Is Pet Insurance Worth it? Weighing Up the Pros and Cons

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For some, paying for pet insurance is a no-brainer. Others are dead against paying out every month for something that ‘might never happen’.

So is pet insurance worth it or are you better of paying for any vet bills as you go?

Our guide will help weigh up the pros and cons of pet insurance to help you decide if it’s right for you and your pet.

The Cost of Vet Fees: 3 Real-Life Examples

With that said, here are some real-life examples of the costs you could face if your pet gets ill or injured. (These are genuine pets that we look after here at Pet Checkers).

photo of hugo dalmatian

Meet Hugo…

Hugo was a dog we walked every day but sadly is no longer with us. He had severe Canine Epilepsy and was taking 16 tablets a day at one point to keep him well.

His owner claimed £530 a month, every month from PetPlan for two years.

Total cost: £12,720.

He also once ate a pair of his owners’ knickers and needed surgery to remove them.

Total cost: £1,850.

This is Milo…

He’s our very own cat and the reason we started Pet Checkers in the first place. He suffers from feline cystitis and is on regular medication to help.

When we first took him to the vets, the bill was £650. We’ve also claimed £82.50 a month from John Lewis pet insurance for the last 4 years.

Total cost: £4,610 and increasing every month.

photo of milo our cat
photo of diesel black labrador

Then There’s Diesel…

Poor Diesel has been in the wars.

He’s had to have surgery for Elbow Dysplasia on both legs and he’s had a broken toe amputated.

Total cost: £6,800

As you can see, vet bills can add up quickly, especially if they need ongoing treatment. So ask yourself, could you pay these bill if you didn’t have insurance?

The Benefits of Pet Insurance

vet looking at an xray

Having pet insurance has several benefits. It’s worth considering them when deciding if or not you’ll insure your pet;

You’ll Never Have to Choose Between Your Pets Life and Your Bank Balance

If your pet broke their leg, could you afford to pay the £3,000+ to have it fixed?

What about if they develop an ongoing condition like epilepsy? Could you afford the monthly cost of medication?

The sad truth is that many pet parents can’t afford to pay for their pet’s treatment should they need it. At Pet Checkers, we’ve had clients cripple themselves financially to cover the cost. In the worst cases, the only option a client has had is to put their pet to sleep.

Good pet insurance covers the cost of expensive, often life-saving treatments. Both one-off costs like surgery and ongoing costs like medication.

It Makes Stressful Situations a Little Less Stressful

When our pet hurts themselves or gets ill, emotions run high and things get stressful.

Knowing your pet insurance will cover the cost of their treatment removes the stress of having to find the funds yourself. Some insurance companies even pay your vet directly, so you have one less thing to worry about.

Some Policies Come With Added Benefits

Some pet insurance policies don’t only cover the cost of medical expenses.

Some companies will also pay for;

  • Advertising and reward costs for lost and stolen pets
  • Kennel or cattery fees if you need to go into hospital
  • Holiday cancellation if your pet needs treatment
  • Payout on death to pay for cremation costs or contribute to the cost of a new pet

A Simple Monthly or Annual Fee

When buying pet insurance, most companies give you a choice of excess amounts.

Choosing a higher excess means you’ll pay more if you pet needs treatment. But it will often reduce the monthly or yearly cost of the policy.

Lowing the excess means you’ll pay less if your pet needs treatment. As such, it’ll often increase your monthly or yearly bill.

This means you can tailor the policy to fit within your budget. You’ll know how much you’ll need to pay and when so you won’t get hit with huge, unexpected fees.

The Cons of Pet Insurance

cat at the vets with a poorly paw

As useful as pet insurance is, it’s not for everyone. Here are a few reasons why you might think twice before paying for it;

It’s Expensive

There’s no getting around it, pet insurance isn’t cheap. And the cost only rises as your pets get older. If they have received treatment in the past or reach a certain age, the cost can more than double.

That said, pet insurance isn’t about saving money. It’s about having a financial safety net in place if anyting goes wrong.

Still, the reality for many is that they’ll spend more paying for it than they will save by using it.

For some, the cost is too high to stomach.

It Doesn’t Cover All Conditions

This does depend on the insurer as well as the policy. But some insurers will exclude the very conditions you want to insure against.

For example, let’s say your cat has received treatment for Cystitis in the past. Depending on your policy, your insurer might exclude that condition when you renew.

Changing insurers is pointless because they won’t cover existing conditions.

You’ll still be able to get insurance but you won’t be able to claim for that condition. In which case, you might feel that it’s pointless.

Other policies only cover accidents so if your pet becomes sick, you won’t be able to claim.

Choosing the Right Policy is Confusing

There are around 80 companies in the UK that sell pet insurance. Each one has different;

  • Policy types
  • Inclusions
  • Restrictions
  • How much you can claim per year or per condition
  • Renewal costs
  • Excess charges

What one policy covers, a different one doesn’t. If it does, it covers it to a lesser extent, either in how much or how long you can claim for.

With all the different options, exclusion, jargon and fine print, pet insurance has become a minefield many pet owners refuse to step into.

So, is Pet Insurance Right For You?

Only you can decide.

That said, we work with pets every day. We’ve seen clients have no choice but to put their pets to sleep because they couldn’t afford the vet bills themselves. We’ve seen the devastating effect it has on their families.

We’ve also had clients go ahead with surgeries and their insurance company refuse to pay out. When they looked at the fine print, they realised their pets were never covered in the first place.

For us, pet insurance is essential but you must do your due diligence. Compare insurers like PetPlan, John Lewis, Waggel, Bought By Many and AgiaPet, read customer reviews, and read the fine print.

Photo of author

Ben Doyle

Ben Doyle co-owns Pet Checkers with his wife, Vicki. He spends his days looking after all kinds of animals, from dogs to eagles. When he's not taking care of animals, he's writing about them.


At Pet Checkers, we've been providing the very best pet care Lincoln has to offer since 2013.

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