is not cheap but it offers the most comprehensive cover and includes dental illness and injury—a plan with broad cover, if it fits into your budget. Those looking for plans with a lower cost can read our article on Cheap Dog and Cat Insurance.
In this review, we try to clarify some features of Tesco's pet insurance plans, but be sure to read the policy wording before you sign up. Choosing the best policy for you and your dogs or cats will depend on your individual situation.
Tesco Pet Insurance Key Facts
- Choice of Accident Only, Time Limited, Max Benefit or Lifetime cover
- No official change in excess for older pets
- Up to 12 months to submit claims for reimbursement
- Holiday cancellation and unwell cover available
- Dental cover for accidents only (on all but Premier policies)
- 12-Month time limit on Accident Only claims
- Complete dental cover for Premier policies
- No upper age limit for new policies (even Lifetime)
- Can choose excess amount to suit
- Prescription food not covered
In This Review
- Overall Review
- Policy and Coverage Options
- Customer Experience Ratings
- Comparing Tesco Pet Insurance to the Competition
Tesco Pet Insurance Review
Tesco provides all four types of pet insurance—Accident Only, Time Limited, Maximum Benefit and Lifetime. We think the Accident Only Plan is expensive, but the other types are well within average ranges of pet insurance in the UK—except for Top Tips for Insuring a Bulldog.
Having said that, prices will rise in the second year. Why? Tesco is offering a 20% discount for new online registrations. While we celebrate this discount, keep in mind that your annual premium will increase by 25% in the second year, all else equal. (Accident & Injury cover is excluded from this 20% discount—probably because premiums for Accident Only policies are already relatively low.)
Vet cover ranges from £3,000 up to £10,000, with the ability to easily choose an excess of £60, £120 or £200 when you purchase online. For more information please see the section on Policy and Cover Options.
Time Limit to Claim: Tesco offers a longer-than-average time to submit claims for reimbursement. Policyholders have up to 12 months to submit their claim form and vet bills to Tesco Bank.
Dental: Tesco's Premier product covers treatment of damage to teeth or gums due to accident, tooth decay or dental/gum disease. To be covered for tooth decay or disease you pet must have had a yearly dental check and any recommended work carried out.
Accident & Injury, Standard and Extra insurance policies only cover treatment costs for damage due to accidents (not decay or disease).
Excess: Tesco policyholders can choose the standard £60 excess, which is relatively low excess or a higher excess of £120, £200, £300 or £500. By opting for a higher excess, the premium will be lower—the insurer can offer lower premiums because a higher excess means the pet owners commits to paying a higher portion of future vet bills.
The premium savings achieved through a higher excess may or may not make economic sense for you, depending on whether you want insurance to help with smaller illnesses and injuries that may cost a few hundred pounds to treat, or whether you only want insurance to protect against the financial cost of, for instance, a surgery that could cost thousands of pounds. Before you make a decision, consider the premium differences and how a higher premium would impact your ability to be reimbursed.
For example, we recently quoted two sets of Tesco dog insurance policies for a healthy, young, medium-sized crossbreed—one with a £60 excess and the other with a £200 excess. On average, the policies with a higher excess cost £81 less per year. If you claim once per year, you are worse of having chosen a higher excess—the £81 premium savings are more than offset by paying £120 more in vet bills the one time you claim due to the higher excess (£120 = £200 - £60).
|Policy||Annual Premium with £60 Excess||Annual Premium with £200 Excess||Premium Difference||How Much are You Better or Worse Off with a Higher Excess, if you Claim Once/Year?|
|Accident & Injury Cover||£81||£62||-£20||£100 worse off|
|Standard||£296||£240||-£56||£64 worse off|
|Extra (£4k vet cover)||£369||£298||-£70||£50 worse off|
|Extra (£7.5k vet cover)||£514||£415||-£99||£21 worse off|
|Premier (£7.5k vet cover)||£596||£481||-£115||£5 worse off|
|Premier (£10k vet cover)||£657||£530||-£127||£7 better off|
To learn more about the potential repercussions of raising your excess, see our article on the trade offs of choosing a higher excess/lower premium.
