When Fluffy is a part of the family and more than just a household pet, then you will want to make sure that your furry friend also has the perk of being fully covered in the unfortunate (and often unforeseen) event where healthcare now becomes essential. Just like the two-legged members of the family, our furry counterparts also get sick or injured. And when they do, the vet bills start to pile up and you will be shocked to discover how costly healthcare for pets can be. The irony is that most pet owners in the UK don’t have pet insurance, even though this is often the most viable and sometimes most affordable solution.
Yes, we do want to avoid adding yet another premium to our monthly expenses but at the same time, we also want to make sure that our beloved pet gets professional medical assistance if the need ever arises. This means that we either have to be prepared to fork out hefty lump sums in future or, before deciding to get a pet, we can work pet insurance into the equation of “can we afford a pet or not”. Deciding to buy pet insurance is more than a financial decision – it’s also an emotional one and it’s usually the latter that encourages an individual to sign up for a policy to ensure that their furrier family members are duly covered.
Types Of Pet Insurance Coverage
If pet insurance is something you are very serious about, then your first step would be to consult with your broker who will assist you with sourcing a policy that best suits your requirements. Most insurance companies offer different types of coverage and it is very important that you read your plan thoroughly before signing the Ts and Cs. It would be quite the disaster if you find yourself paying years’ worth of premiums only to discover in a moment of need that your pet has not been adequately covered.
Most Insurance Companies Offer the Following Various Types of Coverage:
This cover only applies to instances where your pet is physically injured and is accidentally harmed as a result of external, violent and visible means. For instance, if your dog was hit by a car, bitten by a snake or was attacked by another animal, then the medical expenses that incurred would fall under Accident Only cover. However, your pets will not be covered for ongoing illnesses, death or routine check-ups.
Time Limited policies are typically one of the cheapest forms of pet insurance but offer limited cover. A financial cap of say £4000 worth of cover and a 12-month limit can be placed on treatment for a condition. If your pet does develop a problem, then your insurer will pay up to £4000 in claims. After the 12-month period has lapsed, however, the cover will stop, even if the condition is ongoing.
This type of cover has no time limit on treatment for a condition, it does, however, include a financial cap. If you apply for £4000 worth of cover, then your insurer will accept claims for a condition until this total has been reached, regardless of time. Once this cap has been reached for a certain condition, then your insurer is not obligated to process further claims put forth for this specific condition. If your pet develops a different illness at another stage, however, then this will be covered in the same way.
Lifetime insurance is the most expensive type of policy but it also ensures that your pet has full lifetime cover. So, if your pet has been covered for £4000, then your insurance company will pay up to £4000 worth of claims each year for illness.
Some insurers will add other included benefits into your policy and will agree to cover expenses like routine check-ups and boarding fees. Sometimes you will even receive vouchers to purchase expensive food brands for your pets. Our advice; shop around.
Shopping For Pet Insurance Quotes
While most insurance options are pretty standard between companies, the fine print does often differ and if you do some research, you might just find a policy that’s suitably customised to your requirements and offers a competitive monthly premium. To determine which insurer offers the best deal, you can go online and use available comparison websites to compare quotes. You can also request the assistance of a broker who will do the “shopping” for you. It’s important to remember that each quote will take the following criteria into consideration:
- Your pet’s age
- Type of breed
- Pre-existing conditions
- Whether your pet has been spayed or not
Sometimes (sometimes) a pet insurance provider will allow you to haggle and negotiate your way to a policy that features the benefits you require while keeping premiums competitive.
Other Pet Insurance Shopping Tips
- Pay attention to what is not covered. Knowing what your pet is not covered for is just as important as knowing what they are covered for. This way there will be no confusion if the time arises where you need to put forth a claim. Pre-existing conditions are almost never covered and consults are also often not accounted for – only the prescribed treatment.
- Get your shopping done as soon as possible. Because insurance companies shy away from covering pets that have existing conditions, the earlier you take out a policy for Fluffy, the better. Coverage is usually available for pets 6 weeks and older.
- Consider skipping coverage for preventative and elective care. Pet insurance should be more focused on having a safety net in place to protect one form unexpected and large financial risks. This will help you to keep your premiums low and will instead give you the opportunity to budget separately for routine care and elective surgeries.
Last but not least, we also highly recommend that you contact your local vet for their advice. They work with many different pet insurance providers and will be well versed on the policies available as well as the problems patients have encountered. Always read the small print.