7 November 2017 | Dog Advice

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is needed to care for your pet appropriately. Vet fees can be expensive and not all pet owners are able to afford huge vet bills. With a simple one-off payment a month or covering your plan with an annual payment; you will cover your pet against most eventualities. Of course, this depends on what type of cover you go for and whether your pet has any existing conditions. Most insurance policies will have a maximum limit to a number of fees that they will be prepared to pay out annually and a fixed total they will pay out per reported condition.

Is pet insurance legal requirement?

No, it is not against the law to not insure your pet, but, there are over 6.6 million that do insure their pets and this just proves that it's an investment long-term to protect yourself and your pet.

The different levels of pet insurance

Whatever level of insurance you go for; you must ensure that you understand the level of cover and what you can and can’t claim for. A big mistake would be to go for the cheapest premium on the market and then find that you can’t claim for any future illness or accidents. Read the small print and check with the insurance company if you are unsure on any of the clauses. 

Lifetime cover

This level of cover is the most comprehensive that you can get. Every year you will pay a premium and this will last the duration of your pets life. The insurance costs may well increase, but the cover will continue regardless of your pet's age and existing conditions (subject to any clauses)

Annual cover

This level cover normally lasts a period of 12 months. They will notify you towards the end of your cover to see if you want to carry on or move onto another cheaper policy. This policy can work out to be cheaper (on a monthly basis) but may not cover pre-existing conditions should you need to claim on an existing condition on a new policy. Another potential issue with taking out this level of cover is finding an insurance company that will insure your dog as they age. Sometimes it works out safer to stay with the same insurance company on a lifetime cover.

Accident only cover

This level of cover is the most basic and works out to be a small monthly payment. However, this cover will only cover your dog in the eventuality of an accident and not cover any illnesses. Research does indicate that most pet insurance claims are illness related rather than accident only. Before committing to this level of cover you may want to think carefully about what cover would suit your pet best.

Will my insurance company cover pre-existing conditions?

Generally, the answer is no. If your pet has a pre-existing illness or condition before taking out your new pet insurance policy then this particular condition will be written out of the policy and this will be explained to you before you commit. If, however, your pet falls ill or has an accident after the insurance policy has been taken out and this is a new claim then most likely you will be covered. You will need to check the clauses and level of your policy before you commit. If you are uncertain then you must ask the policy provider

Can I self-insure my pet?

Yes, you can. However, this may work out to be very expensive (depending on the condition) Sometimes with illnesses or lifelong conditions you will need to continuously pay out which may prove very costly. This is where an insurance policy would work out to be beneficial. Most pet owners will take out an insurance policy, but if you’re confident that you can always cover any eventuality, then this is entirely your choice to self-insure.

Options if you can't afford pet insurance

If you are unable to afford pet insurance then there are still options available. In some cases, you may need to prove that you're entitled to this particular service. There are animal charities such as the RSPCA that offer free treatments should your pet become unwell or involved in an accident. Again, it's worth checking whether you’re eligible before relying on this as an option.

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