How much does cat insurance cost?

10 August 2022 - 7 min read
Cat with a piggy bank
Cat with a piggy bank

Do you worry you might be paying too much for your cat insurance? We’ve looked at the cost of cat insurance in the UK, and some of the things that might be making yours cheaper or more expensive than average.

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A Value policy with £3,000 of lifetime vet fee cover.

A dog eating a credit card

What is the average cost of pet insurance for a cat in the UK?

The average annual premium for cat insurance in the UK will vary depending on your circumstances.

For our customers, the average pet insurance cost for all cat breeds and policy types around the UK from January-August 2022 was £371.59. But there’s huge variation.

In fact, 10% of our customers paid just £138.24 or less for their policy, which equates to £11.52 a month.

The cost of cat insurance is usually cheaper than the cost of dog insurance because vet fees for cats are generally less than they are for dogs.

Also, cats are slightly less expensive to insure than dogs because cats don’t need third-party liability insurance. That means that you as an owner are unlikely to be held responsible for any damage your cat causes, unlike with a dog.

But your cat insurance policy will vary in price depending on:

  • The policy and cover level you choose

  • Where you live

  • The age of your cat

  • Their breed

The cat insurance company you pick

Pet insurance companies will price their policies very differently. The top-end companies such as Petplan, John Lewis and More Than offer some more comprehensive policies, with higher vet fees cover and extras like dental treatment and cover for alternative therapies.

Our Complete policy covers dental illness.

Other pet insurance companies may not offer such comprehensive policies but may be cheaper.

Pet insurance companies like Helpucover and Animal Friends will offer some cheaper policies that won't offer as much cover for those looking to buy a cheap policy.

ManyPets's most affordable cover is Value. Value has a policy offering £3,000 of lifetime vet fee cover a year.

But we also have a really comprehensive cat insurance policy – Complete.

The type of cat insurance policy you choose

The type of pet insurance policy you choose for your cat will affect the cost of your insurance. There are a few types of policies, all of which will cost different amounts:

Accident-only cat insurance is the cheapest cat insurance policy and can cost just a few pounds a month.

Accident-only pet insurance will only cover vet fees if your cat needs attention due to an accident - it won’t cover illnesses.

In 2021 less than 12% of the cat insurance claims we dealt with were for accidents. That means that an accident-only policy wouldn’t cover the vast majority of incidents.

Time-limited cat insurance is usually the second cheapest pet insurance policy. It’ll cover a short-term illness by paying for treatment for each condition for 12 months up to a certain monetary limit.

This means if your cat's condition reoccurs outside these limits, it won't be covered.

Maximum benefit (per condition) cat insurance limits how much you can claim for each medical condition that affects your cat. There is no time limit on how long you can keep claiming for each condition, but there will be a financial limit. Once you’ve reached that limit, you can’t claim for that condition any more.

Maximum benefit policies usually costs more than both time-limited and accident-only policies, but less than lifetime cover.

Lifetime cat insurance is usually the most expensive cat insurance, but lifetime policies have the most comprehensive cover.

A lifetime policy will cover most vet fees your cat needs during its lifetime, up to a specific monetary limit each year.

Lifetime (or ‘yearly limit’) insurance covers vet fees up to the stated limit every year. This can be a good option if you worry about your pet developing a long-term or recurring illness. So long as you renew a lifetime policy each year, the level of vet fees will reset to the full stated limits that you started with.

Lifetime pet insurance doesn’t mean the price stays the same for life. Your premiums are likely to increase each year at renewal.

All our cat insurance policies have lifetime cover, but how much you pay for cover depends on the level of cover you choose.

From January-August 2022, 10% of our customer paid £14.05 on average on our Complete policy with up to £15,000 of vet fee cover.

On Our Value policy with £3,000 annual vet fee cover 10% of customers paid £8.07 on average.

Where you live

Where you live will have a big impact on cat insurance costs, as the price of vet treatment will be different depending on where you live in the country.

