how much is pet insurance average costs coverage

How Much is Pet Insurance? - The Average Costs and Coverage

Written by Steph McCulloch


How much is pet insurance? We're glad you asked. Discover the average cost of pet insurance and how to tailor it to your pet's needs. View the types of insurance and average costs with our expert guide to pet insurance coverage.
Boston Terrier sitting down


Pet insurance not only protects your pet but also protects you from unexpected vet bills. It serves to provide you with complete peace of mind knowing that your pet’s health needs are always covered. Without an insurance policy, you could be looking at unpredictable pet care costs, something we’re sure you don’t want.

If the worst was to happen and your pet was to fall ill or be injured in an accident, what would you do if you didn’t have insurance?

To help you navigate the world of pet insurance we’ve made the ultimate guide to policy costs in the UK so you can get a better understanding of what sorts of insurance premiums you can expect to pay when insuring your furry friend.

Average cost of pet insurance in the UK

white cat being held by vet

According to the ABI (Association of British Insurers), pet owners in the UK can expect to pay a premium of £271 per year. This breaks down into 12 monthly premiums of around £22.60 each.

However, this price will vary depending on the type of cover you opt for, the age and breed of your pet, as well as other factors such as where you live.

Many pet insurers provide different types of coverage, but we don’t think this is very fair. Instead, we provide just one type of policy, Lifetime, to help you and your pet get the most from your insurance but we’ll get into that later on.

On average, the starting prices for pet insurance are about £274 a year for dogs and £117 for cats. This breaks down to just under £23 a month for dogs and £9.75 for cats.

Types of pet insurance costs

dog laying down by woman on laptop

So where do you even begin when there are lots of different policy types to choose from

What’s a Time-Limited policy?

A Time-Limited policy is considered one of the cheaper types of pet insurance and offers a fixed sum for any illnesses or injuries your pet faces. There are limits and timeframes for how long you can claim.

The average price for a Time-Limited policy is around £170 per year for a dog and £112 per year for a cat. However, these figures are merely an average across a variety of breeds and ages so you could be looking at different prices if you’re looking for a Time-Limited policy.

The benefits of a Time-Limited policy are that it’s a cheaper option which can be helpful if you’re on a budget and want to make smaller monthly payments. However, the drawback of a Time-Limited policy is that you can very easily reach your limit and timeframe which means your pet’s condition will no longer be covered. This can make future vet treatment and claims very expensive.

What’s a Maximum Benefit policy?

A Maximum-Benefit policy is considered the mid-budget option when it comes to pet insurance. With this type of policy, your pet will be covered for each new condition but up to a set financial limit. This means that, unlike a Time-Limited policy, there is no set time limit on your claim.

According to recent data, the average price of a Maximum Benefit pet insurance policy in the UK is around £288 per year for a dog and £182 per year for a cat.

The benefits of this kind of policy are that it offers a balance between affordability and coverage, ensuring that all pet owners can continue to provide care and cover for their furry friends. The main drawback of a Maximum-Benefit policy is that once you have reached your limit, your coverage for that condition will end meaning you will have to continue to pay yourself for the additional care your pet is likely to require.

What is a Lifetime policy?

Lifetime policies are the only kind of policy we offer at Waggel. This is because they cover both accidents and illness for your pet’s entire life. Lifetime insurance is considered the safest and most premium option because it covers your pet year-after-year, as long as you renew your policy. At Waggel, you set your Annual Limit and Claim Contribution (Excess), but you can also adjust them every year before your policy renews keeping your pet healthy and happy.

If you don’t renew your policy, the conditions you’ve claimed for will likely be categorised as pre-existing. However, this isn’t just limited to Lifetime policies and happens widely across the pet insurance space.

The actual cost can range widely, with lifetime pet insurance for dogs costing anywhere from £10 to £100 a month (£125 to £1,200 a year) or more. These costs are highly variable and depend on factors such as the breed and age of your pet.

It’s also important to take into account the different factors. For example, insuring a French Bulldog in London will be more expensive than insuring a mixed-breed dog outside of the city. This is because French Bulldogs are more susceptible to health conditions and accidents and illnesses that come with city living.

Though Lifetime policies can be on the more expensive side, they offer you the best form of protection and mean that you can keep claiming for your pet’s condition year after year as long as you renew your policy. Ultimately, this helps you save money as you won’t have to shell out on hefty vet bills.

Make sure to check out our guide on the
types of pet insurance for a more comprehensive overview on what they don't and do cover.

Are pre-existing conditions covered?

In the UK, Lifetime pet insurance is the most comprehensive way to safeguard the health of your beloved cats and dogs. When it comes to pre-existing conditions, it's essential to read the terms of your policy carefully.

Typically, most comprehensive pet insurance plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions, which refer to any health issue that your pet had before the policy's effective date, as mentioned above. This means that if your pet develops a chronic condition or injury prior to being insured, your insurance won't cover the cost of treatment for that specific condition in the future. As a pet owner, it’s important to consider this aspect when insuring your pet, as the cost of treatment for pre-existing conditions can be quite high, sometimes amounting to thousands of pounds.

