Best pet insurance providers 2024 - Which? (2024)

By clicking a retailer link you consent to third-party cookies that track your onward journey. If you make a purchase, Which? will receive an affiliate commission, which supports our mission to be the UK's consumer champion.

We surveyed 1,300 pet owners in the UK and analysed over 300 policies to bring you the definitive verdict on who offers the best pet insurance

DS

Dean SobersSenior researcher & writer

Best pet insurance providers 2024 - Which? (1)

In this article

  • How to choose the best pet insurance
  • Best pet insurance policies
  • Best pet insurance policies and providers compared
  • What does pet insurance cover?
  • What are the five different types of pet insurance?
  • Get pet insurance right the first time
  • More on pet insurance
  • About Which?'s pet insurance research

How to choose the best pet insurance

The best pet insurance policy should offer value for money while providing your pet with the appropriate level of cover. The costs of taking your pet to the vet are rising, so it's never been more important to find the right pet insurance policy.

In December, our experts analysed and compared 150 cat and 167 dog policies, as well asking 1,300 actual pet insurance customers about everything from customer service to ease of applying, to find the UK's best pet insurers.

From this we've compiled our view of the best overall pet insurance providers and policies, which you can see in the tables below. We've also compiled a separate view of the best cat insurance and best dog insurance providers as well - click on those links to find out more.

Please note that the information in this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute advice. Please refer to the particular terms and conditions of an insurer before committing to any financial products.

Best pet insurance providers 2024 - Which? (2)

Compare pet insurance deals

Check Which? insurance ratings and compare deals using the service provided by Confused.com

Get a quote

Best pet insurance policies

Agria Lifetime Premium

  • 83% policy score both for dog and cat cover. This placed it joint first of 167 dog policies reviewed and second (and the highest scoring Best Buy) of 150 cat policies we reviewed.
  • 70% customer score,placing it first of the 10 insurers we had customer scores for.

We like: one of the highest vet fee limits available – £20,000 per year. The cap includes costs for scans and also £750 for therapy provided by a behaviourist.

We don't like: as with most (but not all) policies, conditions that started before the policy was taken out are excluded.

  • Read our expert review of Agria pet insurance

Kennel Club Lifetime Premium

  • 83% policy score for dog cover. This placed it joint first of 167 policies reviewed.

We like:Administered and underwritten by Agria insurance (see above for its best own-brand policy), Kennel Club's 'Lifetime Premium' cover has the highest annual vet fee limit in the policies we rated – £25,000 per year. Customers have access to a 24-hour vet video call service at no extra cost.

We don't like:The policy offers £3,000 holiday cancellation cover – but you can only claim if your dog needs immediate emergency lifesaving treatment. With some other policies, the criteria allow for additional situations – for example, if the pet is 'seriously unwell', or goes missing.

  • Read our expert review of Kennel Club pet insurance

key information

Why should you trust Which? research?

We’re not influenced by third parties. We work entirely on behalf of you, the consumer – nobody else. See our statement of editorial independence for more.

Best pet insurance policies and providers compared

Only the most comprehensive pet insurance policies receive our Best Buy recommendation in the tables below. You will also find comprehensive reviews of each provider elsewhere on this page.

  • The first and second tables list Best Buy policies, based on our expert analysis of 150 cat and 167 dog lifetime policies.
  • The third table lists top pet insurers for customer service.
  • The fourth table lists top pet insurers for claims service.

Best Buys for cats

Get a quote

Agria

Lifetime Premium

83%70%-

Check you're getting a great deal and search for a new pet insurance policy using the service provided by Confused

Compare pet insurance deals

Petplan

Covered For Life £12k

79%67%80%

John Lewis

Lifetime £12k

79%62%72%

Agria

Lifetime Plus

77%70%-

Petplan

Covered For Life £7k

77%67%80%

John Lewis

Lifetime £7.5k

77%62%72%

John Lewis

Lifetime £9k

77%62%72%

Table notes: These tables were last updated in January 2024 – we recommend checking policies before buying. Customer score: survey of 1,300 Which? members that own pet insurance in November 2023. Claims score: based on responses from 758 Which? members. Policy score: see full methodology below.

