Find out what your pet insurance will cover, the many types of policies that are available to you, and the frequent exceptions that you should look out for.
What exactly does “pet insurance” mean?
If your pet becomes ill or injured, having insurance that covers veterinarian care can help you meet the costs associated with treating them. The majority of insurance companies for pets will also pay out claims in the event that your pet passes away, is lost or stolen, causes injury to another person, or causes damage to property.
We researched and evaluated a large number of dog insurance and cat insurance policies, and thousands of pet insurance policyholders have ranked the customer service provided by the industry’s largest insurers.
We also provide a tutorial on how to locate affordable insurance for your pet.
This tutorial outlines the process of getting pet insurance, the red flags to look out for, and the things that are not covered by pet insurance coverage.
What exactly is covered by pet insurance?
The cost of veterinary care and other medical expenses are covered by pet insurance policies. Coverage for veterinary costs can start as low as £1,000 and go as high as $15,000 per claim.
The majority of pet insurance policies include the following in addition to reimbursement for veterinary costs:
Cause of death being either an accident or illness
In the unfortunate event that your pet passes away, you may be able to recoup some or all of the money you spent on it by selling it.
After a certain age, which is normally between eight and eleven years for a cat and between five and nine years for a dog, the majority of insurance policies for pets include an age restriction after which the insurers will not pay out or you will be required to make a contribution to the costs.
Cover for animals not present
In the event that your pet goes missing, the majority of pet insurance policies will contribute to the costs of putting up posters and offering a reward.
Liability owed to a third party
If you own a dog, the liability coverage on your homeowner’s insurance policy should pay up if your dog causes injury to another person or causes damage to their property.
This accounts for the claimant’s expenses as well as legal charges and expenses.
coverage for international travel
The majority of insurance policies for pets will give coverage in the event that your pet becomes unwell, gets involved in an accident, or requires veterinarian treatment when travelling outside of the country. If you are forced to cancel a vacation because your pet develops a life-threatening illness just before you are scheduled to depart, many insurance companies may reimburse you for lost travel and accommodation fees.
boarding costs for cats and dogs
If there is no one else who can look after your pet while you are hospitalised, pet insurance companies will typically pay for your pet’s stay in a cattery or kennel if you are the only person who can care for them. In most cases, you will need to check into the hospital and remain there for at least two to four days in a row.
The option of euthanasia, as well as cremation and burial
There is a possibility that your policy will include coverage for the expenditures associated with euthanizing, cremating, or burying your pet.
The majority of insurance companies for pets will provide coverage if your pet need dental work. Some insurance will only pay for dental care that is necessary because of an accident, but they won’t cover any expenses that are incurred because of an illness. Those who do typically condition the coverage on the fact that your pet has annual dental examinations and cleanings.
What kinds of things do pet insurance coverage not cover?
The following is a list of typical exceptions that aren’t covered by most pet insurance policies. Make sure that you give the terms and conditions of your insurance a close read so that you can determine whether or not it provides the coverage you require.
An disease or damage that had already been present
A pre-existing medical issue is one that was already present before you purchased a policy for your pet with the insurance company. They can be divided into two different categories:
Chronic conditions are continuing health issues that your pet has at the time that you purchase the insurance coverage for them. Some examples of chronic conditions are heart conditions and hip dysplasia.
Conditions that are now considered to be “historic” include illnesses or injuries that your pet is no longer affected by, such as injuries or illnesses that have been healed in the tissue, for example.
The majority of insurance companies for pets do not give coverage for pre-existing conditions for new policies. However, in some instances, pre-existing conditions may be covered provided your pet has not received treatment for such conditions within a particular amount of time (for example, two years).
The majority of insurance companies will not pay for treatment of illnesses that manifest themselves within the first 10–14 days of your pet’s coverage. If you are transferring to them from another insurer, there are certain companies that will waive this fee so that you do not have a “gap” in your coverage.
Treatment that is both routine and preventative
Treatments including flea, worm, and tick procedures, grooming, claw clipping, and teeth upkeep are frequently not covered by pet insurance. These treatments include immunizations, spaying, castration, flea, worm, and tick treatments.
Pregnancy and giving birth are referred to as.
Some insurance policies for pets do not cover costs associated with pregnancy, giving birth, or the treatment of any children that may be born as a result of the pregnancy.
What are the most common forms of insurance for pets?
Lifetime cover pet insurance
The most common and all-encompassing sort of pet insurance is known as a lifetime policy, and it is also the most expensive. As the name suggests, they will pay out for treatment throughout the entirety of your pet’s lifetime, provided that annual restrictions are adhered to.