When looking into pet insurance policies, it's crucial to conduct a thorough comparison to understand your options and the cost of cover. The average pet insurance cost and premium varies based on factors like the type of pet, their age, breed, and the level of coverage you choose.

At Waggel, we understand that sometimes monthly insurance costs may seem daunting, however, they pale in comparison to the potential out-of-pocket expenses you might face if your pet is involved in an accident or develops a costly health condition. Ultimately, the cost of your pet insurance will depend on the provider you choose and the specific pet insurance plan you select.

Pet insurance can provide peace of mind and can help you by providing financial support towards the cost of treatment if your pet was to develop a serious condition or be involved in an accident in the future.

Pet insurance costs for dogs

2 labradors sitting by lake

The starting costs for different types of dog insurance policies can vary depending on several factors, such as your dog’s breed, age, health, and where you live, not to mention the level of coverage and policy limits.

As a general overview and an estimate of the starting costs for some of the most common types of dog insurance policies in the UK take a look below.

  • Time-Limited policy: The starting cost of a Time-Limited policy for a dog can range from £5 to £15 per month, depending on the insurer and the level of coverage. This type of policy typically covers veterinary fees up to a set limit for a specific time period, though this is usually over 12 months.

  • Maximum Benefit policy: The starting cost of a Maximum Benefit policy for a dog can range anywhere from £15 to £35 per month, depending on the insurer and the level of coverage. This type of policy provides coverage up to a specific limit.

  • Lifetime policy: The starting cost of a Lifetime policy for a dog can range from £22 to £80 per month, depending on the insurer and the level of coverage.

Breed, age and location are arguably the most important factors associated with the cost of monthly premiums.

The breed of a dog can significantly affect the cost of pet insurance as certain breeds are more prone to certain health conditions than others. This is often brachycephalic dogs such as French Bulldogs, Boxers, and Pugs and other popular breeds such as Golden Retrievers all of whom can be prone to hip dysplasia, cancer, and allergies.

To break it down, take a look at the following list of associated costs of insurance in varying breeds.

French Bulldog

To insure a French Bulldog living in London you could be looking at paying upwards of £40 a month. This price will be lower if you were to live away from a city. This is because of the extra costs that arise with running a business in a city.

Mixed Breed

The average cost for a mixed-breed dog in the UK typically ranges from around £20 to £30. These policies are on the lower end of the price scale though, of course, this depends on the level of coverage you choose, the age of your dog, and other factors such as where you live.

Jack Russell

Similarly to mixed-breed dogs, Jack Russells are cheaper to insure. This is because they are less likely to develop breed-specific issues like Frenchies. Though Jack Russells are purebred dogs, they are generally less expensive to insure than rare-breed dogs which can also contribute to lower insurance costs.


The average cost to insure a Dachshund every month is between £25 to £35, though again, this is merely an estimate. Dachshunds are prone to back problems like IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease) which can make them particularly expensive to insure compared to other breeds.

Labrador Retriever

Labradors are a super popular breed in the UK though are prone to suffer from certain health conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia. This can influence the cost of pet insurance so expect to pay roughly between £25 to £40 per month (though it can be more!).

Pet insurance costs for cats

owner cuddling cat

Just like dogs, the costs for different types of cat insurance policies will also vary depending on the same factors, such as your cat’s breed, age, health, where you live, and other additional inputs such as coverage and policy limits.

As a general overview and an estimate of the starting costs for some of the most common types of cat insurance policies in the UK take a look below.

  • Time-Limited policy: The starting cost of a Time-Limited cat insurance policy is likely to begin at around £15 a month. As mentioned above, this is often considered the cheaper form of insurance and your total cost will depend on your cat’s age and breed. 

  • Maximum Benefit policy: Similarly to Time-Limited policies, Maximum Benefit policies also begin at around £15 but can extend up to a starting price of around £25.

  • Lifetime policy: The starting cost of a Lifetime cat insurance policy in the UK ranges from around £15 to £30. As previously mentioned, Lifetime insurance policies are the most comprehensive and can provide you with maximum coverage and protection against any costly vet bills.

Just like dogs, breed and age are equally important factors involved in the cost of cat insurance policies. Older cats are far more likely to develop health conditions and require more frequent veterinary care than younger cats, whilst certain breeds can be more prone to specific health issues that can be costly to treat.

As a result of this, insurance companies take these two factors into consideration when calculating the cost of your monthly premiums. This means older cats and certain breeds can expect to face higher premiums compared to younger cats and breeds with fewer health conditions.

Take a look below for examples.

Mixed Breed (Domestic cats/Moggy)

Mixed breed cats, like dogs, are often on the cheaper end of the insurance cost spectrum. This is because they are less likely to develop breed-specific conditions which can be ongoing and expensive. Instead, you’re more likely to pay between £7 to £15 per month for your insurance policy, though remember this is just an estimate and will be determined by additional factors.


