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What else should I know?

The cost of insurance

The cost of pet insurance will vary between insurers and can depend on a range of factors. These can include (but are not limited to): the type of policy; age of your pet; your pet’s health; claims or treatment history; where you live; purchase price; the breed of your pet; and if it is male or female. Claims costs and the amount vets charge for treatment can also impact premiums. In general, towns and cities vets’ charges can be higher than in rural areas and premiums reflect this. Claims costs have risen in recent years due to the advancement, complexity and increased number of treatments available to owners with pet insurance.


Age can be a significant factor in the price of a pet insurance policy. As pets get older the premium will likely increase because, like humans, there is more risk they will be ill. Most insurance providers will not offer insurance to pets less than eight weeks old. As your pet gets older, pet insurance may be more difficult to find as some companies will not offer new insurance above a certain age. If you take out insurance when your pet is young the insurance policy can usually continue with the same provider as your pet gets older. It is really important that you budget for premiums to increase as the pet gets older and the risk increases. 


The insurance for pedigree or more exotic pets, such as reptiles, can be more expensive. This is based on claims experience, with crossbreeds usually less likely to suffer from the inherited medical conditions that individual pedigree breeds can experience. For dogs, the breed will also affect the size of the pet, which may have an impact on cost of vet fees. 


Most pet insurance policies have an amount of money you pay towards the cost of the claim, called the excess. An excess can apply to any section of cover, most commonly the veterinary fees and third party liability sections. 

Excesses on veterinary fees can vary considerably so it is important to check how much these are and how they are applied. An excess can be a fixed amount you pay per claim or it can be a percentage of the final treatment costs. Usually excesses apply to the cost of treatment of each illness or injury, some apply once and others apply to the treatment received each year. Having a higher excess can reduce the cost of the overall premium. 


Policy terms may change as pets get older, and you may have to pay a contribution towards a claim, in addition to the fixed excess. The percentage amount is often called a ‘co-insurance’ excess. The percentage of co-insurance can vary from policy to policy but is typically 10% or 20%. While co-insurance is often applied by the insurer at inception of your policy or at renewal, you can opt for these types of excesses voluntarily as they can reduce the cost of the overall premium. 


  • Shop around to find the insurance that best meets your needs; look at what your pet is covered for, not just the price alone. Documents such as the Insurance Product Information Document can help with making the terms easier to understand. 
  • As your pet gets older the premium may increase, so it is really important that you budget for premiums to increase as the pet gets older and the risk increases. 
  • Claims can significantly impact the renewal premium so it is important that you understand your pet’s breed, the type of common issues it has, what they could potentially cost and include this in any decision you make on pet insurance. 
  • Be aware that while moving to a new policy may be cheaper, it is likely the new policy will not cover your pet for any conditions your pet has had in the past or currently has. 
  • Some insurers will only accept claims after a certain number of days from the start date of the policy (an ‘exclusion / waiting period’) – usually fourteen days but can be up to sixty days. 
  • The policy documents from insurers will tell you what your pet is and is not covered for. If in doubt, speak to your insurer. 
  • Always answer the insurer’s questions honestly and in full. If you don’t, the insurer may not pay your claim and your policy may be cancelled. 
  • Remember to tell your insurer about any relevant changes to your circumstance to ensure your pet remains covered. For example, any change of address, if your pet gets neutered, spayed or micro-chipped or you have noticed a condition but received no veterinary treatment.

Examples of claims

  • Owners of a dog with diabetes made claims of over £1200 over a 2 ½ year period.  
  • A kitten that needed to have its stomach pumped and was treated with antibiotics. The total bill was around £600.  
  • A dog treated for poisoning after eating a mince pie at a cost of nearly £400. 

A tortoise treated for a

digestive disorder at a cost of

over £560.  

Helping out a cockatiel which was

having trouble flying properly cost

nearly £500.  

  • The owners of a dog diagnosed with epilepsy made claims totalling over £3300 over 4 years. 
  • A puppy diagnosed with hip dysplasia required referral to a specialist vet for surgery and the total veterinary bill exceeded £13,000. 
  • The owners of a dog with multiple medical conditions, including diabetes, mass removal and pyometra, and which required referral to a specialist vet, made claims of over £11,000. 
  • A claim for a young cat who suffered a broken tibia that required surgery to repair cost nearly £2000.

Owners of a cat suffering from soft

tissue sarcoma made claims totalling over