The UK’s best pet insurance

Looking for top rated protection for your furry friend? We've compiled a list of some of the best pet insurance providers in the UK and how to find the right level of cover.

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According to Statista, pet owners in the UK spent over £5 billion on veterinary and other pet services in 2019, so it’s important that you’re covered in case your furry friend is ill or injured.

But when it comes to getting pet insurance, it can be hard to know what to look for. Find out how to get the best pet insurance for your furry friend below.

Pet insurance is designed to pay out if your pet is injured in an accident or becomes ill. There are lots of different types of insurance to choose from depending on the level of cover you’re after. You could choose an accident-only policy which would just cover your vet fees if your pet needed medical treatment after an accident.

Alternatively, you could go for a lifetime policy which will provide cover for the whole of your pet’s life. From dogs and cats to fish and snakes, there’s a policy to cover pretty much every pet. Last year the average payout for pet insurance was £822 and the average cost of a premium was £271, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

What makes a good pet insurance policy?

In simple terms, a good insurance policy is one that gives you the level of cover you want for your pet, without breaking the bank.

Like most types of insurance, there are a few factors that influence which pet insurance policy you are likely to need. Basic insurance will only cover your pet against accidental injury, while other policies protect against illness and other issues.

The age, species and general health of your pet, as well as where you live, will all affect the cost of your pet’s insurance. If you have a rare or exotic pet, you will generally need to get specialised insurance.

Popular pet insurance companies in the UK

We’ve compiled some of the best pet insurance providers below and include details on some of the policies they have to offer.

Agria pet insurance

You can only buy lifetime cover from Agria, which will cover your pet for the whole of its life. This UK insurer offers a policy which includes cover of up to £12,500 for vet bills every year and paid out 97% of claims last year. It also provides specialist cover for pet breeders.
  • Agria can pay vet fees directly to you or your vet.
  • Find cover for your rabbit, dog or cat.
  • Expensive policy premiums compared to other insurance providers.

Animal Friends pet insurance

Dogs, cats, or horses are all covered by this specialist insurer which has been providing pet insurance for 20 years. There are different options to choose from depending on the amount of cover you're after. It also provides video consultations around the clock if you need to speak to a vet in an emergency.
  • Customers cited value for money and simple claims process.
  • Several customers mentioned prices creeping up each year.

ManyPets pet insurance

If it's flexibility you're looking for, ManyPets is a great option as it has several different policies to choose from. There's vet cover for medical bills of up to £15,000, depending upon which level of cover you choose. It also has options including cover for pre-existing conditions and money-back options if you don't claim.
  • Pre-existing cover. You are able to get cover for pets which have recent pre-existing conditions, unlike many other providers.
  • ManyPets unique service allows it to negotiate group discounts.
  • Premium freezes. Your premium will never increase if you are on the Fixed for Life policy.
  • Complicated. ManyPets website can be quite confusing &ndash
  • it's hard to find information and it doesn't explain the platform very concisely.
  • Old pets cost more. If your cat or dog is over nine years old, the no-excess option isn't available to you and you'll have to pay 20% of any claim.

Direct Line pet insurance

Direct line is well known for car insurance but it also provides pet insurance, with two options to choose from. Its basic policy includes cover for up to £4,000 and prices start at £6.50 per month. Or you could choose the premium policy, covering vet fees worth up to £8,000 which starts at £10.50 per month.
  • Online discount offered to new customers.
  • Up to 12.5% discount for insuring more than one pet under one policy for the first year.
  • A range of optional extras available for increased pet protection.

M&S pet insurance

You can choose from three different levels of cover with M&S's pet insurance. The premier policy covers bills of up to £7,000 per year while the most basic covers £3,000. There's also a 15% discount if you take out a new policy online, although it's always worth comparing these types of discounts with buying through a comparison website or cashback site.
  • 89% of pet insurance customers in our 2020 customer satisfaction survey would recommend it to a friend.
  • Only covers dogs and cats.

LV pet insurance

Your pet will be covered for vet fees of up to £10,000 with pet insurance from LV and it paid out 96% of claims last year. You can choose from either a lifetime policy or a time-limited policy depending on how much cover you want and there's also a 10% discount if you buy online direct from its website.
  • Customers cited good service and affordable cover.
  • Covers cats and dogs only.

