If you’re the owner of more than one cat or dog, a multi-pet insurance policy can work out more cost-effective – and more manageable – than taking out separate cover for each animal.
In this guide, we explain all you need to know about how multi-pet insurance works.
What is multi-pet insurance?
Multi-pet insurance works in the same way as standard pet insurance but provides cover for two or more dogs or cats under the same policy.
This means you’ll have the same renewal date, the same documents and the same insurer for each pet which can make things far more manageable than having a separate policy for each.
Some multi-pet policies work by linking more than one insurance policy together, enabling you to have different cover levels for different animals. They also allow you to add more pets to your policy at any time.
Others, however, will require you to have the same cover levels for each pet, so it pays to compare your options carefully.
Multi-pet insurance offers the same protection as standard pet insurance, which means you should be covered for:
- Vet bills: covering the cost of vet treatment
- Cattery or kennel costs: if you were temporarily unable to look after your pet
- Third party liability costs: covering costs and legal fees if your pet injures someone or damages their property
- Loss, theft or death of your pet: covering the purchase price of your pet if it is lost or stolen or dies due to an illness or accident
- Holiday cancellation cover: if you are unable to go away as a result of your pet needing emergency treatment
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Per condition cover/ policy limit
Per condition cover/ policy limit
Per condition cover/ policy limit
Different types of multi-pet insurance
When comparing multi-pet insurance, there are usually three main types to choose from – lifetime multi-pet insurance, maximum benefit multi-pet insurance and time-limited multi-pet insurance.
Lifetime multi-pet insurance: provides cover up to a maximum limit for each condition per year, per pet. So if the cover limit is £5,000, you’ll be able to claim up to this amount for each insured condition for each pet. If you renew your policy at the end of the 12 months, your cover limit resets. Unlike with other policies, you can renew your policy each year for as long as your pet lives – that’s the ‘lifetime’ element. Other policies have age limits.
Maximum benefit multi-pet insurance: provides cover up to a maximum limit for each condition with no time limit on when it must be used. So if, for example, you have £2,000 of benefit for a particular condition, your pet can be treated for as long as it takes to reach that amount (so long as your policy remains ‘in force’ – so you may need to renew during the treatment period). But you can’t claim for the same condition more than once.
Time-limited multi-pet insurance: each condition is covered for a maximum of 12 months from the date of the first treatment – assuming the policy is renewed. This means if, for example, you made a claim six months in to your policy, you would be covered for that particular condition (up to a fixed amount) for the remaining six months of your current policy, as well as the first six months of your next policy – providing you renew with the same insurer. Once those 12 months are up, or you reach the fixed sum amount, your pet will no longer be covered for that particular illness or condition.
Is multi-pet insurance cheaper?
Multi-pet insurance can work out cheaper than buying separate cover for each cat or dog, but this isn’t guaranteed so it always pays to run quotes for both options to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
Some insurance companies will offer discounts if more than one pet is covered on the same policy, typically anywhere between 5% and 15%.
Others will provide a fixed discount of around £12 a year for each additional pet you insure. So, the more pets you add, the more you could save.
Note, however, that there is usually a maximum number of pets you can insure on a multi-pet insurance policy, typically between six and 10.
Does it cover pre-existing conditions?
Multi-pet insurance does not usually provide coverage for medical conditions your pet had before you took out your policy. In some cases, you may be able to take out a pre-existing conditions pet insurance policy with a specialist provider and have this linked to another policy, but this will depend on the insurer.
How can I find the best multi-pet insurance policy?
To find the best multi-pet insurance policy it’s important to shop around and run several quotes to compare cover levels and prices. Bear in mind that it will be easier to find cover while your dog or cat is young and healthy compared to when your pet is older and/or has one or more medical conditions.
When comparing multi-pet insurance quotes, make sure you factor in exactly what you’ll be covered for and consider whether you’d prefer a lifetime multi-pet insurance policy or a time-limited one. Remember that lifetime pet insurance is more expensive but provides a higher level of cover.
What might be excluded from cover?
You’ll also need to look out for exclusions. Most policies will only cover cats or dogs once they are at least eight weeks old, and there will usually be a maximum age limit too.
You may also find that certain breeds of dogs, or pets that have shown aggression or received legal complaints won’t be covered. Don’t forget to also check how many pets can be covered under the one policy.
Finally, you should factor in the cost of the excess. This is the amount you will need to pay towards the cost of any claim and you’ll often find that as your pet gets older, your excess will increase.
You may also have to pay what’s known as a co-payment. This is a percentage (typically 10% or 20%) of the cost of all treatment minus your excess.
A co-payment can help to bring down the cost of your premiums, but it also means the overall cost of claiming will be higher, so you may prefer to look for a multi-pet insurance policy that only charges one excess fee.
Multi-pet policy excess and contributions
A policy ‘excess’ is the sum you have to pay towards the cost of any claim you make. If you have a £500 claim and the excess on the policy is £50, you will only receive £450.
The actual amount depends on your pet and its age, typically increasing over time. So, if your pet needs surgery and you need your insurer to pay the bill, expect to pay around £50 to £100 or more upfront.
The more you agree to pay in excess when you take out the policy, the cheaper your premiums could be – especially if you opt for a voluntary excess on top of the compulsory or mandatory excess. While the promise of cheap premiums can be appealing, it’s important to set a total excess you’d be able to afford.
Your policy may charge a co-payment or contribution when you file a claim, which is a percentage (20% – 30%) of the claim, minus the excess.
Can multi-pet cover be tailored to my pets?
Yes, it’s possible to buy a multi-pet policy that offers different levels of cover for each of your pets. It might be, for example, that you want more comprehensive cover for your dog than your cat because there’s a greater chance it would be stolen for its resale value.
What is the average cost of pet insurance?
The table below details the average prices you can expect to see when you run a quotation for the three main types of pet insurance for dogs and cats…
What might I save with multi-pet insurance?
While there is no guarantee that a multi-pet policy will work out cheaper than separate policies for each animal, it is worth checking by running quotations for each option.
Even if there isn’t much difference in the cost, you may decide to go for the multi-pet option because you’ll only have the one set of paperwork to look after.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How many pets can I insure with multi-pet cover?
Some insurers will give you a discount on your premiums for each pet you add to your multi-pet policy, but most limit the number of animals you can cover to six.
Does multi-pet insurance cover animals other than dogs and cats?
Are dogs listed by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 excluded?
What about pets that live on commercial property?
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