Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
About 3.2 million households in the UK have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association.
If you are one of them and your pet is uninsured it could cost you hundreds or even thousands of pounds if they get sick or injured and need treatment with the veterinary.
So, if your furry friend isn’t covered, here’s everything you need to know about purchasing an insurance policy, the costs involved, and what to look out for.
The price of pet insurance
The cost of pet insurance depends on your pet, their age and the type of cover you want, but the average premium is around £ 425 per year, according to GoCompare.
Not having insurance puts you at risk of paying hundreds, if not thousands, of vet bills and getting into debt. Some of the costs are mind-boggling. For example, you could pay £ 7,000 to treat a French Bulldog who broke his leg. An inherited condition such as hip dysplasia will require a referral to a specialist vet for surgery and could leave you with a total bill of over £ 13,000.
“A lot of people massively underestimate the cost of medical procedures and so it can be a major shock when their pet gets sick,” says Emily Stott of the RSPCA. “For example, surgery to remove a corn cob stuck in the intestine can cost £ 2,000 to £ 4,000, or even more if there are complications!”
Pet insurance with lifetime coverage can give you peace of mind and means you don’t have to compromise on your pet’s veterinary treatment.
Pet insurance with lifetime coverage
This is the most comprehensive policy you can get for your cat or dog. As long as you renew your policy, it will last for life and will pay for each new ailment, injury and recurring illness each year up to the policy limits.
Lifetime coverage includes:
- Veterinary fees: Coverage of care for injury or illness up to an annual limit. This limit will be reset every year and the conditions for which you have already claimed will still be covered.
- Kennels and cattery: Pay the boarding costs for your pet if you had to go to the hospital.
- Dental accidents or injuries: Routine dental care is generally not covered by many policies.
- Complementary therapies such as hydrotherapy: Some policies cover this.
- Euthanasia: If the worst should happen.
This type of insurance has a limit each year on the amount you can claim per condition, or the aggregate amount you can claim for all conditions, or both.
Let’s say your policy has an annual limit of £ 6,000 per condition and an aggregate annual limit of £ 10,000. Imagine that your dog is suffering from an ear infection, which appears every year. The vet’s bill and medication are £ 5,000 in the first year, so you are covered for treatment. The following year the treatment costs £ 6,500 – you will have to pay £ 500 yourself, as the cost of the treatment exceeds the limit per condition. If your dog ingested a thrown face mask that got stuck in the small intestine and it costs £ 3,000 to process, you would still be in your annual limit.
The main disadvantages of life insurance for pets:
- More expensive than other types of pet insurance because it is so extensive.
- You may lose out while shopping, as most insurers will refuse to cover pre-existing conditions for new customers.
- Once you reach the annual or condition limit, you will need to pay for any remaining treatment yourself.
- The price of the policy for the coming years is not fixed. The price of lifetime pet insurance usually increases as your pet ages.
What Should I Look For In A Pet Insurance Policy?
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You should research the right type of blanket for your pet’s breed. Pugs have breathing problems, which can also lead to heart problems. The Saint Bernard people have problems with their hips and elbows. Irish setters are prone to epilepsy. The specific needs of an animal will affect the price of the policy.
A top notch pet insurance policy will cover the cost of most unforeseen expenses that you may have to pay. They won’t start increasing the deductible or asking you to pay a copayment (a percentage of each claim) until your pet is a certain age. Choosing a policy with a higher deductible or copayment can help reduce costs, but you will have to contribute more to the cost of any claim.
Some lifetime policies have an upper age limit for older pets. This does not apply to existing insureds, but you will not be able to purchase a new policy if your dog is over a certain age. For some breeds, it could be as young as six years old.
Pet insurance for pre-existing conditions
Most pet insurance companies do not cover pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, recurrent joint pain, arthritis, and heart disease, and will either refuse to insure your pet or offer insurance. coverage excluding treatments related to their particular condition.
The good news is that there are specialist insurers that can help: Bought by Many, Lifetime Pet Cover, Scratch & Patch, and VetsMediCover provide coverage if your pet has a pre-existing condition.
Each insurer will have their own definition of pre-existing conditions, so review policies carefully to be sure how they are defined.
Liability coverage for your pet
If you are a dog owner, you are legally responsible for your dog’s actions, so you need to make sure you have liability coverage as well, according to Phil Cooper, home and pet insurance specialist at NFU Mutual. . Cats do not have a recognized legal status, so it is not necessary for them.
He also advises, “It’s also worth thinking about what might happen if something happened to you and you couldn’t take care of your pet. Some policies provide for short-term care if you cannot take care of your pet due to hospitalization. Like any insurance, even if you hope you’ll never need it, it’s worth considering.