In this series of articles in which we compare pet insurance policies we will compare the mid-range lifetime policies currently offered by John Lewis and Animal Friends Insurance.
These are the John Lewis Plus Policy and the Animal Friends Insurance Prestige Policy.
Vet Fees Cover Limit
The John Lewis Plus policy has a cover limit of £7,500 per year. The Animal Friends Prestige policy has a cover limit of £6,000 per year.
They are both annual sum lifetime policies which means that this limit is reinstated each year providing you renew the policy on the terms offered.
Always make sure you read the vet fees exclusions before taking out a policy. For example Animal Friends will not pay for any treatment caused by your pet being overweight. They also will only pay for out-of-hours treatment “if required to prevent a life-endangering condition”.
Dental, Diet & End of Life
|John Lewis||Animal Friends|
|Dental Cover||Injury Only||Injury only|
John Lewis will pay up to £250 per year for any food recommended by your vet in order to treat a condition with the exception of oral hygiene and obesity diets (unless these are recommended by a vet and John Lewis agree to pay for them).
Animal Friends will pay for euthanasia providing a vet confirms it was to prevent further suffering.
|John Lewis||Animal Friends|
|Death & Loss Benefits||£1,000||£1,500|
|Advertising (incl Reward)||£750||£-|
Animal Friends have a number of specific exclusions in their third party liability terms which are not found in many other policies. These include claims resulting from “your dog’s interaction with other animals” and “someone handling your dog without your permission” amongst others.
The death benefit payable with the John Lewis policy is the purchase price of your pet providing this is not more than £1500. Animal Friends however will only pay a percentage of the market value of your pet, purchase price of your pet or £1,500 (whichever is the lowest amount). You will only get 100% of this amount if your pet dies before their first birthday. They will also only pay the death benefit if your pet dies in the same policy year in which the accident or illness which caused the death started.
Animal Friends will not pay a reward which is greater than the purchase price of your pet.
John Lewis holiday cancellation cover only includes trips to Europe.
John Lewis will pay your holiday cancellation costs if your pet requires immediate lifesaving treatment in the seven days before you travel or whilst you are away. Animal Friends will pay the costs if your pet requires immediate lifesaving surgery in the fourteen days before you travel or whilst you are away.
Whereas John Lewis will also pay the holiday cancellation costs of your family, Animal Friends will specifically exclude paying for anyone else’s costs.
In addition John Lewis will pay your cancellation costs if your pet goes missing whilst you are away.
Excess and Contribution Percentages
John Lewis offer a choice of excess payments (£60, £80 or £140). Once your pets reach the age of 9 you will have to pay either your chosen excess fee or 20% of vet fees (whichever is the greater).
Animal Friends have a standard excess payment of £99. Once your pets reach the age of 8 you will also have to pay 20% of vet fees.
In our pet insurance premium survey which was conducted in February 2014 the average quote for the John Lewis Plus policy was £26.52 as opposed to £43.48 for the Animal Friends Prestige policy. However it is important to remember that, as all pet insurance quotes depend on your postcode and the breed and age of your pet, the quotes you get for your pets may be very different.
It is very important to consider premiums in future years as well as the initial premium! You need to remember that any introductory or online discounts you received will not apply in future years. Currently John Lewis offer a 10% online discount but Animal Friends do not offer one.
It is of course impossible to predict renewal premiums. Having said this we have read lots of reports recently which suggest that many John Lewis policyholders (and others with policies underwritten by RSA) have experienced substantial hikes in renewal premiums. By way of contrast most reports about Animal Friends increases suggest that they are more moderate.
Background and Reputation
Animal Friends are specialist UK pet insurance company based in Wiltshire while John Lewis are primarily a retail organisation whose policy is underwritten by RSA (Royal Sun Alliance).
Arguably the most important thing you need to find out about any insurance policy provider is “Will they pay out if I make a claim?” We have recently conducted a survey of pet insurance claims experiences. Animal Friends at the time of writing had received 38 reviews with an average rating of 4.1/5. John Lewis at the time of writing had received 13 reviews all of which rated their claims service at 5/5. However you will get a better picture by reading the John Lewis Pet Insurance reviews and Animal Friends Pet Insurance reviews.
Full Policy Details
If you have one of the above policies and have any comments to make then please do leave your thoughts on our Facebook Page.
Whilst we have taken great care in ensuring the information below is accurate at the time of writing this article in November 2014, we cannot be responsible for its accuracy and it is important that you and check all the details with the insurer by reading their policy document before purchasing the policy.