Vets and Illness Guide

Looking at how illnesses can impact pet insurance cover

Woman holding a young girl in one arm and stroking her gold retriever in the other whilst looking out of the window

Knowing how pet insurance can be used to help pay for vet treatment is incredibly useful. There are a number of limitations around cover which are worth knowing about, as well as general information about how illnesses can change your future cover.

How much will a vet appointment cost?

It's hard to say how much a vet appointment will cost as the average cost of a vet appointment can vary depending on the area you live in and your vet practice. Depending on the result of your initial appointment or consultation, you could find yourself paying a substantial amount if your cat or dog needs a particular treatment.

Additionally, vet fees will vary in price depending on the breed and size of your pet. Plus, if you need an emergency or out of hours appointment, that may cost extra too.

Are vet fees covered by pet insurance?

While some vet fees will be covered by your pet insurance policy, not everything can be claimed for as the main purpose of pet insurance is to help you pay for unexpected vet bills rather than the expected costs of pet ownership. You can get answers to the most commonly asked questions about your pet insurance in our FAQs.

You’ll need to check the policy documents of your pet insurance policy to know exactly what your pet is covered for, but you’ll typically find that the following costs won’t be covered:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Neutering
  • Microchipping
  • Breeding or pregnancy complications
  • Any claims for illness displaying clinical signs within 14 days of the policy commencement date

Can I take out pet insurance after diagnosis?

Depending on what your pet is diagnosed with, you might still be able to take out pet insurance, but you won’t be able to claim for vet bills prior to and up to the diagnosis.

Once your pet has been diagnosed with either a chronic condition or a historic condition, this will need to be declared when taking out a pet insurance policy as a 'pre-existing condition'. The biggest impact will be that it’s unlikely that an insurer will be able to provide full cover for your pet because they pose a higher level of risk.

Is it harder to get pet insurance with a pre-existing condition?

It might not necessarily be harder to get pet insurance for your cat or dog if they have a pre-existing condition, but insurers are likely to exclude that condition from the policy due to the higher level of risk it presents.

If your pet has a pre-existing condition you want to cover, you will need to look into specific pre-existing condition pet insurance – a specialist product which can provide your pet with the cover it needs, but it might be more expensive than standard policies and have more restrictions on what the policy covers.

Please note: Asda Pet Insurance, underwritten by Fairmead insurance, does not cover pre-existing medical conditions.

Can pet insurance pay vets directly?

Whether you’re able to pay your vet directly through pet insurance or indirectly by recovering the cost will depend on both your insurer and how your vet operates. Some vets will work with insurance partners in order to claim the cost of your vet bills, while others will need to be paid by you and will provide the appropriate paperwork to submit to your insurer so you’re reimbursed.

Many insurers may offer the service to pay your vet directly, but this is subject to availability and it’s up to your vets whether they will accept a direct payment from your insurer, they might prefer for you to pay the bill and then recover the cost of the bill from the insurer yourself.

Asda Pet Insurance, underwritten by Fairmead Insurance, will pay your vet direct (subject to your vet's agreement) so all you’ll need to do is pay the excess on your policy to your vet and we'll handle the rest.

A quick ‘paws’ for thought…

With pet insurance, as part of the cost, your premium will increase each year at renewal as your pet gets older. We’ll limit the amount it goes up by, but your renewal price will also be impacted by:

  • Any claims you make – this could significantly increase your premium
  • Rising vet fees
  • Insurance Premium Tax increasing
  • Changes you make to your policy
  • Changes we make to our pricing

You can, of course, shop around at renewal. Just bear in mind that any existing conditions your pet’s developed, whether diagnosed or not, may not be covered elsewhere.