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What is lifetime pet insurance?

Discover what a lifetime policy is and whether it's the right policy for your pet

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Written by  Lauren Chong
7 min read
Updated: 13 Feb 2024

This article is your guide to understanding the ins and outs of lifetime pet insurance. We'll explore what makes these policies unique and help you determine if they're the right fit for you and your pet's needs. 

When it comes to safeguarding the health and happiness of your beloved pet, securing a comprehensive insurance policy is paramount. Lifetime pet insurance stands out as the gold standard for pet owners seeking peace of mind. By opting for a lifetime policy early in your pet's life, you can sidestep the pitfalls of exclusions for pre-existing conditions, ensuring a more secure health safety net for your furry friend. 

Definition of a lifetime insurance policy 

Lifetime insurance policies offer the most extensive coverage available, renewing annually and providing for any medical conditions that may develop throughout your pet's life while insured. These policies are inclusive, covering both accidents and illnesses, with the benefit of annual claim limits that reset each year when you renew your policy. 

mother and son holding cat

How lifetime insurance works 

Paying premiums can be done monthly or annually, but it's critical to keep the policy active to ensure your pet's continuous coverage. You can claim for any vet bills (health treatments that are included in your policy) that incur while your pet is insured. It is unlikely that a lifetime pet insurance policy will cover pre-existing conditions, but if your pet develops any health conditions while you are covered with a lifetime policy, that condition will be covered with an annual claim limit. Even if the condition reappears later in your pet’s life, a lifetime policy will cover it until the monetary limit has been reached. 

Coverage details 

While each policy is different, a typical lifetime policy includes: 

  • Vet costs:Veterinary fees for treatment up to a certain amount, depending on the policy you choose. Your claim limit will reset each year and previously claimed conditions will still be covered. 

  • Liability cover: If your pet causes damage to others or their property. 

  • Dental injuries:Routine dental cover is not usually covered; however, any dental issues related to an illness or injury will be covered by your policy. 

  • Cattery/kennel costs: If the owner becomes ill, the policy may cover boarding costs. 

  • Lost or stolen pets: The policy may cover advertising costs to find a lost or stolen pet. 

  • Euthanasia: If necessary, the policy may cover the costs for euthanizing the pet. 

Coverage limits 

Lifetime policies are not without their exclusions. As with all pet insurance policies, there are certain exclusions to lifetime plans. There may, for example, be age limits and some policies also exclude hereditary conditions. 

Common coverage limits: 

  • Age limits: Pets are typically covered from eight weeks old, but older pets may face exclusions. 

  • Annual limits per condition: A cap exists on how much can be claimed per condition each year. 

  • Per condition limit: Once a lifetime limit per condition is reached, the owner must cover additional costs. 

Cost of lifetime pet insurance 

Premiums are influenced by factors such as the pet's age, location, pre-existing health conditions, breed, current health, and the amounts of excess and co-payment required. 

Comparison with other policies 

Lifetime policies stand apart by offering continuous coverage for conditions that develop while the policy is in effect, with a predetermined annual claim amount. 

Switching lifetime policies 

When renewal time comes around, premiums may increase due to the pet's age or past claims. Switching policies can be costly if the pet has pre-existing conditions, and new policies typically include an initial no-claim period. 

Deciding on lifetime pet insurance 

Despite the higher cost, many pet owners choose lifetime policies for their comprehensive coverage. While there are several considerations to choose from when picking the best type of pet insurance for you and your pet, most pet owners tend to opt for a lifetime policy as it offers the most comprehensive cover. While this type of policy is the most expensive, it is likely to cover any illnesses or injuries that your pet has in their lifetime and will continue to cover them regardless of any conditions they may develop as they age. 

Alternatives to lifetime insurance 

  • Time-limited pet insurance: This kind of policy is less comprehensive and generally does not cover pre-existing conditions. You may also struggle to get time-limited cover as your pet gets older. 

  • Maximum benefit pet cover: A maximum benefit policy will cover your pet cat or dog for each illness or injury up to a specified, pre-set amount. Unlike a time-limited policy, you have no time restraints on how long you can claim for a condition, you only have a claim limit, after which you will have to pay the remainder of any fees by yourself. If your pet has a pre-existing condition before you take out your maximum benefit policy, that condition will not be covered. 

  • Accident-only pet insurance: This option covers accidents but not illnesses and is the most affordable but least comprehensive. 

Finding cheap pet insurance deals 

In the quest for the best pet insurance quotes from leading UK providers, tailored to your specific needs, it's essential to provide detailed information about your pet and your circumstances. By doing so, you can ensure that you find a policy that offers the best value and coverage for your pet's unique needs. Ensuring your pet's health and well-being is a lifelong commitment. With the right lifetime pet insurance policy, you can rest assured that your furry companion will have the protection they need throughout their life. Remember, the earlier you secure coverage, the better prepared you'll be for whatever may come your pet's way.  

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