Best Pet Insurance UK 2020

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helloBARK! staff
By helloBARK! staff
Updated on June 09, 2020

Owning a pet can come with a lot of responsibilities.

In our experience, one thing that most dog breeders will request in their contract with new owners is that you get pet insurance for your new puppy.

However, trying to find the right pet insurance for your canine companion can be a confusing and overwhelming experience.

There are many things to consider as well as lots of new terms that can often leave you feeling hopeless in your quest for pet insurance.

As of 2018, 45% of households in the UK have a pet, with over 8.5 million dogs and 8 million cats.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the five leading pet insurance companies in the UK right now.

We’ll run through the key things to know when you’re researching the best pet insurance in the UK for you and your fluffy pooch.

Best Pet Insurance UK – Five Top Providers

Rating Summary Website
Waggel Waggel ★★★★★ • Membership based • Free Vet Video Consults • Member Rewards Buy Now
Agria Agria ★★★★☆ • Lifetime Cover • Vet Fees Up To £12,500 • Overseas Travel Buy Now
John Lewis John Lewis ★★★★☆ • Three Levels • Multi-pet Discount • Additional Benefits Buy Now
Argos Argos ★★★★☆ • Three Levels • Excess of £99 • Cremation Costs Buy Now
Petplan Petplan ★★★★☆ • Experienced • Covered For Life • Multi-pet discount Buy Now

Why Is Pet Insurance Important?

Pet Insurance is important because it can protect against the cost of going to the vet or the emergency vet if your pet falls ill.

We can’t predict what will happen in life and pets can offer get into accidents leading to serious injury.

You’ll find that some surgeries can run into thousands of pounds, which most pet owners will struggle to cover without pet insurance.

Whether it’s a broken bone, an attack by another dog or an obstacle stuck in their digestive system, pets aren’t immune to bouts of illness.

You don’t want to be left in an awful position where you’ve got to decide between your precious pet and your life savings.

Pet insurance can help to protect you against the unexpected, hopefully ensuring that you won’t have to empty your bank account to cover a procedure at the vet.

Statista, who are one of the leading providers of market and consumer data, write on their website that 3.6 million individuals have pet insurance in the UK.

According to this consumer data company, the average pet insurance claim is around £793, which is a substantial amount for any pet owner.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Every pet insurance company is different. That’s why it’s important to do careful research about what each pet insurance provider will cover.

You’ll find that most pet insurance companies will cover costs that result from an unexpected illness or injury such as a broken bone or eye injury.

Having said that, you’ll find some pet insurance companies don’t cover underlying illnesses that may have arisen while with a previous provider.

They can cover fees ranging from £250 to £10,000, which can cover simple procedures or even more complicated operations.

What they can cover:

• Third-party liability – If your dog injuries a third party or damages their property, this will be covered if you have third-party liability. Usually this will take care of legal costs, expenses and the claimant’s expenses.

• Loss and theft of your pet – If the unthinkable happens and your pet manages to slip out the front door and go missing, you’ll want to have cover for loss and theft of your pet. This will usually cover the cost of putting up posters as well as offering a reward for the safe return of your pet.

• Treatment for behavioral problems – Some pet insurance companies will offer cover if you opt for treatment of behavioral problems, such as aggression towards other dogs or people. In some cases, such treatment for behavioral problems will need to be prescribed by your vet.

• Death by illness or injury – Losing a pet is tough, so you can at least have peace of mind knowing that the cost of euthanasia is covered. Usually the purchase price of your pet will be take care of.

Some pet insurance will cover the following conditions:

• Hereditary conditions – Some breeds are known for having hereditary conditions. It’s important to do research regarding each individual policy to see if they’ll cover hereditary conditions.

• Underlying conditions – Some pets can suffer with ongoing conditions throughout their lives. Not every pet insurance provider will cover long-term illnesses. Usually a lifetime policy will take care of underlying conditions.

• Dental care – You may be surprised to learn that not all pet insurance policies will cover dental care despite this being a common issue with older dogs. It’s something to be aware of when researching different companies.

• Alternative treatments – Some forward-thinking pet insurance companies will cover alternative treatments recommended by your vet, such as homeopathy, acupuncture and more.

• Breeding risks – If you’re a breeder, you’ll want to ensure that your pet insurance policy will cover any complications that can arise related to your pet’s pregnancy.

What Are The Different Types of Pet Insurance?

