Pet ownership is a big deal in the UK. In the last ten years, the number of households owning a pet has increased from around 45% to a whopping 59% in 2021. This is almost certainly the result of the coronavirus pandemic and the increased time people are spending at home.
In terms of numbers, there are estimated to be 12 million dogs and 12 million cats living in homes across the UK. Of course, with the rising number of pet owners, the amount of money we are spending on pet-related products and services has also increased dramatically. In fact research shows we spent £2.9bn on our pets in 2005 and that rose to a staggering £4bn in 2020.
Of all the pet-related expenses an owner has to deal with, pet insurance is perhaps the most important consideration. We know as humans that unexpected events happen and how good health insurance can protect us from that possibility, and the same applies to our pets.
The UK is most definitely a nation of animal-lovers and we embrace our pets as though they are family members. This is cited as the most common reason for taking out a comprehensive pet insurance policy. In this article, we delve a little deeper into the subject of pet insurance.
“Research suggests that Emerald Pet Insurance offer excellent value for money and are very competitively priced for the high levels of cover provided. Even taking into account the optional extras. When these are removed, they are even more competitively priced.”
Table of Contents
Why do I need Pet Insurance?
Choosing a reliable provider of a comprehensive pet insurance plan requires consideration. In many cases people like to stick with traditional providers who have been around for a long time, such as Agria.
However, a more familiar brand name doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting the best cover for your pet.
As part of the process of choosing the best pet insurance provider, it is worth shopping around to see what other options are available to you. Some providers have unique aspects to their pet insurance policies that aren’t available elsewhere, which can ultimately save you heaps of money in the long-run. For these reasons and a host more, it’s important to choose the best pet insurance provider for your specific needs.
The main reason you want to get your pets covered for any medical eventuality is because of the prospect of unexpected vet’s costs. Despite this, research released by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) revealed that an estimated 67% of dogs and 84% of cats in the UK are uninsured, which represents millions of cats and dogs with owners left exposed to hefty vet bills
In this review, we’ll be taking a closer look at the key benefits offered by Agria Pet Insurance and comparing them with other products on the market. As pet insurance experts, Emerald Life is here to help steer you in the right direction.
About Agria Pet Insurance
Agria is the UK’s oldest and largest pet insurance provider, having been founded in 1890. The firm offers lifetime policies protecting cats, dogs and rabbits in the UK and has insured more than 60,000 rescue animals in the past five years, working closely with around 300 animal rescue centres throughout the country.
Agria’s unique selling point is its current offer of 5 weeks’ free pet insurance. This is designed to assist new owners in the first few weeks of getting their cat, dog or rabbit. This is a delicate time that can sometimes result in unexpected vet’s bills and so it’s good protection to have, particularly if you are rescuing or acquiring and older pet.
Agria Pet Insurance Reviews
Agria Pet Insurance offers two tiers of cover for dogs, cats and rabbits called Lifetime and Lifetime Plus, with optional cover packages available, (see below). All Agria policies come with 5 weeks’ free cover to take care of any initial expenses. Once the five weeks is up, pet insurance policyholders can either continue with a lifetime policy plan or receive a £50 voucher towards future vet’s fees.
The differences between Agria’s Lifetime and Lifetime Plus pet insurance policies are shown below:
Included cover options for Agria Lifetime Plus and Agria Lifetime
- Vet’s fees (annual): £12,500 and £6,500 respectively
- Advertising to help finding your lost or stolen pet: £1,500 and £1,000
- Third party liability if your dog injures someone: £3,000,000 and £2,000,000 (note, there is an excess charge of £250 for each claim made)
- Cover for pets being referred by vets to other locations for treatment to include travel and accommodation expenses (annual): £300 for both policies
- £25 voucher towards dog’s annual health check issued each year to cover cost of vaccinations, etc: Only available with Lifetime Plus
- Free access to a 24-hour pet health helpline staffed by fully qualified veterinary nurses: Available for both policies
- Free Pet24 Tag which grants access to a pet recover service should your dog be lost or stolen: again, available for both Lifetime Plus and Lifetime policies
Agria Pet Insurance Exclusions
When researching pet insurance, it’s always worth checking out the provider’s list of exclusions. The exclusions detail the scenarios and circumstances where pet insurance cover might be refused. You should always look at the policy terms and conditions to find out this information.
