Pet insurance – there is a lot of confusion about it. If you have recently become a pet owner, maybe you have been bombarded with competing offers of pet insurance. You may have ended up deciding that it’s just something people try to sell, not something you really need.
There are many reasons why you could be confused.
• There are vast numbers of pet insurance providers, most of them offering several different pet policies. This means there is a huge selection of different products, all covering different things.
• When the subject of pet insurance comes up, most people think of pet health insurance, which covers your vet’s bills in case of illness or accident. However pet insurance can cover many other things such as theft, loss, third-party liability, even bereavement counselling.
• Providers of pet health insurance all want to convince you that they provide “lifetime cover” – that is, cover that doesn’t cease when your pet becomes old. However, “lifetime cover” can mean all sorts of different things. Some policies promising “lifetime cover” can still increase premiums and/or excesses with the age of the pet – or even exclude pre-existing conditions as a condition of renewing the policy!
• Different policies have different kinds of limitations. Some have a cap on the total payout in a single year; some have a maximum payout per condition in a single year; some have a maximum payout per condition altogether; and so on. It can be very complicated to work out which type of policy best meets your needs.
• Different policies impose different excesses and exclusions. Most will exclude pre-existing medical conditions for a new policy, but policies differ in the maximum age at which they will insure a pet for the first time – some won’t accept a pet older than five years, others go up to eight years. Some insurers will refuse to insure certain breeds of dog or cat, e.g. those more likely to be stolen, or those more liable to develop certain medical conditions.
In view of all this, it wouldn’t be surprising if you concluded that the world of pet insurance is just too complicated and you would rather steer clear. But this would be a mistake. Even a moderately serious illness or accident could cost thousands of pounds to treat. A better idea would be to seek the advice of an insurance broker, who could explain the pros and cons of the various types of policy, and help you choose the one which is right for you and your pet.
If your pet is important to you, you won’t want to skimp on his food or other aspects of his care. Taking out pet insurance is one of the ways in which you can really show your love for your pet.