If you’re thinking about getting pet insurance, there are number of different policies that you’ll regularly encounter. So you’ll need to understand these terms in order to find the right policy for you. There are three main types of pet insurance:

Lifetime cover – This will provide your pet with lifetime cover. It’s the most comprehensive pet insurance. It will pay out for ongoing issues your pet may suffer through their lifetime.

You’ll find that lifetime cover is usually broken into two different categories: pet condition per year cover and annual lifetime cover.

The per condition per year cover sets out a maximum limit for a specific condition that will reset each year.

Alternatively, annual cover has an overall limit inclusive of all conditions your pet may suffer throughout a year which resets each year.

Non-lifetime cover – As you can probably figure out, non-lifetime cover isn’t as comprehensive and omit certain conditions once you hit your limit. Once again, it’s split into two categories: per condition cover and time-limit per condition cover.

Per condition cover limits the amount paid out for each condition and once the limit is reached, the pet insurance company will no longer pay out.

Time-limit per condition cover has a condition limit and a time limit. For instance, after 12 months, a condition may be excluded.

Accident only – The least comprehensive option is accident-only cover. As the name suggests, it will only cover injuries arising from accidents to help with vet costs. While it covers accidents, this type of policy excludes illnesses.

It’s worth point out you may find it difficult to insure older pets.

How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost?

The cost of pet insurance will vary depending on the type of cover you take out. The monthly cost will depend on your pet and the type of policy you opt for. For example, an older pet will cost a lot more to insure because they’ll be prone to more issues in their senior years. Alternatively, fully comprehensive insurance that covers long-term illnesses will also prove more costly.

The cost of insuring my dogs through a comprehensive policy is around £25 for each pet. You can expect to pay between £20 to £40 for most canine and feline companions.

Alternatively, if you’re on a budget and your cat or dog doesn’t have a history of illnesses, you may prefer to go for an accident-only policy that can cost as little as £10 a month.

The average yearly cost of a lifetime policy is £418 in comparison to an average of £75 for accident-only policies.

As we mentioned above, the age of your pet can impact your yearly premiums, while other factors such as breed can play a role. Some breeds, such as French Bulldogs, are prone to breathing issues and can cost more than a cross breed that doesn’t have a history of problems.

Do Vets Accept Pet Insurance?

Not all vets accept pet insurance so it’s vital that you research whether your local vet will accept the company that you opt for as well as the policy. You may find that you’re required to pay the initial fee up front before your pet insurance provider reimburse you at a later date.

Best Pet Insurance UK – Five Top Picks

1) Waggel

Website: www.waggel.co.uk

Waggel’s mission is to create a membership-based insurance platform that’s fully loaded and transparent at its core. You can avail of annual vet fee coverage of £2,000, £4,000, £6,000, £8,000 or £10,000. There’s £1,000 for cover of death and £2m third-party liability. Waggel will cover reoccurring conditions, dental, payment for loss or death and much more. With regards to the Pet Policy Excess, there’s an option for £50, £100, £250 and £500. They’ve also teamed up with FirstVet so customers can get free video consultations with a UK-trained vet. The added bonus of being a Waggel member is that you can avail of their rewards, which vary from experiences, services and offers from hand-picked bespoke partners. What I really like about Waggel is that pet owners can make a claim simply by logging onto their Waggel account and starting a claims process. It’s a modern and simple approach to pet insurance – and a welcome change if you’re used to lots of paperwork and inconvenient trips to the vet when trying to make a claim with a previous pet insurance provider. You can even track your payment in real time.

For more information and to get a quote: www.waggel.co.uk

2) Agria

Website: agriapet.co.uk

Agria’s big selling point is they provide lifetime cover. They offer lifetime insurance in the event that your pet develops an ongoing condition. Depending on whether you opt fo their Lifetime Plus or Lifetime policy, Agria will cover vet fees from £6,500 to £12,500, which will renew each year for the rest of your pet’s life. They’ll also cover third-party liability, from £2m to £3m. Agria will contribute between £1,000 and £1,500 for advertising in the event your dog is lost or stolen. Pet parents will be able to get access to the Pet Health Helpline and Free Pet24 tag. You’ve also got optional cover for death or loss from theft or straying, boarding fees, breeding risks cover and overseas travel. Agria explain that they give pet owners the chance to pick and choose the optional benefits so you don’t end up paying a premium for something you don’t need. However, you can’t submit your Agria claim online. Instead, you’ll have to make a trip to your vet once you’ve printed out the necessary paperwork. This isn’t as convenient as a fully online service like Waggel but we like the optional benefits.

