Direct4Pet’s Guide to Pet Insurance for Dogs

If you own a four-legged friend, the best thing you can do as a pet owner is to ensure they live a happy and healthy life with help from a protected pet insurance plan.

Pet insurance exists to give pet owners complete peace of mind in the event of an unexpected health mishap, as well as offering security against any unexpected costs related to your pet. This can include everything from vet bills and medicines, to accidents, injuries and long-term illnesses. While at first glance, taking out a pet insurance policy for your furry friend may seem straightforward, but with the sheer amount of cover, breed-specific issues and general health pointers to consider when taking out a policy, it can quickly become a minefield to navigate. 

That’s why, at Direct4Pet, our pet experts are here to help you make an informed decision before going on to purchase a pet insurance policy for your pup. Offering unbiased advice on policies and suggesting products that can help prevent potential health problems in your pet, we aim to shed light on ways to keep your pet cover costs down, so that you need not rely on your pet insurance for small over-the-counter dog issues. 

Read on to find out more about how dog insurance works, how much it may cost and what to look out for when deciding on the best plan for you.

Is it worth getting dog insurance? 

Although it is not a legal requirement for dog owners to get pet insurance, it is highly recommended by pet professionals that you do. Between illnesses, accidents and injuries, vet bills can end up being very expensive over time, therefore, you must consider whether you are financially prepared to pay for these incidents out of your own pocket. If not, pet insurance is likely a smarter choice, as most standard pet insurance policies offer a low monthly subscription cost, which means that this could end up saving you a lot of money in the unfortunate event of a health concern. If you’re considering weighing up the worth of investing in dog insurance, there are a number of insurance types you can consider, which we will go on to cover below.

What are the different types of pet insurance?

The type of pet insurance you choose for your dog will determine what your insurance will actually cover. There are four main types of pet insurance that are available to you - Lifetime, Annual, Accident only and Maximum benefit, all of which cover various aspects of your pet’s life that you may wish to be insured for. These types of cover include:

  • Lifetime pet insurance. This is the most comprehensive pet insurance you can get and gives you the most extensive cover for your pet, although it is the most expensive option. This lifetime pet insurance will cover your pet year after year for your pet’s whole life and is ideal if your pet develops a long-term illness such as diabetes or arthritis. However, any pre-existing medical conditions may not be covered depending on your policy - which is why we recommend reading the fine print on each policy and comparing between insurance providers to ensure lifetime pet insurance is right for your needs.
  • Annual pet insurance. This type of pet insurance requires you to pay for 12 months worth of cover and is on a rolling basis, which means that you can switch to a cheaper policy if needed after each year. Annual pet insurance is cheaper, however as this is less comprehensive, you may struggle to find insurance of this type as your pet gets older. With this type of insurance, there’s no fixed rate either, and can generally fluctuate in price, as when your pet gets older, your pet’s health is generally seen as more of a risk and that can affect the cost of your policy.
  • Accident only pet insurance. This type of pet insurance is the cheapest and also the most basic level of cover you can get. Accident only pet insurance will only cover your pet for a variety of unpredictable accidents such as, getting hit by a car, being attacked by another dog, and does not cover any unforeseen illnesses your pet may face.
  • Maximum benefit pet insurance. This pet insurance option can also be referred to as ‘per condition’ pet insurance. Maximum benefit pet insurance will provide you with a fixed sum to treat any illness or injury your pet may face for as long as the policy remains in force.

Some insurance policies may also include ‘third party liability cover’, this is particularly helpful for those that may have what is considered a “dangerous dog” as it protects you and your dog against claims that may be made if your dog causes harm or damage to someone. 

What does pet insurance cover?

Pet insurance policies can vary depending on which company you choose, the type of insurance you opt for and the general health of your pet. However, most insurances will cover the following:

  • Vet bills. This is the biggest reason to take out pet insurance as trips to the vet can often be unexpected and expensive. Most insurances cover general vet costs such as, treating illnesses and accidents, however, other areas that may not be covered by certain insurance policies include, hereditary conditions, dental care, physiotherapy and long-term health conditions. It’s important you read in detail what is included in your pet insurance policies before deciding on the right one for you.
  • Loss or theft of your pet. Although not all policies include this, some pet insurance policies will help pay towards the cost of advertising your lost pet and the cost of the reward if it is found, some may even pay to help replace your pet if they are not found.
  • Death due to illness or injury. Most pet insurance policies will cover the price of euthanising your pet due to an illness or injury but will require a vet to certify the death as proof when putting in a claim.
  • What is the best type of dog insurance in the UK? 