What does pet insurance cover?

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

Vet fees

  • Most policies cover the cost of vet fees and certain medical expenses, and can range from £1,000 to as much as £25,000 a year.
  • Policies aren't likely to cover routine treatments, or expenses connected with pet pregnancy and giving birth.
  • Most pet insurers offer cover if your pet needs dental work. Some policies cover treatment needed as a result of injuries or illnesses. However, some won't cover illness.

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's 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.

Missing pets

  • 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'.

Death by accident or illness

  • If your pet dies, you can claim for an amount reflecting what you paid or the financial value of the pet.
  • Most pet insurance policies have an age limit – around eight years is fairly common but it can be as low as five – after which you'll no longer be able to claim on this part of the policy.
  • Find out more:pet insurance explained

What are the five different types of pet insurance?

While only lifetime policies can get our Best Buy recommendation, we've rated all types of policies.

Lifetime cover pet insurance

Lifetime cover is the most comprehensive pet insurance. It pays out for ongoing issues your pet might have throughout its life.

  • Annual cover has a maximum overall limit that includes all conditions your pet could experience, which resets each year. Some policies might also have a lower maximum amount you can claim per year for any single condition.
  • Per condition per year has a maximum limit for specific conditions that your pet might have, which resets each year.

Both types 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.

  • Per condition cover(also commonly referred to as 'max benefit' cover) pays a limited amount for each condition, and the condition is excluded from future payouts once the limit has been reached.
  • Time-limit per condition cover has both a per-condition limit and a time limit, typically 12 months, before the condition is excluded.

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

Accident-only pet insurance

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

Get pet insurance right the first time

Dean Sobers, Which? insurance expert says:

Best pet insurance providers 2024 - Which? (3)

'When buying pet insurance, you want to make the right choice the first time round, as switching later on can mean sacrificing cover for conditions your pet has developed.

'The most weighty aspect of our analysis is what it will pay for vets bills – the fundamental purpose of pet insurance. But even this is more complicated than a headline figure, with some policies offering an annual allowance and others total limits for specific conditions. We only give our ‘Best Buy’ recommendation to lifetime policies – which commit to making an ongoing contribution towards all of your pet’s covered conditions throughout its life. Among our latest batch of Best Buys are policies offering between £4,500 and £25,000 a year.

'We can’t tell you which policy will be the best fit for you. But our scores and reviews should help you see which are the most comprehensive, how they compare in key areas, and what real customers have said about their insurers – all of which can help you to decide.'

Read: how to find cheaper pet insurance

More on pet insurance

There is no NHS equivalent for pets. All procedures that your pet needs to ensure they are healthy such as dental care, vaccinations, flea treatment and even microchipping will come with a fee.

Data from Confused.com revealed that the average cost for a visit to the vet including consultation and diagnosis costs £50-£60. This doesn’t include the price of treatment which can vary from £186 for diabetes to £1686 for Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome.

If you choose not to take out a pet insurance policy, you will need to cover these costs in full yourself. And depending on how unwell your pet is, over time these costs could add up to a hefty pet bill. Pet insurance is there to ensure both you and your pet are covered when disaster strikes and a healthcare plan is needed to keep your pet fit and healthy.

And while pet insurance may seem like an unnecessary cost if your pet is healthy, a survey of Which? Members revealed that only 17% of pet owners with insurance had never made a claim. So, it is likely you will need to make a claim at some point during your pet’s life.

There are a number of things you can do to save money on your pet insurance such as taking out a policy when your pet is healthy. The insurers will see your pet as low risk and therefore your premiums will be considerably lower as a result.

If you can pay annually for your insurance policy you will save money in the long run. This can be tricky as it will be a large lump sum up front, however, if you add up your monthly instalments over the year, you do pay more for your plan.