For more information and to get a quote: agriapet.co.uk

3) John Lewis Pet Insurance

Website: www.johnlewisfinance.com

John Lewis provide cover for your canine companion irrespective of breed or mix. Their website writes that their cover has been crafted to ensure you’re covered whether you need to pay vet bills for illnesses and injuries, a one-off trip to the vet or a reoccurring or ongoing treatment. John Lewis offer three cover levels: Essential, Plus and Premier. Depending on your level, they’ll cover vet fees from £3,000 to £12,000. John Lewis will provide lifetime coverage provided you renew your policy and there’s no break in cover. The third-party liability (dogs only) ranges from £1m to £3m. In the event of lost or stolen pets, John Lewis will contribute from £500 to £1,500. John Lewis offer a second pet discount of 5% irrespective of your cover level. It’s worth noting that they do cover dental care but only in the case of emergencies as a result of injury. They offer additional benefits, such as behavioral treatment, treatment food, complementary treatment, accidental damage to other people’s property.

For more information and to get a quote: www.johnlewisfinance.com

4) Argos Pet Insurance

Website: www.argospetinsurance.co.uk

Argos Pet Insurance want to help pet owners where costly vet bills are concerned. They offer three different policies levels: Silver, Gold and Platinum. Argos Pet Insurance will cover vet bills ranging from £2,500 to £7,000. They’ll cover death from accident or illness and loss by theft or straying, ranging from £250 to £1,500. They’ll also provide funds to help you find your dog, from £250 to £1,500. Their third-party liability and legal costs cover is up to £2m. Other additional benefits include cremation and burial costs, hospitalization and kennel fees, holiday cancellation and emergency expenses abroad. Across all their policies, the excess payable is £99. Argos offer the ability to make a vet fee claim online, which can remove some of the hassle and stress associated with pet insurance.

For more information and to get a quote: www.argospetinsurance.co.uk

5) PetPlan

Website: www.petplan.co.uk

Pet Plan write on their website that they have helped millions of pets through illness and injury, insuring up to 1.3 million pets in the UK. They add that they pay 97% of claims that they receive, while they won’t increase your premium just because you made a claim. Pet Plan offer two plans: Covered For Life and 12 month cover. The former will cover illness and injuries year after year so you can continue to claim for a condition as your dog needs treatment. They’ll cover from £4,000 up to £12,000 in vet fees each year. Their 12 month cover will only take care of vet fees up to £3,000. Pet Plan will offer third-party liability ranging from £1m to £2m. They’ll provide between £1,500 and £2,000 following death from illness or injury. Pet Plan cover loss by theft or straying ranging from £1,500 to £2,000. Other options include missing pet advertising and reward, boarding fees, holiday cancellation and more. Pet Plan offer a multi-pet discount of £12 a year.

For more information and to get a quote: www.petplan.co.uk

Anything else to consider?

There are some things to consider if you’re thinking about taking out pet insurance. These include:

Age – The age of your pet is going to impact the type of pet insurance that you’ll be able to take out. It can also affect the cost of your monthly premium. For instance, it’s not easy to get pet insurance for your four-legged companion if they’re over the age of 10.

Pre-existing conditions – Before you take out pet insurance, it’s important to check whether a pet insurance provider will cover pre-existing conditions. You’ll need to disclose any pre-existing conditions before you take out a policy.

Switching policy – While some pet insurance companies provide lifetime cover, if you switch to another company before returning to your initial provider, you’ll no longer be able to avail of their lifetime coverage.

Excesses – We’ve already touched upon the topic of excesses above. Usually pet owners will be asked to pay an excess. For instance, you’ll have to pay a certain amount of a bill up front before the insurance company covers the rest. This could be calculated on a percentage or flat fee basis.

In conclusion

We’ve reached the end of our article on the Best Pet Insurance UK.

We’ve taken a look at five of the best pet insurance UK companies that pet parents can currently avail of.

You’ll need to consider some key things when checking out which pet insurance is best for you. These include lifetime or time-specific coverage, vet fees, third-party liability, loss through accident or theft.

There are a number of factors that can impact your ability to get pet insurance cover, including the age of your dog and whether your pooch has a pre-existing condition.

Our list features five of the leading pet insurance companies in the UK. Waggel is a great option for pet owners who are looking for a modern and transparent approach to pet insurance as well as online claims. John Lewis offer some good coverage in the event of a dental care emergency. Agria have a wealth of experience in the industry with their lifetime coverage.

We consider Waggel to be the best pet insurance company in the UK at the moment but the other four providers are all good options for pet parents who want to protect their furry friends.