What Are The Different Pet Insurance Policy Types?

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Alexandre Desoutter updated on June 26, 2020

What pet insurance policy should you get for your beloved animal? What are the main differences between pet insurance policy types?

In this article, you'll find everything you need to know regarding pet insurance policies.

Let's dive in!

What are the different types of pet insurance?

Pet insurance comes in different styles depending on the kind of cover you want.

  • Accident-only cover will pay out if your pet is involved in an accident but not if your pet is ill. This is the cheapest kind of cover, but if your pet develops a health condition or catches an infectious disease, you won't be covered.
  • Time-limited cover will pay out only on any claim you make in the year. It also has a limit on the total amount you can claim. If you claim on a condition within the year, you can't claim for it again next year – so if your pet has a long-term illness like cancer, you won't be covered.
  • Maximum benefit cover gives you an annual amount you can claim per year, and, sometimes, per condition. When you reach the claim limit, you can't claim for it again.
  • Lifetime cover has no time limit on each condition. There's an annual limit, but this is reset every year. So it gives you the highest level of protection for your pet.
Accident OnlyTime LimitedMaximum BenefitLifetimeSpecific pre-existing condition policy
Covers accidentYesYesYesYesYes
Covers pre-existing medical conditionsNoNoNoNoYes
Covers illnessesNoYesYesYesYes
Time limitNoYesNoNoNo
Per-condition limitNoYesYesYesNo
Covers routine treatmentNoNoNoNoNo
Auto-renew of coverNoNoYesYesNo
Pet insurance types

What is lifetime pet insurance?

Lifetime pet insurance will cover your pet for their lifetime, so if they have a health condition that requires long--term treatment, it will pay out. Your insurance will renew each year.

There is generally a claim limit per condition, per pet, per year. Once you reach the limit, you'll be responsible for paying the bills yourself.

Buy lifetime insurance when your pets are young and in good health, because the one thing that it won't cover is pre-existing health conditions. It will get more expensive as your pets get older, but it will still cover them for any long-term health needs. (Check your policy details, though, as some policies have a higher excess or ask you to pay a percentage of the cost when animals pass a certain age, usually nine or 10, and sometimes 12.)

Why should you take out lifetime pet insurance?

Pet lifetime cover is the most protective cover. It could be a really good idea to take out this type of cover if:

  • Your dog or cat is often ill.
  • Your dog or cat's breed is known to be prone to disease.
  • Your dog or cat is young. As it won't cover pre-existing health conditions, taking out lifetime pet insurance at this stage is a really good idea.
  • When it comes to peace of mind, lifetime pet insurance really is the must-have policy.

What is time-limited pet insurance?

Time-limited pet insurance only covers your pets for the year. It won't cover pre-existing health conditions, so if your dog or cat is ill this year, when you come to renew, that condition will be excluded from your cover. That means if your pet has arthritis, for instance, you won't be covered after the first year that you make a claim.

Why should you take out time-limited pet insurance?

Taking out time-limited insurance for dogs or cats can be really useful if:

  • You need really basic cover for your pet.
  • You have an older dog or cat, as there is no age limit to take out this type of insurance.
  • Lifetime cover is expensive; time-limited is not as protective but has the advantage of being cheaper.

What is maximum benefit pet insurance?

Taking out maximum benefit pet insurance allows you to claim each time your pet is injured or ill, up to a specific limit. You can claim multiple times for the same illness up to the limit. It is a good policy that is not limited in time. Unlike a lifetime policy, the claims cap isn’t reset every year, so it’s easy to run out of cover – and after that, you have to pay the bills yourself.

Why should you take out maximum benefit pet insurance?

Taking out maximum benefit pet insurance is useful when:

  • Your cat or dog suffers from a disease that is not serious and requires, for example, the taking of medication. As this is not limited in time and you can claim on the same illness, maximum benefit insurance can be a good solution.
  • Your pet suffers from various illnesses. Once you're reaching the limit on one illness, you can still claim on another one.

What is accident-only pet insurance?

Accident-only insurance is the most standard type of pet insurance. As the name suggests, it is a policy that covers the cost of treatment if your pet is involved in an accident, but you won't be covered if your cat or dog has an illness. This insurance is really effective, as paying for the incident can be really a big expense.

Good to know

Depending on each insurer, you will have a claim limit on the incident. Be careful, as this policy is usually for one year, so you won't be covered for an incident that still requires further treatment.

Why should you take out accident-only pet insurance?

Accident-only is the insurance to take out if you don't want to spend too much money on pet insurance. Fixing broken bones can be around £4,000. Unless you can pay it right away, it is a good thing to be covered at least for this kind of big expense.

LifetimeNice to have if you can afford it
Maximum benefitNice to have if your dog is prone to being illNice to have if illnesses are lasting in time, as no time limit
Time limitedYou can insure your older cat or your older dog as no there is no limit on ageYou need basic cover
Accident only You only want a really standard policy so you will be covered in case of emergency, as you could not afford a leg operation for your dog, for example
Different policy types
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Alexandre Desoutter

Alexandre Desoutter has been working as editor-in-chief and head of press relations at HelloSafe since June 2020. A graduate of Sciences Po Grenoble, he worked as a journalist for several years in French media, and continues to collaborate as a as a contributor to several publications.

In this sense, his role leads him to carry out steering and support work with all HelloSafe editors and contributors so that the editorial line defined by the company is fully respected. and declined through the texts published daily on our platforms.

As such, Alexandre is responsible for implementing and maintaining the strictest journalistic standards within the HelloSafe editorial staff, in order to guarantee the most accurate, up-to-date information on our platforms. and expert as possible. Alexandre has in particular undertaken for two years now the implementation of a system of systematic double-checking of all the articles published within the HelloSafe ecosystem, able to guarantee the highest quality of information.