Pet owners can tell you how much their furry friend improves their quality of life. Owning a pet can reduce depression, stress and anxiety as well as provide companionship. That said, being a pet owner can also lead to unexpected medical bills should the pet get injured or fall ill. Find out more about lifetime pet insurance to avoid huge veterinary bills.
Compare lifetime pet insurance
Updated May 25th, 2019
What is lifetime pet insurance?
A lifetime pet insurance policy provides coverage for any medical treatment your pet might need throughout its lifetime. It’s the most expensive form of pet insurance, but it also provides the most coverage.
However, this doesn’t mean it provides for unlimited cover, which is why it’s important to read the terms and conditions of your policy.
Another feature you must keep in mind is lifetime pet insurance policies must be renewed every year as each policy only covers a 12-month period.
Lifetime pet insurance means you can claim the cost of veterinary treatments your pet has during the term of your policy. Most policies cover treatment resulting from:
Illness, including behavioural illnesses if referred by your vet
Physiotherapy if referred by your vet
Some policies may even offer coverage for extra treatment your pet may need following an accident and injury. This could include things like:
Some insurers can cover you in case your pet dies, or needs to be euthanised due to illness or injury.
Again, it’s always a good idea to check the terms of your policy as some insurers may not cover your pet after it passes a certain age. For example, with cats and dogs, eight years old is the age at which most insurers don’t cover pets.
Lifetime pet insurance can cover the purchase price of your pet if they go missing as a result of theft or straying. This can even cover the cost of advertising if your pet is lost, as well as any reward offered to the person who finds it.
However, you must report your pet is missing to the police and most insurers then pay out if they’re not found within 30 days of being reported.
This coverage only applies to dogs and will cover you if your dog causes damage to someone else’s property or causes someone to be killed or injured.
If someone is seriously injured or killed by your dog and you’re taken to court it could cost you hundreds of thousands of pounds so look for policies with a high level of cover.
Different types of lifetime pet insurance cover
Lifetime pet insurance policies come in two different types:
Annual limit per condition. In this version of coverage the insurer sets a limit to the amount you can claim for each condition. For example, the insurer sets the annual condition limit to £5,000. This means if your dog develops arthritis, the maximum you could claim for medical treatment for the disease in any single year would be £5,000.
Overall lifetime limit. This version of coverage sets a lifetime limit on the amount you can claim for each condition. For example, if the lifetime limit is £30,000, the maximum you can claim for treatment of your arthritic dog during its lifespan is £30,000. Any extra costs incurred for its treatment would have to be covered by you.
What affects the cost of lifetime pet insurance?
The cost of your lifetime pet insurance policy depends on a number of factors:
The age of your pet. The older your pet is the more they’ll cost to insure as older animals are more likely to have medical issues.
Pre-existing medical conditions. If your pet has any medical ailments at the time of buying insurance, they’re likely to cost more to insure.
Cost of your pet. Pedigree pets cost more to cover than crossbreeds, because they’re more expensive to buy and can suffer from hereditary conditions.
Type of pet. Smaller pets such as rabbits or guinea pigs are cheaper to cover as veterinary bills are also lower than those for dogs or cats.
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Yes. But it’s likely to be more expensive to cover an older pet as opposed to a young one.
The best insurance policy is one that’s right for your needs and one you can afford. A lifetime policy may be more cost-effective if your pet is young, while a time limited policy may be more effective if you’ll only have the pet for a temporary period.
You can get pet insurance for dogs, cats, rabbits, horses and exotic pets (reptiles, tortoises or parrots). Most insurers will only cover dogs and cats, but some insurers offer insurance for rare birds or reptiles.
Always check your policy’s terms and conditions carefully to make sure you have the cover you need.
Some of the most common things pet insurance doesn’t cover are:
Pre-existing illness or injury. Anything that relates in any way to something your pet had or showed signs of having before the policy started.
Waiting period. New policies usually come with a waiting period, usually 14 days, during which the policy doesn’t provide coverage.
Routine and preventative treatment. Any costs related to vaccinations, spaying, castration, flea, worm and tick treatments, grooming, claw clipping and teeth maintenance are usually not covered in pet insurance policies.
Pregnancy and giving birth. Anything to do with pregnancy, giving birth and treatment of any offspring is not usually covered.
In most cases, claims for vet fees are generally dealt with directly at the veterinary clinic.
*Disclaimer: Please take reasonable care to answer all the questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge. If you don’t answer the questions correctly, your policy may be cancelled, or your claim rejected or not fully paid.
The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products Finder has access to track details from and are not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms “Best”, “Top”, “Cheap” including variations, are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.
Esther Wolffowitz is a publisher at finder.com. She is a specialist in insurance and wants to help UK consumers make better decisions. In her spare time, Esther enjoys discovering new restaurants and food markets in London.
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