With Agria’s Lifetime and Lifetime Plus policies, exclusions include the caveat that pets must be at least 8 weeks’ old when cover starts. Any pre-existing illnesses or injuries are not covered. This is really a safeguard against acquiring pets that have not had their routine vaccinations and health checks.
Agria also has a long list of dog and cat breeds they do not extend pet insurance cover to. These include:
- Dogs: African Boerboel, Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog, American Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, American Bully, American Pitbull Terrier, Bully Kutta, Cane Corso, Caucasian Shepherd, Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, Perro De Presa Canario (Canary Dog), Saarloos Wolfdog, Thai Ridgeback, any wolf hybrid and any cross with the preceding breeds.
- Cats: Lykoi, Munchkin, any first or second filial (F1 or F2) generation cat (except for the F1 Safari Cat), any breed of wild cat and any cross with the preceding breeds.
Although the breeds listed above are relatively uncommon, it is always worth checking the policy documents of any pet insurance provider you’re researching before making a firm decision. There are many more breeds of domestic animals these days, particularly dogs and you want to know you have the right insurance cover.
Significant areas that Agria Pet Insurance will not cover are:
- Routine Examinations or tests.
- Preventative Veterinary treatment.
- Castration or spaying.
- Post Mortem examinations.
- Grooming and routine removal of dew claws.
- Routine emptying of anal glands.
- Routine blood and urine tests.
- More than two episodes of false pregnancy.
- Products to control or kill fleas, worms, or skin mites.
- Collars, surgical T-shirts and boots unless used to directly cover a wound.
- Harnesses or slings to aid mobility.
- The treatment of behavioural disorders not recommended by or carried out under the direction of a vet.
- Behavioural disorders preventable by puppy training and socialisation.
- Organ Transplants and the cost of any prosthesis (other than hips, elbows, patella groove replacements or eye lens implant).
- Experimental veterinary treatment including stem cell therapy.
- The cost of housing, cages and bedding.
- Dogs for guarding security or racing.
- Any dog which should be registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
- Any claim that has been caused by your pet not being on a short lead while near livestock of any kind, including horses, whether kept for leisure or working purposes.
Agria Pet Insurance – Our Verdict
The main selling point of Agria Pet Insurance is its involvement in rescuing animals, having poured considerable resources into more than 300 rescue centres in the UK. Although this is an undeniably noble concept, it is worth bearing in mind that this charitable effort is financed through your premiums.
However, Agria offers 5 weeks’ free cover to all new customers which could tempt you to take out a policy without undertaking further research. Agria has indeed been specialists in the marketplace for over 100 years but that is not necessarily an indication they provide the best service. In fact, both their Lifetime and Lifetime Plus pet insurance policies have not altered significantly in many years, which perhaps show them to be a little dated.
In many respects a relative newcomer to the pet insurance market such as Emerald Life can offer a more comprehensive service do to their bigger commitment to the latest technology. Many traditional businesses such as Agria have been slow to fully embrace the benefits of operating digitally.
If an Agria Pet Insurance customer has their pet treated by a vet the provider doesn’t ‘approve’, they are liable for the first £250 of any successful claim (in addition to any policy excess). This means it is important to check if your vet will be recognized by Agria before taking out a policy.
Conversely, Emerald Life Pet Insurance offers free emergency veterinary services through FirstVet. This provides policy holders with around-the-clock access to a vet and also a great deal of peace of mind. Not all pet insurance providers offer this kind of service and so it’s another thing you should look into when choosing the best policy for you.
How does Emerald Life Pet Insurance compare?
The main distinction between Emerald Life and Agria is that we offer everything as standard that they charge extra for. When you look into Emerald Life Pet, you’ll see that you can determine your primary level of cover and then decide which extras are important to you. On the other hand, Agria add-on cover packages often have unnecessary inclusions that you don’t really need.
In a marketplace that favours the ‘one size fits all’ approach, Emerald Life offers total flexibility with its pet insurance policy. For example, if you require travel cover but not optional third party liability, we can create a solution that you can tailor-make to your exact needs.
