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Cancelling pet insurance

Emma Lunn
Written by  Emma Lunn
5 min read
Updated: 29 Apr 2024

Pet insurance can be a great way to manage some of the costs of owning a pet. Vet bills can be very expensive, sometimes even thousands of pounds for a single treatment, while long-term issues can mean ongoing expenses. 

Pet insurance can also cover the following: 

  • Third party liability cover 

  • The cost of finding a lost pet 

  • Therapies and prescriptions 

  • Euthanasia 

  • Boarding fees if the owner is hospitalised 

However, there may be circumstances where you want to cancel your dog insurance or cat insurance – or cover for another animal – before the end of the policy term. For example, you may think that pet insurance has become unaffordable or that you can find cheaper cover elsewhere. You might also need to cancel your policy if your pet goes missing or dies. 

If you’re thinking of cancelling pet insurance to save money, it’s important to consider if this really is a cost-effective strategy as pet insurance is normally worth having. Without insurance, you’d have to foot the bill for any medical treatment your pet needs yourself.  

Can you cancel pet insurance at any time? 

With most insurers you can cancel pet insurance at any time.  Only the policyholder can cancel the insurance and they will need to contact the insurer – by phone is best, although some insurers let you cancel online or by email. You should check your policy for the exact procedure to follow to cancel. You might find this information by: 

  • Reading your policy documents 

  • Checking your insurer’s website 

  • Phoning your insurer and asking 

  • Using your insurer’s online chat or email support 

pet bull terrier

Reasons why people cancel pet insurance 

The main reason people cancel pet insurance is because they can’t afford it. Pet insurance can be quite expensive, and the cost of living crisis means many people are struggling to make ends meet. 

Some pet owners simply cancel their pet insurance and go without cover, while others might look for a better deal with another insurer, or buy a policy offering a more basic level of cover. 

There might also be instances where you are not happy with your insurer’s service or you have a negative claims experience, so you decide to leave. 

How do I cancel my pet insurance? 

The process for cancelling your pet insurance depends on where you are at with your policy. For example, you might: 

  • Cancel during the 14-day cooling off period 

  • Cancel mid-policy 

  • Cancel auto-renewal 

Cancelling during the cooling-off period 

When you buy any type of insurance you can cancel the policy within 14 days of the cover starting. This is called the 'cooling-off period' and it normally begins the day you receive your insurance documents or when the cover starts (whichever is later).  

As with other types of insurance, you can cancel pet insurance in the 14-day cooling-off period and receive a full refund. The only exception to this is if you have already made a claim on your policy. In this scenario no premium will be refunded.  

To cancel during the cooling-off period, call your insurer and ask what the process is. You might be able to cancel over the phone or by completing an online form. 

Cancelling mid-policy 

After the 14-day cooling-off period, some insurers will let you cancel free of charge, while others will charge a cancellation or admin fee. This fee must be reasonable – if you think it’s not, you can dispute it with the insurer and ultimately take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service. The process for cancellation depends on your insurer – check your policy. You might be able to cancel in the following ways: 

  • By phone 

  • By email 

  • By competing an online form 

When cancelling, you’ll need to give your insurer certain information. As an example, PetPlan’s online cancellation form asks for the following: 

  • Your name and date of birth 

  • Your postcode 

  • Policy number 

  • The number of pets whose policies you wish to cancel 

  • Reason for cancelling 

  • Whether you plan to change insurer or go without cover 

  • The date you want to cancel your policy 

Cancelling auto-renewal 

Some pet insurance policies are set up to ‘auto-renew’. Your insurer will write to you about 28 days before your pet insurance policy ends, tell you the renewal price and as long as you don’t cancel your renewal, it will go ahead at the new price. The payment will be taken via the payment method you used previously. 

Although auto-renewal means there won’t be a gap in your cover, it’s not always a good idea. Your renewal premium for the next year’s cover may be more than the amount you paid the previous year due to your pet aging, it’s health status, or adjustments in policy terms.  

If your renewal quote is too expensive, or you find better cover elsewhere, contact your insurer to cancel auto-renewal before the renewal date. You might also be able to do this online. 

Should I cancel pet insurance? 

There are several factors to consider before you cancel your pet insurance policy. 

Pre-existing conditions 

If your pet has a pre-existing health condition, this is likely to be excluded from any new pet insurance policy you take out with a different provider. 

If you have ‘lifetime’ pet insurance, any condition your pet develops will continue to be covered as long as you keep renewing the policy each year. So think very carefully before cancelling a lifetime policy. 

If you have more than one pet 

If you have multi-pet insurance, cancelling cover for one of your pets may affect how much you pay to insure the others. 

Waiting periods 

If you cancel your pet insurance to switch providers, there is likely to be a waiting period before your new policy becomes active. 

