A dog is for life, not just for Christmas, as they say. So, it figures that you should insure your pet for life, too, right?
It’s not just dogs that should get this special treatment, but any furry friend that you welcome into your home.
Lifetime pet insurance is the most extensive (and often expensive) pet insurance cover you can get for your cat or dog. But it can prove value for money over time if your pet needs expensive treatment at any point in their life.
Lifetime pet insurance will also pay out for any chronic or recurring conditions, provided that you took out the policy before symptoms started to show in your pet. In comparison, with non-lifetime policies, animals might be refused for pre-existing medical conditions or when they reach a certain age.
If you have to keep claiming on your lifetime pet insurance policy – due to a particularly unfortunate pet – it can end up being the insurer who’s out of pocket i.e., the cost of treatment is more than the sum of your annual premiums.
Lifetime insurance policy limits
That’s not to say that a lifetime pet insurance policy will pay out an endless amount. Each policy comes with its own annual limit which caps how much you can claim per condition, or the overall amount you can claim for all conditions, or both.
The easiest way of explaining how policy limits work is to use an example:
- Your policy has a £2,000 annual limit per condition and a £5,000 overall annual limit.
- Your dog develops arthritis, which requires daily medication to provide pain relief and the vet recommends semi-regular hydrotherapy sessions.
- The vet bills and medication come to just under £2,000 in the first year, so you’re covered for all the treatment.
- The next year it costs £4,000 to treat. That means you’ll have to pay £2,000 yourself as the treatment cost exceeded the per condition limit.
- But you can still claim up to £3,000 each year for any other insured condition, until the overall annual limit is reached.
The annual limits will refresh each year, providing that you renew your policy without a break in cover. However, your insurer might impose a lifetime limit on each condition, which caps how much you can claim over the course of your pet’s life for any single condition.
The cost of lifetime pet insurance
You can choose where you set your policy limits. But, of course, the higher the limits, the higher the premiums. That’s just how insurance works.
The other variables which will affect the amount you pay in premiums are your pet, its breed and its age. Your personal information and where you live will also make a difference.
It’s for this reason that it’s important to do your research before you acquire a new pet. Many breeds are predisposed to certain diseases. For example, hip dysplasia is commonly known to affect German Shepherds, while a number of breeds, including Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Great Danes, and Irish Setters have a high incidence of cardiomyopathy, which is a disease in dogs that results in weakening of the heart muscle over time.
If you’ve got your heart set on a particular breed, it’s probably not going to put you off knowing that they might suffer from genetic disease. However, just know that your premiums could be a little punchy.
On the balance of things – i.e., the additional features, policy limits which refresh etc. – you might be happy to pay a little extra for the comprehensive cover.
Pros and cons of lifetime pet insurance
Every type of cover has its pros and cons and lifetime pet insurance is no different.
The standout advantage of lifetime cover is that your beloved pet will be protected no matter what life has in store for them – including accidents and chronic conditions.
More to the point, you’ll be protected from the cost of ongoing vet treatment, unlike with an accident-only or time-limited policy. You won’t be left with any difficult decisions to make around whether you can afford to pay for vital treatment for your pet.
It’s mainly for this reason that many pet owners are prepared to pay a little more in premiums.
Although there are annual or per condition limits you have to factor in, most policyholders don’t end up reaching these, as they refresh every year.
Something to note is that you have to stay with the same insurer year on year to really benefit from a lifetime policy. You might suggest this is a con as there’s no flexibility to switch at any point and you have to be sure you’re getting a good deal in the first instance. But, in the same breath, you don’t have to think about shopping around every year.
However, be aware that the policy price for future years isn’t fixed. Lifetime pet insurance can and usually does increase in price as your pet ages. If your cat or dog is classed as an ‘older pet’, they may be excluded from being able to access lifetime cover.
Getting quotes for lifetime pet insurance
To allow our experts to generate you some accurate quotes for lifetime pet insurance, make sure you have the following information to hand:
● The age of your pet
● The breed of your pet
● If they’ve been vaccinated, neutered and microchipped
● Your personal details
Our service is completely free and there’s no pressure to take out a policy. We’re 100% independent and FCA regulated, meaning you can proceed with confidence.