Which pet insurance companies offer lifetime cover? Compare lifetime pet insurance providers

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If you want a pet insurance policy that will continue to pay out if your pet develops a long term condition, you need lifetime cover. Read on to compare lifetime pet insurance providers?

Compare lifetime pet insurance providers

There are several pet insurance companies that offer lifetime cover. I’ve listed pet insurance companies that offer lifetime cover, and some of the big pet insurers that don’t offer lifetime cover.

Argos Pet Insurance offers lifetime cover through its Platinum policy.

Level of vet fees cover offered: The Platinum lifetime policy covers vet’s fees of up to £7,000, and there are two other levels of cover: up to £2,500 and up to £4,000. These vet fee limits work on a ‘per year’ basis, which means you can claim for treatment within a 12-month period.

Do your premiums rise after a claim? Argos Pet Insurance said that premiums rise each year as a pet ages and the risk of treatment rises.  Pet insurance is essentially healthcare insurance and, due to the relatively short lifespan of pets, prices can increase sharply. Prices are calculated based on the individual policy details and reflect the risk based on our previous experience.

If they rise, are certain conditions more likely to trigger this? Argos Pet Insurance would only say that their prices are based on claims experience, among other things.

Do you let customers choose their own referral centre? Argos Pet Insurance uses a list of referral centres. If a customer wants to go to a different referral centre, they’d have to pay £200 of the bill themselves (on top of any excess).

SAVVY TIP: A referral centre is where your pet would go if the vet couldn’t sort out the problem. So, if for example it needed intensive care, or an operation that wasn’t minor, it would go to an animal hospital, or referral centre.

Do referral centres let your customers settle bills directly, or do they ask for payment direct from the client? This varies for each referral centre. But all referral centres in Argos’s network will take direct payments from the insurer.

SAVVY TIP: Talking to vets, my understanding is that some referral centres will insist that you pay for any treatment in advance if you’re with a pet insurer that has a reputation for slow payment or turning down claims.

Do you use external underwriters and, if so, do you shop around for underwriters? It uses Royal & Sun Alliance as its underwriter.

SAVVY TIP: The underwriter is the person who decides how risky offering insurance is and therefore what the insurer should charge for it. Some insurers shop around for a new underwriter every few years. That can result in lower premiums one year and higher the next, as a new underwriter may assess the risk differently.

Lifetime Pet Cover: As the name of this pet insurance company implies, this provider only offers lifetime pet cover.

Level of vet fees cover offered: £1,000, £2,000, £4,000, £6,000 and £10,000. These vet fee limits work on a ‘per year’ basis.

Do your premiums rise after a claim? The company told me it works hard to avoid increases in premiums after a claim.

If they rise, are certain conditions more likely to trigger this? No information was provided on this.

Do you let customers choose their own referral centres? Customers can use any referral centre their vet recommends.

Do you settle bills direct with referral centres or do customers have to pay first and claim it back? It depends on the referral centre.

Do you use external underwriters and, if so, do you shop around for underwriters? The company said they work with one underwriter. They didn’t say they work with the same underwriter all the time or that they would never switch.

LV= offers a lifetime pet insurance policy.

Level of vet fees cover offered: Up to £10,000 per year. This vet fee limit works on a ‘per year’ basis.

Do your premiums rise after a claim? The company told me that customers would typically see the cost of their insurance increase after making a claim because their pet is more at risk of needing future treatment.

If they rise, are certain conditions more likely to trigger this? They wouldn’t say as it’s ‘commercially sensitive’.

Do you let customers choose their own referral centres? Customers can choose their own referral centre.

Do you settle bills direct with referral centres or do customers have to pay first and claim it back? It depends on the referral centre. LV= says it settles direct with many referral centres.

Do you use external underwriters and, if so, do you shop around for underwriters? No, LV= uses its own in house underwriters.

M&S Bank Pet Insurance offers lifetime cover policies.

