Owning a pet is a privilege, and part of your responsibility as a pet owner is making sure that you can afford all the necessary bills associated with keeping your pet healthy and taking prompt action when they are unwell.
If your pet is involved in an accident or has a serious lifelong illness, you should be prepared for how you will manage the initial costs and any ongoing costs which may be quite substantial. Veterinary medicine and surgery have now advanced so much that your vet can offer you many of the treatments and tests offered to humans such as CT or MRI scans and spinal or heart surgery – however, these are often carried out at specialist hospitals and costs can easily mount up to thousands of pounds.
Pet insurance covers your veterinary costs should your pet become ill or injured. It is a sensible option so that you have peace of mind that you will be in a position to offer your pet the best available treatment without having to worry about cost at a time that is already stressful.
Other benefits may include:
♦ Third party liability if your dog injures someone or damages someone’s property
♦ Covering the cost you paid for your pet should they be lost, stolen or die before a certain age
♦ Covering the cost of advertising should your pet be lost or stolen.
♦ Paying the costs for someone to look after your pet should you need to go into hospital
♦ Covering holiday cost should your pet need emergency surgery meaning you have to cancel.
♦ Emergency treatment should you be on holiday with your pet abroad when they become ill.
The cover varies considerably so it is important to choose a policy to meet your needs.
Some policies only cover accidents and emergencies. The best cover covers your pet for all conditions for their lifetime and will cover accidents and illnesses.
It is important to understand that once your pet has suffered from a condition, any new insurance company will see this a ‘pre-existing’ and therefore will exclude it from your policy meaning you will no longer be covered. If your pet has suffered from illnesses whilst it is insured it is, therefore, best to stay with the same insurance company rather than to swap and change, unless that company does not meet your needs for other reasons.
When you take out a policy you will be asked for any pre-existing conditions which you have a duty to declare. It is, therefore, best to take out a policy early in your pets lifetime such as when they are puppies or kittens so that they do not have any pre-existing conditions and will, therefore, be fully covered for everything.
Many practices work closely with insurance companies and can offer a free month for puppies and kittens if they have been checked by a vet and certified healthy. Some practices also have trained insurance advisors who will be on hand to guide you through choosing a suitable policy. If you have any questions about insurance your veterinary practice is the best place to ask before you make any decisions as they will have extensive experience in working with insurance claims and will be able to guide you as to the best policy to suit your needs.