What is Dog Insurance?

The nation's favourite pet, nearly a quarter of all households play host to a dog. Dubbed man's best friend, dogs certainly do make day-to-day life a little more fun. However, giving a dog a home can be a costly affair and with vet bills increasing every year, you may be wise to consider taking out a dog insurance policy. By taking out adequate pet insurance, you can help protect your canine companion against unexpected illnesses and accidents, and this needn't cost the earth.

Choosing the Level of Cover for Your Dog

There are four main types of dog insurance policy to choose from. You can typically choose between accident-only, time-limited, maximum benefit or lifetime pet insurance policies. We've summarised the main differences between them below, but for more information please read our guide to the different types of pet insurance.

  • Accidental-Only Pet Insurance
    Likely to be the cheapest option, accident only dog insurance generally only offers cover in the event of an accident and will not include cover for vet fees incurred as a result of illness.
  • Time-Limited Pet Insurance
    Another option for those on a budget, time-limited pet insurance can help with accidents and short-term health issues. This policy type usually allows you to claim for eligible conditions up to a specified amount of time, normally 12 months. After this period of time is up, you can renew the policy, but that particular condition will be excluded.
  • Maximum Benefit Pet Insurance
    A mid-range cover option, this policy type allows you to claim year after year, up to a specified financial limit. Once vet bills reach this limit, you will have to fund further treatment yourself.
  • Lifetime Pet Insurance
    A mid-range cover option, this policy type allows you to claim year after year, up to a specified financial limit. Once vet bills reach this limit, you will have to fund further treatment yourself.

Whichever policy you opt for, we advise you to read the small print carefully to make sure you have the right level of cover.

  Accident Only Time Limited Max Benefit Maximum Benefit Lifetime
Policy renewable every 12 months Y Y Y Y
Covers vet fees for sudden or unexpected injury or illness Y Y Y Y
Covers vet fees for each injury or condition up to a maximum amount following initial claim   Y Y Y
Vet fees for each condition are covered for 12 months following initial claim*   Y    
Vet fees for each condition are covered without any time limit following initial claim*     Y Y
Vet fees for each condition are covered up to a maximum amount, without any time limit, and the maximum amount resets every policy year**       Y

* You will need to renew your policy if the condition extends beyond your current 12-month policy
** Insurer may refuse or limit cover to exclude existing conditions at the renewal date

What is Dog Insurance?
What Does Dog Insurance Cover?

What Does Dog Insurance Cover?

When you take out a dog insurance policy, some things may come as standard such as vets' fees in the event of injury, accident or illness. However, it's worth noting that dog insurance will not usually cover routine check-ups and treatments such as vaccinations, worming and neutering. Furthermore, if your pooch has a pre-existing medical condition you may find that you are not covered with a basic policy.

Dog insurance can sometimes offer more than you would expect, depending on the policy. This can include the likes of:

Dental Cover

Dental problems are fairly common in dogs, so ensuring your dog's dental health is covered in your pet insurance could be a smart move.

Missing Pet Cover

Should your dog go AWOL, some pet insurance policies will cover the cost for advertising your missing pet and even for offering a reward.

Kennel Fees

In the event of an unexpected stay in hospital, you may have to arrange for your dog to stay in a kennel, and this can be costly. Some insurance policies will cover you for this up to an agreed financial limit.

Accidental Damage

Insurers will not usually cover accidental damage to your home as it is difficult to assess how well your dog has been trained. Many policies will however cover the cost of damage caused to another person's property (up to a specified amount).

Death Due to an Accident or Illness

Although money cannot compensate for the loss of your precious pooch, should the unthinkable happen, some policies will pay out a lump sum that covers the price you paid for your pet or the current market value.

Should I Get Dog Insurance?

Most of us consider our dogs to be part of the family so when they get ill or hurt, it's upsetting and usually expensive too. Dog insurance can provide a safety net to protect you against unexpected bills or at least limit the cost should your furry friend need any treatment. Although there's no law that says you must have pet insurance, with vet bills rising year on year, perhaps it's something worth considering.

How Can I Save Money on Dog Insurance?

Here are a few things you could consider doing to lower the cost of your premiums.


When you compare insurance policies for your pet, you may be asked whether your pet is microchipped. Although it is now a legal requirement, having your dog microchipped could be seen as an indication that you are a responsible owner and therefore could result in cheaper premiums.


By keeping your dog's vaccinations up to date, not only are you helping to protect your furry friend from preventable disease, you could also be rewarded with cheaper insurance premiums. Insurers will often see your pet as 'low risk' if their vaccinations are up to date. Furthermore, if you claim for a condition that could have been prevented with by a routine vaccination, your insurance provider may be reluctant to pay out.

Shop Around

Using a comparison site such as comparecover.com allows you to compare multiple quotes from a range of UK insurance providers. All you need to do is tell us a few details about your dog and we'll show you a list of quotes, allowing you to choose the right one to suit your budget and the needs of your dog.

Once you have a good idea of the cover level you require and the types of policy available, you're ready to start comparing pet insurance products!

Should I Get Dog Insurance?

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