Finding the Best Insurance for your Westie

Getting the right insurance in place for Westies is crucial because it’s a practical way of loving and protecting these wonderful bundles of fun. Ronan McCaughey explains

The costs involved of owning a West Highland Terrier can leave many owners out of pocket when things go wrong, and with increasing veterinary fees and ever more sophisticated treatments, a good insurance policy is vital to cover any unexpected costs for your beloved pet.

Many different factors may affect the price of insuring a Westie, for example the age of your dog, where you live, previous claims and conditions, and the level of cover you choose to take out, according to insurer MORE THAN.

MORE THAN says some of the most common conditions affecting Westies – and the average cost of a claim – include:

  • Cruciate rupture (average claim cost: £2,600)
  • Lameness (average claim cost: £559)
  • Vomiting (average claim cost: £778)

The average price to insure a Westie at MORE THAN is £172 for new customers, and £526 for renewals.

A spokesperson for MORE THAN says: “Renewal prices across the market are typically higher, as the cost of looking after your pet’s health increases as they grow older. It is therefore crucial that pet owners budget for renewal prices to increase as their pet gets older.”

Asked why the cost of dog insurance premiums have been rising in recent years, the insurer’s spokesperson adds: “Technological development has resulted in more advanced treatments, which is great news for our pets’ health.

“However, these advancements also mean that treatments can be more expensive, which increases the cost of insurance claims and, as a result, is one of the main drivers behind increases in premiums.”

Direct Line says it received just under 300 claims for unwell Westies in 2020. According to the insurer, the most common causes for claims among Westies in 2020 were vomiting or diarrhoea; growths; skin disorders; lameness; and ear, nose, and throat issues.

The average age of Westies requiring treatments is just under nine-years-old, which is higher than the average age for all dogs, at just under seven, notes Direct Line.

LV= says for the breed group Westies belong to, the average cost of a claim is just under £500.

In comparison, the insurer explains the average costs for common claims in small dogs with lameness, cruciate ligament damage and skin disorders are £800, £1,600, and £600 respectively.

LV= says it will typically insure a two-year-old Westie for around £10 a month, making a policy approximately £120 a year.

Rachael Condon, Head of Marketing at digital pet insurer Waggel says the average cost of insurance for Westies depends on the age, gender and location of the pet, and the amount of coverage and excess applied.  

However, she says: “We are seeing Westie policies range from about £18 to £30 a month.” 

Comparing Insurers

Pet insurance is a competitive market in the UK and faced with numerous providers, it may seem daunting which insurer to choose.

Westies & Besties asked several providers why they stood out from their rivals. They all offer an array of benefits and these are summarised below.

MORE THAN says if you’re a new customer, you can enjoy a 25% off online discount. It offers 24/7 freephone access to qualified vet nurses through vetfone.The insurer also stresses “no breed has any specific cover limits”.

Direct Line supplies free access to Pawsquad, a 24/7 online access to a qualified vet in the UK via live chat and video calls. It promises customisable cover and says owners can save up to 12.5% if they insure more than one pet on the same policy.

LV= also provides 24/7 access to free video consultations, and says for illness and injury, it covers up to £10,000 per year of vet fees with its lifetime product. The insurer adds it pays out on 96% of claims.

Waggel highlights its totally digital platform, which it says enables policyholders to track claims in real time, but with “a human touch as everyone has a personal customer champion”.

Ways to Save on Westie Insurance Costs

  • Keep your dog as healthy as possible, whether that’s their weight, being aware of seasonal issues, or regular routine care of their teeth. Also, ensure they are wormed regularly and keep an eye on potential flea infestations
  • One way of potentially reducing costs could be to ask your vet for a prescription, and rather than buying the medication directly from them, use this to shop around
  • Isabella Von Mesterhazy, Head of Petplan Direct, says: “When shopping around check the veterinary cover provided by each policy carefully as not all pet insurance is the same. This will ensure you can get your pet the best care possible in their time of need.” 
  • A spokesperson for Direct Line pet insurance sayswhen buying pet insurance, owners should not just think about price
  • The most important thing to consider when buying pet insurance, is that it suits both your Westie and your family