What is pet insurance excess and what factors affect it?

Pet insurance excess is a fixed amount of money that you pay when making a claim, agreed at the beginning of your policy. Excess can lower the price of your premium as it is an agreement that you cover a portion of the costs of a claim. 


Your premium is calculated by considering multiple ‘risk’ factors including the breed, age and health of your pet (this is separate to excess). 


Excess is a fixed figure that remains the same for the agreed year of your policy, but it may increase once your pet reaches a certain age. Some policies offer you the option to choose your own excess amount to help customise your insurance to your own needs. This gives you the option of paying a higher excess fee in order to lower your premium, but you should only consider this if it is likely to be within your budget to pay a larger excess at the point of claim.

When do I have to pay excess?

With John Lewis, you pay pet insurance excess for each condition you make a claim against, even if you receive several vet bills for the same illness or accident in the same year. If treatment for your pet continues into the next policy year, you will need to pay the excess again.

What is co-payment for older animals?

Pet insurance for older cats and dogs can often come with co-payments. A co-payment is a percentage of your vet bill that you would pay in addition to the fixed excess. It tends to be 10-20% of your total bill (after excess has been deducted) depending on your policy and the age of your pet. Just like excess, it is agreed at the beginning of your policy so you won’t be caught out by it, and it may lower the price of your premium. However, you will need to make a co-payment for every vet bill you receive so you shouldn’t agree to a co-payment price that is above your likely budget.


With John Lewis Pet Insurance for pets aged under nine, you can choose to pay a voluntary co-payment of 10% or 20% towards the rest of the vet treatment costs, in addition to your chosen fixed excess. For pets aged nine years or over, you must pay a co-payment of 20% on the rest of the vet’s treatment costs, in addition to your chosen fixed excess.


Example of excess and co-payment

Vet bill Excess Co-payment
£1,000 £150 20%
Vet bill £1,000
Pet owner excess contribution -£150
Pet owner co-payment contribution (20% of remaining £850) -£170
Pet owner pays: £320
Insurance payout: £680


Some insurers do offer pet insurance without excess but the price of the premiums are likely to be higher.

Yes, it can do. If you choose to pay a higher amount of excess,  your premium may be reduced. It’s important to remember that you will have to pay the excess if you make a claim, so you should choose an excess that will be affordable.

Co-payment is often required for pets that are at a much higher risk of health issues as this can lead to more frequent visits to the vet. This commonly includes older pets as much like humans, the older they get the more likely they are to suffer with their health. John Lewis Pet Insurance doesn’t require compulsory co-payment until your pet passes the age of 9.

Not yet covered by John Lewis Finance?

Insure your pet today by calling us on 0330 102 2490 or get a quote online.

John Lewis Finance and John Lewis Insurance are trading names of John Lewis plc. The John Lewis Registered office address is: 171 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5NN. Registered in England and Wales no. 233462. John Lewis plc is an appointed representative (Financial Conduct Authority number 416011) of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd. John Lewis Pet Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202323).

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