If, like many of us, you have a number of pets, you may want to get them all insured against the cost of vets’ bills. But the cost of insuring multiple pets can be high.
Does that make life difficult for you?
Fortunately, insurers can give you a little help. Many insurance companies have special multiple pet insurance or offer discounts for adding extra pets to your cover. We’ll show you how to get the best cover for your animal companions at the best possible price.
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Can you get multi pet insurance?
Yes, you can get pet insurance for multiple pets within a single policy. And you can get multi-pet insurance whatever type of pet insurance you choose, whether it’s time-limited, maximum benefit or lifetime pet insurance. You’ll get a discount on all pets added to the cover after the first one.
There are two kinds of multi-pet insurance.
- A genuine single policy offers the same level of cover for all your pets. But it might be difficult to add a new pet part way through the year.
- Some insurers simply link separate policies and give you a discount on the second and subsequent policies. This makes it easy to add a new pet, and also means you can have a different level of cover for different animals.
What does multi pet insurance cover?
Multiple pet insurance will cover your pets for vets’ bills, and may provide other kinds of cover too – but you’ll need to check your policy carefully for the details.
Cover offered by the best multi pet insurance policies includes:
- veterinary bills (could be accident-only, or include all bills except routine health check and vaccinations);
- assistance with the cost of finding missing or lost pets, eg to cover the cost of a reward;
- third party liability – if you have multiple dog insurance you’ll want to be covered if your dog bites someone or causes an accident by running into the road (in English law, you can’t be held responsible for a cat);
- holiday cancellation cover, if your pet is ill;
- bereavement counselling;
- a veterinary helpline;
- the cost of kennels or a cattery if you are hospitalised for more than a couple of days.
As with other types of insurance, there will be a limit on the amount you can claim, and you may have to pay a certain amount of your bill before the insurance will pay out (this is called the excess). There will also be some exclusions.
If you don’t make sure your cat or dog has an annual health check and gets its jabs, your insurance could be invalid. And while your policy might cover some kinds of damage caused by a pet, it won’t cover a cat scratching your furniture or a dog chewing your trainers.
What pet can you insure with multi pet cover?
Multi-pet cover is usually intended for the two most common companion animals – cats and dogs. You can get pet insurance for two dogs, or multiple cat insurance, or you can insure both cats and dogs on one multiple pet policy.
If you have mice, rabbits, guinea pigs or gerbils, you might consider a small mammals policy. Meanwhile, exotic pets like boa constrictors and monitor lizards, and large pets like llamas, will need special cover, and probably won’t fit within a multiple pet policy.
What are the different types of multi pet insurance?
Multi pet insurance comes in different styles depending on the kind of cover you want.
- Accident-only cover will pay out if your pet is involved in an accident, but not if it’s ill. This is the cheapest kind of cover, but if your pet develops a health condition or catches an infectious disease, you won’t be covered.
- Time-limited cover will pay out only on any claim you make in the year. It also has a limit on the total amount you can claim. If you claim on a condition within the year, you can’t claim for it again next year – so if your pet has a long term illness like cancer, you won’t be covered.
- Maximum benefit cover gives you an annual amount you can claim per year and, sometimes, per condition. When you reach the claim limit, you can’t claim for it again.
- Lifetime cover has no time limit on each condition. There’s an annual limit, but this is reset every year. So it gives you the highest level of protection for your pet.
|Accident Only||Time Limited||Maximum Benefit||Lifetime||Specific pre-existing condition policy|
|Covers pre-existing medical conditions||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|Covers routine treatment||No||No||No||No||No|
|Auto-renew of cover||No||No||Yes||Yes||No|
What is lifetime multi pet insurance?
Lifetime multiple pet insurance will cover all your pets for their lifetimes, so if they have a health condition that requires long term treatment, it will pay out. Your insurance will renew each year.
There is generally a claim limit per condition, per pet, per year. Once you reach the limit, you’ll be responsible for paying your bills yourself.