The waiting period is usually about two weeks and is in place to stop pet owners taking out cover at the point of needing to make a claim. The effect of the waiting period is that your pet will be temporarily uninsured. 

Financial risk 

Vets fees are expensive. If you cancel your pet insurance, you’ll need to foot these costs yourself. As an example, the Animal Trust charges up to £1,849 for a fracture repair for a cat or dog. The Animal Trust is a not-for-profit organisation – private vets will charge much more than this (but not many display their prices on their websites).  

Unless you have sufficient savings, suddenly needing to pay vets fees could have a serious impact on your financial situation. If you can’t pay for treatment it could mean your pet being in pain, becoming more seriously ill or, in the worst case scenario, passing away. 

Will I receive a refund if I cancel my pet insurance? 

Rules about cancellation and refunds vary from insurer to insurer but, in general, the following applies: 

  • You can cancel pet insurance in the 14-day cooling off period and receive a refund. However, your insurer may take off a small amount to cover the days when the policy was in force. 

  • The only exception to this is if you have already made a claim on your policy. In this case no premium will be refunded.  

  • If you cancel after the 14-day cooling off period and have not made a claim, you will receive a refund for any cover you haven’t used. For example, if you cancel a 12-month policy after four months you will receive a refund for the remaining eight months. 

  • You will not get a refund if you have already made a claim on your policy. If you pay monthly, and you’ve made a claim, you will have to make the rest of your payments for the year before you can cancel. 

  • With some insurers you won’t have to pay the rest of the payments if the claim was because your pet died or was stolen. 

  • You may have to pay a cancellation or admin fee.  

Disputing pet insurance cancellation costs 

If you don’t feel you have received the correct refund amount from your insurer after cancelling your pet insurance, or they asked you to pay premiums for the rest of the policy year, approach your provider in the first instance to raise a dispute. 

Insurers should publish their complaints procedure on their website. 

Make sure you keep records of all correspondence during the cancellation process. 

Insurers have eight weeks to issue a letter detailing their final decision on any complaint. After this you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service.  

Cancelling pet insurance when a pet dies 

If your pet dies, and you have made a successful claim in the policy year, your insurer is likely to insist that you pay the full year’s premium. 

This applies whether you paid the whole premium upfront or if you pay monthly, and whether or not the cause of death was related to the claim.  

On the plus side, you may be able to make a claim if your pet dies.  

Some insurers offer ‘Passing Away’ cover. For example, Many Pets covers the value of your pet if they pass away due to an accident or a diagnosed illness up until the age of nine. After your pet is nine-years-old, Many Pets will only cover passing away as a result of an accident (not an illness). It also offers ‘Farewell’ cover, which can help with costs up to £150 if your pet needs to be put to sleep.  

Cancelling pet insurance when a pet goes missing 

If your pet is lost, missing or stolen, it’s up to you how long you wait before cancelling your insurance. 

Your pet insurance company might be able to help you find your missing pet. For example, Petplan’s policies offer up to £2,000 in cover towards advertising and rewards. Some insurers will also pay a percentage of the amount you paid for your pet if it is reported lost or stolen. If you have a dog, they will need to be microchipped to be eligible for this. 

If your insurer settles a claim for a stolen or missing pet, it will cancel your policy from the date it pays your claim. If your pet is later found, you’ll need to buy a new pet insurance policy. 

Alternatives to cancelling your pet insurance 

If you are cancelling your pet insurance due to high costs, there are other options you should consider first. 

Contact your insurer and tell them you’re struggling financially. Insurers are obliged to support customers in financial difficulty, so they’ll explain your options and ways they can help. For example, they might be able to offer you a lower level of cover for a lower cost. 

If you are cancelling to find cheaper or better cover, there are a couple of things you should take into consideration. Firstly, replacement cover might be more expensive as prices are based on your pet’s age when your policy starts. Also, if your pet has pre-existing medical conditions, they usually won’t be covered under a new policy. 

However, in many situations shopping around for pet insurance might be a good option. You might either be able to find cheaper cover or more comprehensive cover for the same price, ensuring that your pet’s wellbeing continues to be protected. 

Compare pet insurance quotes with MoneySupermarket. 

Why compare pet insurance with MoneySuperMarket  

  • Save time 

MoneySupermarket makes it easy to compare policies from a huge panel of pet insurance providers saving you the time and hassle of researching each provider individually 

  • Save money 

Quotes are sorted from the least expensive, so you can quickly find a pet insurance deal that fits your needs and budget, and save money on your insurance premium. 

  • Get tailored quotes 

With a wide range of policy options, you can find pet insurance that meets your unique needs and provides the coverage you need for you and your pet.