Best Pet Insurance For Dogs and Cats: Reviews of Our Top 5 Picks

by Ben Doyle

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Choosing the best pet insurance for your furry companion can be a nightmare.

I mean, let’s face it, the insurance industry doesn’t have the best reputation. So which pet insurance company should you trust with your pet?

Well, after;

  • Speaking with our customers over the last 7 years
  • Sifting through thousands of online reviews
  • Consulting with industry experts, and
  • Studying annual consumer reports…

We have come up with 5 of the best.

Best Pet Insurance Providers: Our Top 5 Picks


You’ll notice the following policies are all lifetime or ‘covered for life’ polices. While there are other types of policies available, these are the most comprehensive. And as such, they’re the best.

PetPlan Ultimate

petplan logo

Cover Pets from 6 Weeks Old

£12,000 a Year Vets Fees

10% Online Discount

Multi-Pet Discount

The nation’s number 1 pet insurance provider. They insure 1.3 million pets in the UK and pay out on 97% of claims.

John Lewis Premier

Cover Pets from 8 Weeks Old

£12,000 a Year Vets Fees

10% Online Discount

John Lewis pay out 96% of claims within 5 days. You also get 24-hour FREE access to vetfone™ nurses.

Bought by Many Complete

Cover Pets from 4 Weeks Old

£15,000 a Year Vets Fees

15% Multi-Pet Discount

Over 300,000 pet insured across the UK. Over 13,500 5* reviews on Feefo.com. Unlimited FREE Video calls with a vet if you need it.

Waggel

waggel logo

Cover Pets from 8 Weeks Old

£10,000 a Year Vets Fees

Special Members Discounts

Waggel make pet insurance simple. They offer one, lifetime policy which covers recurring conditions as well as dental. You can adjust your coverage and excess to fit your budget.

The Insurance Emporium Lifetime Gold

the insurance emporium logo

Cover Pets from 5 Weeks Old

£8,000 a Year Vets Fees

20% Introductory Discount

10% Multi-Pet Discount

Get a Quote

MoneyFacts Consumer Award Pet Insurance Provider of the Year 2020.

How We Came Up With Our List


Unfortunately, the best pet insurance is rarely the cheapest. So while cost was definitely a factor, it wasn’t the main consideration.

If you want cheap pet insurance, you’d be best looking on Confused.com or another comparison site.

To come up with our list, we compared the quality of each policy and considered things like;

  • Price
  • Customer service
  • Transparency of charges, penalties and price hikes
  • Clarity of policies
  • Customer experience when making a claim

To create a fair and accurate list, we;

  • Consulted with industry experts
  • Reviewed research from consumer report companies like Which? and Defaqto.
  • Considered which awards various pet insurers have won, and
  • Talked with regular pet owners to get their experiences

Pet Insurance Reviews: A Close Look At our Top Picks


So now you know how we came up with our list of top picks. Let’s have a closer look at the policies to find which one best suits you, your budget and your pet.

PetPlan

Petplan has been specialising in pet insurance for over 35 years. They’re the UK’s favourite pet insurer, covering dogs, cats and rabbits – even horses.

In fact, over 90% of vets surveyed consider PetPlan to have the best claims service. They’re also currently rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot.

They have 3 lifetime policies;

  • PetPlan Classic – gives you up £4,000 or £7,000 per year in vet fees, depending on the policy you choose, or
  • PetPlan Ultimate – provides up to £12,000 per in vet fees

Petplan’s covered for life plans cover;

  • Long and short term illness
  • Accidents
  • Veterinary consultations
  • MRI, CAT and Ultrasound scans
  • Prescription medication
  • Cancer treatment
  • Non-routine dental treatments
  • Surgery and rehabilitation

If you’re a new customer you’ll get 10% off your first years premium. And for those with more than one pet, you’ll get £12 discount per pet, per year.

John Lewis

John Lewis is a popular choice among dog and cat owners. They only offer lifetime cover which keeps things simple.

