What is pet insurance?

5th February 2019by Joanna White

Pets to many people are part of the family and should therefore be treated as such. Whether it’s a dog, cat or even an exotic reptile, pets deserve to receive the appropriate veterinary medical care and attention when they need it.

That’s where pet insurance comes into play. Pet insurance will cover your pet for a whole manner of things, including vet bills, treatment costs and third-party liability.

If you want to find out more about what is pet insurance, and the different types of policies you can obtain, then check out the guide below.

What you need to know - what is pet insurance?

Pet insurance is an invaluable asset to have if you want to ensure that your furry friends are fully protected should they require medical treatment or if they go missing due to theft or straying. Find out more below about what pet insurance covers, as well as the types of policies and exactly which pets you can receive insurance for.

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance covers a range of different things, meaning that your pet is well-looked after and you can rest-assured that you won’t have to pay out a lot of money for the likes of veterinary bills or third-party liability.

Veterinary fees and bills

One of the most important things that pet insurance covers is vet bills and fees such as treatment costs, physiotherapy and sometimes dental cover.

Your pet can be treated at your local vet practice for issues such as accidental injury or illness; you can then make a claim back on your pet insurance so that you don’t have to pay the full vet fees.

Some insurers will require you to pay the costs upfront at first, and then you can make a claim on your insurance policy which you’ll be reimbursed for.

Loss or theft of pet

Unfortunately, sometimes pets can become lost due to straying, or they may even be stolen from you. In these kinds of situations, your pet insurance will cover the cost of your missing pet.

They may even cover advertising costs that have been used to advertise your missing pet, as well as a reward for the person that finds your pet and returns them home safely.

Death of your pet

As part of your pet insurance policy, you’ll also be covered for the death or your pet by accident, illness or if they must be put to sleep by a vet.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that some insurers won’t cover the cost of death of your pet once they reach a certain age.

Third party liability cover

This type of cover usually only covers dog and it involves covering you against any legal costs incurred as a result of your dog causing damage to a property or injuring or causing serious harm to someone.

What animals can be covered?

While different pet insurance providers will likely differ in which pets they offer cover for, you can usually expect to receive cover for the below pets.

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Birds
  • Exotic pets (parrots, reptiles, tortoises)
  • Horses

Types of pet insurance policies

When it comes to pet insurance, there are four main types of policies that you can expect to invest in.

Accident only

Accident only policies are the most basic (and cheapest) type of pet insurance policy available. They will cover your pet for treatment that they require as a result of an accident.

Time limited

This type of policy allows you to make a claim for a certain condition, for a set amount of time. This time frame is usually 12 months and when this period is up, then your pet insurer is no longer required to provide you with cover for that condition.

Maximum benefit

A maximum benefit policy involves cover for a condition up to a certain amount of money. You can make a claim up to this amount, but if the treatment required exceeds your set amount, then your insurance provider won’t pay out for any further claims.


The most comprehensive type of pet insurance is a lifetime policy, whereby your pet will be covered for the entirety of its life.

With a lifetime policy, you’ll be able to claim up to a set amount for any condition for every year of your pet’s life. Lifetime policies might be the most expensive, but they’ll also offer you and your pet the most comprehensive cover.

Conclusion - what is pet insurance?

Pet insurance can be quite a costly thing to buy, but without it you could be putting your pet in danger, especially if you can’t afford the hefty veterinary fees.

There are so many pet insurance providers on the market, that you’ll really be spoiled for choice when choosing the correct one to suit you and your pet. Make sure you conduct thorough research about the type of policy you’ll require for your pet.