Top 10 pet health insurers in the UK and what insurance does not cover

It’s useful for cat and dog owners to know what others consider to be the best insurers and also to be aware of the exclusions to health insurance cover before embarking on purchasing a product.

I am going to rely on Trust Pilot, the online review business to list the top 10 best insurers. Trust Pilot are pretty trustworthy although you have to be skeptical about online reviews as there are a lot of shenanigans going on with unscrupulous people and organisations paid to manipulate reviews either way with the intention of promoting a product or the opposite.

Readers should be aware of this and probably are already. That said I believe the list is still useful.

Image: MikeB
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Note: this is as at the date of this post: August 5th, 2023. Things change. Agria Pet Insurance comes out on top for me thanks to the considerably higher number of reviews. This means that the ranking is probably more accurate and, of course, more people are taking out the cover.

InsurerNumber of reviews (indicates how many people bought the insurance)Star rating out of 5
Vetsure Pet Insurance7114.8
Agria Pet Insurance6,0694.7
Napo Pet Insurance1,4354.7
Petsure UK1,0314.7
Kennel Club Pet Insurance6794.7
Petwise Insurance3,2184.7
Lifetime Pet Cover5534.6
4Paws Pet Insurance4164.6
How Pet3874.6
Table setting out the top 10 pet insurers in the UK as pet Trust Pilot reviews 5th August, 2023.

What pet insurance doesn’t cover

Here is, I hope, a useful list of the kind of things that pet insurance does not cover, i.e. those things which are commonly excluded. Exclusions will differ between insurers so you should read the policy’s terms and conditions or the insurance product information document carefully. I know it will be boring but, to be realistic, people who take out pet insurance cover should realise that the pet insurers are good at wriggling out of their obligations. Please read the linked article below (opens in a new tab).

RELATED: The three Rs of pet insurance: “how can we refuse, recoup or reduce this claim”

In my personal but perhaps cynical opinion, they can be a bit too greedy in their desire to make a profit and they will find ways to avoid discharging their obligations within the terms of the agreement. One way they can improve their profit margins is to exclude cover under certain situations.

Exclusions are a major way in which insurers improve their profit margins.

Pre-existing injury or illness

Perhaps the most common way for an insurance company to avoid paying up is to claim that your cat or dog suffered from a pre-existing illness or injury. This normally includes illnesses and injuries which can occur again or can occur in different parts of the animal’s body. Ear infections are quite common and if you’re cat had an ear infection before you took out the policy the insurance company will probably not cover the cost of treatment for any future ear infections in either ear and it wouldn’t matter whether or not you made a claim under an old policy.

RELATED: Some pros and cons of pet health insurance

The start of the policy

At the beginning of the policy, it is ineffective and this is typically for the first 14 days but it can be 30 days sometimes. The insurance starts for illnesses that first show signs that they are present or an injury happens after this initial period has ended. There may be a difference between illnesses and injuries in this form of exclusion.

Preventative and routine treatment

Preventative and routine treatment includes procedures such as vaccinations, spaying and neutering, flea and tick treatments, and dental treatments. The cost of these treatments including the cost of any treatments arising out of complications in treating animals for these conditions is not normally covered.

Pregnancy and giving birth

Normally, veterinary costs incurred in treating a pregnant animal and in giving birth and any treatment of any offspring is not covered.

Admin costs

Admin costs include such things as veterinarians providing a prescription or completing a claim form. These are not covered by an insurance policy.

Limitations and specific exclusions

Insurers typically include specific exclusions or limitations on the treatment of conditions. They may contain limits on treatment such as a limit of £2000 per condition. This means that once a limit has been reached cover terminates for future treatments of a particular condition. This varies between insurers and policies so once again it is important to read the policy or ask questions.

Elective treatments

An elective treatment means the pet owner electing to treat their companion animal i.e. choosing to treat their companion animal when it is not absolutely necessary. This may not be covered.

Behavioural issues

Rectifying companion animal behavioural problems with the use of an animal behaviourist which are not linked to an illness or diagnosed condition will not normally be covered. Note: companion animal behavioral problems are nearly always human behavioral problems! That’s why they are not covered.

Animals are part of a business

When, for example, a dog is used for protection and security as part of a business and/or kept at a commercial premises they are not covered by insurance policy unless I guess you take out a specific policy to cover that situation and pay more in premiums.

Animals not permanently in the UK

Animals not permanently in the UK may not be covered.

Dental treatments

There appears to be a variation in how insurers cover dental treatment. Some insurers do not offer cover. Some offer full cover while others offer accident cover only. Note: my experience tells me that oral health problems and dental issues are one of the most common pet health problem. Not to cover this would seem to be a very commercial decision in not covering a very common problem. Treating dental health problems carries a risk because the veterinarian has to place the animal under general anaesthetic. I think this is why the insurers steer clear.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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