Tesco Vet Referral Network: If your pet is referred to a specialist vet (e.g., cardiology, ophthalmology, etc.) then you'll need to pay £200 of the referral vet bill yourself—unless the referral vet is in Tesco's Referral Vet Network. To enquire, the Tesco Vet Referral line is 0330 100 6460. An exception is made if your pet needs emergency treatment for an illness or injury that is life threatening or would cause a serious threat to his present or ongoing health. In that case, you don't need to pay the £200 excess even if you see a vet NOT in the network.
Tesco Insurance for Older Pets: Death Due to Illness cover (available as standard on all but Accident & Injury products) is not included once your pet turns 9 years old. There are no upper age restrictions for new policies—even lifetime policies are open to older pets. Additionally, the excess will not change with age.
Tesco Quote Comparison
Tesco prices are roughly in line with market averages, with particularly good value found with the Accident & Injury product. As comparing prices for pet insurance can be quite difficult due to differences in vet cover amounts and excesses, we've developed a methodology to standardize across products.
Since you would need to pay both the annual premium and at least one excess in order to claim and access the vet cover, we've calculated a ratio of Vet Cover/(Annual Premium + One Excess Payment) to give an estimate of value. Then we compared the average value of each type of Tesco product (i.e., Accident, Time Limited, Max Benefit and Lifetime) with £60 and £120 excess amounts to average market values (obtained from dozens of quotes from other insurers), for a healthy, young, medium-sized crossbreed dog.
Here you can see how the choice of excess will alter the premium you pay each year. While a higher excess results in a lower annual premium, remember that a higher excess also means the insurer pays less towards each vet bill claim.
Below, you can see more detail about the Tesco and market data used in the above value comparison, where the value ratio is calculated as (Vet Cover)/(Annual Premium + One Excess Payment). Keep in mind that these are sample quotes obtained at the end of 2017; quotes for older pets and some breeds (e.g., Bulldogs) would be higher.
|Policy Type||Tesco Policy||Annual Premium||Vet Cover||Excess||Value Ratio|
|Accident Only||Accident & Injury Cover||£69||£3,000||£120||16|
|Accident & Injury Cover||£81||£3,000||£60||21|
|Accident & Injury Cover||£62||£3,000||£200||11|
Tesco Notable Features
Here is a brief overview of the notable features of Tesco dog and cat insurance. For a complete rundown of the details and exclusions, please refer to the policy documents.
|Tesco Pet Insurance Features|
|Vetfone||Pet owners can call the Tesco vetfone with queries 24/7 (Tesco vetfone phone number: 0800 197 4949)|
|Time Limited Cover||The 12-month clock starts when treatment starts (not earlier, when the condition is first noticed or the vet first makes a recommendation)|
|Complementary Therapy||Acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, Chiropractic manipulation, physiotherapy, osteopathy and hydrotherapy|
|Cover for Holiday Cut Short||Cover if you have to cancel or curtail your holiday because your pet needs emergency life-saving surgery, goes missing or becomes too ill to travel on Standard, Extra or Premier plans|
|Cover When You're Unwell||Boarding fees when you're an inpatient at hospital for at least 4 days on Standard, Extra or Premier plans|
|Euthanasia||Covered up to £200 on Standard, Extra or Premier plans|
|Travel||Your vet fees limit may be used while travelling in countries that are part of the PETS travel scheme, for up to three journeys up to 30 days each (for all but Accident Only policies)|
Types of Tesco Dog and Cat Insurance Policies
Tesco offers all four types of pet insurance—Accident Only, Time Limited, Max Benefit and Lifetime, with vet cover ranging from £3,000 up to £10,000. For more information on pet insurance cover in general, please see our article on What Does Pet Insurance Cover in the UK.
Accident & Injury (Accident Only)
Tesco's Accident & Injury policy provides up to £3,000 of vet bill cover in case your dog or cat is injured in an accident, for up to 12 months. Other features include access to the vetline and £2 million of Third Party Liability cover (dogs only).
Accident-only policies won't reimburse for any vet bills associated with illnesses (e.g., skin rashes, digestive trouble, ear infections, tumours, etc.), providing the lowest level of cover.
