A complete guide to Pet Insurance

At some point in your pet’s life you may need to seek veterinary care. Pets can easily get illnesses or injuries that need medical attention. Some issues can be minor and some can be life threatening. The costs can really begin to mount up and you can end up paying out a lot of money.

Many of us consider our pets as a treasured part of our family, if anything happened to them we would be extremely upset. Some treatments and life-saving operations can cost thousands, no one wants to have to make the heartbreaking decision not to pay for treatment because the price is just too high. Insurance covers your pet for circumstances like this, so that you can feel safe in the knowledge that your pet is protected. Pet insurance provides peace of mind, so that you know that no matter what your pet gets up to they can get their treatment paid for. It’s a sensible way to manage the costs of veterinary bills and other things that pets need to be insured for.

 

Benefits of pet insurance

The main benefits of pet insurance are:

  • It gives you peace of mind
  • You know how much you are spending
  • Your pet will get the care they need
  • Some policies include third party cover in case your pet damages property or injures people
  • Piece of mind
  • Optional cover for loss or stolen dogs, death and advertising if your pet is missing

 

Policies vary

One of the most important things about pet insurance is that policies vary hugely. There are so many different options and things you may or may not want to include on your policy. Have a think about the most important things you want your pet to be insured for and keep these in mind when looking for pet insurance, don’t simply look at the cost. Different insurers have different rules and clauses, so make sure your chosen insurance company ticks all the boxes before you sign up.

Excess

Excess also varies greatly between different insurers. Be sure to watch out for the excess on insurance policies, especially for older dogs. The monthly cost might be fairly cheap but if you have to keep paying out a large excess then it will end up costing you more. Find a policy with an excess that you think you can realistically pay each time your pet gets sick. Pet insurance excess can vary from under £50 to £500 or more depending on what pet you have and their circumstances.

 

Cost Influences

Why do some pets cost so much more to insurance than others, when they are the same animal with similar characteristics? There are some common cost influences when it comes to pet insurance. The main things that influence cost include:

Location – vet practice costs vary throughout the country depending on location so your insurance company will factor this in.

  • Age
  • Breed
  • General health

 

Cheap or premium cover?

Make sure you don’t simply go for the cheapest possible cover, it may not be suitable for your dog. The cheapest options are not necessarily the best. Review insurance policies not just on price but on the things that are included in different policies. You want to ensure your dog is covered for anything they might need. Comparison sites are quite useful for finding the best deals and can help you to easily compare what is offered in different policies.

Exclusions

When you are searching for the right insurance you need to be aware of the main policy exclusions. Once you have found a company you are happy with check to see what their exclusions are. There are some general exclusions that most companies tend to agree on for example:

  • Dental treatment
  • Vaccinations are not included
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Neutering

 

Lifetime or Annual cover?

Generally there are two types of cover when it comes to pet insurance. Lifetime cover is as the name suggests, cover for life. If you keep paying your premiums and stay with the same insurance company your dog should be covered for life. Not all pet insurance companies offer this so this is something to look out for when comparing policies. If your dog gets an illness or condition that returns then you should be covered.

If you don’t want to stay with the same company and want to be able to compare deals each year then you may prefer an annual policy. However, the annual policies do not offer cover for life and will not pay out for pre-existing conditions.

 

Ways to save money

Here are a few ways you can save money on pet insurance by being proactive:

  • Get your pet microchipped
  • Keep up to date with vaccinations
  • Multi-pet discounts
  • Have your pet spayed or neutered

 

Check terms and conditions

It’s crucial that you check the policy terms and conditions very carefully. It’s always important to read the fine print and make sure you understand everything included in the policy. This way you will know what you are signing up for and avoid any nasty surprises.

 

Useful Optional Extras

You can pay more to get optional added extras for your pet insurance including:

Holiday cancellation – if you have to miss your holiday because of your pet.

Personal illness – a select few insurance companies will pay for your dog to go into boarding if you fall ill and are unable to care for them.

Lost pet – if you lose your pet you can get money towards advertising to find them, travel and loss of earnings.

 

FAQ’s

Does age matter?

Yes, older pets can be more expensive to insure. Some insurance companies will not insure pets who are over a certain age. However, if you stay with the same insurance company they should insure your pet throughout their life.

What is third party liability?

This is an important part of the insurance policy, especially if you own a dog. This protects you in case your pet causes any damage to property or injury to people, some insurance companies will pay a certain amount towards legal costs.

Are crossbreed dogs cheaper to insure?

Generally crossbreeds are cheaper to insure. This is because they are not as susceptible to inherited diseases that are more common in pedigree dogs. They are less likely to get an inherited illness.

This is simply a summary of some of the different things you need to be aware of when it comes to pet insurance. It does not include everything you need to know. Please check with your insurance provider to confirm any information you are unsure of. Here are some useful Links

http://www.which.co.uk/money/insurance/reviews-ns/pet-insurance/

http://www.bva.co.uk/public/documents/Client_leaflet_2_-_the_benefits_of_pet_insurance.pdf

https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/66386/insurance.pdf

 

Please note Time for Paws assumes no liability for the content of this page. Please consult with a Vet and/or legal expert on pet insurance matters and we take no responsibility for actions taken on the basis of these views put forward in this article. This content is designed to provide pet owners with a good overall understanding of the pet insurance landscape and in no way offers legal advice or guidance.

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