Do I Need Insurance as a Locum Vet Nurse; A Comprehensive Guide 📋

There is a bit of confusion online when it comes to veterinary locum work and risk mitigation using insurance. We have done the research in November 2023 and we will write what we found out as simply as possible.


  1. Must Have Insurance for Locum Vet Nurse 🫡
    1. ⚖️ Indemnity Insurance (VDS cover)
  2. Nice to Have Insurance for Locum Vet Nurse 😀
    1. 💸 Income Insurance
    2. 🏥 Health Insurance

Insurance Option

Must Have Insurance for Locum Vet Nurse 🫡

Indemnity Insurance

Indemnity insurance protects you against the effects of claims of negligence. You will often hear people referring to it as the ”VDS cover”. This is because the VDS is the most well-known company providing this insurance in the UK and other competitors are not mentioned often. They provide cover for both vets and nurses and the exact price of this depends on multiple factors, such as working time, the species involved, and the indemnity limit chosen.

However, there are two types of claims that need to be distinguished when it comes to VDS cover for locum nurses:

Representation Costs in Criminal and Disciplinary Proceedings

This group can be mitigated by either:

  1. Arranging your own policy - the actual cost will be calculated based on your particular circumstances, so please contact the VDS.
  2. Being added to the Practice VDS policy temporarily - this is something to discuss with the particular practice, we have heard that the corporates usually do not offer this option

Civil Claims For Financial Compensation

Your own VDS policy DOES NOT cover the civil claims for financial compensation relating to alleged veterinary negligence. If you are providing veterinary nursing services to practices or businesses as a subcontractor, e.g., a locum nurse, to a Practice which holds VDS Insurance, claims for financial compensation that arise from your acts or omissions will be indemnified by the VDS Practice Policy (subject to all the Policy terms and conditions). So the only thing for you to do is to ask the practice about this, to make sure that they cover you.

Nice to Have Insurance for Locum Vet Nurse 😀

These two insurances stem more from the fact that you are self-employed as a locum, as any self-employed person should consider the income insurance and the health insurance

Income Insurance

Since you get no sick pays as you are not employed, you have to count with these yourself. We strongly recommend income insurance due to sickness or accident. Income insurance can continue to pay you up to 60% of your average salary in the event of income being lost. Costing from as little as £9 per month, it is worth it to sleep easy every night. You can find the best the price comparison here, just fill in your details and you will receive quotes.

Health Insurance

This decision is largely subjective. Residents of the UK receive complimentary healthcare services through the NHS, hence, private health insurance becomes necessary only if:

  • You wish to avoid the waiting period associated with NHS treatment.
  • You prefer to opt out of NHS services and favor private hospitals whenever feasible.
  • You desire coverage for medications and procedures not available through the NHS, such as specialized surgeries for sports-related injuries – ensure these treatments are part of your policy prior to purchasing.

While most UK citizens have access to free medical care via the NHS, a significant number also choose to secure private health insurance, which caters to expenses incurred from private healthcare providers.

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