Getting a new pet can be very exciting, but it is also a huge commitment that needs to be taken very seriously. As part of that commitment you have to make sure that your pet is kept in very good health, and look after your little friend if it falls ill or suffers an accident – in which case your vet bills could add up very quickly. Unlike us humans, pets don’t have access to the NHS, so any treatment or surgery will have to be paid for. So here comes the question… to have or not to have a pet insurance.
Pet insurance is an additional expense, we all agree on that, and some people may find it unnecessary especially if their pets are young and healthy. However, what these people don’t realize is that pet insurance is there to cover the unexpected, and it is better to be prepared.
Pet insurance – What you need to know
Pet insurance will cover the costs of any veterinary treatment your pet receives in case of illness or accident. Similar to any other kind of insurance, there are different types of policies and levels of cover depending on the premium you pay every month. Although there are differences across the policies you find on the market, there are also standard features. Some of them include:
- cover for the veterinarian fees (up to an annual limit)
- cover for advertising and recovery costs in case you lose your pet
- third party liability insurance included when you take the insurance for a dog
Another thing most policies have in common is that routine treatments such as vaccinations or neutering are not included, so you will not be able to claim the money back from these treatments or any other kind of routine visits to the vet.
When is the best time to buy a pet insurance?
As mentioned before, some people think that pet insurance is not necessary when the pet is young, which is a huge mistake, not only because you never know when your pet will suffer an accident or fall ill but most importantly, because the older you insure your dog the higher the risk that your claims are denied because of pre-existing conditions.
There are chronic conditions that young pets can suffer and if they are diagnosed while uninsured, you could face expensive lifelong treatments that no insurance policy purchased afterwards will cover in the future.
From the financial point of view, the older you pet is when you first buy the insurance, the more expensive the premium will be – Another good reason to buy the pet insurance when your pet is still young!
So, the best answer to the question will be to buy the pet insurance when your pet is very young, to have peace of mind and avoid stress if your pet falls ill or has an accident.
How to choose the right pet insurance
When you decide to get a pet insurance, you will see that there are many different options, prices, covers, extras and benefits. This can be confusing and overwhelming but is crucial to get the right one for your pet and the only way to achieve this is by reading carefully what each of them offers to you.
Rather than making your decision based on the monthly premiums and opting for the cheapest one, make sure that you understand exactly what the different policies offer, what they cover, what they don’t cover and what extras you can get if you pay a bit more every month. Once you find the level of cover suitable for your particular pet and your budget, you are ready to purchase!
What do insurers take into account to determine the pet insurance premiums?
The criteria used by providers vary but the typical factors taken into account include:
- the age, breed and type of animal
- if your pet has a microchip
- the kind of product selected
- the veterinary fees in your post code area
- the gender of the pet (in some cases)
Types of pet insurance policies
We have mentioned before that there is a wide variety of policies mainly because providers focus on different matters. However, you will find that policies can be classified in four categories:
The cover of these policies is up to a maximum amount of money per condition. After you make a claim for a condition, you have a limit of 12 months to make claims on that same condition. After this year, the insurance company will not make any further pay-outs and this condition will be excluded from the policy even if you renew it. Any further treatment of this condition will have to be paid from your own funds. This is why this type of policy is one of the cheapest options.
Typically the cheapest option of all, it will only cover your pet if it has suffered an accident. Some of them may also include illnesses that are the result of an accident and/or emergency illnesses.
Lifetime/Covered for life policies
This kind of policy provides cover for a set amount of money for vet fees, which every year is renewed. Your pet will be covered during its lifetime as long as the policy is active. This option is the most expensive but probably the one that gives the pet owner the most peace of mind.
Maximum benefit policies
With this policy, conditions are covered up to a maximum amount of money but there are no restrictions on the time you can claim back the money. If you reach the maximum amount specified in the policy, then no more pay-outs will be made.
As you may have already realized, having pet insurance is extremely important when you have a furry or feathery friend at home. The advantages they can offer and the peace of mind they provide make them well worth the monthly premiums, so don’t delay your decision any longer and get your pet insurance now!