Insuring your pet can be costly yet extremely worthwhile, however, some policies out there either do not contain the coverage you may need or cover things that may not apply to your pet. In some cases, there are elements of cover you may not find at all unless you really shop around. We looked at what’s what in pet insurance to see which features you should look to have added to your policy and how the current standard policies work.
Do I need pet insurance?
Perhaps the first question to answer is whether you need a policy or not. In many cases, vet bills can come as a bit of a surprise. The unexpected expense of your pet all of a sudden leaves you reconsidering whether you can afford that holiday later this year or not! As well as covering the cost of a trip to the vet, the additional medical expenses that come as a result of the treatment can also be covered. Cover will also extend to the death of the animal, the damage it causes to property or harm it may cause to other people.
There are a few factors that can also determine how worthwhile getting a pet plan is. An older animal for example will cost more to insure but they are more prone to need a vet visit. The type of pet you own will also play a part. Dogs and cats for example are easy to cover and a host of policies are readily available. More exotic pets though can be trickier to get cover for. Finally, you should consider the level of risk associated with your pet. Is it one that is prone to illness? Is your pet a pet that could be a target for thieves? If so then pet insurance could be worth the investment.
What is normally covered on pet insurance?
Most policies will operate with similar levels of cover and this is where, if you have a pet of a certain age, species or risk category you may need to find something a little different. Typically, a pet insurance policy will cover the following:
- Death by accident or illness
- Third-party liability
- Overseas travel cover
- Cattery and kennel fees
- Dental cover
- Euthanising, cremating and burial
In some cases, this isn’t enough so you may need to carry out additional research to get the correct cover for your pet. There are a few items commonly excluded from pet insurance and it is these that you may need. Some providers will offer them at additional cost, some won’t offer them at all.
What is excluded from pet insurance but worth looking into?
Perhaps understandably, insurance companies steer clear of a few things that could require frequent payouts to cover costs. However, some providers will offer these items and add them to pet insurance policies. Commonly excluded, but worth trying to add if your pet matches the criteria are cover for or waivers of:
- Pre-existing conditions fall into two categories, and you may find that your pet fits into one of these. Chronic conditions are where your pet has ongoing problems that already existed at the time you wanted to take a policy out. Historic conditions, however, are those that your pet no longer suffers from. Many providers may avoid offering cover in these instances so look for a suitable provider should your pet fit these criteria.
- Waiting period, much like when you take out a new insurance policy at home, you are often not covered if something was to happen within the first two weeks of cover. This can be the same with pet insurance, which could sometimes mean gaps in coverage. If you are securing a new policy, you should see if this can be waived.
- Routine treatments will unlikely be covered by any pet insurance company, however, you can always ask! Such treatments or care would include things like worming treatments, claw clipping and spaying.
- Pregnancy and giving birth are not commonly covered by pet insurance policies however, some will. You should always mention if your pet is pregnant at the time of enquiry. Where cover for this is included, it can also extend to the litter that was born for their initial treatment after birth.
- Behavioural problems can lead to issues at home, especially if you have children around. Many policies do not cover you for such treatment but do exist if you find a comprehensive enough policy. It can be an expensive addition but can certainly help you long-term with your pet care.
What are the different types of pet insurance policies?
Three types of policy are most common and one of them is likely to be the one you choose. Some may be more beneficial to you than others and some may cost considerably more than others. Ultimately it all comes down to what you think is best for your pet and your wallet.
Lifetime cover pet insurance
Probably the most common and most comprehensive form of pet insurance, a policy for a lifetime covers your pet for its lifespan subject to annual limits set out within the policy. Much like the items that are commonly excluded, you should look at whether your pet would require a higher or lower annual limit as this could determine the cost of your policy. An animal at higher risk of needing treatment will need a higher annual limit and as a result, cost more to insure.
A less comprehensive form of pet insurance that will exclude certain conditions after you hit a claims limit. This type of insurance comes in two forms. Per condition and time-limited. With per-condition, there will be a limited amount that the insurer will pay. Once that limit is reached, the insurer no longer covers that condition for you, even when you renew. This is well worth noting if you feel common vet visits could be likely.
With time-limited cover, there will be both a monetary and time-limited aspect to it. This could mean-but varies per policy-that after 12 months, the condition you are claiming for is no longer included.
Accident-only pet insurance
This is the most basic form available and therefore the cheapest. This is often taken out by those operating on a budget. It is worth considering though that any vet bill that stems from illness will not be covered. Therefore, the potential costs should your pet develop an illness, could be huge.
What you should consider when getting pet insurance
The factors often excluded from pet insurance policies are ones that you may well need and are well worth considering. However, there are a few more things you definitely need to factor into your decision-making when it comes to choosing a pet insurance plan.
- Your pet’s age can make it harder to get a policy, especially when they reach what may be classed as old age for them. A lifetime policy taken out when they are young may cost more but could be your best option. Alternatively, look for pet insurers that may offer policies to older pets, just be prepared for higher costs.
- Assess the excess before committing to anything. Look for just one excess fee on the policy and one that does not increase as your pet gets older.
- Consider multi-pet insurance as this could lower the overall cost of your bill.
- Check the maximum coverage the policies offer, a figure of approximately £6,000 per year for life is seen to be the standard.
- Detail the pet’s medical history, if you were to hide anything, you could find your policy voided and have to cover any costs yourself.
At PBS Pet Travel we love helping care for pets and we fully understand how the world of insurance can be confusing. Keep your pet protected with the best possible policy for their needs and you can enjoy them at their happiest and healthiest! This means you can then enjoy taking them away with you! We can help organise dog travel, cat shipping, and any other form of pet transportation to pretty much anywhere on the planet! We can even help you with the laborious paperwork task such as the export health certificate and so much more. Get in touch today for a free pet travel quote