As with any insurance, there are so many providers to choose from, offering vastly different rates and types of policy cover. It’s confusing and can be quite challenging to know how to get the best deal. Does cheap pet insurance exist? Can you really save on pet insurance?
You will be pleased to know that the answer is yes! It is possible to make savings when you have a few inside tips to guide you.
Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
Before we delve into the details of what you can do to save on your pet policy, it may have crossed your mind that you are still not entirely convinced that it’s cheaper to have pet insurance over self-insurance (i.e. putting money away each month).
Sadly, there is no NHS for pets and when the unforeseen happens, will you have saved enough to cover the cost of your pet’s veterinary treatment? What if your pet becomes seriously unwell or involved in an accident when you have only just started saving? Will you be kicking yourself when you only have £100 saved to put towards your £2K bill? With insurance, they will pay from the date of your policy, so it’s really about deciding if you want to take that risk.
We adore our pets, they are part of the family, and having insurance can provide peace of mind that your pet will get the care they need not just what you can afford, and if you are faced with this already emotional and stressful situation, do you really want the added financial pressure?
Tips to Help You Save
Here are some useful pointers that you can use to help you make wise insurance choices and make savings.
Free Cover Deals
When you have a puppy or kitten, breeders and veterinary practices often offer 4 weeks free insurance cover. This may sound like a brilliant deal on the surface but it, in fact, comes with a few considerations for the long term.
Before deciding to take this free insurance, try and get a quote as to how much the policy will be after the 4 weeks are up. This is because, if your puppy or kitten requires treatment in those 4 weeks of cover, they may now have a pre-existing condition which won’t be covered if you decide to take up insurance with a different company because the renewal amount of your ‘free cover deal’ turns out to be extortionate!
The older your pet is when you take out your insurance, the pricier the policy. This is because with age our pet’s become more likely to require veterinary treatment. The best way to avoid these additional costs is to insure your pet as early as possible, usually from 8 weeks.
It’s important to know the different types of cover and how they can impact what you can claim. Spending time doing some research could save you in the long run, as what may appear to be the cheapest may not cover the reality of what you might need in the unfortunate event that your pet requires veterinary care.
Types of Cover
- Accident Only – very basic cover
There will usually be a fixed amount that can be claimed per accident, it’s vital to know how much this is as accidents can range from a cut paw, requiring a few stitches and some antibiotics, to broken bones from a road traffic accident, requiring x-rays, surgery, hospitalisation and longer term, multiple medications.
- Per Condition with a Time Limit – basic cover
This covers accidents and illness within a fixed amount and also comes with a fixed time period to claim.
- Per Condition with no Time Limit – mid-level cover
This has the benefit of no time limit restriction in which to claim.
- Lifetime – high-level cover
This is the most expensive of the policies but offers, as the name suggests, cover for illnesses and injuries throughout the lifetime of the pet.
What Isn’t Covered
There are a few things that are usually not covered, as standard, on a pet insurance policy. These do vary across providers, so it’s best to check. Some veterinary practices offer pet club schemes where you pay a small amount to make savings on routine care and can include discounted rate and capped prices for neutering and dental treatment. This may help you make savings on the some of things that aren’t covered in your policy.
- Routine flea and worming treatments – these are generally excluded from most policy cover
- Annual vaccinations – these are generally never covered
- Prescription diets – some providers cover certain ones like renal
- Dental treatment – this can be a costly expense but most policies don’t include this due to it being classed as routine pet care
- Neutering – as with dental treatment this is seen as routine pet care unless it can be medically linked as a requirement due to a medical condition, which is rare
- Euthanasia and cremation costs – in some policies, this is covered if it is included in the policy and can be connected to a condition
- Out of hours treatment – in most cases, you will need to evidence that the situation was life-threatening to be covered
- Pre-existing conditions – if your pet has had treatment for an illness or injury which pre-dates the policy, it will not be covered.
Some insurers will offer discounts if you take out two or more policies with them, this can be a great opportunity to make some significant savings.
Paying a higher excess will reduce your overall premium. It’s important to be realistic as to what you can afford to pay outright if the need arises. You don’t want to make savings only to be filled with regret when it comes to handing over the huge excess you committed to when you were employed and now you are not!
Armed with this information, you can now set about using the useful comparison websites, just be sure to check the small print before making any commitment.