The unexpected is always just around the corner! Approximately 33% of pet dogs and cats have to visit the vet due to illness or accident every year. Today procedures and techniques unheard of but a few years ago are now commonplace in veterinary practice. Unfortunately few of us are aware of the true cost of medical or surgical procedures. Our elation in finding that our 15 years old, much loved pet is undergoing exactly the same CT scanning procedure as Granny following a minor stroke, quickly turns to despair when a bill of several hundred pounds for the diagnostic procedure alone drops on the doormat. It is at such times that pet health insurance makes sense.

What does pet health insurance cover?

Pet health insurance is designed primarily to cover such situations. Frequently vets and owners have to decide on alternative diagnostic and treatment plans solely because of cost. With effective pet health insurance cover such decisions are a thing of the past.

However, do not think that insuring your dog will provide an inexhaustible source of funding for every possible veterinary cost. Few policies today cover routine vaccinations and general “maintenance” health care such as dental check ups. The aim of pet health insurance is to provide for the unexpected expense; the road traffic accident; the poisoning episode or the sudden onset of debilitating disease. In many cases the cost of treatment can run to several hundred pounds.

How do I find out about pet health insurance?

Britain leads the world in the field of pet health insurance. The veterinary profession, the Kennel Club and most breeders advocate insuring your dog or cat. Many well known companies today offer pet health policies and in addition there are specialist pet insurers. Premiums can be paid monthly or yearly and many breeders offer 4-6 weeks free insurance when a puppy is sold or registered at the Kennel Club.

If you would like further advice, please do not hesitate to contact us. We keep brochures from selected companies but others are available and we can advise according to your needs.

How does pet health insurance work?

The principle is similar to our own private insurance plans. Different levels of cover carry differing premiums. Generally it is cheaper to start insuring when your pet is young and healthy than when older and more prone to illness. Premiums can be paid monthly, quarterly or annually and many companies offer discounts for direct debits. There is usually an excess to pay on each condition and some companies also charge a percentage of the total cost of treatment if the pet is above a certain age. Many policies have the premium rate linked to the age when first insured. Premiums and the excess payable tend to increase as the pet gets older.

Is there any way I can compare premiums?

As with any insurance it is difficult to compare like with like. All the leading companies offer additional benefits in addition to veterinary fees insurance. Some offer a range of options which allow owners to chose the benefit most suited to their needs. The level of cover and efficiency of service is usually reflected in the premium.

Do any companies offer a comprehensive policy?

Few companies cover routine health care such as neutering and dental care. However specialist companies are available that do offer such services albeit on a limited basis.

What other factors affect premiums?

Certain breeds are more prone to particular problems. Skin conditions for example are extremely common particularly in certain breeds. Insurance companies are aware of these problems and premiums are set accordingly. One third of health insurance claims are for illnesses that have been ongoing for more than 12 months.

Does this mean that on renewal of the policy the premium is likely to be increased or cover restricted in respect to that condition?

Insurance has to be profitable. In the case of chronic conditions cover has been restricted, particularly with some of the policies carrying low premiums. It is therefore worthwhile spending time reading the small print with any offer to insure particularly in respect of chronic conditions and increasing age.

If we can help in any way, please contact us.

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