Our expert analysis rates the best and worst pet insurance policies – and tells you which pet insurance companies provide the best customer service.

How do I find the best pet insurance?

With a huge variety of pet insurance policies on the market that pay out in different ways, finding the right cover for your four-legged friend can be difficult.

We’ve analysed over a hundred policies for cats and dogs to pick our Best Buy policies.

We’ve also surveyed pet insurance customers – including those who’ve made a claim – to compare pet insurance providers.

What are the best pet insurance policies?

We’ve analysed over 80 cat insurance policies and 90 dog insurance policies to help you find the best cover.

The policies in the tables below are our Best Buys. These are lifetime policies that offer high levels of cover and meet our minimum cover criteria.

We’ve not been able to rate all of the insurers for their levels of service, but we’ve shown the scores of those we were able to test.

Best Buy cat insurance Policy Score Customer Score Claims Score
Bought By Many Complete 84% 76% 85%
Petplan Covered for Life – Ultimate 80% 67% 80%
Agria Lifetime Plus 79%
Agria Home Cat Lifetime Plus 75%
EverypawLifetime (£10k) 74%
EverypawLifetime (£10k) 71%
Waggel Lifetime (£10k) 70%
Petplan Covered for Life – Classic plus 69% 67% 80%
M&S Premier 68%
Waggel Lifetime (£8k) 68%
Argos Lifetime (£7k) 65%
AgriaLifetime 64%

These tables were last updated in November 2021. We recommend checking policies before buying.

 

Who are best pet insurance companies?

In November 2021 we surveyed 1,342 Which? members who have pet insurance.

The table below shows which of the nine pet insurance providers had the most – and least – satisfied customers, as well as how they score for seven different aspects of their service.

You can also see how pet insurers performed when it came to claims, and clicking on an insurer name will take you to our in-depth review.

What does pet insurance cover?

Not all policies will include all of these types of cover, and limits and exclusions may apply – see our individual insurer reviews for more details.

Death by accident or illness

If your pet dies you can get back the cost of what you paid for it or what it could sell for.

Most pet insurance policies have an age limit – typically of seven to 10 years for a cat and seven to eight years for a dog – after which insurers will not pay out, or you’ll have to make a contribution to costs.

Missing pet cover

Most pet insurance providers cover the cost of putting up posters and paying a reward if your pet goes missing.

Third-party liability (dog only policies)

If you have a dog, your pet insurance policy should pay out if your dog injures a third party or damages their property.

This covers legal costs, expenses and the claimant’s expenses. Cats don’t need third-party cover as legally they are considered ‘free spirits’.

Overseas travel cover

Most pet insurance policies will provide cover if your pet falls ill, is involved in an accident, or needs veterinary treatment when abroad.

Cattery and kennel fees

If you are hospitalised and there is no one else to look after your pet, your pet insurance provider will pay out for your pet to be put in a cattery or a kennel. You usually have to be in hospital for at least two to four consecutive days.

Dental cover

Most pet insurers offer cover if your pet needs dental work. Some policies only cover treatment needed from either injuries or illnesses. However, some won’t cover illness.

Policies aren’t likely to cover routine treatments, or expenses connected with pregnancy and giving birth.

Find out more: pet insurance explained

What types of pet insurance are there?

Just as car insurance can be divided up into comprehensive and third-party cover, there are various types of pet insurance policies:

Lifetime cover pet insurance

Lifetime cover is the most comprehensive pet insurance on the market and pays out for ongoing issues your pet may have throughout its lifetime.

There are three main types of lifetime cover:

  • Annual cover has a maximum overall limit that includes all conditions your pet may experience, which resets each year.
  • Per condition per year has a maximum limit for specific conditions that your pet may have, which resets each year.
  • Per-condition lifetime cover (overall annual limit) these policies have annual individual condition limits and a maximum overall annual limit across all conditions, ie up to £4k per condition, and £12k across all conditions per year.

Both per condition per year and annual pet insurance policies cover ongoing illnesses every year unless you cancel your policy.

Non-lifetime cover pet insurance

Non-lifetime cover is less comprehensive and excludes certain conditions after you hit your claims limit.

There are two main types of non-lifetime insurance:

  • Per condition pet insurance cover pays a limited amount for each condition and, once the limit has been reached, the condition is excluded from future payouts.
  • Time-limit per condition pet insurance cover has both a per condition limit and time limit, typically of 12 months, before the condition is excluded.

With a time limit policy, even if your limit for a particular condition wasn’t reached, the condition would eventually be excluded after 12 months.

Accident-only pet insurance

Accident-only pet insurance provides a fixed sum of money for each accidental injury to help pay for your pet’s treatment. It is the cheapest type of pet insurance policy but excludes cover for illness entirely.

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