Between February 2019 and January 2020 the paid 96% of claims within 5 days.

That said, they only insure dogs and cats.

They have 3 policies;

  • Essential – gives you up £3,000 per year in vet fees
  • Plus – offers up to £7,500 per in vet fees
  • Premier – provides up to £12,000 a year

John Lewis’ covered for life plans include;

  • Vetfone™ helpline – 24-hour advice from veterinary nurses
  • Emergency dental care
  • Up to £3,000,000 third party liability (for dogs)
  • Up to £2,000 cattery fees (for cats)
  • Lost or stolen pets

When you buy their pet insurance online you’ll get a 10% discount. If you cover 2 pets they offer a 5% second pet discount.

Bought By Many

Bought By Many used to review all kinds of insurance. Then in 2017 but launched their own pet insurance products.

They have since won several awards for their cover. In 2020, they won the Insurance Choice Awards, ‘Best Pet Insurance Provider’. They also currently have over 13,000 5-star reviews on Feefo.com.

You can choose from 5 policies;

  • Value – covers up to £3,000 a year in vet fees
  • Pre-Existing – provides up to £7,000 per year in vet fees and covers existing conditions (terms apply!)
  • Money-Back – offers up to £7,000 a year in vet fees. You’ll get 20% of your premium paid back every year you don’t claim
  • Regular – gives you £7,000 a year in vet fee cover with the option of not having to pay an excess for pets is younger than 9
  • Complete – their most comprehensive policy covering up to £15,00 in vet fees, plus dental cover and more

All policies are pretty comprehensive so it’s worth taking the time to study each of them in detail.

Bought by Many also offer 15% multi-pet discount for pets on the same policy.

Waggel

Waggel appeared on the pet insurance market in December 2018. Their mission is to make pet insurance simple by offering a single, lifetime policy.

They have also created a digital platform. This makes signing up, claiming and tracking claims very easy.

As a result, Waggel are very well-reviewed by their customers on Reviews.co.uk.

As already mentioned, they only offer one policy. Although you can choose the level of vet fee cover from £1,000, £2,000, £4,000; £6,000; £8,000; or £10,000.

As part of their cover, you get access to FirstVet which gives you free video call with vets when you need them.

You can also adjust your excess up or down between, £0 and £250 in £50 increments to make the policy fit your budget.

Waggel don’t offer any discounts, multi-pet or otherwise. That said, they do offer rewards and discounts from partner brands.

The Insurance Emporium

The Insurance Emporium offer many different type of insurance. Pet Insurance being one of them.

They’ve won several awards across all their products. One of them being MoneyFacts Consumer Award Pet Insurance Provider of the Year 2020.

You can choose btween 3 lifetime policies;

  • Bronze – covers up to £2,500 a year in vet fees
  • Silver – gives you up to £5,000 in vet fee cover
  • Gold – provides up to £10,000 in vet fees

They also have lifetime policies for senior dogs and cats too. These policies give you the same amounts in vet fee cover.

Also included in their plans are;

  • Death of pet
  • Kennel/cattery fees
  • Holiday cancellation
  • Loss by theft or straying
  • Advertising and reward
  • Accidental damage
  • Personal accident

The Insurance Emporium are generous with their discounts too. With a 20% introductory discount and a 10% multi-pet discount.

What is Lifetime Pet Insurance?


Lifetime pet insurance is the most comprehensive type of insurance you can buy for your pet. As a result, it’s the most expensive.

That said, it covers your dog or cat against a wide range of illnesses or injuries throughout their life. Lifetime policies are the only type that covers recurring or ongoing conditions. Like epilepsy, diabetes or cancer.

There Are Two Types of Lifetime Policy

  1. Annual Limit Per Condition
  2. Condition Limit

Annual Limit Per Condition

Most lifetime pet insurance policies set an annual limit per condition. Depending on the policy you choose, the limit could be £10,000.