Buy lifetime insurance when your pets are young and in good health, because the one thing that it won’t cover is pre-existing health conditions. It will get more expensive as your pets get older, but it will still cover them for any long term health needs. (Check your policy details though, as some policies have a higher excess, or ask you to pay a percentage of the cost, when animals pass a certain age, usually 9, 10 or sometimes 12.)
Lifetime pet insurance gives you the most comprehensive cover of any pet insurance, which is why it’s the most expensive type of insurance. We rate it as the best multiple pet insurance policy if you can afford it.
What is Time limited multi pet insurance?
Time limited pet insurance only covers your pets for the year. It won’t cover pre-existing health conditions, so if your dog or cat is ill this year, when you come to renew, that condition will be excluded from your cover. That means if your pet has arthritis, for instance, you won’t be covered after the first year that you make a claim.
This is the most basic level of insurance, and it’s also the cheapest.
What are the best multi pet insurance policies?
Not all insurers offer a multi pet policy, so you don’t have quite as much choice as with some other types of pet insurance. We asked for quotes for two younger cats and a medium sized dog, all of them mongrels, at different levels of cover. Here’s what we found.
|Provider||Type of policy||Excess||Notes||Price per month|
|Time limited||£125|| ||£24.21|
Can you add another pet to your pet insurance?
Yes. Most insurers will allow you to add another pet while your insurance is running, as long as you’re not past the limit for pets on a single policy. Some even let you do it online.
If you have linked policies with a discount, you simply open a new policy but make sure the insurer gives you the discount – you may need to email with all your policy numbers to ensure it’s applied. With single multi-pet policies
A lot of households want dual pet insurance – for instance, pet insurance for two cats – and that’s easy to handle. If, later, a new kitten or a rescue cat joins your family, you should be able to add it to the insurance. However, your premiums will increase.
Can you remove a pet from your pet insurance?
You can usually remove a pet from your policy as long as you haven’t claimed for it during the year. However, if you’ve made a claim, you’ll have to continue paying the premiums till renewal time.
Will taking out multi pet insurance save you money?
Most insurers give a discount of between 5 and 15% per additional pet. The amount of money you’ll save will depend on the level of cover you take out. Of course, you could decide not to save money, but instead use the multi-pet discount to afford a higher level of protection for your pets.
Usually, multi-pet insurance will save you money. But sometimes, you might be better off buying separate insurance for each of your pets. There are so many factors involved in pet insurance that you can’t tell without getting the quotes and adding them up, so you need to do your homework.
You’ll need to compare quotes to find out, for instance, whether cheap pet insurance for 2 dogs each on a single policy works out cheaper than a multi dog insurance. If you have one older dog and a puppy, or one pedigree dog and a mutt, the cheapest insurance for one might not be the cheapest for the other. Picking single policies from two different insurers might get you a better price than a multi pet policy.
What are multi pet discounts given by providers?
Different providers give different discounts for adding more pets to your policy. Most give a percentage discount, but some give a stated amount of money, or free months.
|Insurance providers||Multi-pet discount|
|£1 per pet and per month (minimum £24 discount)|
|Up to 10%|
|One month free on each insurance as from 2 pets|
|Up to 5%|
|Up to 10%|
|Up to 5%|
|£1 discount per pet per month|
|Up to 10%|
|Up to 10%|
|Up to 10%|
How many pets can I insure in the same policy?
You can usually insure up to six pets on the same policy, and you can include both dogs and cats in the same policy.
Each insurer sets its own limits, so check the policy carefully to see how many is too many. If you need multi cat insurance for nine or ten cats you’ll probably need to contact a specialist (your local cat refuge may be able to help you find a good insurer).
How to find multi pet insurance?
Make sure you get a multi pet insurance quote. But also check insurers which allow you a discount on extra policies – they don’t always show up in multi-pet comparisons which focus on single all-in-one policies. That’s another reason you should always check quotes for each of your pets singly, as well as for a multi-pet policy.