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Is pet insurance worth it?

Should I get pet insurance?

published: 20 July 2022
Read time: 10 minutes

Pet Insurance can seem like a big commitment, but making room for it in your budget can be worth it. We’ll help you decide whether it’s right for you and your pet.

Do I need pet insurance? 

It’s not a legal requirement in the UK to have pet insurance. However, whether or not you need pet insurance comes down to what you can afford. When a pet is suddenly affected by a health problem, it’s sometimes necessary to act fast to prevent the condition from getting worse. That means you may be stuck with emergency vet costs at short notice. 

If something ever were to happen to you pet, could you afford the sudden cost of getting them treated? If the answer is no, it’s a good idea to consider pet insurance. Even if your policy is on the cheaper side, that little bit of protection could be the difference between getting your pet treated today and delaying until it’s affordable. 

A dog sitting between a happy couple

Should I get pet insurance? 

Pet insurance is designed to cover large vet bills that you may not be able to afford at short notice. So, if you worry that you may not be able to cover the cost of emergency treatments for your pet, it might be a good time to weigh your options. 

If you have a young, healthy pet, now is the best time to buy pet insurance. This is when policies are going to be the most affordable and when you have the best chance of getting good value protection. If you manage to snag a good deal on a lifetime pet insurance policy for a cat or dog, you can also get protection for more than just necessary vet bills. For example, many providers will offer an allowance to help you recover a lost pet. Some policies will also cover some after-treatment care, like medications, therapies, and sometimes special food prescribed by your vet. 

If you’re not yet sure pet insurance is worth it for you and your pet, read on and we’ll help you figure it out. 

Is dog insurance worth it? 

Dogs can lead very active lifestyles and get up to all sorts of mischief. This means that, out of all pet types, they are some of the most likely to suffer from injuries or health problems. Certain breeds of dog are also more prone to health problems, such as large breeds that are at greater risk of joint problems.  

For these reasons, dog insurance can definitely be worth it, especially if you have a younger dog. Buying pet insurance for a puppy will ensure that most of their health problems are covered as long as you keep up with your premiums. 

Insuring older dogs  

Despite being more expensive, pet insurance for older dogs can still be worth the cost. For example, a policy could cover your dog for conditions that dogs are at greater risk of when they get older, like osteoarthritis, heart problems, or cancer. These are all conditions that should be addressed early and quickly to avoid fast deterioration of your dog’s health. 

By insuring your senior dog before they are diagnosed with these conditions, you can give yourself peace of mind that if these health problems do ever occur, you won’t have to second-guess getting immediate treatment. 

Is pet insurance worth it for a cat? 

Some people think that because cats tend to lead less active lives than dogs or horses, they are less likely to need veterinary treatment. That’s not the case. While dogs are more prone to everyday injuries, cats are more susceptible to certain illnesses than dogs are. 

Illnesses can be more complicated to treat than injuries, requiring medication and sometimes recurring treatments. If you don’t think you could afford the cost of these treatments, it may be wise to consider buying pet insurance for your cat

Insuring indoor cats 

While indoor cats may be less likely to suffer from injuries than outdoor pets, they are just as vulnerable to illnesses and diseases as any other pet.  

According to ManyPets, the most common health problems for cats include lower urinary tract disorders, digestive disorders, and kidney disease, all of which can easily affect an indoor cat, and be costly treat. These conditions usually require close monitoring and quick intervention.  

Insuring other animals 

Rabbit 

If you thought that vet bills cost any less for a rabbit than a cat or dog, you’d likely be mistaken. Certain breeds of rabbit, like giant rabbits and lop breeds, can come across more health issues than others, especially as they get older. Treatments for rabbits can also sometimes require a specialist for small animals, which can drive up the cost.  

If your rabbit fell ill tomorrow, or perhaps injured itself, could you cover the cost of treatment? If the answer is no, it may be worth it to buy rabbit insurance.  

Horse 

Horses can be a huge financial commitment. As well as the initial cost and upkeep of horses being expensive, veterinary treatment for horses can be considerably more expensive than for most other animals.  

Pet insurance for horses can cover not only vet bills but also the theft or death of your horse. So, if you receive income from your horse – either through competition or with riding lessons – horse insurance can reimburse you for some of that lost income, making it a worthwhile investment. 

Can I save on pet insurance premiums? 

The cost of pet insurance depends on the type, age, and health of your pet, as well as your policy options. If you add a higher excess to your policy, you can make your pet insurance more affordable, which is some circumstances can save you money.  

There are also different types of cover that you can get from a pet insurance policy that differ in cost. Opting for less cover will make your policy cheaper but be careful that you don’t prioritise cost too much. The best kind of pet insurance is one that gives you valuable cover at a good price. 

Is lifetime cover worth it? 