Level of vet fees cover offered: You can choose up to £4,000 or £7,000 of cover with its lifetime policies (Standard or Premier). There’s no separate limit for illness or injury on the Premier policy, but there’s a limit of £1,000 for each illness on the Standard policy. The Essential policy covers up to £3,000 of vet’s fees over a 12-month period.

Do your premiums rise after a claim? Claims history is taken into account, as well as age and breed of your pet.

If they rise, are certain conditions more likely to trigger this? See above.

Do you let customers choose their own referral centres? Customers can use any referral centre.

Do you settle bills direct with referral centres or do customers have to pay first and claim it back? It depends on the referral centre.

Do you use external underwriters and, if so, do you shop around for underwriters? M&S Pet Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance.

More Than offers a lifetime pet insurance policy.

Level of vet fees covered: For its lifetime cover policies, you can choose up to either £4,000 or £12,000 in total of vet fees cover, per year. Cover is available for injury, illness or disease you can continue to claim for an insured condition up to the chosen vet fee limit, each year. Its cheaper policies, which aren’t lifetime cover, offer up to £1,500 or £3,000 of vet fee cover per year, or you can take out a policy that gives you £4,000 or £8,000 of vet fee cover for each illness. They also have an accident only policy which gives you up to £2,500 of vet fee cover for 12 months – but only for accident claims.

Do your premiums rise after a claim? More Than said that premiums rise each year as a pet ages and the risk of treatment rises.  Pet insurance is essentially healthcare insurance and, due to the relatively short lifespan of pets, prices can increase sharply. Prices are calculated based on the individual policy details and reflect the risk based on our previous experience (this is the same response as Argos Pet Insurance).

If they rise, are certain conditions more likely to trigger this? More Than said that claims experience will be one factor in working out premium levels at renewal.

Do you let customers choose their own referral centres? More Than has its own network of referral centres. If there is one within 60 minutes or 60 miles, you should consider using it. If you don’t, you may have to pay an extra £200 on top of the excess. It says each case is reviewed individually.

Do you settle bills direct with referral centres or do customers have to pay first and claim it back? This varies for each referral centre.  However all centres in Royal & Sun Alliance’s network have their bills settled directly with RS&A.

Do you use external underwriters and, if so, do you shop around for underwriters? They have their own in house underwriters and pricing teams.

Petplan has its own lifetime policy called Covered for Life.

Level of vet fees cover offered: Petplan told us that lifetime cover should always be on a per year basis. If it is ‘per condition’ it’s not true Lifetime cover and cover stops once the claims limit is reached. Petplan’s Covered For Life® policies are on a per year basis meaning each time the pet owner renews their policy there’s a new pot of money for vet fees for the life of the pet.

Do your premiums rise after a claim? Petplan told us they do not increase premiums as a direct result of an individual customer making a claim, giving pet owners peace of mind that they can continue to claim for the treatment their pet needs without being penalised.

If they rise, are certain conditions more likely to trigger this? Not applicable.

Do you let customers choose their own referral centres? Petplan does not operate any restrictions on the referral centre you can use.

Do you settle bills direct with referral centres or do customers have to pay first and claim it back? Referral centres let Petplan pay them directly if that is the customer’s preference.

Do you use external underwriters and, if so, do you shop around for underwriters? Petplan told us it’s been insuring pets for 40 years and doesn’t use external underwriters.

Tesco Bank offers lifetime cover through its Premier Policy.

Level of vet fees cover offered: There are four levels of vet fee cover – up to £3,000 for accident and injury cover and up to £3,000 for accident or injury. In both cases you can claim for up to 12 months of treatment. They also offer two policies with either £4,000 or £7,500 of cover for each illness or accident. Their lifetime policies offer either £7,500 or £10,000 of vet’s fee cover.

