Pet insurance allows you to protect yourself against the expense of vets’ bills. There are three different kinds of pet insurance:
- life-long – will pay out for specific conditions for the life of your pet;
- mid-level – pays out for specific conditions for the life of your pet but with a specified limit on how much would be paid out for any particular condition; and
- time-limited – will only pay out for a maximum of 12 months per condition.
In all cases the cover only continues provided that you keep paying the premiums.
Pet insurance policies vary, but in addition to an agreed maximum payout for a vet's bills, some will pay for kennel or cattery fees if you suddenly have to go into hospital, and with some policies, the cost of making good any damage that has been caused by your pet.
When choosing a policy you need to think about the likelihood of your pet developing a recurring or ongoing illness – some breeds of pets are more prone to certain conditions.
What may not be covered
Generally, routine items such as annual vaccinations, boosters as well as spaying and neutering will not be covered.
The cost of pet insurance varies – for example it is usually more expensive for dogs than cats, and for older pets rather than younger pets. Even where you live can affect the cost because of the varying cost of vets’ fees.
Most policies have a standard excess charge which means you agree to pay the first part of any claim, for example the first £50 or £100. If you agree to pay a higher excess you might be able to get a cheaper policy.
Make sure you disclose any key relevant information to the insurance company, particularly any previous or continuing illness(es) or disease that a pet may have.
Shop around and always compare what is covered by a policy, not just the price. Some policies may be cheaper than others, but they may not offer the same level of protection.