If your dog or cat develops epilepsy, for example, your policy will cover up to £10,000 worth of treatment. If that treatment costs £11,000 you’ll need to pay the extra £1,000 yourself.

If your pet gets diagnosed with two conditions in the same year, you could claim up to £10,000 for each condition.

When you renew your policy at the end of the year, your pet will still be covered for epilepsy and diabetes. The limit will be reset to £10,000 for the year, per condition.

Condition Limit

Some lifetime policies set a condition limit which has a set limit per condition. So instead of having a limit which renews every year, a policy might cover up to £30,000 over your pets life.

In this case, you’d be able to claim up to £30,000 per condition over your pets life. Or up until the point you choose not to renew your policy.

Restrictions and Exclusions to Look For


As with all pet insurance, lifetime policies have their restrictions and exclusions. Each company and policy will be different so make sure you check.

Some policies cover pets from 4 weeks old, most cover them from 8 weeks. Also, many policies will state that you can’t make a claim for the first 14 days.

Once your dog or cat reaches 8 years of age, insurance companies will consider them as ‘senior animals’. So check your policy for age-related restrictions.

Beware, the Cost of Your Policy WILL Rise!


Like us humans, our pets are more likely to get ill or suffer injury as they get older.

According to John Lewis Finance, the cost of taking care of your pet’s health doubles every 4-5 years. That’s why your renewal price increases each year.

On top of that, if your pet does get ill, the chances of them getting ill again increases. That’s why many pet owners find their renewal price doubles if their pet has had treatment.

Can I Shop Around For a Cheaper Price at Renewal Time?

If you haven’t claimed on your existing policy, yes. That said, don’t only consider the cost. Make sure you choose a policy which is at least as comprehensive as your existing one.

If you have made a claim on your existing policy then you might find you’re locked into it. Most insurers won’t cover existing or reoccurring conditions on a new policy.

What About Non-Lifetime Policies?


Although other types of pet insurance are cheaper, they’re nowhere near as comprehensive.

There are 3 types:

  1. Accident Only – Only covers treatment in the event of an accident
  2. Per Condition Cover – Only pays a set limit per condition. Once you reach that limit, you’ll need to cover any ongoing costs yourself. If you renew your policy, the insurer will exclude any conditions you’ve claimed for
  3. Time-Limited Policies – Pays out a set limit per condition with the added time restriction of 12 months. If you renew, the insurer will exclude the condition you previously claimed for

If your pet develops a condition and needs medication for the rest of his or her life, these policies are useless.

This is why we only recommend lifetime or ‘covered for life’ pet insurance. It provides the most comprehensive cover and with that, the most peace of mind.

To Sum Up…


Vet fees have risen by 75% over the last 10 years. In 2020 the average claim was £822.

The chances of your pet needing to visit the vets at some point in their lives are high. And that makes pet insurance an important consideration.

Ask yourself, could you afford to cover these costs if you didn’t have pet insurance in place?

If you want the best, choose a lifetime policy.


Ben Doyle

My name Ben Doyle and I co-own Pet Checkers. I spend most of my time looking after all kinds of animals, from dogs to eagles. When I'm not taking care of animals, I'm photographing them and writing about them here on our website.


About

At Pet Checkers, we've been providing the very best pet care Lincoln has to offer since 2013.

Opening Hours

Monday: 9am - 5pm
Tuesday: 9am - 5pm
Wednesday: 9am - 5pm
Thursday: 9am - 5pm
Friday: 9am - 5pm
Saturday: 9am - 5pm
Sunday: Closed

Contact Us

52 Beech Road
Branston
Lincoln
LN4 1PR

01522 740 025 info (@) petcheckers.co.uk

Affiliate Disclaimer

PetCheckers.co.uk is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.

Additionally, PetCheckers.co.uk participates in other affiliate programs, Google Adsense and other advertiser networks and earns commissions through purchases and clicks through our website.