The Pros and Cons of Agria Pet Insurance
It’s always worth weighing up the benefits and disadvantages when comparing pet insurance policies. With Agria, the pros and cons of using Agria pet insurance include the following:
- Just two policies to select from, with additional cover packages available making things relatively easy to understand
- A simple claims process that ensures a fast payout IF the terms and conditions of the policy are met
- Agria offers great cover for vet’s fees of up to £12,500 each year
- Consumer websites show Agria has excellent customer satisfaction rates
- Agria always has good customer discounts and special offers
- Agria can be more expensive than some other pet insurance providers
- There are lots of extra cover available in their add-on packages that are included as standard by other providers
- Agria doesn’t have promotional codes available when you request a quote which is very unusual for an insurance provider
- The pet insurance provider has been around for a long time and is not motivated to be competitive in the marketplace
Criticisms of Agria in Online Customer Reviews
The main criticism of customers reviewing Agria pet insurance with Trustpilot is that their policies are expensive. One review mentions how the person found Agria to be very competitive when looking for pet insurance on a price comparison site. However, their annual premiums increased rapidly from £312 to £448.09 in year 3, leaving them dreading the renewal policy. They go on to say that these costs are on top of a £170 excess charge and 10% on fees.
Choosing the right pet insurance policy can be confusing, especially if you’ve never required one before. The stress can sound mount if your pet has health problems and there are complications in making a claim. A high number of reviewers say that although the claims process is simple, the payout can take longer than required and sometimes, it is not as much as anticipated.
With regard to renewal costs, reviewers commonly report that Agria shows huge promise at the start of cover but then go on to under-deliver. This is not an unusual criticism of pet insurance providers, particularly if they focus more on incentivising new customers rather than keeping their existing policyholders happy.
The problem with Agria’s annually increasing premiums is that it makes customers reluctant to make a claim. Everybody knows that when you make a claim on any insurance, your premiums will rise as a result. However, if they go up incrementally as part of how the policy works, any claim you make will see your premiums go through the roof with Agria.
When you sign up for any pet insurance, it is vital that you look for transparency in the way the provider operates. If they offer lots of bonuses and incentives for new customers, you must look further into how the policy will work when that offer has expired.
For a start, you are more likely to make a claim for your pet after a period of time rather than when you have just acquired the policy.
That isn’t to say it is always the case, but it’s thankfully more likely. If your premiums have already increased after the welcome offer has expired, you might find yourself paying more for your pet insurance than you would like.
Why Emerald Life Pet Insurance is Different
The team at Emerald Life takes pride in delivering the best value for money together with top notch customer service. We believe that it’s not only important to attract new clients but in some ways more so to take care of the ones we already have. We want our customers to know that our comprehensive pet insurance policies are not just a one-off purchase but the beginning of a long relationship between us.
As a relative newcomer to the pet insurance market, we have taken the best elements offered by other service providers and packed them into our tailor-made policies. For a start, our premiums won’t catch you unawares because we are completely transparent at all times.
If you are currently looking for pet insurance and want to be sure you’re getting the best value for money, our friendly advisors are just a call away. We can guide you through the process and help you choose the policy that best meets your requirements before providing you with a competitive quote.
When you first bring your pet home, you welcome the latest member of your family. For that reason alone it’s worth having the peace of mind that everything will be take care of should anything happen to your pet. The right pet insurance policy will give you that peace of mind which is why it is so important you take care in making that choice.
Most Commonly Asked Questions about Pet Insurance
Is Agria Pet Insurance any good?
Agria pet insurance reviews and its long presence in the pet insurance marketplace suggests that they offer a good service. However, many reviewers feel that their service does not represent value for money. Expensive renewals and excess charges mean that making a claim can be a very costly business with Agria. For this reason alone, it is worth looking for a cheaper provider of pet insurance offering more in its standard policy than Agria.
Does Agria Pet Insurance offer lifetime cover?
Yes. Policy terms and conditions state that ‘Vet fees limits are per year and are reinstated annually, if your policy is renewed and there is no break in cover and your premiums are paid.’
Is Agria a regulated insurance provider?
Yes, in the same way as Emerald Life Limited, Agria is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is registered in England and Wales. FCA regulation affords you an excellent level of consumer protection when you take out a policy with an authorised insurance provider.
Is pet insurance worth the money?
Put simply if there was no NHS, you would want to know you had the funds to pay for any emergency medical attention. Although there are charitable organisations that will carry out treatment in return for a donation, such as the PDSA, vet’s bills are an inevitable part of owning a pet. In some situations and circumstances, vet’s bills can be excruciating and so the benefits of having an insurance policy in place to take care of those costs in invaluable.