Pet insurance: what do I need to know?
Pet insurance provides cover for veterinary fees in the event that your pet becomes injured or unwell. It can provide peace of mind that you’re in a position to afford all the veterinary care your pet may need.
With veterinary medicine employing expensive medical techniques and medication, and with pet owners caring more and more about their pets’ health, pet insurance is becoming increasingly popular.
There are many pet insurance companies now available, with many different levels of cover and policies to choose from. Insurance companies will cover most accidents and illnesses; some may cover dental treatments – but it’s important you read the policy terms and conditions as some companies may not. Preventative treatment (such as vaccinations & flea and worm treatment) is not covered by insurance companies.
As a veterinary practice, we support the idea of pet insurance but are unable to recommend any one individual insurance company. However, we can advise on the best type of policies to look out for.
Pet insurance mainly provides cover for veterinary fees if your pet is injured or becomes ill. However, other benefits may include:
Common Types of Policy:
These policies will cover a condition for 12 months from the point when it started; after that time, the condition will be excluded - even if no treatment has been given. Financial limits will also apply.
With this type of policy, you can claim a maximum amount for each condition without a time limit. After the maximum has been reached, the condition will be excluded.
Lifelong policies provide cover that ‘recharges’ each time the policy renews. As such, these policies provide ongoing cover for long-term conditions (arthritis, heart/kidney problems, skin disease etc.) Benefit limits can be ‘per condition’ or an annual amount for all conditions.
Policy types and cover included vary between insurance companies. Please read the terms & conditions for each policy carefully.
In most cases, insurance companies will not cover any pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is something that has been noted by you or your veterinary surgeon to be of concern with your pet before the insurance policy was taken out, whether or not treatment was required.
If you make a claim with one insurance company and cancel this policy to change to a different insurance company, the new company will usually exclude that condition and any previous noted conditions from your new policy.
It is important to find an insurance company that you wish to stay with throughout your pet’s life.
NB: Some insurance policies will add automatic exclusions for specific breed-associated conditions. Please read the terms and conditions for each policy.
Most insurance policies will deduct a policy excess. A policy excess is the amount you pay towards each condition per policy year.
Some insurance companies will also deduct a co-payment which will be a percentage of the treatment claimed.
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