Pet insurance: Do you need it?
We love our dogs and would do anything to protect them from harm – but sometimes that’s not possible, which makes it all the more important to make sure you can afford to pay vet’s bills should your pet become ill or injured. Every year, one in eight dogs requires medical attention of some sort, and the cost of treating them can be high. Fortunately, there are many options for pet insurance out there that can set your mind at rest, and ensure your dog has access to the care it needs when it needs it most.
Various plans offer different levels of cover – for instance, some just cover the cost of treatment on an annual basis, while others will protect your pet for its entire life. Some have extras that extend beyond veterinary bills, such as paying legal fees if your dog bites somebody or even providing cash for “missing” posters and rewards if it gets lost.
Although many of us are limited by our budgets, it’s worth paying for the best plan you can afford – the very cheapest insurance policies often aren’t worth it. Some will refuse to pay out for the same condition twice, which can be a big problem if your dog has a recurring problem that needs regular treatment. With lifetime cover, although your premiums may rise each time your pet is treated, you can at least be assured that it is protected for any condition throughout your time together.
The prices and types of cover available to you may also change depending on the breed and condition of your dog – for instance, less hardy breeds with known hereditary conditions will cost more to insure than others, and older dogs with pre-existing conditions may be very expensive. Don’t lose hope if you can’t find affordable insurance straight away – it may take time, but there is bound to be a provider who can make a plan to suit you and your pet’s situation.
Pet Insurance: a guide
From cuddly stay at home poodles, to outgoing golden retrievers charging through woodland and streams, all dogs are uniquely special and we would do anything to prevent them from unnecessary distress or pain.
Yet in times of accident, injury or illness, a trip to the local vet is in order, and in these harsh economic times that can be well beyond many people’s financial reach.
Statistics reveal that every year one in eight dogs will suffer from a medical condition of some sort, and as a caring and responsible dog owner you must realistically ask yourself, can you afford the cost of an X-ray, which on average will cost you around £160. Additionally, if your dog is required to stay overnight at the vets, it could set you back as much as £400. And did you know that a ruptured cruciate ligament is the most common knee injury suffered by dogs and to treat it can cost upward to £2,500.
Our apologies if this sounds like scaremongering, but the bottom line is it’s important to get some pet insurance if you want to cover your dog against all eventualities.
Why you Need Pet Insurance
Despite unforeseen vet bills accounting for nearly half the cost of owning a dog, the shocking statistic remains – only 12% of the 13 million dog owners in the UK insure their pets.
It’s not only trips to the vets which are covered by pet insurance, many policies will also cover the legal fees should your dog bite a stranger or chase a sheep.
Another advantage is if you need to go to hospital then some policies will pay for kennels or boarding’s for your dog, this is a great benefit to anyone living on their own. If your dog becomes sick or injured and you need to cancel your holiday, a few of the more top end policies will cater for this.
If your dog goes walkabout, then most policies will provide a reward for any information leading to its location, they’ll even pay for the missing posters! In fact, if your dog is a ‘problem child’ some insurance companies will even shell out for you to take them to an animal behaviourist.
Types of Cover
Do not be daunted by the many different providers and policies there are available, when it comes to pet insurance there are only three main types. Lifelong cover does exactly that. It insures your dog for the duration of its life. It is an all-encompassing policy that enables your dog to receive the best veterinary care available. Lifelong pet cover is the most expensive policy to maintain but it does offer a pretty comprehensive freedom of mind.
Per condition cover is a selective policy where the insurer sets a maximum amount for each new condition you can claim for. This policy allows you to make as many claims as required as long as each one is for a new condition not claimed for in the past.
Although it offers cheaper insurance premiums, the cover for that particular condition ends when the prescribed maximum amount is reached. Obviously this type of cover is unsuitable for the treatment of long-term illnesses.
Lastly, Annual Cover may be the cheapest, but it is the least flexible of the three. It is similar in many ways to per condition cover but the length of time a condition can be claimed for is usually capped at 12 months from the date of the first treatment. This is not suitable for covering medium or long-term illnesses but is definitely financially sound for covering one-off treatments.
The Price you Pay
If you live in a city or own an old dog, pet insurance premiums may be higher. Delicate breeds often cost more to insure and if you own a Rottweiler then unfortunately you will pay more for vet treatment than any other breeds. New cover for dogs over eight is not easily found, but some companies will over insurance for dogs regardless of their age.
Finding the right Pet Insurance for you
It is wise to shop around before you pick the deal you feel is right for you, compare UK pet insurance quotes to find the best deal for you and your pet. If you purchase your policy online you can make significant savings and further discounts can be found if you insure more than one pet. Always remember, just because a policy is cheap does not necessary make it the right option for you or your dog.