Research shows that there are more than 16.5 million British households with at least one resident cat or dog. This number has increased by over 40% in the past 20 years, recently driven by the pandemic and the increased time spent at home.
It’s undeniable that we’re a nation of animal lovers and it’s also true that we feel pet ownership to be a big responsibility, particularly when it comes to their healthcare. Research also shows that British pet owners fork out around £1.3 billion every year to pay for pet insurance, a figure that is expected to rise to £1.9 billion by 2025.
This means that pet insurance is a big deal to pet owners, which is why it is always worth taking extra time in choosing the best provider for the needs of your furry friends. In this article, we drill down on reviews of Emporium pet insurance and compare some of its features – and drawbacks – with other pet insurance providers in the market.
About the Livestock Insurance Company Limited
Insurance Emporium is the trading name of the Equine and Livestock Insurance Company, an established provider of niche insurance policies which has been in business for more than 70 years. However, a long trading history is not necessarily a guarantee of a great service. That said Emporium is a member of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and also the Financial Ombudsman Service, which is important as it affords policyholders recourse should there be a dispute.
Emporium offers a wide range of pet insurance policy options and cover levels, with a longstanding 20% discount offer for new customers. One aspect of Insurance Emporium pet insurance that pet owners may feel is restrictive is that they only offer one lifetime policy with maximum cover of just £8,000. Emporium offers a choice of three cover levels, categorised as Bronze, Silver and Gold. In terms of cover, the Lifetime policy works out to £2,500 (Bronze), £5,000 (Silver) and £8,000 (Gold).
Emporium also offers cheaper but less comprehensive time-limited and maximum benefit, accident only and a separate policy covering public liability.
Emporium Pet Insurance Reviews
The key features of Emporium pet insurance include the following:
- Cover for senior dogs and cats
- Equine insurance
- 20% discount for new customers
- 10% discount to cover more than one pet
- A customer portal where you can access your policy documents
Types of Cover offered with Insurance Emporium Pet Insurance
The Insurance Emporium offers a good range of cover for cats, dogs and also horses, which is listed below:
Public Liability Only: This is a separate policy offered by Emporium and covers you to the sum of £1.5 million if your pet causes damage to property or an individual. However, because this is a standalone policy, it does not cover vet fees for any treatment as a result of illness or injury.
Accident Only: This basic policy covers the cost of vet treatment for injuries sustained from accidents and does not cover the cost of illness.
Time-Limited: The Emporium’s time-limited policy covers the cost of treatment up to £6,000 only for a set period of time from the date the initial claim was made. This policy is available across three plans: Bronze, Silver and Gold.
Maximum Benefit: The maximum benefit policy covers the cost of vet bills up to £7,500 per illness or injury. That means your pet will only be covered for the duration of the Maximum Benefit policy or until the time limit is reached. This is also available on a Bronze, Silver or Gold plan. One downside of this policy is if your pet has a long term or chronic condition or injury, as it can tie you into staying with Emporium until the issue is resolved.
Lifetime: This is probably the best value pet insurance policy offered by Emporium and covers vets costs up to £8,000 per condition on an annual basis. Again, there are three plans, Bronze, Silver and Gold.
Emporium Pet Insurance: Policy Exclusions
In this section, we take closer look at the most common exclusions in Emporium pet insurance policies. You should not that this is not a definitive list and it is always important to check the policy terms and conditions before signing up.
In brief, there are certain things Emporium will not pay out for, including the following:
- The policy excess amount
- Pre-existing health conditions
- Illnesses or conditions that started within 14 days of the policy start date
- Any costs not evidenced with an invoice or receipt
- A death from a health conditions that occurs within 12 months of the first symptoms of the illness
- A theft of a cat or dog where there were no signs of forced entry
- Pets that are used a part of a commercial business or trade
Optional Benefits of Emporium Pet Insurance
When you take out pet insurance with The Insurance Emporium, you can choose certain add-ons to your policy when you make your initial enquiries. Here are some of the additional benefits Emporium offers:
- National Pet Register: This is a 24-hour missing pet service that you can add to your policy for an additional premium of £2.39/month or £23.92/year, without excess. When you take this option, you receive a special tag for your pet’s collar with a unique code for identification.
- European cover: If you wish to take your pet on your European holiday, you can opt for additional cover for up to 100 days for vet fees, loss, theft or death. The cost of this add-on is £1.20/month or £11.96/year, with no excess applicable.
- Euthanasia and Cremation: Emporium offers up to £200 towards the cost of euthanasia and cremation of your cat or dog if they are under the age of 8 years’ old. This is an additional £3.16/month or £31.62/year.