Lifetime pet insurance is the most expensive cover but, if bought early and if you’ve managed to snag a good deal for it, it can be a really worthwhile pet insurance. The great thing about lifetime pet insurance is that you can make repeat claims for the same condition during your pet’s lifetime. So, if your pet is diagnosed with a chronic condition after your policy has been put in place, you can continually use your lifetime pet insurance to pay for treatments, medications, and therapies.  

If your animal is young and hasn’t had any serious health problems yet, lifetime pet insurance is very much worth looking into. The only time lifetime pet insurance may not be worthwhile is if you have a senior pet, or your pet has a history of poor health. Policies, in these cases, are likely to be especially expensive and may not always be worth the cost.  

Is accident only cover worth it? 

Whether or not accident only pet insurance is worth it will depend on the health of your pet and what you can afford. While this can be a cheaper policy option than others, it’s very limited and can leave you lacking in cover if your pet gets sick or develops a long-term condition.  

If your pet has a lot of pre-existing conditions, this may be one of the better options for pet insurance. This is because most providers are unlikely to cover treatment for pre-existing conditions. In other cases, you may need to turn to a specialist provider to insure a pet with pre-existing conditions.  

At least with accident only pet insurance, you can get some support when your pet receives any serious injuries.  

Is maximum benefit cover worth it?  

While maximum benefit pet insurance is a bit more expensive compared to the cheaper options, the cover it offers can be very valuable. Since there is no time limit to your cover, you can claim for the same condition several times within your pet’s lifetime, providing you don’t reach your maximum allowance. It also covers most illnesses and injuries aside from pre-existing conditions, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on cover when you need it.  

For a younger, healthy pet, this is a worthwhile option that allows you to save a little bit on your policy compared to lifetime cover. However, if you’re concerned about your cover running out for chronic or recurring conditions, lifetime cover might be the way to go.  

Is time limited cover worth it? 

It’s important to mention that most time-limited pet insurance policies will also have a maximum benefit limit for each condition. So, that means that cover can stop for a condition even before your time limit has run out.  

If you’re looking for cheap pet insurance, time limited is the next step up from accident only. It can be an especially worthwhile pet insurance for owners with a healthy pet breed that aren’t expecting to have to cover any chronic or hereditary conditions. It will cover most immediate injuries and illnesses and the cover is usually enough to help with vet bills until your pet is mostly recovered.  

The only time this cover might be lacking is if your pet suffers from more long-term or recurring problems. 

Should I add optional extras? 

Many providers offer extra cover options for you to add to a pet insurance policy to expand your cover. While these extra options come with added cost, they can be worth it to add to your policy under the right circumstances.  

Some optional extras you may find include:  

Pet travel insurance 

What providers offer will vary, but typically this add-on will cover vet bills abroad as well as cover holiday cancellations if your pet needs emergency treatment.  

If you regularly travel with your pet, pet travel insurance is a valuable add-on for you to consider. It can not only protect your pet, but also protect part of what you spend to travel with your pet.  

Pet dental cover  

Dental problems are some of the most common conditions pet owners see a vet for. Dogs especially are prone to dental health problems, including gum disease, oral lacerations, and cracked teeth from chewing on things they probably shouldn’t. So, if you are looking to insure a dog, dental cover can be a very worthwhile add-on for your policy. While it won’t cover annual check-ups or cleanings, it will cover any emergency dental treatments. 

Third-party liability  

This cover isn’t just for dog bites and cat scratches. There are times when you could be held liable for a complete accident, such as your pet knocking someone over. If that happens, you don’t have to be found liable for this cover to come in handy. It can cost you just to defend yourself against a claim. 

So, for rowdy pets that regularly interact with other people or get time out of the house, third-party liability can be worthwhile to add to your pet insurance.

Death benefit 

It might feel wrong or strange to receive a pay-out upon the death of your pet, but some owners may find this cover a saving grace. It can help you cover the cost of giving your beloved pet the send-off they deserve, or it can help you cover the cost of getting another pet when you’re ready.  

Is it worth insuring pets with pre-existing conditions? 

Having a pre-existing condition can considerably limit your pet insurance options or drive up the cost. In some cases, the cost of insuring your pet with a pre-existing condition may be too much to justify, but that won’t always be the case.  

Some providers may be willing to cover pre-existing conditions if they are minor, short-term, or not likely to reoccur. In other cases, you can still get good value pet insurance if you’re willing to cover treatment of your pet’s pre-existing conditions yourself. 

In which case, it’s important to compare the different costs of policies and decide for yourself whether it is worthwhile to have your pet’s pre-existing condition covered.  

Find pet insurance that’s worth the cost with MoneySuperMarket 

Worthwhile pet insurance is a policy that balances cover with cost, which can be difficult to shop for when there is so much choice out there. At MoneySuperMarket, we make the task easy by allowing you to compare pet insurance quotes from across the UK market all in one place.  

All you need to do is answer a few questions about yourself and your pet and we will fetch quotes from some of the top UK pet insurance providers to match your needs.