Tesco offers pet insurance for dogs and cats, with choice of Accident Only, Time Limited, Maximum Benefit or Lifetime cover. Vet limits range from £3,000 to £10,000, with a choice of excess.
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 dog or cat will depend on your individual situation. There may be other pet insurance policies with better features available in the marketplace.
- Complete dental cover for Premier policies
- No official change in excess for older pets
- No upper age limit for new policies (even Lifetime)
- Up to 12 months to submit claims for reimbursement
- Can choose excess amount to suit
- Holiday cancellation and unwell cover available
- Dental cover for accidents only (on all but Premier policies)
- Prescription food not covered
- 12-Month time limit on Accident Only claims
In This Review
- Overall Review
- Tesco Pet Insurance Price Comparison
- Policy and Coverage Options
- Older Pets
- Customer Experience Ratings
Tesco Pet Insurance Review
Tesco provides all four types of pet insurance polices—accident only, time limited, maximum benefit and lifetime. 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.
Currently, Tesco is offering a 20% discount for 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.)
Overall, our research shows that Tesco premiums are close to the average cost of pet insurance in the UK.
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.
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).
Tesco policyholders can choose the standard £60 excess or a higher excess of £120, £200, £300 or £500. By opting for a higher excess, your premium will be lower—the insurer can offer lower premiums because a higher excess means you commit to a higher contribution towards 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 Notable Features
Here is a brief overview of the notable features of Argos dog and cat insurance. For a complete rundown of the details and exclusions, please refer to the policy documents.
- 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)
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., pugs) 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|
Types of Tesco Dog and Cat Insurance Policies
Tesco offers all four types of pet insurance polices—accident only, time limited 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 help icon||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.