What levels of insurance cover are available for pets?

Whether you’re looking for the cheapest pet insurance possible, or you plan to give your furry friend the best insurance policy money can buy, there are four main levels of cover available: accident-only, per condition, annual insurance and lifetime insurance.

  • Accident-only: As the name suggests, this type of policy usually only covers medical expenses that you incur when your pet is injured in an accident. For that reason it’s usually the cheapest type of pet insurance, but it does mean you’ll have to cover the cost yourself if your pet needs medical attention for an illness. Some of these accident-only policies also limit the total amount they’ll pay out for a single accident, while others might only pay out for a limited period of time after a pet is injured.
  • Per-condition: These policies tend to limit the total amount they’ll pay out for any single condition. Depending on the policy you choose the limit might be a certain amount of money, or it might cover the condition for a certain amount of time following its diagnosis. Once that time limit or monetary limit has been reached the policy usually no longer covers any expenses relating to that particular condition. This could be a good option if you’re looking for cheaper UK pet insurance, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the cheapest of these policies could have fairly low per-condition limits so you should double check this before signing on the dotted line.
  • Annual pet insurance: Unlike lifetime insurance, this type of insurance policy gives you the flexibility to switch insurance provider if you wish, but it’s important to bear in mind that each new insurance policy you take out might become more costly than the last, due to your pet’s advancing age. It’s also important to understand that each time you take out a new annual insurance policy previously diagnosed conditions usually won’t be covered, since the new policy will class them as ‘pre-existing medical conditions’.
  • Lifetime pet cover: This is usually the most expensive type of pet insurance, but is also the most comprehensive level of cover available. Provided your pet doesn’t have any pre-existing medical conditions when you first sign up for this type of policy you will usually be covered for most types of illnesses, up to a maximum annual pay-out amount. These policies are sometimes known as annual benefit policies, because they have a per-condition limit that is renewed annually along with the policy.

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