There are numerous operational modes for lifetime policies.
Policies that are renewed annually cover veterinary costs up to a certain maximum, such as $5,000 per year.
Therefore, the insurance in this scenario would pay up to £5,000 per year, regardless of the year.
The per condition per year cover is an additional kind of lifetime insurance coverage. You would receive an annual limit for each disease if you chose this option. For instance, the annual limit for claims linked to your cat’s diabetes would be 2,000 pounds.
Other lifetime policies pay a limited annual sum (for example, £10,000), but within this they also pay a lower annual benefit for any one condition (for example, £2,000). This is an example of a hybrid policy. If your pet needed treatment for five different conditions that are not related to each other, you could make up to five claims totaling up to £2,000 in one year using those numbers; however, you would only receive £2,000 toward the succession of costs involved in treating one illness if you used those numbers.
When it comes to every kind of policy, the premium will be significantly more expensive the greater the maximum. You can, however, count on the insurer to make a continuing contribution toward the costs of your pet’s ailments if you have a lifetime policy, regardless of the limit that applies to this coverage.
Insurance for your pet that does not cover death
Coverage that doesn’t last a lifetime provides less protection overall and stops covering certain conditions once you reach the policy’s maximum payout.
There are two primary categories of insurance that do not cover a lifetime risk: per-condition cover and time-limit per-condition cover.
Pet insurance that is purchased on a per-condition basis will only pay out a set sum for the treatment of each illness or injury before the policy will no longer be valid.
For instance, if your cat Mittens has an eye infection and your per condition cover limit for eye infections is $5,000, then once that limit has been reached, the insurer will no longer pay for claims related to eye infections, even if you renew your policy after the limit has been reached. This is true even if you have eye infections covered under another condition for which your limit is higher.
Time-limit per condition Prior to excluding coverage for an illness, a pet’s insurance policy will normally have a time restriction of one year and a maximum monetary limit of one thousand dollars.
Insurance for pets that only covers accidents
The least expensive and most fundamental kind of pet insurance is the kind that covers simply accidental injuries. As the name implies, it does not provide coverage for sickness but rather for injuries.
Accident only insurance cover a set amount of money for any unintentional injury that your pet sustains, which can help pay for the treatment they require. However, the policy will typically stop paying for the injury once a year has passed.
Is it possible to get coverage for pre-existing conditions with pet insurance?
There are only a handful of organisations offering insurance for pets that will consider providing coverage for pre-existing diseases.
Some policies will cover pre-existing conditions, provided that your pet has been symptom- and treatment-free for a predetermined amount of time (often between one and two years). Some of them only offer a limited degree of protection at first, but that protection will grow the longer it has been since your pet has been healthy.
Others will potentially cover certain conditions that pets have after undergoing a medical screening procedure that provides them with the ability to assess the risk. This is analogous to the way that health and travel insurers operate.
In our analyses of cat and dog insurance, we have made a note of which policies take into account pre-existing conditions.
Is insurance available for senior pets?
In the eyes of most insurance providers, canines and felines that are eight years old or older are considered “senior pets.” This drops down to about five years old for domesticated animals like rabbits, although horses can live to be as old as twenty years old.
As your pet gets older, they have a higher risk of contracting an illness or being injured, either of which could result in a claim that is more costly.
It is conceivable that pet insurance will demand higher premiums for older pets in order to cover the added risk that comes along with them.
It is still feasible to get coverage at reasonable prices for older pets, but it is essential to look around for the best deal. Take into consideration the following:
Be sure to examine whether any restrictions apply to the new coverage if your pet has ever had any disease or been treated by a veterinarian in the past. This will ensure that you know exactly what your premiums are covering.
It is important not to ignore the surplus. When it comes to older pets, insurance companies will often charge higher deductibles, “co-payments,” or both. A “co-payment” occurs when the insurer chooses not to pay a predetermined portion of the total cost of the claim. When it comes to senior animals, these numbers can reach as high as 25 percent.
What are some other options besides purchasing pet insurance?
If you want to safeguard your pet, you do not need to get pet insurance because there are many other options available. Some of these are:
When you self-insure your pet, you commit to setting aside a certain amount of money each month in order to cover any prospective veterinary costs.
When it comes to self-insurance, one of the most essential considerations to make is the amount of money that one may reasonably set away and maintain in a savings account for the purpose of protecting their pet.