Petplan pet insurance

Petplan can pay your pet's vet fees directly to the vet and it says there's no penalty for claiming, so if you make a claim you don't need to worry about your premiums rising. It covers dogs, cats, and rabbits and paid out 97% of claims last year. It also provides specialist insurance for animals including exotic birds and horses.
  • Multi-pet discount when you insure more than one pet.
  • Four cover levels available for cats and dogs.
  • Access to a pet bereavement helpline with all cover levels.
  • No policies that provide cover for pre-existing conditions.
  • PDSA. As one of the UK’s most well-known pet charities, if you buy an insurance policy from PDSA you are also supporting its work. There’s a range of options to choose from when it comes to the policies and last year it paid out 97% of claims. It can pay your vet directly for treatment costs and there’s a helpline available around the clock.

Best pet insurance for pre-existing medical conditions

If your pet suffers from a pre-existing condition or disease, it can limit your options when it comes to getting insurance. You are still free to take out insurance, but will not be covered for any costs related to the pre-existing condition.

However, some insurance providers will offer cover for pre-existing conditions if your pet remains symptom and treatment-free for a certain period of time, which can be 3 months to 2 years.

Best pet insurance for dogs

Your insurance needs will be determined by the type of dog you have, as well as its lifestyle and behaviour.

Dogs are generally more active than other pets, so basic accident-only insurance may be worth considering. If you want comprehensive coverage, a lifetime insurance policy will give you greater peace of mind when it comes to protecting your dog. To find out more on how to protect your dog, we’ve created a guide on the best dog insurance providers.

Best pet insurance for cats

Cats may be less likely to sustain injuries than dogs, but you can still benefit from insuring your feline friend. Depending on the breed of cat you have, it may be more susceptible to certain illnesses or diseases, which may only be covered under a maximum benefit or lifetime insurance policy.

To get the best pet insurance for cats, you should always compare a range of policies and providers that give your cat the right level of protection, and to make sure you find the plan that represents the best value for money.

Best lifetime pet insurance

Lifetime insurance is the most comprehensive when it comes to covering your pets. When finding the best policy, you should look for those with higher yearly limits, as well as those with premiums that do not increase too much as your pet gets older.

Some insurance policies may even keep premiums at the same price year on year, provided you insure your pet before they reach a certain age.

Best multi-pet insurance

If you’re a crazy cat person (too much?) or simply have more than one pet, you may save money by insuring them under the one policy.

While a certain policy may be the cheapest when it comes to insuring a single pet, you may find other policies actually offer a better discount when insuring multiple pets. As with any pet insurance, the best policy will be one that offers the level of cover you need for all your animals.

Types of pet insurance to consider

In order to get the best pet insurance, you will need to understand all your options, as well as your budget. There are four main types of pet insurance to consider. These are:

  • Accident-only insurance. This is generally the cheapest type of policy and will help cover the cost of the vet when your pet is accidentally injured. It does not cover your pet in the event of illness or disease.
  • Time limited insurance. If you just want to insure your pet in case of short-term illness, a time limited policy can cover you for up to 12 months.
  • Maximum benefit insurance. This covers any claims for a specific medical condition your pet may have, up to an agreed limit.
  • Lifetime insurance. The most comprehensive type of pet insurance, a lifetime policy covers accidental injury, illness and other vet-related costs. However, you will still have a yearly limit on what you can claim and the cost of your premium will increase as your pet gets older.

Finding the best insurance for your pet

There’s lots of choice when it comes to pet insurance, so instead of buying the first policy you see, or the one recommended by your vet, it’s worth comparing different policies and different insurers first. Here are some simple steps to help you narrow down the choices.

  1. Do you really need it? Pet insurance is about paying out if the worst happens but if you could comfortably pay this, either through your income or savings, then you might not need it. However, if you’d struggle to pay, then insurance might be your best option.
  2. What pet are you insuring? Most standard pet insurance policies cover dogs and cats. However, if you have a slightly-less common pet, such as a snake, you may need to buy a specialist policy.
  3. How much cover do you need? Would you be happy with a basic policy which will just pay out for accidents or would you prefer the peace of mind of knowing your policy will pay your vet fees for life? Think carefully through the options before you buy.
  4. Switching isn’t always cheaper. If you switch insurers you usually won’t be covered for any condition your pet has already had treatment for. However, it’s always worth seeing what the price is to see how much you could potentially save.
  5. Compare prices and insurers. If you’re buying insurance for your pet for the first time, or you’re looking to switch insurers, there are lots of options so make sure you check a few different insurers and don’t take the first price you see.

Compare pet insurance providers

Once you have an understanding of the type of cover you need, you can compare pet insurance policies below.

