Pet Insurance – What you need to know
Nicky Diver-Clarke RVN Your Pet Nurse, Hastings
Shopping for pet insurance can be a minefield. There are many considerations and potential pitfalls. It is, however, something that all pet owners should consider for the benefit of the welfare of our precious and often clumsy furry companions.
I have witnessed first hand the positive effect a decent pet insurance policy can offer. And in turn the frustration of inferior cover. This financial reassurance at a time when treatment is required can really make a difference. I have compiled a list of Dos and Don’ts that are worth considering when researching the vast array of policies that are available.
Get a ‘covered for life’ or ‘life time’ policy. Read the small print – there can be massive discrepancies from policy to policy. Get insurance in place as soon as possible as many companies offer four weeks for free. Kittens and puppies are the biggest trouble-makers and get themselves in to all sorts of mischief – make sure to insure early and look out for firms that offer ‘multi pet’ discounts.
Keep up with your routine and preventative healthcare, such as annual vaccinations, parasite control and dental check-ups. Some policies can become invalid or void if this basic care is not maintained. Find a policy that will cover dental emergencies and abnormalities – these are not always covered and can accrue significant costs.
Check your policy for any additional percentage excess. For example, your excess may be £75 plus 10%. Research. Read reviews. Investigate reputation and how reliable firms are at paying out on claims.
Opt for an ‘annual’ or ‘yearly’ policy. Unlike car and home insurance, switching to a cheaper policy each year has its limitations. If you have made any claims with your current insurance company and then decide to change, it is likely a new provider will exclude related conditions. For example, a cat that suffered a fractured pelvis as a result of a car accident will likely find arthritis or degenerative joint disease resulting from the injury and associated issues are not covered in renewed policies.
Don’t be surprised if your annual premiums increase year on year. Don’t assume your vet will make a direct claim for you. Quite often you will be required to pay for treatment costs upfront. This is always something you should discuss with your vet. Don’t forget there is often a 2-week start-up period with a new policy where accidents may be covered but sickness is not covered.
In conclusion: with pet insurance you do, in fact, get what you pay for. With rising inflation over the years, veterinary treatment costs have also risen. A £2000 policy nowadays wouldn’t be sufficient cover for a 25kg dog that may require fracture repair surgery, a referral to a specialist or any ongoing treatment for a life-long condition.
Nicky will be attending the Dogs For Good Charity Event at the Holy Redeemer Church Hall, St Leonards, on Friday 23rd March, 7-9pm, and asks readers to join her and other local pet service providers for coffee, cake, dog advice and chat.
• Your Pet Nurse provides nursing clinics in your home for pets that get stressed or for those that struggle to find the time.
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