We’re all used to getting insurance to cover all aspects of our lives, from holiday insurance to car insurance, and home building and contents cover. So it makes sense to take out cover for your pet.
Pet insurance is designed to cover your beloved four-legged friend in the event of the unknown and provide a needed financial safety cushion in the event of an emergency.
In this practical article, we’ll take you through some important practical points and factors to consider when it comes to selecting the right insurance for your dog.
Dog insurance – what’s the point of it?
Insurance for your dog can provide several benefits such as helping you manage unexpected veterinary costs and ensuring your pet receives the necessary medical care. This is particularly helpful in an unplanned or emergency situation, which could leave you heavily out of pocket.
Taking out insurance is a sensible approach in ensuring this does not become a concern. As well as this, you don’t want to find yourself in a position where you’re not able to pay for your dog’s treatment following an accident or illness.
What types of pet insurance are available?
Here are the main types of insurance generally available:
Accident only: as it says on the tin, only accidents will be covered by the policy.
Time limited: this type of cover will usually be valid for 12 months and include illness and accidents.
Maximum benefit: as long as your dog insurance policy is renewed, your pup will get the full cover, including accident and illness.
Lifetime: as the most complete policy type available, lifetime cover includes accident, injury, and illness.
What are the benefits of taking out insurance for your dog?
To answer the question of whether insurance for your dog is worth it: in short, yes. But why?
Knowing that you have insurance for your dog gives you peace of mind that you can provide necessary medical care without worrying about the cost.
A trip to the vet’s alone can be expensive as it is, and this can spiral if your dog needs to be cared for at a specialist hospital. In case of accidents, injuries, or chronic illnesses, dog insurance can help cover a significant portion of these costs, easing the financial burden on you. As we all know, accidents and sudden illnesses can happen at any time. Insurance can cover emergency visits, surgeries, and hospitalizations.
Having a valid insurance policy taken out comes with the benefit of being able to afford advanced or specialized treatments that might otherwise be financially challenging.
Often, insurance providers can offer a variety of plans, allowing you to choose coverage that suits your dog's needs and your budget.
What factors should you be aware of when choosing pet insurance?
Levels of pet insurance cover
Different insurance plans offer various levels of coverage. Consider what types of treatments, medications, and procedures are covered under the policy. Don’t just plan for the short-term but also for any potential long-term conditions or events which could lead to your dog being hospitalised.
Every insurance plan will be different in terms of cost, and this will likely be influenced by your dog’s breed, age, and any underlying or pre-existing conditions. Try to compare the monthly or annual premiums and the required amount of excess payable per claim. Choose a plan that provides good value for the coverage provided. If you can, try not to go for the ‘cheaper’ option – this often results in more excess being paid, particularly over a long period of illness.
Exclusions and limitations
Review the policy's exclusions, waiting periods, and limitations. Understand what conditions or treatments might not be covered and for how long you need to wait before coverage begins. Some insurance plans may have age or breed restrictions, so ensure that your dog is eligible for coverage.
The majority of insurance plans will not cover pre-existing conditions, while others might offer coverage after a waiting period. Be clear on how the policy handles pre-existing conditions as this can be important in the event of ongoing treatment.
Some insurance schemes will allow you to either claim yourself using their process, which is normally done online, or give permission for a third party to do it for you. This could be following your dog’s stay in a veterinary hospital, where the staff are able to directly put through your claim for you.
As part of taking out the claim to begin with, you also need to be aware of when it ends. Do you need to actively renew, or is your policy set to renew automatically? If it’s the former, you don’t want to forget and end up being caught out with no cover.
Are you thinking of taking your pet on holiday or planning frequent travel? Some insurance providers could help towards the cost of emergency treatment if your dog needs it while they’re in a foreign country. It’s best to check this with your provider before taking out the policy.
As with buying anything nowadays, it’s always a good idea to research the insurance provider, checking reviews online. Compare your provider choices and their reviews on sites such as Google, Trustpilot, and Feefo. Reputation and customer reviews, particularly on verified sites such as Feefo, go a long way to help you make a decision.
Selecting the best insurance for your dog requires careful consideration of your dog's specific needs and your budget. Do be mindful that as your dog grows older, they are more likely to develop certain ailments and illnesses or be prone to injuries.
It’s a good idea to have a look at multiple insurance plans, read the policy documents thoroughly, and if possible, consult with your veterinarian for recommendations.