How much does dog insurance cost?

14 December 2023 - 6 min read
Dog running

Dogs come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, which is one of the reasons why you’ll find a big difference between the cheapest and most expensive dog insurance policies in the UK.

The average cost of a dog insurance policy with us for the 12 months up to December 2023 was £590.40, but  there is huge variation.

Your own costs might be quite a lot lower or higher – the only way to find out for sure is to get a pet insurance quote. 

These are just some of the factors that might make your own pet insurance policy cheaper or more expensive than the average dog insurance cost.

What affects the price of dog insurance?

The main factors affecting how much you’ll pay for your dog’s insurance policy are:

  • Your dog’s age

  • Their breed

  • The type and level of cover you choose

  • Where you live

Dog age and pet insurance costs

As your dog ages, they’re more likely to need to see the vet, which means that pet insurance for older dogs is more expensive for younger ones.

Even if you have a fit and bouncy puppy, it’s a good idea to cover them while they’re young and healthy. Our research shows that puppies can be surprisingly accident prone.

Also, if you take out a lifetime policy for your dog while they’re young, you’ll be covered for conditions that crop up as they age, even if they’re ongoing.

Dog breed and pet insurance cost

Some dog breeds cost considerably more than others to insure. It’s all to do with statistically how likely they are to make a claim.

For example, some breeds like English Bulldogs or Rottweilers have a number of known health conditions that might require expensive treatments at the vets, so they are likely to have higher pet insurance costs. 

On the other hand, robust breeds like Jack Russels and hardy crossbreeds like Cockapoos might be a bit cheaper to insure.

Larger dog breeds tend to cost a bit more to insure than smaller ones – it’s because bigger dogs tend to have higher vet bills because they need much larger quantities of medicine for things like pain relief and anaesthetic.

These are the five most expensive breeds to insure(where we insure at least 10 of that breed) and the annual cost, according to our data for the 12 months up to December 2023:

  1. Newfoundland – £1,480.42

  2. Bullmastiff – £1,429.74

  3. Boerboel – £1,358.50

  4. English Bull Terrier – £1,311.08

  5. Bernese Mountain Dog – £1,237.04

And the five cheapest breeds to insure are:

  1. Miniature Jack Russell – £292.83

  2. Patterdale Terrier – £305.24

  3. Miniature Pinchser – £351.03

  4. Bedlington Terrier – £351.22

  5. Lhaso Apso – £354.44

*Prices may vary significantly based on a range of factors. These figures are based on research conducted on 12 December, 2023. 

The cost of different types of dog insurance

When you’re shopping around for a policy, you might feel quite bewildered by all the different types on offer and what they mean.

That’s why ManyPets only offers lifetime pet insurance – we believe it offers the cover that most owners need so that their pet is adequately covered both for short-term and ongoing conditions.

These are some of the other types of dog insurance policies you can buy:

Accident-only pet insurance

This tends to be the cheapest pet insurance and it’s often what you’ll find at the top of tables on price comparison sites.

As you’d guess from the name, accident-only pet insurance won’t cover you for any illnesses at all. We estimate that more than 90% of our claims are for illnesses, so we don’t offer accident-only pet insurance because we think the cover is too limited for most owners.

Time-limited pet insurance

Time-limited policies are usually the second cheapest type. They cover illnesses and injuries, but only for a certain time limit (usually 12 months) from when the condition first occurred.

That means they’re really only suitable for one-off conditions, not ongoing ones.

ManyPets doesn’t offer these policies either, because we don’t want our customers to find themselves without cover for their dogs’ ongoing or chronic conditions.

Maximum benefit policies

These are sometimes called ‘per condition policies’ because they have a financial limit for each condition you claim for. They cover the condition, with no time limit, until the financial limit is reached.

These policies can be significantly more expensive than time-limited or accident-only insurance as they are suitable for some longer-term health problems.

Again, ManyPets doesn’t offer these policies. We want your dog to enjoy a long, healthy life, without running out of cover for an ongoing problem.

Lifetime pet insurance

Lifetime pet insurance is the most comprehensive policy type, which can make it the most expensive. 

With a lifetime policy, your dog has an annual vet fee limit that refreshes each year that you renew the policy, so you won’t run out of cover like you could with a per condition policy. This means they are the best type of policy for short and long term illnesses, as well as accidents and injuries.

ManyPets only offers lifetime pet insurance policies because we don’t want you to find yourself without cover after having to make a few claims.

Policy features

As well as the basic policy type, not all pet insurance policies are created equal when it comes to policy features and options. When shopping around, check whether your policy includes:

If you think you’ll need these types of cover, be careful you don’t choose a policy because it’s cheap, only to find it doesn’t have these elements of cover.

How your location affects dog insurance costs

Dog insurance is often more expensive if you live in a city, especially in London and the South-East. It’s because urban vets tend to be more expensive than in rural areas.

According to our data in the 12 months up to December 2023, dog insurance was most expensive in Greater London with an average annual premium of £581.29. Northern Ireland was the cheapest area, with an average of £336.37.

You can get also get an idea of what areas have the cheapest and most expensive vet costs by checking our guides to vaccination and neutering costs around the country.

Is dog insurance worth the cost?

With vet costs rising alongside the cost of living, you might be surprised at how much some common treatments costs. A consultation alone can be around £50 or more and the most expensive surgeries for dogs like hip replacement or cruciate ligament repair can be thousands of pounds for each affected limb. If your dog needs treatment out of hours, an emergency vet consultation can add hundreds to the bill as well.

Those sorts of costs are not easily affordable for most of us, which is why pet insurance offers such valuable peace of mind. By paying a monthly or annual premium you’ll know you’ll have some help meeting the cost of expensive vet bills if you need it.

Some owners choose alternatives to pet insurance like ‘self insuring’ by putting some money away in savings each month or even using a credit card to meet the cost. But it’s really important to consider the difficult decisions you might be faced with if your dog’s taken ill and you’re not insured.

The true value of pet insurance isn’t just financial, it’s the peace of mind of knowing you can afford treatment for your dog when you really need it.

Can you cut the cost of dog insurance?

You can’t really move across the country in pursuit of cheaper dog insurance and we hope you won’t consider trading in your furry best friend for a younger model of a breed with cheaper running costs. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few ways to save money on dog insurance.

Firstly, look at your level of cover. Policies with lower vet fee limits tend to cost less. Our value policy is our most cost-effective option but still has £3,000 of vet fee cover each year if you’re on a budget.

If you’ve got more than one dog, you can save up to 15% by choosing a Multi-pet policy.

Find out the cost of pet insurance for your dog

The best way to find out exactly how much it’ll cost for your dog is to get a quote. All ManyPets policies offer lifetime cover, so you’ll have a vet fee limit that refreshes each year when you renew.

If you’re on a budget, even our Value policy has up to £3,000 of cover each year and includes cover for complementary therapies, behavioural treatment and third party cover for dogs.

For really comprehensive cover, take a look at the Complete policy, which covers dental illnesses as part of up to £15,000 of vet fee cover every year.

Derri Dunn
Content marketer

Derri is a personal finance and insurance writer and editor. After seven years covering all things motoring and banking at GoCompare, Derri joined ManyPets in 2021 to focus on pet health. She has fostered cats and kittens for Blue Cross and Cats Protection and is owned by tabby cat Diggory and two badly behaved dogs.