There are unfortunately many unforeseen accidents, illnesses or injuries that could affect your pet during its lifetime. As there is no equivalent to the NHS for pets, we highly recommend getting insurance cover for your peace of mind.
Different pet insurance companies offer different levels of cover for your pet and it can be quite confusing as to which is the best one for you.
Whilst we cannot recommend a specific pet insurance for you, we can give you important advice to consider when choosing which insurance cover is right for you.
Lifelong policies will cover a condition, illness or injury for the lifetime of the pet rather than only covering the treatment for a year or so. For example, if your pet was to get an illness that needed ongoing treatment for the rest of its life, like diabetes, then as long as everything is within the terms and conditions of the policy, the condition would be covered for the pet’s life. If a policy is not lifelong, that condition might only be covered for a year. Be aware that illnesses or conditions that were present prior to you taking out a new policy are often not covered (see ‘Pre-Existing Conditions and ‘Changing Pet Insurance’ below).
Levels of Cover
Different policies offer different levels of cover. For example, some policies might cover the cost of claims up to £2,000 per year, some £4,000 or some £6,000. Obviously, the higher the amount of cover, the more expensive the policy, so you would need to decide which one best suits your financial and your pet’s needs.
As with other types of insurance, pet insurance has an excess. The excess is the amount that you have to pay when making a claim. Different insurance companies have different levels of excess which will be described in their policy terms and conditions. Some companies have a flat-rate excess that you may only have to pay once, or once per policy year. Some have a percentage excess that you have to pay when submitting each claim. Some may have both!
Most insurance policies will not cover pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is any problem that your pet has had that started before the policy began. For example, if your pet injured its leg last year, and you took out a policy today, it is unlikely that any further problems relating to that injury would be covered in the future. Your pet’s previous medical history may be requested from your vet at any time and exclusions may be placed on the policy for any pre-existing conditions whether you reported them at the time of taking out the policy or not. If you have any queries regarding this, ask the insurance company that you are looking to take the policy out with and they can advise you in more detail as to their particular terms and conditions.
Changing Pet Insurance
If you are not happy with your pet insurance and want to change to a different insurance company, make sure you check that the new company will not place any exclusion or restrictions on the policy. The new insurance company will look at your policy as a brand new policy and may class any previous problem that your pet has (whether the old insurance company covered it or not) as a pre-existing condition that will not be covered.