- Veterinary medicine has become more advanced and therefore expensive.
- Insurance covers your pet for unexpected illnesses and accidents, where vet bills could otherwise be very expensive.
- Your pet gets the care it needs.
- Sorting cover sooner is the best option, there are many different levels of cover so you can find something to suit your budget.
- Read all the small print carefully.
- You must tell the insurance company about any health problems your pet has.
Introduction to Insurance
Even the most careful and conscientious owner cannot always prevent accidents or illness befalling their pet, and two out of three pets will require veterinary attention this year. When our pets become ill we want the best treatment for them. Modern veterinary medicine offers more and more successful and complex treatments, but accessing the best for your pet can be costly.
Cover while you wait
We strongly recommend that you insure your pet for veterinary fees as soon as possible. We are able to offer cover notes for young pets brought in to the surgery.
Pet health insurance takes away the worry of a large vets bill for unexpected accidents or illnesses and provides the peace of mind that goes with knowing that your pet will receive the treatment he or she needs, not just the treatment you can afford.
How much cover does my pet need?
The degree of cover available varies from insurance company to insurance company. Some offer just vets fees cover and third party liability cover whilst other companies cover additional risks.
Before insuring your pet read all the information carefully, including the Terms and Conditions (especially the small print) and select your insurance company by the plan that suits your needs best.
There are now many insurance products available. Look for the total amount of cover offered for vets fees, and also the time for which an ongoing problem may be covered. If the cover is annual, you may not be covered for more than a year for a condition. Nowadays, many treatments can be ongoing, rather than short term, so consider this. Finally, think about the insurance company – is it reputable, and are claims paid promptly? We offer a direct claims service, but only for certain insurance policies – ask for details at reception. Look at both the premium and the excess charges, and whether claims affect the future fees.
Look at the conditions covered by your policy – insurers have varying levels of cover for example, for dentistry, behavioural problems, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy and conditions considered to be hereditary or congenital, among many others.
Make sure your pet is covered before you need to claim, and make sure you can afford any treatment should a claim be refused. Your insurance contract is always with the insurance company, not ourselves, and we cannot advise on the likelihood of any claim being successful. Veterinary fees are always your own responsiblilty.
Taking out new cover or switching cover
Be very careful to disclose all the details of your pet’s medical history – insurers will check our records for any entries, and may exclude conditions even where treatment has not been given. If you wish to switch your policy to a new provider, double check that previous problems will not be excluded by the new insurer – a number of our clients have experienced problems in this area. Often full records are only requested by the insurance company when you come to make a claim – not a good time to find you may not have the cover you expected. With many companies you will pay extra to insure large or giant breeds of dog.
From what age can I insure my pet?
You can insure your pet from six to eight weeks of age depending on which company you select. Some companies will then continue cover for life while others state that renewal at the age of ten years is at their discretion.
What if my pet already has an illness?
Insure your pet as soon as you can. Once a condition has been diagnosed or a pet has received any treatment those conditions may be excluded from cover.
If your pet has already received veterinary treatment or an abnormality has been detected, you must inform the insurance company when taking out the policy.
What will I be able to claim for?
Insurance cover is for unexpected accidents or illnesses. Vaccinations, preventative treatment, routine spaying and castration are not covered and there is no cover relating to pregnancy, whelping or kittening, although some companies may offer this on specialist policies.
Any claims which are settled will generally have an excess fee deducted. Some companies charge a fixed amount whilst others use a percentage of the total claimed. There is always a gap between application for insurance being accepted and cover commencing so make sure you are aware of the time span.