A Guide to Pet Insurance
Pet insurance is a good way of knowing that the costs of veterinary treatments are covered. There are a lot of options, with many different insurance companies, that may be confusing. Also, not all of the companies/products are on the comparison internet sites.
The premium you pay may vary as to various factors to do with your pet, e.g. breed, age, sex, pre-existing conditions, etc.
There are other aspects to consider like the level of cover you take out, the excess you are required to pay on claiming and time limits on the claim starting.
There are basically 3 types of cover.
Lifetime Policy: Intended to cover your pet for the whole of his or her life.
For example, if the level of cover was up to £6500, your pet would have insurance cover up to £6500/year and providing you renew each year, the pet would qualify for £6500 each year as necessary for the rest of his or her life, without any exclusions.
Maximum Benefit or Per Condition Policies: The insurer will offer cover per condition, i.e. if the level of cover is used for that condition, then that condition will be excluded on your existing policy and would be counted as a pre-existing condition if you move to a new insurer. These policies may initially cost less but the level of cover is limited.
12 Month Policy: Covers vet fees for up to 12 months from when a problem is first identified, i.e. after that 12-month period the condition will be excluded (you will not be able to claim for that condition again). If you move to a new insurer, the condition will be pre-existing and not covered. These policies may also cost less but the level of cover may be expected to be more limited.
You should be aware that some policies/companies require you to pay a % of each claim (variable excess) as an addition to the normal fixed excess. Some will only apply the variable excess when a pet reaches a certain age.
PLEASE NOTE. If your pet has a pre-existing condition prior to taking out your insurance, then your insurance company will not cover this. If you decide you are unhappy with your policy and decide to cancel, but the condition has shown symptoms or been diagnosed, (even if not yet claimed for) it is still pre-existing and you will not get cover from another insurer for this condition.
N.B. We do not sell insurance and we do not recommend a particular company/product. However, we see the reassurance that having pet insurance gives to pet owners, and we deal with different types of pet insurance claims every day. This guide is based on these observations.
Park Veterinary Centre, Watford