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Best and worst pet insurance

Our expert analysis rates the best and worst pet insurance policies - and tells you which pet insurance companies provide the best customer service.

In this article
How do I find the best pet insurance? What does pet insurance cover? Who are best and worst pet insurance companies? What types of pet insurance are there?
What are the best cat insurance policies? What are the best dog insurance policies? How can I save money on pet insurance?

How do I find the best pet insurance?

With a huge variety of pet insurance policies on the market that pay out in different ways, finding the right cover for your four-legged friend can be difficult.

We've collected customer scores for major pet insurers and analysed their policies for both cats and dogs.

Here we explain how to find a policy that suits you, and reveal the top-rated insurers. 

What does pet insurance cover?

Not all policies will include all of these types of cover, and limits and exclusions may apply - see our individual insurer reviews for more details.

 

Death by accident or illness

 

If your pet dies you can get back the cost of what you paid for it or what it could sell for. 

Most pet insurance policies have an age limit - typically of seven to ten years for a cat and seven to eight years for a dog - after which insurers will not pay out, or you'll have to make a contribution to costs. 

 

Missing pet cover

 

Most pet insurance providers cover the cost of putting up posters and paying a reward if your pet goes missing.

 

Third-party liability (dog only policies)

 

If you have a dog, your pet insurance policy should pay out if your dog injures a third party or damages their property. 

This covers legal costs, expenses and the claimant’s expenses. Cats don’t need third-party cover as legally they are considered ‘free spirits’.

 

Overseas travel cover

 

Most pet insurance policies will provide cover if your pet falls ill, is involved in an accident, or needs veterinary treatment when abroad.

 

Cattery and kennel fees

 

If you are hospitalised and there is no one else to look after your pet, your pet insurance provider will pay out for your pet to be put in a cattery or a kennel. You usually have to be in hospital for at least two to four consecutive days.

 

Dental cover

 

Most pet insurers offer cover if your pet needs dental work. Dental cover usually only covers accidents but some pet insurance providers may also cover dental illness.

Policies aren't likely to cover routine treatments, or expenses connected with pregnancy and giving birth.

Who are best and worst pet insurance companies?

In October 2020 we surveyed 1,194 Which? members who have pet insurance. 

The table below shows which of the 11 pet insurance providers we were able to rate have the most - and least - satisfied customers, as well as how they score for seven different aspects of their service.

You can also click on each individual insurer to see how their pet insurance policies stack up in terms of the quality of cover on offer. 

Which? members can log-in to see the results of our analysis. If you're not already a member, join Which? and get full access to these results and all our reviews.

Brand undefined Ease of application process Policy clarity Communications Handling of queries Concerns and complaints Transparency of charges Reasonably priced
75%

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

- -

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

70%

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

- -

5 out of 5

4 out of 5

68%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

- -

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

67%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

66%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

65% -

4 out of 5

- - - -

3 out of 5

62%

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

4 out of 5

- -

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

59%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

- -

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

58%

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

-

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

53%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

- -

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

53%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

- -

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

 

Table notes: Customer Score data based on a survey of 1,194 Which? members with pet insurance in October 2020. '-' represents where we have insufficient sample size (less than 30) to generate a star rating.

 
 

 

How we calculate the best pet insurance

 

The customer score is based on a survey of 1,194 Which? members are worked out using a combination of overall satisfaction and likelihood of recommending the provider to a friend. 

If two or more brands show the same overall score, they are ranked to the next decimal place. Providers must receive a minimum sample size of 30 to be included.

Customer Score is calculated using a combination of overall satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending the provider.

Customer Score sample size: Bought by Many (56), Direct Line (50), LV= (65), Animal Friends (144), PetPlan (349), The Kennel Club (31), John Lewis (52), Marks & Spencer Bank (40), Tesco Bank (86), Sainsbury's Bank (40), MORE THAN (38).

What types of pet insurance are there?

