Pet insurance made simple

We know our pets are worth protecting. And that a pet insurance policy could help keep them bright-eyed and bushy tailed. But with so many types of pet insurance available, it can all be hard to get your head around.

This go-to guide will help shed some light on the typical types of pet insurance cover and provide a few pointers on what to consider when choosing a policy.

Lifetime pet insurance

Lifetime cover is the most comprehensive pet insurance available. As the name suggests, it can help protect your pet for their entire lifetime.

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.

If you protect your pet with us, there are three levels of lifetime cover to choose from (£2,500, £5,000 or £7,500 per year) – so you can find the best fit for you and your pets.

Find out more about lifetime cover

  • Ongoing or long-term illnesses could be covered year after year – giving you extra reassurance and peace of mind
  • Limits are per year, not per condition – so you can claim up to a set amount, for any condition, every year of your pet’s life

Exclusions apply, please read our policy document for more information.

Maximum benefit pet insurance

A maximum benefit policy provides a fixed amount of money for each condition your pet may suffer and requires treatment for.

Unlike lifetime pet insurance, a maximum benefit policy doesn’t reset each year. Your pet’s condition will simply be covered until the limit runs out and you reach the maximum benefit.

Unlike time limited policies, there’s no time limit on reaching the maximum benefit. So as long as you renew your policy each year without a break in cover, your pet’s illness, injury or condition could be covered for a number of years.

  • There’s no time limit to your cover – so your pet could be covered year after year
  • It can be more affordable than lifetime pet insurance – and more comprehensive than time limited or accident only cover
  • We don’t currently offer maximum benefit cover.

Time limited pet insurance

With time limited cover, each condition your pet suffers is covered for 12 months from the first date of treatment or until vet fees are paid. After this, you’ll need to pay for any ongoing treatment yourself.

Find out more about time limited cover

  • A time limited policy can be cheaper than lifetime or maximum benefit cover
  • It may be suitable if you’ve got concerns about the immediate high cost of treatment after an injury or illness
  • It provides protection and peace of mind for short-term injuries (such as cuts and scrapes) or illnesses (such as a stomach upset) which require one-off treatment

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.

Most accident only policies will have a 12-month time limit – meaning they’ll only cover vet treatment for 12 months from the date the treatment starts.

We don’t doesn’t currently offer accident only per insurance.

  • Dog insurance policies may include a third party liability cover section, which offers basic protection should your dog injure someone or damage someone else’s property
  • It could be suitable if you’re not interested in a more comprehensive option
  • It’s the lowest priced policy on the market – so it could be ideal if you’re looking for a low-cost insurance plan

Questions to ask when choosing a policy

When it comes to choosing what pet insurance is best for you and your pet, it’s only natural that you’ll have some questions.

So now you understand the main types of pet insurance, here are some you may want to consider when choosing a policy:

  • Are plans simple, transparent and easy to understand so you can decide on the right cover for you and your pet?
  • How much is the excess? Is it fixed or is it possible to change the excess amount?
  • Are discounts available, for example, for multi-pet policies† or buying through a loyalty scheme?
  • When it comes to claims, can you track your claim online? And can the insurer pay vets directly?

What pet insurance do we offer?

With Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance, you can currently choose from time limited cover or three levels of lifetime cover. The type of cover – and the amount you want covered for – will depend on your personal circumstances and your pet’s needs.

Other helpful guides

Find out about everything from vets to vaccinations with our helpful pet guides.

What am I covered for?

See exactly what’s included in your insurance cover.

See your cover
Vets explained

Everything you need to know about vets – all in one place.

Find out more
Pets insurance glossary

Cut through the jargon and understand your cover.

Learn more

Any other questions?

Check out the answers to some of our pet insurance customers’ most common questions.

See all FAQs

Ready to protect your pet?

If you’d like to get a quote for your pet insurance, you can get started right away. If you’re ready, we’re ready.

Find out more

Need to talk to us?

Call 0344 543 1032

We’re here Monday to Friday, 8am–6pm and Saturday, 9am–1pm. Calls may be monitored and recorded.

Other contact details

†Multi-pet discount is a minimum of £24 when insuring more than one pet as this is worked out at £1 per pet per month for each pet on a policy, up to a maximum of six pets. Pets can have different cover levels. Discount deducted separately from any other offer.

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.