Dog being checked by vet

Pet insurance

Pet insurance can cover your pet in the event of an accident or illness. It's there to help you cover the cost of veterinary bills if your pet becomes sick or gets injured. 

Not all pet insurance is the same, so it’s important to check the cover provided for veterinary care carefully and choose the right provider for you and your pet. 

Note: All dogs, cats and rabbits rehomed from Blue Cross come with four weeks free Petplan insurance.

Why is pet insurance important?

Getting a new pet, whether they’re a puppy or a bit older is a special time. And pets will hopefully have a long life ahead of them. But the cost of providing healthcare for your pet can be expensive. Having pet insurance means you can concentrate on getting them better without the added worry of vet bills. Some policies will also include other costs, such as theft and liability cover.

How does pet insurance work?

If your pet has an accident or becomes unwell, you can make a claim with your pet insurance provider. If your claim is successful, your insurance company will either: 

  • ask you to cover the cost upfront and they will reimburse you
  • pay the money directly to your vet 

This can vary depending on the insurance provider and vet clinic.

Types of pet insurance

Pet insurance can vary depending on the company and cover you choose. You may also want to check the cost of insurance before choosing your pet as some pets are more expensive to insure. But there are some standard policies that are worth knowing about.

Accident only

You’ll receive a set amount of money for any accidents, but it does not cover illnesses.

Non-lifetime pet insurance

There are two types of this cover. The first is time-limited and the second is per condition. 

  • Time-limited provides cover for a set amount of time, such as 12 months. Each illness or accident is covered for the time period. Once the time-limit is reached, all cover for that illness or accident (and any related claims) ends and no further claims for it will be paid and might not be covered in your following year’s policy.
  • Per condition gives you cover up to a maximum amount of money per condition. Once you’ve reached the monetary limit for that condition, it will no longer be covered as part of your policy.

Lifetime cover

You’ll get a set amount of money for all illnesses and accidents each year which is refreshed every time you renew your policy. This means you can continue to claim for ongoing conditions. We recommend this level of cover as it protects you against ongoing medical issues that may happen. 

Make sure you do your research to find a policy that suits you.

What to look out for

Pay careful attention to the small print. Pet Insurance doesn’t cover routine treatments, such as vaccinations or worming, pregnancy and giving birth, and many providers won’t cover pre-existing conditions. When shopping around for a policy, it’s important that you consider the following:

  • What is the veterinary fees excess (the amount of each claim which you must pay)?
  • Will the insurer pay your vet directly?
  • Does the policy provide lifetime cover, or are conditions excluded after 12 months?
  • What is the maximum amount of money you can receive per condition?
  • Does the policy cover congenital, hereditary, hip-related, dental and behavioural conditions?
  • Will your premium increase if you make a claim?

If you’ve rehomed a pet from us

If you’ve rehomed a dog, cat or rabbit from us, we provide four weeks’ free pet insurance through Petplan. This will start on the first day that you take your pet home with you. After the four weeks are up, you can choose whether you would like to continue taking out insurance with Petplan or find a different provider.

If you can’t afford pet insurance

If you’re unable to afford the cost of pet insurance and are struggling with vet bills, Blue Cross is there to provide help to those living within our catchment areas who receive certain benefits. 

Check your eligibility for our veterinary services.

— Page last updated 12/04/2021

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We provide free pet advice as every pet deserves to be well looked after. We treated around 35,000 sick injured and homeless pets last year. We're so glad we've been able to help these pets who are unable to help themselves, but there are thousands of sick and lonely pets still in need, so we need to ask for a small favour.

All of our work is funded entirely through donations. People like you are essential to our work. If everyone who benefits from our articles is able to give a little back, we can reach thousands more pets. For as little as £1 you can make a difference - do you have one minute? Thank you.