Pets are an important member of the family, and you want to take care of them as well as you can. While pet insurance isn’t always cheap, it can save you money in the long term. Here are some things to look out for.
When choosing pet insurance, you need to consider a number of things. Our guide can help you make the best choice for your pet.
What does pet insurance cover?
Most pet Insurance companies cover care for dogs and cats. Some may even cover for exotic pets such as tortoises and rabbits.
Pet Insurance covers for accidents or illnesses but does not cover for routine health care such as worming, flea treatments, vaccinations and nail clipping. These would be covered in a health care plan.
Insurance companies also don’t provide first time cover for pets that are above a certain age and will exclude conditions that are present at the time of taking out the insurance plan. Therefore, you should look for insurance as soon as you get a pet. As your pet ages, the company might also raise the premium, so check this before you purchase the cover.
Exclusions are different situations that might arise from your pet becoming ill or injured that aren’t covered by the insurance. Different insurance companies have different exclusions within their policies.
The most common exclusion is that pre-existing conditions aren’t covered by your insurance. For example, if you are changing your dog insurance and your dog has diabetes, the new insurance might not cover the condition. There are sometimes exceptions to this and you must check with your provider.
Other exclusions might include problems during your pet’s pregnancy or home visits.
Excess and vet fees
Policy excess and vet fees are perhaps the most important features for you to understand, and they will usually influence the cost of your insurance the most. The higher the excess or the coverage of vet fees, the more the insurance will cost you.
Excess is the amount of money you need to pay from your own pocket when you make a claim. The different types of excess policies include:
Fixed excess: you always pay the same amount, no matter how much you claim.
Percentage excess: the excess is based on the percentage of your claim. Therefore, the higher your claim, the bigger your excess payment will be. This is especially true in older animals and you should check the policy for older patients.
One excess per condition: the excess is paid once only during a pet’s life.
Your pet insurance might cover a specific amount of vet fees annually or monthly or in a lifetime. These tend to range from £500 right up to £5,000 or more depending on the severity of the condition.
Choosing between a lifetime cover or a non-lifetime cover
There are typically two types of pet insurance policies: lifetime cover and non-lifetime cover. Generally, the lifetime cover is more expensive.
Lifetime cover will cover all conditions that have arisen after you have taken out the policy. Typically you would pay one excess per condition per year before claiming further treatment.
Annual cover (non-lifetime) will only cover a new condition for one year. Thereafter you have to pay for the condition in full. Effectively each year you are renewing your insurance policy for another year and conditions that have occurred in the previous year, even if not claimed for would be excluded as they would be considered as pre-existing to your new annual policy.
Accident-only pet insurance
It is also possible to find accident-only pet insurance. Although this might be the cheaper option, you need to remember that it only covers accidental injury.
Some insurance companies will pay for alternative treatments such as hydrotherapy or physiotherapy. You would need to check the terms and conditions.
If you want insurance to cover your pets whilst travelling abroad then check the insurance companies as some will cover for this.
Do I need an insurance plan for my pet?
Some people think insurance premiums are not worth paying when it comes to looking after your pet. While you might not make a claim for years, it might save you money and your pet’s life.
Vet costs can quickly stack up, and it is important to consider whether you are able to pay for an unexpected visit if necessary. Think carefully whether annual or monthly premiums would give you more financial security or if you can afford to cover expensive vet fees at once in case your pet falls ill.
How to make a claim
Generally the veterinary bills are paid in full and the insurance company pays you back directly. We require you to fill out the owner’s section and sign the form. You would bring it to us and we will submit this to the insurance company on your behalf.
On some occasions where the bill may be high we may be allowed to contact the insurance company but with the new FCA regulations we are not the insurance company’s clients and so are not able to liase with them without your permission.
However, we are able to do direct claims on your behalf - contact us to find out more.