Pet insurance vs self-insuring

If your pet gets injured or falls ill, an unexpected trip to the vet can be super stressful – and can hit you hard in the pocket. So what’s the best way to cover expensive vet fees?

Should you take out a pet insurance policy and get the reassurance that comes with it? Or would you be better off self-insuring and putting your money away in a savings account each month?

What is pet insurance?

Like any other type of insurance, pet insurance is a policy that helps protect and cover you against unexpected costs.

There’s no legal requirement to have pet insurance, but the most common reason people protect their pet is to cover the cost of expensive vet fees.

You’ll pay a monthly or annual premium, and if your pet gets injured or falls ill, your pet insurer will help cover the costs.

What is self-insuring?

Self-insuring your pet is when you put money away each week or month to build up a savings pot to pay for potential vet bills.

If you don’t want traditional pet insurance, or feel that it’s too expensive, self-insuring may be something you’ve considered. But you’ll need to be serious about your savings – and think about how much you can afford to put away.

Could self-insuring cover the cost of vet care?

Whether you could afford expensive vet fees without pet insurance will depend on your financial situation and costs of your pet’s treatments.

If your pet suffers a serious injury which requires surgery, X-rays or continuous treatment, your vet’s fees could add up to thousands of pounds.

If your pet has an ongoing, terminal or critical condition, you’ll have to pay for regular treatment and medication over your pet’s lifetime.

Pet insurance may help you cover these costs. But if you choose to self-insure, you’ll have to pick up the tab on your own.

What type of pet insurance should you get?

If you decide that self-insuring doesn't give you the peace of mind you need, purchasing a pet insurance policy is a popular alternative. But with so many options available, how do you know which one to choose?

Our guide to pet insurance sheds some light on the typical types of pet insurance cover and provides a few pointers on what to consider when choosing a policy.

To make your life easier, we’ve also summarised the different types of pet policies below.

This is the most comprehensive pet insurance available. When you take out a lifetime policy, your pet is covered up to a set amount each year. And as long as you renew your policy without a break in cover, the full amount resets every year and becomes available again.

With this policy, each condition is covered for 12 months from the first date of treatment or until the maximum benefit is paid for that condition – whichever comes first. After this, you’ll need to pay for any ongoing treatment yourself.

Accident only policies are typically the least expensive pet insurance available. They help cover the cost of vet fees if your pet’s injured as a result of being involved in an accident or being attacked by another animal.



What else does pet insurance cover?

While the most common reason for getting pet insurance is to cover the cost of expensive vet fees, there are a number of additional benefits available.

And of course, if you choose to self-insure, you’ll have to pay for it all out of your own pocket.

When it comes to our pet insurance, we’ll also cover you for:

Please note that we won't cover the cost of any pre-existing conditions and that terms, conditions, excesses, exclusions and limitations apply. You can find out more about the terms of our cover in our policy documents.

Other helpful guides

Our handy pet guides can help you make an informed choice on the best way to protect your pet.

What am I covered for?

See what you’ve got in your insurance cover

See your cover
Pet insurance explained

We’ve shed some light on the typical types of pet insurance

Get the facts
Pet insurance glossary

Cut through the jargon and understand your cover

Learn more

Any other questions?

If you want to know more about pet insurance, we may have the answer for you in our frequently asked questions.

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Ready to protect your pet?

If you’ve decided that pet insurance is the right plan for you, you can go ahead and protect your pet now.

With cover for vet fees and 24/7 Vet Assistance as standard, we’ll help give you the support you need.

Find out more

Need to talk to us?

Find the details you need in our FAQs.

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Important information

Bank plc, Registered Office, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no. 3279730) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514). Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd is an appointed representative of Sainsbury's Bank plc.

Sainsbury's Bank plc, Registered Office, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no. 3279730) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514). Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd is an appointed representative of Sainsbury's Bank plc.
Sainsbury's Bank plc acts as an introducer to Pinnacle Insurance plc who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register number 110866). Registered Office: Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 2XX. Sainsbury’s Bank plc and Pinnacle Insurance plc are not part of the same corporate group.