- Legal Helpline: This option allows for up to £10,000 towards the cost of legal advice over the telephone only. This costs an extra £1.65/month or £16.50/year again, with no excess.
What about the Excess for Emporium Pet Insurance?
Emporium pet insurance carries a policy excess which is payable if you make a claim and also subject to change along with the premium. The excess amount is variable according to the pet insurance policy you choose, the breed of your cat or dog and the level of cover you opt for.
With the Insurance Emporium’s Lifetime policies, there is a percentage co-payment payable as well as the excess. This additional payment is a contribution towards vet fees that is a pre-calculated percentage of the claim.
With Emporium, the co-payment for pets under 8 years’ old is 5% of vet fees until the total reaches £20,000, after which the amount increases to 15%. All pets over the age of 8 are liable for a co-payment of 15% on all lifetime policies to the amount of £20k and 25% thereafter.
Unless you are making a claim for vet fees, there is no excess charge on the pet insurance policy, making loss or theft claims exempt.
Insurance Emporium Pet Insurance Customer Reviews
According to TrustPilot, Insurance Emporium pet insurance has a rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. This is the result of more than 3,000 reviews in which 79% of customers rated Emporium’s service as ‘excellent’. The bulk of the praise is focused on the ease with which customers can make claims on their pet insurance, many citing a hassle-free process with great customer service.
6% of reviews cited bad experiences with Insurance Emporium pet insurance, in particular because of the complexity of their policy documents. These disgruntled customers felt that exemptions were buried in the small print which led to claims not being paid out.
Lack of transparency is a big problem with any type of insurance, which is why it is always very important to understand the policy details if they are not clear to you.
Pros and Cons of Emporium Pet Insurance
- A good range of pet insurance policies to choose from
- A reasonable amount of cover for vet bills up to £8,000
- 20% discount for new customers
- 10% discount for more than one pet
- Insurance for older cats and dogs
- You can’t make a claim on your pet insurance online
- Lifetime policies have a 5%-15% co-payment charge
- 15% co-payment charge in addition to excess for pets 8yrs+
- No pay out for euthanasia or death for pets 8yrs+ if they die from illness or injury
What Makes Emerald Life Pet Insurance Different?
Emerald Life offers pet insurance policies that are specifically designed to offer flexibility to cat and dog owners in the UK. Having researched the market over a considerable period of time, we have developed a great understanding of where existing pet insurance providers are under-delivering. That has enabled us to create pet insurance policies that are not only good value for money but that also give you complete peace of mind.
Owning a pet is a big responsibility that we take very seriously and pet insurance is the best way to ensure any future problems are taken care of. The team at Emerald Life takes extra time with you to talk through your exact requirements so that we can ensure your pet insurance policy is the right fit for you and your beloved pet.
There are no hidden extras or excess charges with EmeraldPet as we believe in complete transparency with all of our policy documents. It has been our experience that other pet insurance providers like Emporium, are often criticised for not being completely clear in their policy documents, leaving people in situations where they have not been paid out.
Is Insurance Emporium Pet Insurance any good?
Emporium has possibly the best reputation for providing insurance for horses with their equine policies, and they have a long history of this niche. In terms of cats and dogs, Emporium’s lifetime policies can work out to be prohibitively expensive if your pet is over the age of 8 and attracts co-payments on claims for vet bills. When you pet is older, it is even more important to reduce the cost of healthcare as much as possible, not risk it increasing with age as it does with Emporium.
Is Insurance Emporium a regulated insurance provider?
Just like Emerald Life, Emporium is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and registered in England and Wales. This is important as it means you are protected should there be a dispute with a claim or you feel you have been unfairly treated.
Is pet insurance really worth the money?
Owning a pet is one of the most fulfilling things you can do in your life and so it’s natural that you take care of your beloved cat or dog as best you can. Pet insurance can seem like an unnecessary expense when you first bring your pet home and they are 100% fit and healthy, but you have to think of the long-term. Just as humans, all sorts of medical issues can arise and without the aid of a crystal ball, it’s impossible to prepare for every eventuality. Pet insurance spreads the future cost of healthcare over smaller payments so that you never get hit with a big, unexpected bill.
Is Insurance Emporium pet insurance best for horses?
In short, the answer is yes. Emporium was insuring horses long before it diversified into cats and dogs and has become the foremost provider of equine insurance in the UK. However, we would say that as with any other pet insurance, it is vital to read the policy documents carefully to see exactly what you’re paying for. This can make the difference between a successful relationship with your pet insurance provider and an expensive complication. On balance however, we would recommend Emporium for equine insurance, particularly because horses are naturally much more expensive animals than cats and dogs.