Name Product Age cover starts from Annual vet fees covered Details
PetGuard Pet Insurance
PetGuard Pet Insurance
8 weeks
£12,000
Specialist pet insurance for cats and dogs.
4Paws Pet Insurance
6 weeks
£12,000
4Paws is underwritten by the insurance giants Aviva and Covea Insurance.
Animal Friends pet insurance
8 weeks
£6000
Animal Friends is an award-winning business and one of the largest pet insurance providers in the UK. They provide pet insurance for cats, dogs, horses and also for horse-riders.
Agria Pet Insurance
8 weeks
£12,500
Agria Pet insurance is underwritten by Agria Försäkring and Ageas Insurance Limited.
LV= pet insurance
8 weeks
Up to £10,000
LV= offers both time-limited and lifetime cover for cats and dogs. There are five levels of cover in total, with two time-limited and three lifetime policies.
Perfect Pet
Perfect Pet
4 weeks
£4000
Perfect Pet insurance provides specialist cover for any dog or cat, while also offering multi-pet policies.
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Bottom line

The best pet insurance policy for you needs to give you the right level of cover. This will depend on lots of things including the type of pet you’re insuring, how much coverage you want, and also your budget.

With pet insurance there are often limits for specific treatments, so it’s well worth giving the small print a scan to make sure you’re happy with the cover on offer before you buy.

The best pet insurance in 2020 by customer satisfaction

We asked policyholders to rate their satisfaction with their insurance company, and whether they’d recommend it to a friend. We’ve shown both for each brand in the table below. Our independent survey of 750 insurance customers was carried out in December 2019.

Overall satisfactionCustomers who’d recommendIssuerReview
★★★★★89%M&S Bank logoM&S Bank is the financial arm of the high-street staple. Its pet insurance has three levels of cover for cats and dogs and the service was said to be quick and easy by customers in our survey, nabbing M&S the top spot for pet insurance.View deals
★★★★★89%Direct Line logoDirect Line is mostly known for its car insurance, but the company’s pet insurance offering is just as solid. Direct Line has two levels of cover and a claims process praised by customers for being easy and fast.View deals
★★★★★84%Petplan logoAs well as pet insurance for cats, dogs and rabbits, Petplan also covers horses and exotic pets. The focus is solely on pets here and customers were full of praise for the company’s service.View deals
★★★★★70%Animal Friends logoAnimal Friends offers four different types of pet insurance policies for a variety of furry and feathered members of the household. Customers praised the good value of the cover and the simple claims process.View deals
★★★★★81%Sainsbury's logoWhile more of Sainsbury’s customers said they would recommend the service, its overall score pushed it down a bit in our ranking. That said, customers said the rates are good and they love earning Nectar points through their premiums.View deals
★★★★★75%Argos logoNot everyone realises that Argos offers financial products along with its huge catalogue, but there are three levels of cover here for cats and dogs. Customers said the cover was easy to set up, which is no surprise really, considering the provider.View deals
★★★★★71%MORE THAN logoThere are four levels of cover available from More Than, with the top option providing lifetime cover for your cat or dog. Customers told us they were happy with the service provided. Online and multi-pet discounts are available.View deals
★★★★★71%LV= logoLV= features an impressive five levels of cover: two time limited and three lifetime policies, all with different vet fee caps. Customers surveyed praised the good service and affordable premiums offered by the company.View deals
★★★★★70%Tesco logoThe largest supermarket chain in the UK, Tesco has four levels of cover for cats and dogs, including a very basic accident and injury policy. Customers in our survey reported good value premiums (after all, every little helps!).View deals
★★★★★64%Legal & General logoLegal & General offers six levels of cover, ranging from a basic accident only policy to a lifetime policy with £10,000 for vet fees per year. Customers praised the no-fuss service, complete with low prices.View deals
★★★★★67%Asda logoAnother high-street supermarket that’s branched out to financial services, Asda stocks six diverse pet insurance policies for cats and dogs. The brand’s customers told us they were happy with both the service and prices on offer.View deals
★★★★★63%John Lewis Finance logoBetter known for the posh department stores, John Lewis Finance offers three levels of pet insurance policies for cats and dogs. Unsurprisingly, customers called the cover on offer from John Lewis “high quality”.View deals

Frequently asked questions

The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products we can track; we don't cover every product on the market...yet. Unless we've indicated otherwise, products are shown in no particular order or ranking. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations), aren't product ratings, although we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it; this is subject to our terms of use. When making a big financial decision, it's wise to consider getting independent financial advice, and always consider your own financial circumstances when comparing products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

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