Standard (a Time Limited product)
Tesco's Time Limited policy covers up to 12 months of treatment costs, up to a limit of £3,000 per accident or illness. Other features include vetline, Third Party Liability, holiday cancellation, help if you're unwell and death and missing cover.
A benefit of Tesco's Time Limited policies (Accident & Injury and Standard products) is that the 12-month clock doesn't start until treatment begins (the clock doesn't start when the vet first notices and recommends treatment for a condition, which could be earlier than the treatment start date.) Starting the clock in this way potentially gives you more time to have treatments covered by your insurance policy.
Extra (Maximum Benefit products)
Policyholders can choose between £4,000 and £7,500 of maximum benefit cover with Tesco's Extra products. With a max benefit plan, the vet cover amount can be used up for each separate illness or injury. There is no time limit for coverage.
Other features include vetline, Third Party Liability, holiday cancellation, help if you're unwell and death and missing cover.
Premier (Lifetime products)
Tesco offers two levels of Lifetime vet cover through their Premier product: £7,500 or £10,000. One difference between the Premier pet insurance product and Tesco's other offerings is that with Premier, dental cover not only includes damage due to accidents, but also damage due to tooth decay or tooth/gum disease. In order to benefit from dental cover due to decay or disease, your pet must get an annual vet dental check and have any recommended treatment. Other features include vetline, Third Party Liability, holiday cancellation, help if you're unwell and death and missing cover.
Lifetime policies are the most comprehensive—as well as providing the highest levels of cover, reimbursement of conditions is not subject to a time limit or a per-condition limit (there is an annual limit, however, which resets each year). Lifetime cover can provide financial assistance for ongoing chronic or recurring health issues for your dog or cat.
Tesco Coverage Amounts
|Policy Name:||Accident & Injury||Standard||Extra||Premier|
|Policy Type||Accident Only||Time Limited||Maximum Benefit||Lifetime|
|Vet fees limit per pet (up to)||£3,000 if your pet is hurt in an accident||£3,000 if your pet is ill or injured||£4,000 or £7,500 if your pet is ill or injured||£7,500 or £10,000 if your pet is ill or injured|
|vetfone 24/7 access||Included||Included||Included||Included|
|Death from accident||n/a||Up to £1,500||Up to £1,500||Up to £1,500|
|Holiday Cancellation||n/a||Up to £5,000||Up to £5,000||Up to £5,000|
|Saying Goodbye||n/a||Up to £200||Up to £200||Up to £200|
|Third Party Liability (Dogs only)||Up to £2,000,000 (£250 excess)||Up to £2,000,000 (£250 excess)||Up to £2,000,000 (£250 excess)||Up to £2,000,000 (£250 excess)|
|Missing or stolen||n/a||Up to £1,000 for advertising and repatriation||Up to £1,000 for advertising and repatriation||Up to £1,000 for advertising and repatriation|
|Death from illness||n/a||Up to £1,500 (until the pet is aged 9 years or over)||Up to £1,500 (until the pet is aged 9 years or over)||Up to £1,500 (until the pet is aged 9 years or over)|
|Help if you're unwell||n/a||Up to £1,000||Up to £1,000||Up to £1,000|
Customer Experience Ratings
According to reevoo.com, 98% of customers would recommend Tesco Bank in general. For pet insurance specifically, customers rated Tesco 9.1 out of 10 stars.
Other Useful Information
How does Tesco Insurance Compare to Competitors?
To better understand the value of Tesco 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.
Tesco Pet 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, cremation/burial, and cover for congenital conditions.
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.
Tesco 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 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.
Quick Takeaway: You can get dental illness (e.g, decay, disease) cover on all levels of PetPlan pet insurance, but you'd need to pay up for the Premier Plan to get dental illness from Tesco. You might prefer Tesco, however, if you'd like to change the excess to a more suitable amount for your needs. Additionally, owners of older pets must contribute more towards vet bills, through the addition of a 20% copay.
Tesco 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 Pet Plan offers better value in the £7k range of vet cover. Plus you'll get dental illness cover.