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Do you need pet insurance?

Do you need pet insurance?

Do you need pet insurance in the UK? For pet insurance facts, information and advice read on and learn if you need cover for your furry friend.

Provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc

Do pets need insurance in the UK?

You do not have to have pet insurance in the UK, but there are many benefits that could help protect your pet (and your finances).

It’s worth considering what pet insurance can offer you and how you would fund any treatment required if your pet became ill or was injured.

While benefits can vary between insurers they can often include:

  • Cover toward the cost of veterinary fees in the event of injury or illness.
  • Third-party liability cover if your pet were to damage someone’s property.
  • Cover towards the costs of advertising for your pets return if they’re lost.
  • Reimbursement of cancelled holidays in the event of emergency surgery for your pet (up to a set amount).

While the exact cover that you could be eligible for is down to your policy and insurer, there are a lot of circumstances where being covered could take away some financial strain.

Take a more comprehensive look at the benefits of Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance here.

What is pet insurance?

Pet insurance is a policy that helps protect and cover you against unexpected costs, making it easier to support your much-loved pets.

You do not need pet insurance in the UK as a legal requirement, 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 may help to cover the costs.

Learn more about pet insurance with Sainsbury’s Bank today.

What is self-insuring?

While pets do not need insurance, it often pays to look out for them. 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 to consider. 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 potential costs of your pet’s treatments.

If your furry friend suffers a serious injury which requires surgery, X-rays or continuous treatment, pet insurance can help pay towards vet fees. It’s sensible to be prepared for the financial costs if this should happen.

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. It’s also worth considering that most insurers will not cover pre-existing conditions. That means finding cover for your pet early could help to cover the costs of conditions that arise later in life.

If you choose to self-insure, you’ll have to pick up the cost on your own.

Pet insurance vs self-insuring

If your pet gets injured or falls ill, an unexpected trip to the vet can be super stressful – both for your pet and your wallet. Sudden expenses in emergencies can be tricky to deal with if you don’t have something in place. So, what’s the best way to cover what could be 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?

Before you make any decisions, consider how you’d fund some of the different situations you and your pet might find yourselves in.

What type of pet insurance should you get?

Both options are popular, but self-insuring requires more discipline to save, and it can be difficult to plan for unexpected injuries or big surgeries. Pet insurance also comes in many forms, depending on your needs. With so many options available, it can be hard to know if you should buy pet insurance.

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. Remember that all pet insurances will offer different levels of cover and benefits as well as restrictions, so it is important to look into this and find the right policy for you and your pet.

Lifetime pet insurance

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.

Time limited pet insurance

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 pet insurance

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.

Maximum benefit cover

With maximum benefit insurance, you can claim vet fees per condition during the lifetime of your policy, up to the policy limit. If you reach the limit for one condition you will still be covered for any different conditions that your pet may develop over the course of your policy.


What else does pet insurance cover?

While the most common reason for getting pet insurance is to help cover the costs of 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.

Do you need pet insurance for a rabbit?

When it comes to pet insurance, most people probably think of cover for cats and dogs. But many pet owners choose to insure their rabbits too.

While rabbits don’t cost as much as cats and dogs to buy, they can end up being just as expensive over their lifetime.

One of the reasons for this is that rabbits can suffer from some pretty common health problems. And these problems can often lead to hefty medical costs and vet fees.

Of course, pet insurance isn’t a legal requirement for rabbits (or cats and dogs). But it can help cover the costs of vet fees – and give you some extra reassurance and peace of mind.

You can learn more about rabbit insurance and some of the most common rabbit health problems in our rabbit health and insurance guide.

What am I covered for?

What am I covered for?

See what you’ve got in your insurance cover

Pet insurance explained

Pet insurance explained

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

Pet insurance glossary

Pet insurance glossary

Cut through the jargon and understand your cover.

Any other questions?

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


Frequently asked questions

What if my pet needs surgery and I can’t afford it?

Some vets offer affordable payment plans or there may be charity grants that could assist you. There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get support which is why many people opt for pet insurance. It’s worth checking what your options are if you’re self-insuring or you exceed your policy limit.

Do pets need insurance?

Choosing to insure your pet is entirely your choice. However, even if you decide not to, it’s important to put money aside should the worst happen. With so many different types of insurance available it’s down to what works best for you and your pets.

Can I get pet insurance before my pet’s surgery?

If your furry friend is heading into surgery, you can still purchase pet insurance but there’s some important things to consider. If the surgery is considered a pre-existing condition, then you won’t be covered. Some surgeries can also result in your pet becoming uninsurable so it’s usually better to have the protection in place already if you think you’ll need it.


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.


Need to talk to us?

Find the details you need on our help and support page.

Other contact details

Terms and conditions

Important information

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.