There are several different types of pet insurance that can be purchased that will protect you against the basics, but not all pet insurance will cover all eventualities, so always ensure any policy you purchase covers all your pet's needs.
Most policies will cover vet treatments, dental fees and chronic conditions, but more comprehensive policies can insure you for things like behavioural therapy, physio after an injury or alternative treatments like homeopathy.
You should also ensure that your insurance includes third party liability in case your pet causes someone to have an accident or damages any property.
The three main types of pet insurance
There are three particularly common types of pet insurance. The most basic type of policy will be the cheapest and will generally cover you for a year. When choosing this type of policy it is important to bear in mind that if your pet is receiving ongoing treatment and your policy runs out you'll no longer be able to claim.
The next type of policy can cover any condition up to a certain amount, which means you won't have to renew to receive ongoing payments for treatment. However, the amount you can claim for is limited, so this may not be the best type of policy for pets that require long term treatment.
The third type of policy is usually known as 'lifetime cover' whereby you agree a fixed amount with the insurer that should be enough to cover the cost of your pet’s medical treatments or other eventualities over the course of its lifetime.
What do pet insurance policies cover?
Emergency visits to the vet can cost hundreds of pounds and extended or multiple treatments can run into thousands. Choosing the right pet insurance can give you peace of mind because you'll know that if the worst happens, you can make a claim. Most basic policies cover:
• Holiday Cancellation
• Vet Fees
• Boarding Fees
• Accidental Damage
In general, insurers only offer policies once an animal is eight weeks old as the risk of illness or injury is greater in young animals. Most policies will not cover animals that are more than eight years old, although some will accept older pets if you increase your premium and excess.
Some breeds of pet tend to develop certain conditions, so if you own a breed that's susceptible to things like joint or ear problems because of their breed, you may need to purchase extra cover to protect against these conditions.
If you're purchasing a new pet then get hold of a pet health guide that’s specific to the animal or breed you are purchasing. This will ensure you're aware of any predilection towards certain conditions before you purchase insurance.
You could lower the cost of your insurance by having your pet spayed or neutered, or by fitting them with a microchip, which most vets carry out.
There are several things which are typically excluded from basic pet insurance policies and in most cases you'll need to purchase extra insurance if you want to be covered for these. Typical exclusions include:
• Dental treatment
• Special food
• Animals used for work, racing or for capital gain
• Dogs restricted under the dangerous dogs act
• Hereditary or congenital conditions
• Home visits from a vet
• Illness occurring within the first 30 days that the policy is purchased
• Behavioural issues
• Worming, vaccinations and grooming
Make sure you read the small print of any policy to find out exactly what you are and are not covered for so you can prepare for any eventuality.
Always be honest when purchasing a policy and declare any conditions your pet has before you take out insurance. In general, insurers won't pay for a condition that your pet already has so if you don’t declare you could void your policy.
When your pet ages your premiums could change and your excess could increase, so make sure you know what happens to your policy as your pet gets older. As with any policy you can reduce your premiums by increasing your excess, but don't forget if you do make a claim you'll be required to come pay the excess. So, make sure you can afford it before you choose to increase.
To avoid having to make visits to veterinary clinics, always do what you can to ensure your pet is fit and healthy. It may also be a good idea to set aside money to pay for smaller treatments so that you don’t have to make a claim.Back to top