The 15 best pet insurance providers for 2023 – and how to find the right cover for you

Asda is known for providing good value and this is the aim of Asda Money pet insurance. There are several types of coverage, from Lifetime to Time Limited. You can choose the type of policy you prefer, as well as your excess terms, so you can get the cover your pet needs at a price that works for you. Benefits include a number of different features, including 24/7 access to vets through the Joii pet care app, personalized preventative care advice and free symptom screening. Asda Money Pet Insurance is underwritten and managed by Allianz Insurance Plc.

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What makes a good pet insurance provider?

There is a lot of variety and it can be difficult to sort out the differences. While comparing premiums and benefits is important, there are five other aspects that should not be overlooked. First, ease of claim: what do you need to do to get your money back to cover the vet’s fees?

Second, the speed with which claims are paid: some companies process claims and refund you within days, while others may take months. Third, the rate of denied claims: some companies may deny claims based on small details of the policy, such as a late vaccine date, while others are more lenient.

Fourth, customer service: how quickly and helpfully the phones are answered can make a big difference. Finally, website design: some are much easier to negotiate than others. For all of this, it’s worth looking for user reviews of pet insurance providers from sites like TrustPilot – although I’ve taken them all into account in my reviews below. Does everyone get pet insurance?

Not yet. The concept of pet insurance began in 1924 in Sweden, where it is still an ingrained part of the culture with 90 percent of the country’s dogs insured and over 50 percent of cats.

Pet insurance started in the UK in 1947, initially with more ‘life insurance’ type products for more valuable animals. The concept of veterinary fee insurance really took off in 1976, with market penetration steadily but slowly increasing from less than 5% then to around 25% today.

Arguably, it should be used by more people: pet insurance is much more likely to pay out than other types of insurance. More than 30 percent of pet policyholders file claims each year, compared to just 15 percent of home policy holders and 22 percent of auto policy holders.

Do all vets accept pet insurance?

Some vets allow you to pay only the excess and then claim the balance back directly from the pet insurance company. Other vets ask you to pay up front so you have to make the claim yourself afterwards. Also, many vets charge a fee to process pet insurance claims, and this in itself may not be covered by insurance. It’s a good idea to call your local vet and find out their policy.

Why is pet insurance getting more expensive?

Thirty years ago, pet insurance typically cost just £4 a month for a pet’s entire life. In recent years, premiums have skyrocketed for three main reasons. First, veterinary science followed in the footsteps of medicine, developing newer, better, and more expensive ways to treat pets.

Second, pet owners have higher expectations: everyone has seen what Supervet can do on TV, so why can’t they get that level of care for their own pet? Third, veterinarians worry about being criticized (and possibly sued) if they don’t do everything possible to save a pet’s life, especially if an insurance company covers the cost.

What pet insurance covers dental?

Most pet insurance policies cover dental work required due to an accident (eg if a pet is hit by a car or if a dog breaks a tooth when it chews on a bone). However, routine dental work such as scaling and polishing under anesthesia is excluded from many policies.

What does pet insurance really cover?

While pet insurance covers many veterinary expenses, it is not designed to cover the ordinary, predictable costs of owning a pet. Pet insurance may not cover expenses such as annual health checks and vaccinations, worming treatments, flea medication, regular dental care (such as brushing and flossing), grooming costs and pre-existing conditions.

These are predictable, known costs that you can budget for yourself unless you choose a policy that specifically includes them. Just as many vets offer “health plans” (where you pay a monthly amount) to cover these preventative care costs, but be aware, these plans are no substitute for strong pet insurance in the event of a serious illness or accident.

The key is that insurance is for unexpected, unforeseen issues, and these are the costs that make up the majority of typical vet bills.

As you might expect, pet insurance products are not created equal. You need to take the time to read the details of what’s on offer: the so-called fine print.

There’s no point buying a super cheap policy only to find out it doesn’t cover you when your pet gets sick. Alternatively, you shouldn’t opt ​​out of insurance because the more expensive policies are out of your budget. You should aim to find a policy you can afford that will cover the most likely risks your pet faces.

Why are some policies more expensive than others?

It’s difficult to make pet insurance comparisons between competing policies and companies because there are so many variables. Pet insurance companies will only give personalized quotes that depend on many factors, the most obvious of which is the type of pet you have – dog, cat or rabbit and so on – and its age. Animals are more likely to need veterinary care as they get older, and pet insurance policies reflect this increased risk.

Can you insure an elderly pet?

There are restrictions on the earliest age at which insurance can start (it is usually impossible to start insuring a pet over the age of seven) and there are modified terms for claims if an older pet becomes ill. For example, you may have to pay a higher excess. It’s also worth noting that premiums tend to rise as your pet gets older, whether you’ve claimed it or not. Over their lifetime, dog insurance can be five times higher than the same pet’s puppy insurance.

Does the breed of the dog make a difference?

Yes, whether you own a pedigree (breeding, exactly), a “designer cross” (i.e. crossing two breeds), or a crossbred (crossing three or more breeds). Generally, the cost is higher for dogs or cats and designer breeds because they are more likely to develop certain hereditary conditions. Your pet’s lifestyle can also affect the price: indoor cats can be cheaper to insure than outdoor cats.

Why do prices vary by location?

The price of pet insurance reflects the cost of vets’ fees in your area, so pet insurance quotes for people living in London and the South East of the UK tend to be significantly higher than elsewhere in the country.

Eight decisions to make when choosing pet insurance

  1. Do you want cover for accidents only (the cheapest policies) or do you want to cover illnesses too? Illnesses are as unpredictable and costly as accidents and can last for your pet’s life, so this type of comprehensive coverage is highly recommended.
  2. Do you want “extras” included, like third-party liability (eg in case your dog or cat bites someone and sues you)? Other extras include cover for boarding costs if you have to go to hospital yourself, cover for advertising and rewards if your pet is lost, euthanasia costs and a financial sum paid to you if your pet dies.
  3. Do you want lifetime coverage? This means that any new condition will be covered for the life of the pet. Less expensive ‘limited time cover’ means the new conditions are only covered for the duration of the policy, for example 12 months. You will be unlikely to be able to purchase insurance to cover this situation afterwards.
  4. What exclusions will you accept? Exclusions are conditions not covered by insurance. Examples include routine dental care, behavioral problems, and complementary care (such as acupuncture, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, etc.). The more exclusions you accept, the cheaper the policy.
  5. What level of excess are you willing to pay? The excess is the amount of money you cover yourself, before the insurance kicks in. It is cheaper to buy insurance with a higher excess than a lower one.
  6. What is the maximum amount per year you want covered? Cheaper policies tend to have a lower annual total (eg £2,000) compared to more expensive ones (eg £12,000). Any treatment that exceeds the maximum annual amount, you will have to pay for yourself.
  7. What is the maximum amount per term you want to cover? Cheaper policies may state a lump sum per condition (eg £1,000) or may even state a lump sum for a specific condition (eg £2,000 for a cruciate ligament tear). These kinds of issues are difficult for pet owners to negotiate: as a vet, I know that while cheaper procedures can be used to treat cruciate ligament tears (eg they cost less than £2,000), the optimal procedure for a large dog often costs over £4,000. Another example is the overall cost covered for conditions such as arthritis, skin conditions or heart disease: as a vet, I know that while cheaper, less ideal treatments are possible, it could easily cost upwards of £1,500 a year to optimally treat these problems way. It’s important to choose a cover that won’t make you feel like you have a second choice if your pet gets sick.
  8. Are there additional discounts with certain conditions? You may get a cheaper quote if one pet is microchipped or if you insure multiple pets with the same provider.

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