During lockdown, many people have welcomed a pet into their lives. While taking on a new pet can be a wonderful time, there are significant costs to consider including ensuring pets are covered by insurance should they become unexpectedly ill or be injured in an accident.
PDSA Vet Lynne James said: “Pets get themselves into all kinds of mischief, and veterinary bills can be an unexpected expense. Having a good level of pet insurance cover means one less thing to worry about when it comes to pet illnesses or accidents.”
There are many different policies available and the variety and complexity can be confusing. So Lynne has put together some top tips on the key features to look out for when picking a policy for your pet.
- Check maximum claim amounts. Most policies limit the total amount you can claim either per condition, or per year. Cheaper policies may have lower levels of cover in the event of a claim. Ask your vet what upper limit they would recommend for your pet.
- Some policies will only allow you to claim for a limited time, usually 12 months from the start of the illness or condition. Other will allow you to claim for a total amount for each individual condition over the lifetime of your pet (known as maximum benefit). Other policies (which usually cost a bit more) allow you to claim up to the maximum amount every year, as long as you continue to renew the policy. This is particularly beneficial if your pet develops an ongoing condition such as diabetes.
- Pre-existing conditions. These are generally not covered by insurance policies, although there are a few that do for a higher monthly premium. This is why it’s important to take out a policy as soon as possible after getting your pet. Some insurance companies will not allow you to take out a new policy for an older pet, while those that do charge higher premiums.
- Check for extras. Some policies offer support if your pet ever goes missing or is stolen, while others provide overseas cover.
- Check the T&Cs. Read the small print and compare like-for-like policies so you can find the best fit for you and your pet. Take time to carefully read through your policy and check for any exclusions or conditions which aren’t covered.
Lynne added: “Compare policies thoroughly and pick the best match for you, your pet and your circumstances. Policies with a higher Defaqto rating have scored better for features and benefits than others.
“If you are unable to get a policy for your pet, think about setting aside a cushion of money for vet bills. It’s important to note that this doesn’t have all the benefits of an insurance policy, but it can provide a small safety net for you should anything happen.”
PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. www.pdsa.org.uk