Tesco offers pet insurance for dogs and cats at average prices—but they're very expensive for some popular breeds. And beware of price increases the second year. To find out if Tesco is the best pet insurance for you, read our review.
If you're wondering how a Tesco quote compares to the market, get pet insurance quotes from 25 providers by clicking the blue "Get Quotes" button below to see how much you can save.
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Panel of 25 providers including Animal Friends, Scratch and Patch and John Lewis.
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. Most plans are generally close to the average cost of pet insurance in the UK—except that bulldogs seem particularly pricey to insure with Tesco (they are notoriously expensive to insure anyway).
While prices might seem attractive, watch out—they may not stay that way. Online quotes for new customers include a 20% discount. Without this discount in the second year, your annual premium will increase by 25% (all else equal). And it's not easy to switch pet insurance companies later for a better price if your pet develops any pre-existing conditions. (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 on features please see the section on Policy and Cover Options.
What is the Tesco Vet Referral Network?
If your pet is referred to a specialist vet (e.g., cardiology, ophthalmology,MRI, 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.
Customer Experience Ratings
We scoured customer reviews left at Trustpilot to get a feel for their pet insurance product (most reviews are for other banking products) and found a few common themes. For example, some customers complained of large increases at renewal or conditions not being covered due to (debatable) pre-existing conditions. Here are a few real customer reviews from Trustpilot and from the Tesco help boards:
"Great customer service for our dog who needs ongoing treatment. Vet co-ordinated the claim and form sent out for me to fill in. No haggling from Tesco and first payment was put into my account within a few weeks."
"My renewal has now gone up by £20 a month!! My dog is 6 years old and is perfectly healthy. I managed to find quotes elsewhere for the same level of cover with paying less vet excess for about £10 cheaper a month than my renewal."
"I have pet insurance with Tesco bank - I moved across town, no change in vets and was told it would cost me £38 more to take into account higher vet charges in the new area with the new vet - I AM IN THE SAME AREA - same vet, same out of hours cover - disappointing as I stay with them as I have an ongoing condition with a dog."
"... They should not be insuring bulldogs if they aren’t going to cover breed related conditions. They purposefully went out of their way to find anything to use so they could refuse to cover the surgery. I now have a young dog who has to live with severe vomiting and suffer with this until we can somehow find £3500 to pay for the op. Bulldog owners beware!"
"Saffie's (the cat) pet insurance has increased by over 30%. We haven't claimed, Saffie hasn't got a new job as a stunt cat, become a celebrity or taken up any dangerous sports. Why has it increased so much?"
Tesco Pet Insurance Key Facts
- Choice of Accident Only, Time Limited, Max Benefit or Lifetime cover
- Dental illness and injury on Premier policies (dental injury only on other plans)
- No official change in excess for older pets
- No upper age limit for new policies (even Lifetime)
- Submit claims within 90 days
- Choice of excess (£60, £120 or £200)
- Holiday cancellation and unwell cover available
- Vetfone helpline
- Prescription food not covered
Tesco Quote Comparison
Tesco prices are roughly in line with market averages. To give you an idea of what you might need to pay across their different plans, we gathered quotes for a medium-sized, mixed breed dog (1 year old). Quotes for your pet might be quite different depending on factors like where you live and the age, size and breed of your dog.
If Tesco Lifetime plans are outside of your budget, there are some decent, cheap Lifetime pet insurance options available in the UK that you may find more suitable.
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)|
|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.
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 per condition. Other features include access to vetfone 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 (Time Limited)
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 vetfone, 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 (as opposed to starting 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)
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 is available for each separate illness or injury. There is no time limit for coverage.
Other features include vetfone, Third Party Liability, holiday cancellation, help if you're unwell and death and missing cover.
Tesco offers three levels of Lifetime vet cover through their Premier product: £4,000, £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—provided your pet gets an annual vet dental check and any recommended treatment is carried out. Other features include vetfone, 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 that resets each year. Lifetime cover is the best for providing 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||£4,000, £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|
Treatment by a referral vet incurs an additional £200 excess if you don't use a vet from their "preferred referral vet network."
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—plus better out of hours 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.
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 with PetPlan, 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: Both are underwritten by RSA, so it's a matter of deciding which features you like better.