Helping you make the most of your policy...
There are many insurance companies that now offer pet insurance for cats, dogs, rabbits, horses and exotics. Pet insurance covers you for those unexpected incidents, accidents and diseases; routine healthcare or elective procedures i.e. boosters/ neutering are not normally covered). Having your pet insured lowers the risk of having to pay a significant amount if your pet becomes unwell or injured. Depending on the standard of protection you may also be covered for incurred boarding kennel costs if you are in hospital, travel cancellation coverage if your pet needs urgent treatment, rewards for lost pets and the cost of your pet when they die. It is important to look at all aspects of the policy and to read the terms and conditions carefully before signing up. You are normally able to start pet insurance for your small animal from approximately eight weeks of age. If the animal in question has had any health issues in the past or at the time they are unlikely to be insured for that condition meaning that any treatment needed for that same condition in the future is payable by yourself. Therefore it is best to get your pet insured from a young age while they are still healthy, ideally as soon as you get them.
Here are some of the main points to be aware of:
* One-year policies – If anything happens to your pet you should be covered up until the end of the policy year. When the policy expires if your pet is still having veterinary treatment or medication you will not be covered for this. By continuing the insurance or moving to another insurance company however, you will not be insured for that particular problem as it is classed as a ‘pre-existing' condition. It is advised that you consider a ‘life-long’ policy. These normally have an increased monthly premium but they cover your pet every year until death or policy cancellation and will continue to pay out for a condition.
* Leeway period – When you sign up to pet insurance either over the phone or on the Internet, the advisor is not able to see if your pet is healthy so there is an initial period (normally two weeks) in which your pet is not covered. If anything happens in this period you are then not covered for this condition when the insurance starts. Ideally insurance should start immediately so check with your vet, as some surgeries are able to offer pet insurance which does exactly that. The vet is able to examine your pet and then sign the insurance form regarding your pet’s health status. Meaning you walk out of the surgery happy that your pet is covered.
* Budgets – There will be a few different pet policies with each insurance company which aim to accommodate a spectrum of clients. Be aware that lower priced premiums may only allow a smaller amount of money to be spent on treatments in each policy year or on each condition compared to a more expensive premium policy, which allows a higher or unlimited amount of money to be spent on treatment each year or condition.
* Excesses – Most insurance companies charge an excess per condition per policy year so if your pet's treatment does not go over your excess you will not be able to claim. Some insurance companies have a higher monthly premium and no excess payable.
Instead of taking out a pet insurance policy some pet owners choose to deposit a set amount into a seperate bank account each week/month in case their pet requires medical treatment. Although this idea may seem appealing, as if your pet remains healthy you will still have full use of the money you've saved, you will be taking the risk that there won't be enough money soon enough in case of an unexpected accident. Whatever you decide to do, by having insurance or a contingency of some sort, a lot of stress, and potential heartache can be avoided.