It’s a well known fact that we are a nation of pet lovers. According to the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association, it is estimated that 13 million (46%) households have pets in the UK. With our four-legged friends very much part of the family, there’s no doubting that fact we’d be devastated if anything happened to them. Unlike us, who can turn to the NHS when we have an accident or illness, there is no NHS for our pets. They need a trip to the vets, and with that often comes the risk of a hefty bill costing hundreds of pounds.
That’s where pet insurance comes in. Getting the right pet insurance can give you that all important peace of mind knowing that your pet will be covered if they need any treatment following an accident or illness. If you have pets, the one thing you know for sure is that they will need veterinary care at some point or another and it won’t be cheap!
Pet insurance, however, can be baffling. How much does it cost? What’s the best policy? How does it even work? Here at Pet 365 we’ve decided to put together a pet insurance guide to help you with answering these tricky questions. With millions of people paying out more money than they can afford for some types of pet insurance policies, and some families forced to make difficult decisions because they can’t afford veterinary costs, it’s important to know what is out there to protect your pet in the best possible way, at a budget you can afford. Reports suggest that one in three pets will need veterinary treatment each year so there’s one in three chances it could be you having to foot that bill.
How does it work?
There are four main types of cover, and there are huge differences between these levels of cover so it’s important to bear this in mind when comparing policies. When it comes to insurance for cats and dogs, the maximum you’ll get paid out towards veterinary fees is £7,500 per year. The minimum is around £1,500. That is quite a big variation isn’t it? So it’s important to bear this in mind.
Accident only – This is the most basic cover. It covers your pet if they need veterinary treatment after an accident but not if they have an illness.
Per condition with a time limit – This covers your vet fees for accidents and illnesses, but only for a maximum of 12 months after your pet has been diagnosed. Insurers of this type of cover often impose a maximum payout too so if the treatments reaches the limit, you will have to pay the rest of the bill.
Per condition, no time limit – This covers your vet fees for accidents and illnesses but does not impose a time limit for how long the treatment lasts. The cover will continue for any treatments as long as you renew the policy after 12 months. It does still imposes a maximum payout though, so there’s a chance you will have to foot the bill if treatment reaches the insurers limit.
Lifetime – This is the most comprehensive cover but also the most expensive. A lifetime policy is essentially designed to pay for any chronic or recurring problems during your pet’s lifetime. Insurers will set a maximum amount per year but you will have to renew the policy each year.
As with car and home insurance policies, pet owners must pay the “excess” if they make a claim. This can be anything from £40 to sums of more than £100. You can choose to lower your premium rate by increasing your excess and vice versa so it’s important to look around to find a policy that is right for you.
How much does it cost?
The price of pet insurances varies widely. It all depends on your pets breed and age. For obvious reasons, the cost of pet insurance increases as your pet ages, as it’s likely they will require more medical treatment the older they get. The breed of your pet matters too. Pedigree breeds cost more because they are more likely to require veterinary treatment because of the smaller gene pool they are bred from and The Rottweiler is one of the most expensive dogs to insure because of their breed’s history of medical complaints.
Can you lower your pet insurance?
Yes. There are ways you can get your pet insurance lowered. Although the cost of getting your pet sprayed and neutered aren’t covered by pet insurance, having this done can lower the premium. It’s also a good idea to insure them when they are young and healthy. Pet owners have to disclose any existing medical issues when they take out insurance and this can increase the premium. There’s also a chance of a lowered premium if your pet is microchipped as this helps show insurers you are a responsible owner.
Are there any extra benefits of taking out pet insurance?
Pet insurance can cover more than just veterinary bills. In the unfortunate circumstance you are unexpectedly taken ill and rushed to hospital, there’s a chance you can claim towards the cost of kennel or cattery fees if nobody is at home to take care of your pet. You can also get covered for third party liability in case your pet injures someone or damages someone else’s property and you are legally responsible. You can also get cover for advertising costs to help find a lost or stolen pet and the cost of a reward if someone finds them.
Evaluating and comparing pet insurance is easier than you think – just search the internet. There are lots of online reviews where the work has already has already been done for you so you can be sure to get the right policy for you and your pet.