    Petplan, is the UK’s number one pet insurance provider, with over 40 years of experience of insuring over 1.3 million pets. Petplan is award-winning pet insurance that covers things most other insurance companies don’t and are dedicated to keeping your pets healthy. With over 90% of customers renewing their insurance plans each year, we recommend Petplan as the best type of dog insurance you can get in the UK.

    There are also various other insurance providers that each come with their own set of added perks and benefits that may be worth considering. For example, taking out a general insurance policy with Many Pets, entitles dog owners to free video calls with registered vets, which is completely free of charge. While, on the surface, this doesn’t seem that substantial of a perk, it allows you to avoid unnecessary, last-minute trips to the vet which can become costly, and is also great if your dog is reactive or nervous of the vets, as it eliminates the stress of being 1-1 with a stranger, as the assessment is simply done over video call instead. 

    How to keep your dog healthy with Direct4Pet

    If you make the decision to invest in pet insurance, it is important that you are aware of the ways you can prevent potential illness or health problems at home so that you do not have to claim on your insurance for problems that can easily be solved with over-the-counter solutions. Here at Direct4Pet, we have a wide range of pet health products from expert, trusted brands that can help prevent illness and allow you, as a pet owner, to treat your dog in the comfort of your home to avoid any unwanted vet bills and insurance claims.

    Black Cat Medicines GLM Joint Care PRO Dogs £13.99 and Pronefra Kidney & Blood Pressure Supplement £19.59 

    Joint pain is a common problem amongst dogs, especially senior dogs and breeds that are more susceptible to arthritis and hip dysplasia such as, Labradors, German Shepherds and Rottweilers. There are two main types of joint pain in dogs, degenerative and developmental, both can lead to serious conditions and injuries if not addressed. If caught early, both of these conditions can be treated with a combination of exercise and nutrition and there are many health supplements available to you to help care for your dog’s joints.

    Our very own Black Cat Medicine GLM Joint Care PRO contains Glucosamine & Green Lipped Mussel in a specially formulated tablet that helps to support joint function and mobility in dogs. Developed by and recommend by vets, these supplements support the body's own anti-inflammatory process with Glucosamine providing the fundamental building blocks of joint tissues and Green Lipped Mussel providing an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids to aid the natural anti-inflammatory action of your dog’s metabolism in soothing stiff joints. This supplement helps to maintain healthy joint function and promote mobility in dogs at home and is perfect for those breeds that are prone to conditions such as arthritis - helping to save on prescriptions and trips to the vets. 

    If your dog is prone to kidney or blood pressure problems, this Pronefra® Oral Suspension is an affordable way to keep your pet’s health in check without countless trips to the vet. This unique liquid formula is highly palatable for your pet and contains a combination of 4 natural, veterinary approved ingredients that help support the normal function of kidneys. Designed to limit the bioavailability of phosphate, bind with uraemic toxins, maintain normal kidney architecture and promote balanced blood pressure this easy to use liquid can be given directly to your pet to help support the health at home. 

    GWF Nutrition Immune Aid Gold For Dogs £19.59 and Advocate Spot On For Dogs £19.99

    Supporting your dog’s immune system with additional supplements in their diet is a great way to help prevent any potential illnesses and unnecessary vets costs. Investing in a high specification health supplement such as this GWF Immune Aid for dogs helps to support the functioning of your dog’s immune system, helping to deal with the presence of any foreign materials that can be harmful to your dog’s health and physical condition. Specially formulated with a unique combination of 15 active nutraceuticals, including curcumin from turmeric and piperine from black pepper and high levels of omega 3, these supplements are perfect for giving your dog optimum health and performance. 

    Fleas, ticks, worms and other parasites are one of the most common health issues a dog can face and, when left untreated, can cause a wide range of health issues and diseases that can be harmful to your pet. Therefore, it is vital that you give your dog flea and tick treatments regularly to prevent infestation and one of the best products to combat persistent pests is the Advocate Spot On for dogs. This spot on treatment is easy to use and comes in different strengths and pack sizes, depending on the size of the animal being treated. Applied using pre-filled pipettes, with the correct amount of Advocate for one treatment, this treatment contains active substances, imidacloprid and moxidectin that interfere with specific nervous system receptors to help paralyse and kill fleas, lice and other parasites. 

    Here at Direct4Pet, we stock a wide variety of flea and tick treatments for dogs and have also put together an easily digestible guide on how best to flea your pets effectively, which is important to read up on if it’s your first time.

    Pick the right pet insurance for your dog with Direct4Pet

    Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge on how pet insurance works and what they cover, it’s time to decide on the best option for you. In the meantime, if you’re worried about your dog’s health or simply want to ensure they are in the best condition possible, browse through our full range of pet health products to find simple and effective solutions to ensure your dog is as happy and healthy as possible.