Making sure you do your research before taking out a pet insurance policy is the best way to find cheap pet insurance. Comparison websites are a great way to see what you can expect to pay for your insurance and how different companies can offer you different policies to fit your needs.

As your pet gets older, they are more liable to illness and injury and so with each year they become a riskier investment for your insurer. They will be taking precautionary measures by increasing your premium as they predict your pet may be more likely to make a claim year on year.

Another reason for your pet insurance increase is that medical advances are continuously happening. This means there are more tests and procedures available to pet owners which in turn increases the amount of claims the insurer receives. MRI scanning is a relatively new procedure that was unavailable to pet owners a few years ago.

Your personal travel insurance will not provide cover for your pets or their medical expenses.

However, most pet insurance policies offer protection if your pet becomes sick, is part of an accident or needs veterinary care while abroad.

Some pet insurers provide compensation for lost travel and accommodation expenses if you have to cancel your holiday due to your pet facing a life-threatening illness before your departure. Make sure to check the terms and conditions of your policy before travelling.

Most pet insurance policies will cover veterinary fees, which includes surgery, as well as the cost of diagnosing and treating illness and or injuries. Your cover should also include any x-rays, scans, bandages and hospital stays. Some will even cover a referral to a specialist if your pet has more specific needs.

However, what isn’t covered is any pre-existing conditions your pet had prior to taking out your insurance policy. So, if for example your dog already suffers with hip dysplasia when your pet insurance cover starts, your insurer will not cover any costs that you incur in order to take care and treat the dysplasia.

Some insurers may offer you insurance to cover your preexisting condition but your premiums may be higher to cover it. The best thing to do is ask your vet as they may know of an insurer that will be best suited to you and your pet’s needs.

Insurance companies generally consider cats and dogs over the age of eight as 'older pets.'

As pets get older, they're more likely to get sick or injured, leading to more expensive insurance claims. To cover the higher risk, insurers often charge more to insure older pets compared to younger ones.

You can still find good deals for older pets, but it's essential to shop around. Keep in mind to:

  • Check if there are any exclusions for pre-existing illnesses or past veterinary treatment in the new policy.
  • Pay attention to the excess. Insurers usually set higher excesses or co-payments for older pets, sometimes as much as 25%.

Pet insurance is mainly designed to cover illnesses and injuries that affect your pet. So routine or preventative treatment - such as neutering, spaying, microchipping, or health checks usually won't be covered.

Pet insurers do expect you to take measures to keep your pet in good health and reduce the likelihood of claims. For example, some policies provide cover for dental illness - but you'll often not be able to claim on this cover if your pet doesn't regularly receive dental checkups.

Check you're getting a great deal and search for a new pet insurance policy using the service provided by Confused.com. Get a quote now

About Which?'s pet insurance research

For cats

In December 2023, we analysed 150 insurance policies covering cats. We examined the amounts they paid out in vet fees, and other benefits they provide, including costs for holiday cancellation, dental cover, and advertising and reward costs to help find your pet if it goes missing.

We compared 31 features of these insurance policies, plus the amount each pays in vet fees, to create a policy score. The higher the score, the more comprehensive the policy's cover.

Policies that we've named as Best Buys are all lifetime policies that did well in our analysis of cover, scoring at least 67%. In addition:

  • Each will pay out a minimum of £2,000 per year in vet fees.
  • Each will pay out a minimum of £1,000 for any single condition in a year, if an annual condition limit applies.
  • They all also provide dental cover for both accidents and illnesses.

For dogs

In December 2023, we analysed 167 insurance policies covering dogs. We examined the amounts they paid out in vet fees, and other benefits they provide, including costs for holiday cancellation, dental cover, and advertising and reward costs to help find your pet if it goes missing.

We compared 34 features of these insurance policies, plus the amount each pays in vet fees, to create a policy score. The higher the score, the more comprehensive the policy's cover.