Just as car insurance can be divided up into comprehensive and third-party cover, there are various types of pet insurance policies:

Lifetime cover pet insurance

Lifetime cover is the most comprehensive pet insurance on the market and pays out for ongoing issues your pet may have throughout its lifetime. 

There are three main types of lifetime cover:

Annual cover has a maximum overall limit that includes all conditions your pet may experience, which resets each year.

Per condition per year has a maximum limit for specific conditions that your pet may have, which resets each year.

Per-condition lifetime cover (overall annual limit) these policies have annual individual condition limits and a maximum overall annual limit across all conditions, i.e. up to £4k per condition, and £12k across all conditions per year.

Both per condition per year and annual pet insurance policies cover ongoing illnesses every year unless you cancel your policy.

Non-lifetime cover pet insurance

Non-lifetime cover is less comprehensive and excludes certain conditions after you hit your claims limit. 

There are two main types of non-lifetime insurance:

Per condition pet insurance cover pays a limited amount for each condition and, once the limit has been reached, the condition is excluded from future payouts.

Time-limit per condition pet insurance cover has both a per condition limit and time limit, typically of 12 months, before the condition is excluded.

With a time limit policy, even if your limit for a particular condition wasn’t reached, the condition would eventually be excluded after 12 months.

Accident-only pet insurance

Accident-only pet insurance provides a fixed sum of money for each accidental injury to help pay for your pet’s treatment. It is the cheapest type of pet insurance policy but excludes cover for illness entirely.

What are the best cat insurance policies?

We've analysed 68 cat insurance policies to help you find the best cover for your feline friend, and rated them on eight of the most important features of cat insurance:

  • vet-fee cover
  • euthanasia
  • cremation/burial
  • dental cover
  • kennel fees
  • advertising and reward fees
  • death by accident and illness cover 
  • policy fees

The table below shows the highest-rated policies for each of the five types of cat insurance, excluding accident-only insurance.

Find out more about how pet insurance works in our guide to pet insurance explained.

Which? members can log in to see the results of our analysis. If you're not already a member, join Which? and get full access to these results and all our reviews.

What are the best dog insurance policies?

We've run more than 63 dog insurance policies through our rigorous analysis to help you find the best quality policy for your pooch. We've rated dog insurance across eight categories:

  • vet fees
  • third-party liability
  • kennel fees
  • euthanasia
  • burials and cremations
  • advertising and rewards
  • death by accident
  • policy fees

The table below shows the highest-rated policies for each of the five types of dog insurance, excluding accident-only insurance.

Which? members can log in to see the results of our analysis. If you're not already a member, join Which? and get full access to these results and all our reviews.

How can I save money on pet insurance?

Whatever sort of pet you have, or cover you want, it's possible to bring down the cost.

1. Find out the needs of your breed

Finding out the needs of your particular breed of pet could really help you find a cheaper premium. Certain breeds are prone to particular injuries and are more expensive to insure. 

For example, Labrador retrievers can be prone to cruciate ligament problems and dachshunds to back problems, both of which can set you back thousands of pounds in treatment costs.

It’s also worth speaking to your vet about common conditions or hereditary problems. They should be able to estimate how much insurance you should get for your pet.

2. Buy a policy when your pet is healthy

It might seem counterintuitive but it's much better to buy pet insurance when your pets are in good health. This is because pre-existing conditions are usually excluded from new pet insurance policies. 

3. Get your pet microchipped

Microchipping your dog has been a legal requirement since 6 April 2016. Some pet insurance companies offer a discount if your cat is microchipped so be sure to ask when you’re getting quotes. 

4. Check out multi-pet policies

A number of pet insurers on the market will offer you a discount – sometimes up to 10% - so check a multi-pet policy to see if you can cut your costs even further.

5. Pay annually (if you can afford it)

Monthly payments may seem convenient, but a monthly plan is essentially a high-interest loan and can add significantly to your costs. 

6. Haggle on renewal

If you believe your pet insurer has raised premiums without a good reason - or is claiming your pet has conditions it doesn't have - be ready to complain. Getting advice from your pet's vet can help here.

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