You may have often seen ads for them while flipping channels on the TV, or at the check-out counter of the supermarket. You’ve definitely heard of it, but have you ever taken the time to ask yourself what it actually entails; what the costs and benefits are?
Pet insurance is highly recommended for cat and/or dog owners in the UK and can truly provide peace of mind for any pet-lover, yet, with the financial costs associated to it, only about a quarter of pet owners opt for a pet insurance cover. If you’re still unsure about it, read on to see if pet insurance could be for you.
Perhaps the most important thing you should know about pet insurance is that they are not all the same. Insurers have different rules and clauses. You must do your research to make sure you are picking the policy that suits you and your animal best.
What does pet insurance cover?
Most pet insurances will offer standard coverage for vet fees (for illness or injury), medical treatment fees, third party liability, and recovery fees. Most pet insurances will not cover routine check-ups, pre-existing conditions, and preventative treatments.
This varies widely depending on which pet insurance company you are using, and usually, how much you are willing to pay monthly for your insurance.
Other options you can look for in pet insurances include loss and theft of your pet, treatment for behavioural problems that may arise, and death by illness or injury. As these are special add-ons, you will generally have to pay more.
The average cost of pet insurance in the UK is around £23.90 a month, but again, this can vary hugely.
Who does pet insurance cover?
Pet insurance can cover any cat or dog, however, some pets will cost more to insure than others. Indeed, elderly pets, more prone to disease and injury, will cost more to cover. Pets that are more prone to pre-existing conditions will be more expensive to cover as well.
The most expensive breed to cover at the moment are English Bulldogs, costing an average of £46.94 to owners in the UK. This is because of their numerous genetically-related health problems, including cardiac and respiratory disease, hip dysplasia, cherry eye, susceptibility to heat stroke, drowning, and skin problems…
The cost of pet insurance will also vary depending on the region you live in. Typically, dog insurance is cheaper outside London and the South East of England.
Needless to say, the cheapest pet to insure is a young mixed breed living in the countryside!
Different types of pet insurance: from cheapest to most expensive
There are different levels of cover when it comes to pet insurance.
The cheapest form of pet insurance is accident only, and, as the name suggests, only covers your pet in case of an accident. It will not cover your pet in case of illness.
Time-limited pet insurance is the next cheapest option. This will provide you with financial aid if your pet needs treatment for a short-term illness, but the coverage will not go beyond the time-limit (usually only a 12-month period).
Per condition, also known as Maximum Benefit, has no time-limit, but will cap the amount you can claim for any medical condition that affects your dog. The higher the cap, the more you will have to pay your insurer monthly.
Lifetime pet insurance is the most comprehensive insurance and will cover most vet bills generated by any treatment your pet may need throughout its life (maximum amounts payed out will also depend on how much you are willing to pay your insurer monthly). This is the most expensive insurance you can opt for, with Premiums increasing each year at renewal. Excess will also likely increase as your pet ages.
A free pet insurance quote is just a Google search away. With this, you can get a general idea of the amount you will have to pay to cover your individual pet.
How to reduce the cost of pet insurance
Some companies will allow you to change your excess payment. This is the amount that you have to pay towards any pet insurance claim. In this case, by opting for a higher excess, the cost of your insurance will be reduced by 10-15%, although this does mean that you will be making a bigger contribution if you need to make a claim.
If you have several pets, know most companies also offer multi-pet discounts, which can be helpful if you’re trying to reduce the cost of your pet insurance.
Pet insurance is definitely a financial commitment. However, think of how you would handle an unexpected bill. If your dog gets injured while hiking, or if he catches a disease from a pesky tick, would you have the money available to save him? Pet insurance offers financial peace of mind when it comes to your friend’s medical bills. And if you love your dog, what more could you ask for?