How much does pet insurance cost?

How much should you be paying to protect your furry friend?

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We all want what is best for our pets so getting insurance makes sense. Should they fall sick you’ll want to be thinking about getting them better again and not worrying about vet fees.

Thankfully pet insurance got slightly cheaper in 2018, coming in at an average of £279 according to the Association of British Insurers. Although it did rise for the eight years prior to that.

Yet insurance prices really do vary and are dependent on a whole host of factors. Find out what affects your premiums below, so you can try and bring those pesky insurance costs down.

What influences the cost of pet insurance?

A number of factors can influence the cost of your pet insurance policy, including your pet’s age, breed and health as well as your location.

Your pet

  • Species. The type of pet you want to insure plays a big part in the calculating of your insurance costs. Horses are expensive, while dogs are often pricier than cats.
  • Its breed. Certain breeds of cats and dogs have a longer life expectancy than others. Purebreds are sometimes prone to particular health conditions, which will mean higher insurance costs. Bigger animals require larger doses of drugs and generally take longer to recover too, which will mean pricier premiums.
  • Its age. The older your pet the more likely it is to develop a condition and need treatment, which is reflected in higher insurance costs.
  • Its gender. It might come as a surprise to some but female dogs and cats generally have fewer health issues. Plus they’re less likely to get into fights, which means lower insurance costs.


  • Your address. Veterinary clinics in certain parts of the UK are more expensive than others. So someone living in the south will generally have to pay more for their pet’s medical care. This is then reflected in higher insurance costs.

External factors

There are factors that are out of your hands (and your pet’s paws) which influence the cost of your insurance.

  • Costs of treatment. There have been considerable advances in veterinary medicine. These days sickly pets are given specialist treatments like hydrotherapy and chemotherapy, which ultimately means insurers are charged more by clinics. In turn, these costs are then passed on to all paying customers.
  • Your insurer’s payout costs. If your insurance provider has a particularly expensive month or year, where there are more people than usual making claims, it will look to offset these losses by charging all its customers more. If there’s a parvovirus epidemic, for instance, there could be a hike in your premiums.

Ways to save on pet insurance

There are many ways to lower your insurance premium including:

  • Get your pet microchipped. These days you need to get your dog microchipped by law, but some insurers will lower your insurance costs if you microchip your cat.
  • Don’t pay monthly. Try to pay your insurance in an annual lump sum as insurers tend to charge customers who pay monthly more.
  • Stay on top of vaccinations. Keeping on top of your pet’s jabs will lower its chances of suffering from illness and of you having to make a claim. As insurers charge customers who make claims more, this will keep costs down.
  • Take out insurance when your pet is young and healthy. Insurance providers will refuse to cover a pre-existing condition so it’s a good idea to get cover before your pet falls ill or is injured. It could save you thousands of pounds in vet fees in the long run.
  • Multi-pet policies. Own more than just the one critter? Insurers will often give you a discount if you insure multiple pets with them.
  • Turn to a specialist. If you’re struggling to find affordable insurance an insurance broker could help you keep costs down. This could be particularly useful if you own an unusual pet like a bird or snake.

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