Policies that we've named as Best Buys are all lifetime policies that did well in our analysis of cover, scoring at least 67%. In addition:

  • Each will pay out a minimum of £2,000 per year in vet fees.
  • Each will pay out a minimum of £1,000 for any single condition in a year, if an annual condition limit applies.
  • They all also provide dental cover for both accidents and illnesses.

Customer service

In November 2023, we carried out a survey of 1,300 Which? members that own pet insurance. Customers were asked how satisfied they were with their provider, and how likely they would be to recommend it. We used answers to these questions to generate our customer score.

Claims scores are based on responses from 758 Which? members that have claimed on pet insurance in the past five years (survey carried out in November 2021). Respondents were asked how satisfied they were with their most recent claim and how likely they would be to recommend their provider based on its claims service.

Customer Score sample sizes: Agria (35), Animal Friends (127), Direct Line (53), John Lewis (58), LV (78), Many Pets (167), More Than (30), Petplan (364), Sainsbury's (42), Tesco Bank (74)

Claims score sample sizes: Animal Friends (86), John Lewis (36), LV (40), Many Pets (92), Petplan (288), Tesco (47). Where '-' given in customer or claims score columns, we didn't receive enough responses in our survey (30) to generate the scores.

We didn't receive enough respondents in our customer survey to provide customer or claims scores for each brand considered. This means we can't assess the levels of service for each Best Buy provider. However, we haven't included providers we were able to rate that received poorer-than-average customer or claims scores. We've additionally not included other providers that, at the time of the analysis, had a poorer-than-average complaints record with the Financial Ombudsman Service.

We've also examined data published by the Financial Conduct Authority on how often pet insurers have accepted claims and how often customers making claims complained to the insurer. We've not given our Best Buy award to providers shown to be poorer than average in either of these areas.

More questions on pet insurance? Take a look at our guides:

  • Pet insurance explained
  • How to find cheap pet insurance

Compare pet insurance

Find the right policy for your pet using the service provided by Confused.com

Get a quote

Pet insurer reviews

  • Agria pet insurance review
  • Animal Friends pet insurance review
  • Argos pet insurance review
  • Co-op Insurance pet insurance review
  • Direct Line pet insurance review
  • Everypaw pet insurance review

Latest News In

Which? Insurance
What you miss with budget travel insurance

06 Jul 2024

What's happening to car insurance premiums?

05 Jul 2024

Insurance firms must do better for their customers, says FCA

04 Jul 2024

What's happening to home insurance premiums?

27 Jun 2024

Will a Best Buy travel insurance policy really cost you more?

26 Jun 2024

How to protect your gadgets and phone at a summer festival

25 Jun 2024

10 most expensive jobs for life insurance premiums

24 Jun 2024

7 questions to ask yourself when buying travel insurance

18 Jun 2024

Home insurance: is it worth paying extra for flood and storm cover?

12 Jun 2024

Do you have enough life insurance cover?

11 Jun 2024

5 tips to insure your wedding

10 Jun 2024

Which? finds rise in insurers causing 'distress and inconvenience'

30 May 2024

Do renters need contents insurance?

29 May 2024

Rise in customers borrowing to pay for insurance

28 May 2024

Private medical insurance perks: what's on offer and are they worth it?

26 May 2024

10 tips to keep your home safe while you're away

23 May 2024

Do you need pet insurance for puppies and kittens?

19 May 2024

Are insurers giving customers who complain the brush-off?

16 May 2024

5 car insurance lies that could invalidate your policy

15 May 2024

The cheapest and most expensive cars to insure in 2024

10 May 2024

View all news
Best pet insurance providers 2024 - Which? (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 6501

Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Birthday: 2001-07-17

Address: Suite 794 53887 Geri Spring, West Cristentown, KY 54855

Phone: +5934435460663

Job: Central Hospitality Director

Hobby: Yoga, Electronics, Rafting, Lockpicking, Inline skating, Puzzles, scrapbook

Introduction: My name is Clemencia Bogisich Ret, I am a super, outstanding, graceful, friendly, vast, comfortable, agreeable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.