Insurance – which policy to choose?

We often get asked questions about insurance policies for pets, and what policy types and companies we recommend. Unfortunately we are unable to recommend certain companies, however we can introduce you to a company called Petplan who will provide 4 weeks free cover for your puppy or kitten under 18 months of age. This will cover your pet for 4 weeks, during which time Petplan will provide you with a quote to continue your cover. If you would like more information on this, please get in touch with us at the surgery.

For older pets, we can provide information which will help you to choose a policy. Not every insurance policy is the same, and it is important to choose the right level of cover for you and your pet. There are 3 main questions to ask when choosing a policy, which will help you find the right cover for you.

1. Does this policy cover congenital, hereditary, hip-related, dental and behavioural conditions? It is important to find out this information in advance, as some companies won’t cover these conditions, which can be common in both cats and dogs.

2. Is there a time or monetary limit on how long this policy will cover on-going conditions for? This is a big one – some policies will be time limited, so they will only cover a condition for 12 months after it has first been noted. Some policies will be maximum benefit, so when the ‘pot’ of money has been used up, that’s it. Some policies will be life time cover, which means that the policy will cover your pet for their whole life, for each condition, so long as you renew the policy each year. It is important to understand the difference between these policies, and decide which is best for you and your pet.

3. If I claim will you increase my premium? Naturally, insurance premiums will go up over time, with insurance premium tax (IPT) and inflation. As your pet ages, the likelihood of a claim also increases, which can put some premiums up. However, some companies will increase your premium based on how much you claim, which can mean your premiums may increase beyond your affordability if you make multiple claims. It is always better to know in advance if this is going to be the case, or you can choose a policy whereby this doesn’t happen. Remember that just because an insurance policy is cheap at the beginning, it might not always stay that way.

No one with a new pet wants to think about them becoming ill, but the reality is that veterinary care is becoming more expensive and complex, and sometimes referral to a specialist might be necessary. Some insurance companies will only allow referral to a veterinary specialist within their ‘network’, so this is another question worth asking before you take out a policy.

If you are thinking of switching from one policy to another during your pet’s lifetime, it’s worth remembering that any conditions that your pet had before the switch will likely be excluded from the new policy. This doesn’t just include conditions that you have claimed for – any condition on your pets medical history will be considered by the new company, and likely excluded.

Whilst we cannot answer specific questions about insurance companies or policies, we will always try our best to help you choose the best policy for you and your pet. Please contact us at the surgery on 01204 525066 for more information.