Persian cats are a popular purebred cat breed in the UK though are prone to health issues such as respiratory problems which can impact the cost of their insurance. The average cost of pet insurance for this specific cat breed is around £15 to £25 per month.

British Shorthair

The average cost of an insurance policy for a British Shorthair cat is around £15 to £25. British Shorthair cats are a purebred cat breed that can be prone to health issues such as heart disease and joint problems which can influence the cost of insurance.

Pet insurance costs and age

persian cat laying on bed

Pet insurance costs generally tend to increase as pets get older because they’re more likely to develop health problems that require specialised veterinary care, medications, and treatments.

As a result, pet insurance companies typically charge higher monthly premiums for older pets in order to cover the increased risk and potential costs associated with their age-related health issues. Additionally, older pets may be more likely to require specialised care, such as diagnostic tests, services and surgeries, which can also contribute to an increased cost of pet insurance.

The rise in pet insurance costs is often due to several factors, not just one. These factors include age-related health problems, advancements in treatment, and the rising cost of pet care.

Age-related health problems, such as arthritis, cancer, and diabetes, are becoming more common in pets as they live longer, and these conditions can be expensive to diagnose and treat.

Additionally, new and advanced treatments, such as chemotherapy and specialised surgeries, can be costly, driving up the total cost of pet care for owners. As a result, insurance companies must adjust their premiums and coverage limits to account for these factors.

Some insurers may stop offering Lifetime policies for older pets as they’re more likely to develop ongoing health conditions that require expensive treatment methods.

Additionally, older pets may have pre-existing conditions that are not covered by a new policy. As a result, insurers may limit coverage or raise premiums for older pets to reduce their financial risk and ensure they can continue to provide coverage for all policyholders.

Is pet insurance worth it?

british shorthair laying on blanket

So, you've read everything you need to know about pet insurance and are weighing up if it's worth it. Though we're biased, it's because we want to help pet owners across the UK get the most out of their relationship with their pets, which includes having peace of mind that they're protected should the worst happen.

The average pet insurance claim in 2021 was £848. If you don't have a pet insurance policy in place to help cover the cost of veterinary treatments, this can be one hefty bill.

However, by paying monthly pet insurance premiums, you can avoid paying out such a huge bill and only pay according to your policy and your Claim Contribution (excess). Even if your annual Lifetime policy amounts to the estimated highest cost of £472, you'll be saving around double the money and have the satisfaction of knowing your pet is covered for multiple chronic conditions for the rest of their life.

The ABI released data that in 2022, the number of pets protected by insurance in 2021 had risen since 2018 from 4.2 million to 4.3 million. According to their research, there were 1,029,000 total claims submitted, which includes 764,000 for dogs, 225,000 for cats, and 40,000 for other animals.

Because some types of insurance policies can be on the costly side, some owners opt for an alternative option and self-fund healthcare protection for their pets by saving each month. Whilst this sounds ideal in theory, it may mean that by the time your pet needs medical treatment or surgery, you haven't saved enough or have depleted your funds for just one common condition. It also means that in the case of an accidental injury, you and your pet aren't covered, which can incur legal costs.

When considering a pet insurance provider, it's essential to evaluate the level of cover that best suits your pet's needs. Comparing pet insurance quotes can help you make an informed decision about which policy offers the most comprehensive cover at an affordable price. Keep in mind that vet costs can vary, so having a policy with adequate coverage for treatment costs is essential.

Annual policies and levels of cover vary among pet insurance brands, so it's essential to understand the difference between types of policy and their associated annual costs. Consider factors like medical expenses, and veterinary medicine prescribed, and the period of cover when choosing a policy.

Ultimately, making healthy choices for your pet and selecting the right insurance plan can help ensure that they receive the best care possible. Remember to consider the range of policy benefits when comparing pet insurance options.

Make sure to read our blog on whether you need pet insurance for more details.


The total costs for both dog and cat insurance can widely vary according to the age of your pet and their breed. Insurance companies will also take into account your pet’s overall health and other factors such as where you live.

It’s important to remember that all of the costs mentioned in this article are merely averages and estimates so if you’re looking for insurance for your pet, you can source a free Waggel quote by simply clicking here.

Though you may not realise it now if you’ve only just brought home a puppy or kitten, pet insurance is a key part of ownership that not only provides peace of mind but financial safety. When choosing a policy for your pet, carefully consider your pet’s needs and your budget.

At Waggel, we only offer Lifetime policies as they offer the best form of protection and take the hassle out of deciding on a policy. This means that once you choose us, we’ve got your pet’s back for the rest of their life, as long as you continue to renew each year.

We know choosing the right pet insurance cover can feel like a minefield, so allow us to help you out! We’re one of the UK’s best pet insurers for a reason.

Waggel Pet Insurance

Need more help? You're in luck if you're a Waggel Pet Insurance member. Along with our excellent coverage, we offer access to a 24/7 online vet to answer all your sticky questions, especially if you need grooming assistance.

Not a member? Why not get a quote now and cover your furry friend for a range of illnesses, all while enjoying our amazing perks and rewards.

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