Is dog insurance compulsory in the UK?
The simple answer to the question is, in the UK there is no legal requirement for pet insurance.
Do I need pet insurance?
Pet insurance is not required in the UK. Why then do so many pet owners choose to have it?
What is pet insurance?
Pet insurance is often purchased to cover unexpected vet bills. You can pay a fixed amount to a pet insurance company monthly or annually and you won’t have any worries about paying for vet treatment if your pet is injured or becomes unwell.
Many vet fee policies include liability insurance as well.
Dog insurance policy for pet liability
If you own a dog, there’s another reason to think about pet insurance. It covers liability.
You are legally responsible for your dog’s actions as a dog owner. If your dog bites, hurts livestock, damages property or runs onto the road, you will be responsible for all costs. You will have to pay for them.
This is possible with pet insurance, which provides a type insurance called third-party liability insurance. It can pay out in the event of these types of incidents. These costs can reach millions of pounds in extreme cases when you consider damages and expensive legal fees.
This is not a problem for cats as the law views them as free spirits and doesn’t hold their owners responsible for their behavior.
All policies purchased by Many include public liability, including the Complete Lifetime policy that offers PS15,000 in vet fee coverage and dental coverage for accidents or illnesses.
Dog owners might be able find public liability-only policies from other companies or organisations. Dogs Trust, for example, offers public liability insurance.
How much can vet visits really be expensive?
Vet costs can reach thousands of pounds if a pet requires major surgery or has an ongoing condition that needs treatment over many years. Take, for example:
Luxating patella – If your pet needs surgery on both his knees, this could cost you around PS1,500
Heart problems – Pets with congenital heart defects can be treated up to PS6,000
Hip dysplasia: If your pet needs both hips replaced it could cost you PS7,000
These are the types of situations in which pet insurance is most useful.
Okay, how much does pet insurance cost for you?
Basic pet insurance costs as low as PS3 per month. However, the cost of pet insurance varies based on where you live, the breed and age of your pet and the financial protection you choose.
Read our article about pet insurance costs.
Policies that cover vet fees usually include pet liability insurance.
What can I do to get pet insurance at a lower price?
There are many options that can lower the cost of pet insurance.
Multi-pet insurance is where you insure multiple pets on one policy. This is often cheaper than individually insuring them. Multi-pet discounts up to 15% (currently not available with our Value 2k policy).
Shop around for the best pet insurance deals and compare prices.
Our guide to affordable pet insurance for senior dogs.
What other benefits does pet insurance provide?
Pet insurance may also cover costs for lost or stolen pets, as well as unexpected kennel placements.
Unlimited video calls are included in our coverage with UK vets. These calls are free, available 24 hours a day and do not count towards a claim. Learn more about our coverage and how you can get free FirstVet access.
Insurance companies offer many features that they should highlight in their policies documents and on their websites.
The policy documents of Bought By Many are easy to read for all customers.
What is not covered by pet insurance
Remember that pet insurance is meant to provide financial protection against unexpected expenses.
It doesn’t pay for routine vet care such as neutering and jabs. Pet insurance doesn’t usually cover medical conditions that are already present in your pet. This is known as a “pre-existing condition” by most pet insurance companies.
We have however launched a policy which provides limited coverage for medical conditions.
There are also some treatments that can be covered by lifetime pet insurance policies but not basic pet insurance policies. These are:
Dental care for pets
Hydrotherapy for dogs is another option.
Pet diet food costs
End of life costs, that is, the cost to have a pet killed.
Find out more about our guide to pet insurance exclusions.
What are the options for pet insurance?
It is possible to just take a chance and pay any vet bills that arise. A few people opt to self-insure, putting a set amount each month into a savings account that they can use for their pet’s treatment. This approach has its downsides:
You may not have enough money in your savings to cover expensive treatment if you need it early in the life of your pet.
If you own a dog, your public liability coverage will not apply to you.
The Dogs Trust membership offers many benefits, including public liability insurance for your pet dog. It costs PS 25 per year so it is a cost-effective option to get public liability insurance if you require it.