Choosing the right pet insurance for your furry family member
Sadly, it’s not uncommon for our pets to become sick or injured, and if you’re not prepared, the vet bills can soon add up. The 2022 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report* found that 61 per cent of cats and 39 per cent of dogs in the UK are uninsured, showing that many pets may not be covered for all eventualities.
PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing said: “We all do our best to keep our furry family members happy and healthy, but sometimes factors outside of our control can mean they become unwell. Tellingly, our latest PAW Report found almost a third (31 per cent) of cat owners are worried about how they’ll pay for their medical bills if their puss falls ill.
“Along with keeping on top of their preventive healthcare, having cover in place will avoid the added stress from a costly vet bill if your beloved pet becomes unwell – allowing you to prioritise helping their recovery.
Types of cover
“The cost of pet insurance depends on what type and level of cover you choose, your pet’s breed and age, and even where you live. With so many options on the market, it is important to make sure you are choosing the right cover for your furry family member.
“The cheapest policies are generally ‘accident only’ and will only cover claims for accidental injuries up to a specified amount, so it’s important to remember you would need to cover the cost if your pet became ill. Meanwhile, the most comprehensive lifetime cover policies may be more expensive, but will insure your pet for all accidents and illnesses up to a certain financial limit each year.
“Whatever type of insurance you choose, you should always read your policy’s terms and conditions carefully to ensure that you are choosing the right insurance for you and your pet.
“Some companies won’t insure certain breeds, while others may not offer cover over a certain age, so it’s important to look around. It’s a good idea to find the best policy for your pet as soon as possible, as pre-existing illnesses and injuries are typically not covered. If you insure your furry friend while they’re young and healthy, most companies will continue to cover them in older age, but be aware that the premium is likely to increase.
“Excesses are paid in addition to your annual premium and, depending on the type of cover you choose, can either be a fixed price or a percentage of the claim. Your insurer may sometimes set a ‘compulsory excess’ along with a ‘voluntary excess’ where you decide the amount you would pay when making a claim. Opting for a policy with a higher excess could reduce the cost of your annual premium, however make sure the cost of the excess is affordable should you need to make a claim.
“Most pet insurances won’t cover the cost of treatments such as flea, worm and tick prevention, teeth maintenance and spaying or castration – so if these are features that you would like included in your policy, be sure to factor them in when exploring options. In some cases, if your unvaccinated pet falls ill with a condition that was preventable through vaccination, their treatment may not be covered by your policy either. Keeping up to date with your preventive treatments is crucial, as these are a vital step to helping you to keep your furry family member in good health.
“Seek advice from your vet if you’re unsure which type of cover may be best for you as they will have your pet’s medical information on file, which may help to inform a decision. For more information, visit PDSA’s handy pet insurance guide: pdsa.org.uk/insurance-guide”
PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity providing a vital service for pets across the UK whose owners struggle to afford treatment costs for their sick and injured pets. For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. www.pdsa.org.uk