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Dog insurance – Choosing the right dog insurance

01.01.2024 - Reading time: 7 minutes

Dog standing in a field, looking at the camera

Dog insurance can be useful to cover unforeseen costs. Read here what types of insurance are available.

Dog insurance is not compulsory in France. If you are the happy owner of one or more dogs, you should think about the benefits of taking out dog insurance. It’s rare for our canine companions to go a whole lifetime without any health problems. Vet expenses can quickly escalate and become onerous. Health insurance will cover part of the costs.


What is dog insurance?

Health insurance for dogs allows you to be reimbursed in full or in part for veterinary expenses, depending on the plan you choose. How it works is simple: the dog owner pays a monthly premium and when they have to go to the vet, they take the treatment form provided by their dog insurance with them. The vet fills it in and gives them an invoice at the end of the appointment. The owner sends everything to the dog insurance company and gets a reimbursement depending on their level of protection. This is usually done by bank transfer or cheque.

What are the different dog insurance plans?

Most insurers offer different dog insurance plans. They vary depending on various criteria such as:

  • the percentage of veterinary expenses covered
  • the annual excess
  • the annual reimbursement limit
  • partial reimbursement for therapeutic nutrition

Choose the level of protection that best suits your budget. If your dog is healthy and only goes out on a lead, a basic insurance plan will do. If you want full cover and can afford it, go for an optimum insurance plan. You will be reimbursed for 100% of the expenses, but will have to pay a significantly higher monthly premium. In any case, read the details of each quote and the insurer’s general terms and conditions carefully. Take time to compare the various quotes and consider the most suitable option.

What does dog insurance cover?

The expenses covered depend on the insurer and the plan chosen. In most cases, with dog insurance, you will be reimbursed in full or in part for:

  • veterinary fees
  • medication for your dog
  • tests, such as blood or urine tests
  • surgical procedures
  • imaging (scan, X-ray, ultrasound, etc.) 
  • hospital costs
  • anaesthesia costs
  • screening and examinations
  • preventative action

There are generally age limits, and dogs over eight years old can no longer be insured or need senior insurance. The same applies to puppies under three months old. In addition, all insurers have a waiting period. This means that in the event of illness, for example, you will only be covered from a certain amount of days after the contract has been entered into. This period is even longer for surgical procedures.

How do you find the best dog insurance?

Would you like to insure your faithful companion, but are getting lost in a maze of quotes from various insurers? If you have friends or parents who own dogs, ask them which insurance they have and if they are happy with it. Another option is to use an online dog insurance comparison service. They are easy to use and allow you to find a policy suitable to your needs and budget in just a few minutes. You will be asked to enter the age of your dog, their sex, race and whether they are chipped are not. You will then be asked to provide some information about yourself, such as your name, post code and telephone number. If you do not wish to be contacted, you can simply fill in the fields as you want. The comparison will still work. Several offers will be made to you with monthly rates, and you will be able to request a free quote from these insurers. To find the best dog insurance, the opinions of other users are also useful. You will find them online, on the insurer’s website or on consumer association websites.

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Is there any compulsory dog insurance?

In the UK, you are not required to have dog insurance. Dogs in the first category are attack dogs from crosses of the American Staffordshire Terrier, Mastiff and Tosa type, not registered in LOF. Dogs in the second category are guard and defence dogs of the American Staffordshire Terrier, Tosa and Rottweiler breeds. If you own one of these dogs, you must take out civil liability insurance. If you have comprehensive home insurance, this includes civil liability insurance. If in doubt, check with your insurer. Failure to take out insurance for dogs in these two categories is punishable by a fine. If your dog does not fall into one of the above categories, and if you do not have civil liability insurance, you are liable for any damage to property or personal injury caused by your pet to a third party. It is therefore you who will have to pay for any damage caused.

What documents do I need to take out dog insurance?

To take out dog health insurance, you generally do not need to provide any documents.If you wish to add your dog to your civil liability policy, this can often be done easily without any additional proof for dogs that are not in the first or second category. For dogs considered dangerous, the insurer may require a behavioural assessment by a vet and a training course certificate from the owner of a category 1 or 2 dog. This one-day course focuses on dog behaviour, training and accident prevention.

What is the price of dog insurance?

The insurers can set their own rates so the price for dog insurance varies. On average, the price of a basic plan will be around £10 per month. For a standard dog insurance plan, the price is around £20 per month. Premium plans cost around £30 per month. These rates are only a guide and may change depending on the criteria set by the dog insurance company.

These are, for example:

  • The breed of the dog: is it a particularly fragile breed or one that is prone to genetic diseases and therefore likely to incur higher veterinary costs?
  • The age of the dog: a senior dog is more likely to fall ill than a younger one. That’s why the rates go up as the animal ages. From a certain age, it is often no longer possible to get health insurance for your dog or they require senior health insurance.
  • The dog’s health: Insurers will need to know if your dog has any health problems. If a dog has pre-existing health problems, most insurers won’t cover these. You’ll need a specialist insurer if you want cover for any medical conditions your pet has.

Before choosing dog insurance, don’t forget to compare the various rates.

Dog insurance: is it really useful?

In the UK, over a third of dog owners do not take out health insurance for their pets. However, vet fees are high, so some owners decide not to take their dog to see a vet when they really need to. Rates vary, but on average they cost:

  • £50-60 for a consultation
  • £120 for a consultation with a specialist vet
  • £40-70 for the primary vaccine
  • £50 for a vaccine
  • £100-400 for neutering
  • £10-30 to fit a microchip
  • £70-100 for a blood test
  • Varied rates for an overnight stay
  • Up to £5000 for a full course of chemotherapy

On top of all this, there are the medicines and treatment costs for chronic illnesses.

How do you care for you dog without health insurance?

You love your little furball with all your heart, but you’re struggling at the end of the month and unfortunately your dog just happens to fall ill. This stressful situation has solutions. Dogs Trust offers free and reduced-cost vet assistance for people who are in housing crises or are homeless. Proof of income is usually required. PDSA also offers a similar service. If you’re currently experiencing short-term financial difficulties, ask your vet for a payment plan. It will take the weight off your shoulders and you can better care for your canine friend if you can pay the vet bill in instalments.


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