In general, cat insurance will cost less if you live outside of London and the South East.

Cities and other urban areas are likely to be more expensive than rural areas as vet fees tend to be higher. There’s also a greater risk of your cat being injured in a road traffic accident in built-up areas.

The age of your cat

The age of your cat can also influence your pet insurance policy. Younger cats usually cost less to insure than older ones.

Some companies may even refuse to cover a cat if it’s over the age of eight or nine, or you may have to pay a co-payment. A co-payment is a percentage of your claim that you’ll have to pay for yourself on top of any excess costs.

But cat’s actually age pretty well, so your cat's age won't influence the cost of your premium as much as it would if you owned a dog. Dog insurance can cost several times more for an older dog.

An increase in price for older cats might feel unfair, but insurance costs increase because you’re statistically more likely to need to make a claim for vet treatment as your cat gets older.

Not only will the cost of a newly-insured older cat be higher than a younger one, but as your cat gets older, insurance costs can increase at renewal.

For this reason, some owners put money away into a savings account, which is known as 'self-insuring', rather than take out a policy. This means they have money to pay their vet fees if their pet gets sick. However, this risk is that vet treatment might cost more than you've had a chance to save.

Finally, some cats may be cheaper to insure when they turn one than they are before the age of one. This is because there can be a higher risk of accident and illness for kittens under a year old. That means there’s a higher risk of making a claim in your kitten’s first year.

Your cat’s breed

Your cat’s breed affects your premium price. This is because purebred cats can be more likely to develop illnesses due to having a less diverse gene pool.

As well as this, different breeds will cost different amounts to insure as each is susceptible to its own ailments. Siamese cats, for instance, can be prone to kidney and respiratory diseases. Persian cats, are more likely to suffer from progressive retinal atrophy (a disease that can cause blindness).

For these reasons, moggies (occasionally spelled moggy), or mixed-breed cats, are usually cheaper to insure.

The average cost of insuring a moggy with us January-August 2022 was £351.36, which is below the average cost for all cat breeds.

The most expensive breeds to insure and their average annual cost are:

1. Sphynx £637.63

2. Persian £610.67

3. Maine Coon £570.32

The cheapest cat breeds to insure are:

1. Tortoiseshell Shorthair £328.93

2. Moggy £351.36

3. Black and white shorthair £352.12

This is based on breeds where we cover at least 50 of that breed.

How can I make my cat insurance cheaper?

The easiest and fastest way to lower the cost of cat insurance is by increasing your excess. Not all pet insurers offer this option though.

With ManyPets you have a choice of excesses as well as a £0 excess option for pets under nine years old.

Remember that the excess is what you will have to pay if you need to make a claim, so it should be set at a level that’s affordable for you.

On top of this, once your cat reaches a certain age usually around eight or nine, you may have to pay a percentage of every claim on top of your policy excess. This is called a co-payment.

Lots of cat insurance companies will also offer a multi-pet discount that can bring costs down if you have more than one pet.

A cat waving whilst a dog hides its face

Get a discount of up to 15% when you insure more than one pet

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Cat insurance policies don't necessarily only cover vet fees. They can also help with costs if your cat is lost or stolen, and can sometimes even pay for alternative treatment costs such as hydrotherapy, physiotherapy or acupuncture.

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Up to £2,500 cover for complementary therapies on our Complete policy

Pet training - dog jumping through hoop illustration

At ManyPets we also give you unlimited 24/7 online vet advice with your policy.

And we have several products unique to the pet insurance market, including a policy that can provide cover for some pre-existing conditions.

Our Pre-existing policy can cover recent conditions.

Digby Bodenham
UK engagement team lead

Digby is an experienced journalist in various fields but has specialised in insurance for more than six years. Before joining ManyPets in 2013 he was part of the editorial teams of various magazines, including Retail Week and Drapers. He has a degree in journalism and a cat called Potato.