Why you need dog insurance
If your dog suffers an illness or injury the trauma of seeing them in a poor state will tug on the heart-strings of any owner, as pets are often considered members of the family and dearly loved.
This is besides the potentially eye-watering cost of getting your beloved pet back to full health, which can amount to thousands of pounds – there’s no free health service on offer for dogs. For example, if your dog suffers a broken leg, this can set you back as much as £1,200, which is a hefty sum to find at short notice.
However, the way to know that you can cover this cost without breaking the bank is making sure you have a pet insurance policy in place. This can relieve some of the upset of seeing your dog unwell, as you know you can pay for treatment to speed up the process of getting them back to full health.
For particular breeds, this form of cover can prove invaluable given some are susceptible to conditions that can cost a small fortune. For example, German shepherds are prone to heart problems.
How much is dog insurance?
The size of your dog insurance premium will vary according the type of policy you buy, your pet’s age and health, and whether it’s a pedigree or a plain old pooch.
You can pay as little as £35-£40 for a basic policy, but a comprehensive, top quality is likely to cost much more, with monthly premiums of £50 not unheard of.
Why is dog insurance important?
With vets’ fees on the rise, owning a dog can prove a significant financial burden, as you risk unexpected bill shocks without cover in place. This can mean a heart-breaking choice if you can’t afford treatment, as either you need to cough up the fees, or – in the worst case scenario - have your dog put down.
This is where pet insurance comes in, as by finding a suitable policy you can make sure you’re covered so you don’t need to worry. Even if you do have spare cash to hand, taking out pet insurance can prove cheaper than stumping up the cash for a bill.
Types of dog insurance policies
There are various types of pet insurance policies on offer. As a first step, consider the amount of cover you’re likely to need, and compare policies to see what’s on offer. If you have a dog that you know is prone to health problems, you’ll want to opt for a policy that will cover this need.
Lifetime cover: These tend to be the most comprehensive type of policy, as they pay out for conditions over the dog’s lifetime. This will cover for long-standing and recurring illnesses, so if you know your dog is at risk of developing one, this could be the right policy for you.
Per condition per year lifetime cover: This provides a maximum cover limit per condition, which resets each year. You can claim for more than one condition per year – which covers your dog for a particular amount for each illness.
Annual cover: This provides a maximum overall cover limit each year. This can be less expensive and cover short-term accidents and illnesses.
How much you pay will depend on how old your dog is, and how prone that particular breed is to illnesses – so, for example, pedigree dogs are more expensive to insure than mongrels. Some insurers will expect you to contribute towards a claim once a dog reaches a certain age.
Dog insurance exclusions
There are some things that pet insurers won’t cover your canine companions for. For example, some of these general exclusions may include:
• Any dog that should be listed in the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991/7.
• Working dogs.
• Pre-existing conditions.
• Puppies under eight weeks old.
• Some general treatments, such as worming and flea control.
Also, insurers may not pay out or cover certain illnesses or ailments. For example, under some policies a routine spay won’t be covered – so check the wording carefully so you know where you stand.
Aside from covering vet bills, insurance for your dog also includes other benefits. For example, your pooch will have personal liability cover, so if they cause an accident and the driver sues, for example, you won’t be liable for the cost.
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The type of policy that’s right for you will depend on what breed of dog you have, along with their age and other factors - and the price you’re happy to pay.
It’s important to compare dog insurance policies to see what different insurers have to offer – and make sure you don’t pay more than you need, although it’s not always worth opting for cheap pet insurance for dogs. You also want to make sure you’re not under-insured, risking you being unable to meet vet bills to get your canine friend on the road to recovery.
You can compare dog insurance quotes and policies for other pets on our pet insurance channel. It's free, quick and simple to use, meaning you could get your precious pooch covered in minutes. For more information about pet insurance policies, read our pet insurance guide.