et insurance isn’t compulsory, but it can save you money in the long run if you own a pet. Without cover, vets’ fees can be expensive for both routine and emergency treatment.
If you have more than one pet, you can either buy a separate pet insurance policy for each animal or, in some cases, a multi-pet insurance policy to cover all your pets.
What is multi-pet insurance?
Multi-pet insurance covers all your pets on the same policy.
Part of its attraction is that you only have to deal with one insurer, one renewal date and one set of policy documents.
Most multi-pet policies cover multiple cats, dogs, and rabbits, or any combination of the three. You can also buy multi-pet insurance for pairs or groups of rodents such as rats and gerbils, and exotic pets such as lizards, snakes and geckos.
With some types of multi-pet insurance you’ll have the same level of cover for all pets on the policy. In contrast, other multi-pet policies allow you to have different levels of cover for different pets.
Most multi-pet insurance policies cap the number of pets on one policy at six, although some providers allow up to a maximum of 10.
How does multi-pet insurance work?
With multi-pet insurance, each pet will have its own claim limit. This means there’s no need to spread the cover amongst them.
For example, if you have cover of £2,000 for vet fees you can claim up to this amount for each pet.
Different types of pet insurance vary on what is covered. That said, most policies cover emergency vet treatment, medical conditions and illness, the death of your pet through illness or accidental injury, and the theft of your pet.
Is multi-pet insurance cheaper?
Multi-pet insurance can be cheaper than buying separate cover for each pet you own. This is because many insurers offer discounts if you cover more than one animal on the same policy.
The discount is normally 5 to 10% off the policy price for additional pets after the first one.
For example, say you had a cat and two dogs. The cat would probably be cheapest to insure, so you should add the cat to the policy first and get the discounts on the dogs.
If the cat cost £160 a year to insure and the dogs £220 each, a 10% discount would save you £44 a year (10% of £220 X 2), reducing your total insurance costs from £600 to £556.
Alternatively, some insurers discount a set amount of money for each additional pet you insure.
If you had a cat costing £160 to insure and two dogs at £220 each and there was a £12 discount per pet, your total cost would be £564, instead of £600. A total discount of £36.
The price of your multi-pet insurance will vary depending on the type of animals you own and the level of cover you choose.
Types of multi-pet insurance
There are three main types of multi pet insurance:
- Maximum benefit.
What is time-limited multi pet insurance?
This type of policy will cover an accident or illness suffered by each pet for a set time period – normally a year. There will also be a financial limit for each condition. Pre-existing conditions your pet already suffers from won’t be covered.
This type of policy is also likely to have an annual combined pay-out limit per pet. Once reached, cover would stop for all conditions for each individual pet until the policy is renewed the following year.
What is maximum benefit multi-pet insurance?
With a maximum benefit policy, each pet is covered up to a specified cover limit for each illness or injury, as long as the policy is still active.
Once you’ve reached the claim limit for a condition for a particular pet, you won’t be able to claim for that condition for that pet again and you’ll have to pay for any further treatment yourself.
Again, pre-existing conditions won’t be covered.
What is lifetime multi-pet insurance?
Lifetime multi-pet insurance is the most comprehensive cover option and therefore the most expensive.
It gives you a maximum claim limit, per condition, per year, per pet. If you renew the policy every 12 months, the cover resets.
Pre-existing conditions aren’t covered on a lifetime multi-pet insurance policy. But if you take the policy out when your pets are young, crucially before they have been diagnosed with any medical conditions, you’ll be covered for any ongoing conditions if you keep renewing the policy each year. However, these conditions won’t be covered if you change provider.
Make sure you shop around
Don’t assume multi-pet insurance will always be the cheapest option for insuring more than one animal.
You should still shop around for individual policies for each of your pets to see if this works out cheaper.
In the above example of owning one cat and two dogs, you might find the cat costs £150 to cover with one insurer and the dogs £200 each with another company. This would bring your total cost to £550, which is less than the prices quoted for multi-pet insurance.