If you are trying to compare pet insurance, you need to know what different policies give you for your money. Pet insurance, cat insurance, dog insurance or pet healthcare policies all provide insurance for pets.
There is a huge variation in the levels of cover provided by different policies. A basic policy, which you can get from some insurers at about £60 a year or £5 per month, will cover vets’ fees, give you a payout if your pet dies before a certain age, and provide cover for theft, third-party liability and accidental damage.
At the other extreme it’s possible to find fully comprehensive policies costing four or five times as much. These can cover all that a basic policy covers, and in addition provide cover for such things as:
• a pet psychologist or behavioural therapist;
• complementary or alternative therapies like herbal medicines or homoeopathy;
• cancellation of your holiday if your pet is ill;
• accommodation in kennels or cattery if you are hospitalised;
• pet bereavement counselling;
• travel costs and pet passport.
Obviously, there is no point in paying premiums of this size unless you are likely to use all these features. So when you compare pet insurance you need to look very carefully at features provided to make sure you aren’t paying over the odds for something you will never use.
Whichever level of pet insurance cover you are looking at, you will still find that there are big variations among policies. For instance, even at the basic level, it’s possible to find policies that don’t impose an excess, while there are others that require an excess of up to £50 per treatment. Again, there are big differences in how policies pay out. Some will pay direct to the vet, while others require you to pay the vet and send them the receipt – which can be a problem if it’s a big bill.
The only real way to compare pet insurance is to look carefully at the small print of each policy. It’s worth the hard work at this stage – that way you will ensure that whichever level of cover you choose, you get the best value for your money.