5 Pitfalls To Watch Out For In Pet Insurance – Which One? New
With more than 3 million UK households having acquired a pet between the start of the pandemic and 2021 – according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association – many new owners are wondering whether and how to insure their new companion.
Finding pet insurance can be extremely complicated, especially if your pet has pre-existing health issues.
Plus, changing insurers while maintaining full coverage isn’t easy, so it’s important to make the right choice the first time.
To help owners navigate the lingo, we analyzed 84 fonts covering cats and 92 covering dogs in November.
Here, we show you five areas where policies diverge – and where you might unexpectedly find yourself without the coverage you thought you had.
1. Coverage for pre-existing medical conditions
Few of the policies we looked at covered pre-existing medical conditions (PEMC) in pets:
- 16% of policies covering dogs
- 12% of policies covering cats
PEMCs are specifically pre-coverage conditions – and, typically, a new illness that develops within the first two weeks of the policy.
The consequence is that as your pet gets older, switching from one insurer to another (for example, if the premium goes up) means you risk losing coverage – as any illness your pet has suffered will be ruled out. of the new policy.
The good news:
We have found a few insurers who would consider covering a pet’s PEMC, although how they will do this varies. By default, Direct Line and Petplan exclude PEMC coverage – but if these are declared when purchasing the policy, they may arrange to waive or limit the exclusion in some cases.
Bought By Many’s âPre-Existingâ Specialty Policy provides limited coverage for PEMCs who have not required treatment within three months of purchasing insurance. In the first year, coverage for these conditions is capped at Â£ 500 – but this increases to standard levels over two years, provided no claims have been made for these conditions. Its other policies cover any condition that has not caused symptoms or led to counseling or treatment in the past two years.
Meanwhile, K9 Cover, a new insurer, is including a medical screening process as part of its online quote. You can declare any condition and get an immediate indication if it will be covered and how much additional it will cost.
2. Dental coverage (for accidents and illnesses)
Dental costs can vary depending on the work required, the type and size of animal and the vet you use. This makes it a wide range. In a recent survey by Which? members who had claimed in the past five years, some who had claimed dental treatment said costs as low as Â£ 100 – while another had to pay as much as Â£ 1,460.
Most of the pet insurance policies we reviewed include dental coverage for injuries and accidents (for example, your dog breaks a tooth while chewing on a toy) – but a third does not cover dental care. resulting from illness.
Even if you have a policy that does, you should organize and finance all “routine” dental procedures (such as cleaning or scaling and polishing) yourself – and when you need to make a dental claim, you will need to be able to prove that your pet has had annual examinations.
The good news:
Dental accident and illness coverage is one of our criteria for Best Buy pet insurance policies. This year, we’ve selected 14 Best Buy policies for dogs and 12 for cats.
Who? Members can find out which policies earned top marks in our guide to the best and worst pet insurance policies.
3. Cancellation of stay guarantee
Vacation Cancellation Coverage pays if you have to cancel a vacation at the last minute because your pet becomes seriously ill when you have to travel.
It won’t be on everyone’s âessentialsâ list – and in fact, it’s often an optional supplement. But if you have trips planned, it could end up saving you money.
The good news:
Three quarters (77%) of dog contracts offer a holiday cancellation guarantee and 85% of cat contracts. Where available, levels of coverage vary widely – from Â£ 250 to Â£ 5,000.
Be careful, however, the criteria for claiming this coverage are often restrictive – it is usually necessary for the animal’s illness to be âendangeredâ – for the insurer to pay.
Before taking out a holiday cancellation guarantee, check that you are not already covered by your travel insurance.
Sometimes, with treatment options exhausted, the only human resolution is to put the animal to sleep.
While this final cost is probably small (around Â£ 100) compared to that of treating illnesses and injuries, around a tenth (12%) of the cat policies we reviewed and a fifth (20%) of the policies for dogs exclude paying this.
It is even rarer for the police to contribute to cremation or burial costs (about half of the policies will).
The good news:
Many policies cover the cost of euthanasia. Some cover it as part of your overall allowance for vet fees, but if you’ve already run out of it, you’ll have to pay out of pocket.
Other insurers have a set limit that varies between Â£ 100 and Â£ 200.
5. Emergency boarding costs
Pet insurance isn’t just for sick animals. If you become ill or are injured, your policy may make provision for the cost of caring for your pet while you are hospitalized.
With some policies, this also applies if your return trip is delayed and therefore you have to pay for unforeseen kennel or cattery costs.
The good news:
82% of dog fonts and 89% of cat fonts we reviewed have some version of it, but the rest don’t.
The total amounts of coverage available range from Â£ 100 to Â£ 2,000.
The RSPCA has a helpful checklist of what to do before leaving your pet on vacation.
Pet Insurance – What Should I Know?
If you are renewing your pet’s policy or purchasing coverage for the first time, these tips may help:
Do i need pet insurance?
This isn’t necessarily a straightforward decision – however, the bottom line is that without an NHS for pets, having some financial capacity to deal with unexpected vet bills is an essential part of your pet’s care.
Simply relying on your savings may not be enough. Last year the average pet insurance claim was Â£ 817 – but vets’ costs can easily run into the thousands. And, if your pet develops a long-term illness, like diabetes, these costs can be permanent.
How Much Pet Blanket Do I Need?
It depends on the type and breed of your pet, and your choice will likely be limited, to some extent, by your budget.
We believe that a police should, at a minimum, pay at least Â£ 2,000 a year for vet bills – but that won’t necessarily be enough for all pets.
Pet policies vary not only in how much they will pay, but also how long or whether they will continue to cover the costs of an ongoing illness. We believe âlifetimeâ policies are the best option.
The payment mechanisms differ again (remember the ‘extremely complicated’ part?) – however, they will all cover up to a certain amount each year for any condition covered. This means that while they won’t necessarily pay every penny of your vet’s fees, you can at least count on ongoing support.
What should I watch out for?
The overall amount that an insurer provides to cover veterinarian costs is far from everything.
Before committing to a purchase, read the policy’s terms (the fine print) carefully – paying attention to its terms and conditions and exclusions. Certain items – for example, âdeath from illnessâ coverage (which pays part of the animal’s value if your pet dies of illness) are removed from the policy once your pet has reached maximum age.
Check the policy deductibles and any co-payments. This is money that will have to come out of your pocket when you file your claim, so it is important to know the amount.
Also check the state of health of your pet. If the insurer is aware of a pre-policy medical history (this usually includes receiving medical advice as well as any treatment), they may deny claims for that condition in the future. If you stated the condition when you purchased the policy, some insurers may agree to cover it.