8 top tips to save money on pet insurance

How to keep your costs down and get all the protection your pet needs.

Simple pieces of advice to make sure you get the most from your pet policy

Pet insurance is a preventative measure to maintain your pet’s health and well-being, but our research shows that the average cost of a pet insurance premium is on the rise. The average cost of a pet insurance policy is £304, a 12% rise from the previous year, and a 35% increase over the past 5 years.

The price of your policy is generally based on the following factors:

  • Pet Type – Cats will typically be cheaper to insure than dogs.
  • Breed – Pedigrees are more expensive to insurance than mixed breeds, and pedigrees like French Bulldogs are much more expensive than Labradors.
  • Pet Age – The older your pet, the more expensive they’ll be to insure.
  • Postcode – Living in a rural location is likely to be cheaper than in a city centre.
  • Claims – Where renewal pricing is concerned, if you have made a claim then this will be a key driver of the increase.
  • Vet Fee Inflation – This is the cost of veterinary treatment across the country. Currently (February 2022) it is at its highest rate since March 2020. As a result the average claim payout has increased to £817 according to the ABI.

All these factors are taken into account when pet insurance companies provide you with a premium. Happily however, there are things that you can do to save money on pet insurance.

Ways to reduce the cost of pet insurance

Reducing the cost is not easy as the 3 predominant factors in determining your price (breed, age and postcode) are difficult to change. However, we would recommend:

Shop around at renewal

Make sure you compare cover when your policy comes up for renewal and you contact your insurer to see if they have any renewal incentives.

Understand the different policy types and add-ons

Whilst the more comprehensive policies sound great, you may not need all their features. Some providers allow you to remove certain elements of cover such as overseas travel. If you have no need for these then remove them and save a little extra.

Increase your excess payments

If you can afford to, think about increasing your excess payment to reduce your annual premium.

Consider a co-insurance

This is a payment in addition to the excess where you can choose to pay a percentage – usually 10-20% –  of the value of any claim. For younger, healthier pets this could prove a useful way of reducing total premiums. However, if you need to make a claim you will have additional costs to bear. Explore more about excess and co-insurance payments.

Use vet advice lines first before heading to the vet

If you think that there’s something wrong with your pet, before heading to the vets try using a vet advice line. Most insurers have them and you can use them 24/7 as part of your policy, more familiar ones are FirstVet and Joii. These advice lines provide access to qualified vet nurses who can assess your pet and let you know if a trip to the vets is necessary. This saves you money, especially if the incident happens out-of-hours.

Shopping around for vet treatment

Many pet owners do not think to do this. In some cases where emergency treatment is required then clearly you won’t have time to shop around. However, in cases where you are able, it’s worth seeking different opinions and prices for the treatment. In fact, many insurers (via their underwriter) have agreements with vet practices where they get preferential rates for treatment. If you can find out who these agreements are with, then by going to that vet practice you might save money at renewal.

Buying medication online

By purchasing medication via other means you will avoid the markup that your vet puts on the product and therefore save money, which is great for you and your insurer. There are a number of reputable online pharmacies for pets – an accredited list is available from Defra.

Prevention

The best way to avoid treatment costs is preventative care. Making sure that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, undertaking regular health checks, keeping them on a healthy diet and giving them the correct level of exercise all go a long way to ensuring they remain happy and healthy for as long as possible. Find out more about how to reduce vet bills.

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