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Does pet insurance cover vet visits?

Find out what vet fees pet insurance will cover

Lauren Chong
Written by  Lauren Chong
10 min read
Updated: 12 Feb 2024

Pet insurance is designed to cover the most important and costly vet bills, which means that it won’t always cover smaller, routine vet bills. To find out exactly what vet bills your pet insurance will cover, check out our guide. 

Understanding pet insurance: A guide for responsible pet owners

Cat in the hands of a vet

Introduction to pet insurance

When our furry friends fall ill or get injured, the last thing we want to worry about is how we'll afford their care. That's where pet insurance comes in. Standard pet insurance is primarily designed to cover non-routine vet fees. If your pet is injured or develops an illness, pet insurance will cover the cost of treatment. However, the scope of coverage can vary significantly between policies. It's crucial to understand what your policy includes and how different types of insurance can impact the vet bills you're able to claim for.

Levels of pet insurance coverage

The various pet insurance options can be daunting, but knowing the main types of coverage can help you make an informed decision:

  • Lifetime cover: A lifetime policy is the most comprehensive, covering vet bills related to injury or illness up to an annual limit, which is then reset each year. This is often the preferred choice for pet owners who want consistent coverage throughout their pet's life.

  • Accident only: For those looking to cover the basics, accident-only policies provide a safety net for unexpected injuries resulting from accidents.

  • Maximum benefit: This type of policy covers injuries or illnesses up to a specified limit per condition. Once that limit is reached, the condition is no longer covered, making it a less flexible option than lifetime coverage.

  • Time-limited: Time-limited policies offer a middle ground, covering conditions with both monetary and time restrictions. After the time limit or cover limit is reached, no further claims for that condition can be made.

Exclusions of pet insurance

Even the most comprehensive pet insurance policies have their limits. Common exclusions typically include:

  • Routine check-ups and procedures

  • Experimental or elective treatments

  • Preventative treatments and medications

  • Non-emergency dental treatments

  • Vaccinations

  • Spaying/Neutering

  • Pregnancy and birth-related services

Understanding these exclusions is essential to avoid unexpected out-of-pocket expenses.

Excess and cover limits

To tailor your insurance to your financial situation, you can opt to pay an excess on your vet bills, which can reduce your premium. Be aware that cover limits may apply to certain conditions or tests, potentially affecting the amount you can claim. With every pet insurance policy, you can volunteer to cover a certain amount of your vet bills to decrease the cost. So, your provider may ask you to contribute a percentage of the cost of treatment to cover your vet bills or cover a fixed amount.

Waiting period

After taking out a policy, most insurers implement a waiting period before you can make claims, usually around one month. This is to prevent claims for conditions that occur immediately after purchasing the policy.

Pre-existing conditions

In most cases, it is unlikely that providers will cover the vet fees for treating pre-existing conditions. However, specialised insurance for pets with pre-existing conditions is available, albeit at a higher cost.

Additional coverage

Beyond vet bills, pet insurance can cover other expenses such as emergency kennel and cattery fees, behavioural therapy, and third-party liability. Always check your policy documents to understand the full extent of your coverage.

Optional Cover

For additional protection, some policies offer cover for pet dental treatments, vet fees abroad, and the costs associated with recovering a lost pet. Review these options to determine if they provide value for your circumstances.

Affordability of vet fees

If upfront payment for vet bills is challenging, some veterinarians offer payment plans. In the UK, charities like PDSA, Blue Cross, RSPCA, Dogs Trust, and Cats Protection can assist low-income households with veterinary costs. Contact the local branch for more information.

Pet insurance is more than just a financial safeguard; it's a commitment to the health and well-being of our beloved pets. By comparing quotes from top UK pet insurance providers, you can find a policy that not only fits your budget but also gives you the peace of mind that you're prepared for whatever health challenges your pet may face. Remember, the right pet insurance can make all the difference in managing the costs of emergency care and ensuring your pet receives the best possible treatment. To find great value pet insurance that gives you the cover you need, why not come to us? We’ll fetch quotes from some of the top UK pet insurance providers, so all you need to do is click on the deal that’s right for you and apply today. It’s quick and easy.

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