Do your premiums rise after a claim? Tesco Bank would only say that a large range of factors can affect premiums. They refused to say whether making a claim was one of them, saying it was ‘commercially sensitive’. I disagree. I think it’s vital for customers to know whether claims history is likely to be taken into account, especially if you’re going to sign up for a lifetime policy as you could find that your premiums rise sharply after a claim.

If they rise, are certain conditions more likely to trigger this? Tesco Bank said this was also commercially sensitive.

Do you let customers choose their own referral centres? Tesco Bank has its own referral network. If you choose to use a referral centre that’s not in its network, you’ll have to pay the first £200 of any claim, on top of the excess.

Do you settle bills direct with referral centres or do customers have to pay first and claim it back? If you use a referral centre in their network, the bill will be settled direct. If not, you’ll have to pay the bill yourself and claim it back.

Do you use external underwriters and, if so, do you shop around for underwriters? All of our policies are administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance.  They do not shop around for underwriters.

Which insurers do not offer lifetime cover?

Direct Line does not offer lifetime cover.

Level of vet fees cover offered: Direct Line has two products; one covers up to £4,000 vet fees for each illness or injury in a 12-month period. The other policy covers up to £8,000 vet fees for each illness or injury and there’s no time limit to claim.

Do your premiums rise after a claim? Direct Line said claims history is taken into account when you renew your policy.

If they rise, are certain conditions more likely to trigger this? Direct Line didn’t directly answer this question, but said it looked at overall claims experience. It said that vet fees were the main driver of the rising cost of claims. Advances in veterinary science means vets can offer more complex and expensive treatments.

Do you let customers choose their own referral centres? Customers have complete freedom of choice.

Do you settle bills direct with referral centres or do customers have to pay first and claim it back? Direct Line can pay referral centres direct or customers can pay the bill and reclaim it.

Do you use external underwriters and, if so, do you shop around for underwriters? Direct Line uses its own underwriting.

Sainsbury’s Bank does not offer a lifetime pet insurance policy.

Level of vet fees cover offered: There are three levels of vet’s fees covered and two different ways the cover is offered. The cheapest policy offers vet’s fee cover of up to £3,000 for each condition, with a 12-month limit on claims. Sainsbury’s Bank also has two ‘Maximum Benefit’ policies, with either £7,500 or £13,000 of cover for each illness or injury. Here you can claim for ongoing illnesses until you’ve reached the limit of the vet’s fee cover (there’s no time limit).

Do your premiums rise after a claim? Claims are taken into account at renewal, as well as the age and breed of the pet.

If they rise, are certain conditions more likely to trigger this? Any increase in premium would depend on the level of claim(s).

Do you let customers choose their own referral centres? Customers can choose their own referral centre.

Do you settle bills direct with referral centres or do customers have to pay first and claim it back? Sainsbury’s Bank says it can pay the vet directly if required.

Do you use external underwriters and, if so, do you shop around for underwriters? Allianz is Sainsbury’s Bank’s current underwriter.

Virgin Money does not offer a lifetime pet insurance policy.

Level of vet fees cover offered: Up to £1,500 vet’s fees for each injury with Accident Only Cover, and £3,000 vet’s fees cover for each illness or injury with the Accident and Illness Policy. In each case you have up to 12 months to claim. With Accident and Illness Extra you get £6,000 of vet’s fees cover per illness or injury and there’s no time limit on your claim.

Do your premiums rise after a claim? The company told me that they do not increase their premiums based on someone’s claims history.

If they rise, are certain conditions more likely to trigger this? Not applicable.

Do you let customers choose their own referral centres? Customers can choose their own referral centre – although this is best done based on their vet’s advice.

Do you settle bills direct with referral centres or do customers have to pay first and claim it back? Virgin Money says it can pay the referral centre direct or the customer can pay and reclaim the cost – whichever the customer prefers.

Do you use external underwriters and, if so, do you shop around for underwriters? Virgin Money insurance is underwritten by UK Insurance Limited.

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