Guide to pet insurance

See why you need pet insurance

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If you have a pet, the likelihood is you consider your pooch or moggy part of the family – and you would be devastated if anything happened to them.

Girl and dog playing in a field

However, just like us, animals of all types can suffer from an array of illnesses and accidents, but they can’t turn to the National Health Service for free treatment. This means a trip to the vet, and the risk of a hefty bill – which can amount to thousands of pounds depending on the problem, with vets’ fees generally on the rise.

Compare pet insurance quotes

Investing in pet insurance can therefore give you peace of mind that, whatever adventures your furry friend embarks on, they’ll be covered should they need treatment following an accident, injury or illness. 

What pet insurance covers

Like any other form of general insurance, pet insurance policies vary – so make sure to check the fine print to know what you’re covered for.

Rather than simply opting for the cheapest cover, you need to make sure you find the right policy for your particular pet.

However, there are some standard features across these policies. For example, they will usually include cover for vet’s fees up to a certain annual sum, alongside advertising and recovery costs if you lose your pet. Also, if your dog goes on the rampage and causes a traffic accident, for example, any costs incurred as a result will be covered under the liability section of your policy.

Alternatively, routine treatments are unlikely to be included. For example, neutering and vaccinations fall under this description, so you won’t be able to claim for these or other routine trips to the vet.

When it comes to other aspects of pet insurance policies, these will sometimes cost extra – and will mean picking a more comprehensive policy. For example, if you face cancelling an event such as a holiday because your pet falls ill and losing out financially as a result, standard policies are very unlikely to meet this cost. 

Pay more for a deluxe policy, however, and cover may well be provided for this eventuality – as well as providing protection against losses you incur if it’s you that falls ill, and your pet has to go into boarding or lodge with a friend while your pet recuperates. 

Getting the best pet insurance for you

Rather than simply opting for the cheapest cover, you need to make sure you find the right policy for your particular pet. You don’t want to find out you’re not covered, after all, when you need it most.

There are two main types of pet insurance, and which you choose depends on your budget and your pet. For example, lifetime cover is the most comprehensive, and provided you reinstate the policy every 12 months you’ll know your pet will be covered, as it suggests, for life. This is useful if your pet has a long-term illness, for example, as you don’t need to worry that you’ll suddenly have to fork out for treatment because the policy has expired. 

However, you’ll need to stick with the same insurer and make sure that the policy is always in place by paying your premium every year. 

The other form of cover is annual, which means it lasts for 12 months, after which it will expire. This could be cost-effective if your pet suffers a one-off accident or illness and you want cover for treatment following this only – as it’s cheaper than lifetime cover. 

However, remember that your pet won’t then be insured when the policy ends, and you’ll have to get new cover if needed – for which any pre-existing conditions won’t be covered. So you could end up taking a financial hit if you find your pet needs long-term care. 

Compare pet insurance with MoneySuperMarket

To get to grips with what’s on offer from pet insurance providers, it’s useful to use a comparison site like MoneySuperMarket. This way, you can compare pet insurance policies to see what typical prices are, which is the cheapest, and what different levels of cover are on offer. 

However, remember that there are some general exclusions from many providers, such as cats or dogs not being insured under an annual policy when they are older than 10 years (this age might differ according to the breed). 

Also some pets are more expensive to insure than others. So if you have a mongrel rather than a pedigree dog, for example, you’ll find they’ll be cheaper to insure as they tend to suffer fewer health complaints.

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