You have the potential of incurring veterinarian bills that are more than the money you’ve saved by acting as your own insurer, which is a risk associated with self-insurance.
If your pet has hip dysplasia, for instance, and requires both hips replaced, the procedure might run you approximately £7,000.
Charities and other forms of assistance
If you are unable to buy pet insurance, the following organisations provide free medical care for animals:
The British Red Cross
The Free Clinic for People’s Ill Pets and Other Animals (PDSA)
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is an organisation that helps animals (RSPCA)
The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is an organisation that helps animals in need (USPCA)
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is an animal rights organisation in Scotland (SSPCA)
The assistance provided by these organisations is granted on the basis of financial need, and it is primarily geared toward assisting individuals who are either on a low income or who are retired and receive certain state benefits.
Is having pet insurance a requirement?
In the United Kingdom, having insurance for your pet is not required by law in any capacity.
Is it possible for me to self-insure my pet?
It is possible to self-insure your pets if you do not wish to pay for pet insurance or if you do not have the financial means to do so.
Should I get a microchip for my pet if it’s an animal?
Since April 6th, 2016, having your dog microchipped is a legal necessity in all 50 states.
If you get your cat and any other pets microchipped, you could be able to get a discount on your insurance policy. Your veterinarian will be able to offer you with additional information regarding the process.
Learn more about where to go for affordable insurance for your pet here.
Is it possible to get insurance for a dog with a pedigree?
Pedigree pets can be insured, but the premium is likely to be more expensive than that of a mixed breed because of their superior genetic lineage.
Because of their higher worth and the increased likelihood of them contracting diseases and injuries that are directly linked to their breed, pedigree pets are thought to pose a greater danger than other types of pets.
Insurers of pets typically demand a greater monthly payment from the owners of pedigree animals to account for the higher likelihood that they will have to file a claim against their insurance policy.
Is hip dysplasia covered under pet insurance policies?
It is quite rare that your pet’s insurance provider will pay for treatment of a chronic pre-existing ailment like hip dysplasia if your animal companion already has the condition.
There are a few firms that provide insurance for pets that may offer coverage for past injuries or illnesses that your pet no longer has, such as injuries or illnesses that have healed in the tissue.
What exactly is the auto renewal for pet insurance?
When your homeowner’s or auto insurance policy is about to expire, the majority of pet insurers will automatically renew it for you at no additional cost.
You will receive notification before you are enrolled in a new insurance, and this notification will typically come in the form of a letter. In this letter, you should include the total amount of money that you paid the previous year.
A good number of insurers will offer you at least 21 days’ notice in advance, giving you the opportunity to cancel your policy.
If the policy for my pet unintentionally renewed itself, is it possible for me to get a refund?
Yes. Once your insurance has begun, you have a cooling-off period of 14 days during which you can cancel it, and the majority of insurers will allow you do so while only charging you for the portion of the cover that you have actually utilised.
A lot of companies that offer insurance for pets will also let you terminate your policy later in the year and give you a refund for the unused amount of your premium (if you pay it on an annual basis).
How can I locate a cheaper protection option when it’s time to renew?
It is far more difficult to acquire affordable insurance for one’s pet than it is for one’s car or home. With auto and home insurance, you may discover the best rates by switching companies or by negotiating.
The age of your pet and the health of your pet in general will determine how likely it is that you will be able to beat your renewal quote. When getting a new insurance policy, you should make it a point to look around for the most affordable one that yet offers adequate protection.
How much time do I have to file a claim on my pet’s insurance?
It is in your best interest to check with your insurance providers directly to learn how long you have to lodge a claim on your pet’s insurance policy. A maximum of thirty days is allowed by some insurance companies.
The process of filing a claim with a pet insurance company can vary from one provider to the next, but the vast majority of companies will want you to fill out a form and return it to them.
Additionally, you will be required to provide evidence to support the claim; therefore, you should make sure to keep track of all relevant receipts and invoices.
How will the cost of treating my pet be covered?
It is in your best interest to check with the company that provides your pet insurance because some companies will pay for the treatment of your pet directly while others will require you to pay first and then submit a claim for reimbursement of the money.
If my claim for pet insurance is denied, what steps should I take next?
Call the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) at the toll-free number 0800 023 4567 if the complaints procedure of the insurance company (which is outlined in your insurance policy) has been exhausted and your claim has not been settled despite your efforts.
Once you have reached an impasse with the insurer, you typically have a window of time of six months to file a complaint with the company.
Because the decision of the FOS is binding on companies but not on consumers, you have the option of taking the matter before a court if you so want.