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 there’s no standard price list - each vet practice sets its own rates. The average cost of an appointment varies depending on the practice you choose to go to and the size and breed of your pet. You may also pay more if you need an emergency or out-of-hours appointment.

It’s important to remember that if your cat or dog needs a particular treatment, you’ll have to pay for this in addition to the cost of the appointment itself.

Do vets accept different payment types?


When it comes to payment, each vet practice will have their own policy. Most vets offer various ways to pay, including via debit or credit card, cash, cheque, and online payments, and some may even offer payment plans to help spread the cost.

Some vets will also accept payments directly from pet insurance providers, while others will only take payment from the owners themselves, so it’s important to check this with the practice before booking an appointment.

Does pet insurance cover vet visits?



While some vet fees will be covered by your pet insurance policy, not all vet visits can be claimed for. Pet insurance provides cover for unexpected visits and treatment, it does not cover routine appointments that are expected when you own a pet, such as for vaccinations.

You’ll need to check your pet insurance policy documents 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
  • Routine check-ups
  • Neutering
  • Vaccinations
  • Microchipping
  • Breeding or pregnancy complications
  • Any claims for illness displaying clinical signs within 14 days of the policy commencement date



Does every vet accept pet insurance?


Technically, it doesn’t matter if your vet accepts pet insurance or not, as pet insurance is intended to reimburse you for any unexpected or emergency vet bills. As long as you use a licensed vet and your appointment is covered by your pet insurance policy, you should be able to make a claim after the treatment or appointment has taken place.

Some vets will also now accept payments directly from your pet insurance provider, but this isn’t always the case, so check with your practice beforehand.

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 may not be able to claim for any medical condition that already exists prior to the date your insurance starts.

Once your pet has been diagnosed with either a chronic or a historic condition, this will need to be declared when taking out a pet insurance policy. Most standard policies will not provide cover for pre-existing medical conditions, which means you won’t be able to make a claim for any vet bills associated with it.

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 West Bay 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.

There are some pet insurance providers who will pay vets 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 F

Asda Pet Insurance, underwritten by West Bay Insurance Plc, 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.



Should I get pet insurance before going to the vet?

Pet insurance can help cover the cost of unexpected and emergency vet visits and treatment, so it is recommended you take out a pet insurance policy as soon as you own a pet to make sure you’re properly protected.


What do vets in the UK do if you can’t pay?

If your pet needs unexpected treatment or emergency medical care and you’re unable to afford the bill, speak to your vet, as they may be able to offer a payment plan to help spread the cost. However, not all vets offer this, which is why it’s important to take out pet insurance to make sure you’re covered for any unforeseen costs.


How can I avoid high vet bills?

To avoid high vet bills, prevention is key, so make sure you keep your pet up to date with their vaccinations, attend routine check-ups and help them maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine. Of course, injuries and illnesses can still happen, making a trip to the vets unavoidable, which is why pet insurance is recommended to help you pay for any unexpected bills.


Do you have to pay the vet if you have insurance?

If you have pet insurance, you will most likely be covered for unexpected medical bills and treatment. Consider taking out pet insurance with a provider that pays the vet directly, as this can save you a lot of hassle and usually means you’ll only have to pay the vet the excess on your policy.

If vets do not take payment from pet insurance providers or your insurer does not provide this service, you may need to pay upfront and then make a claim to be reimbursed.

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