As there is no NHS for pets it makes sense to have them insured, it is a very good way to budget for those unexpected bills. It also ensures peace of mind, and ensures the best of treatment is available without the financial worry.
There are many pet insurance companies who allow you to insure your pet cat, dog or small animal. They all have some common policies and some have specific policies so it is always best to gather as much information from as many insurance companies as possible.
Most insurance companies will cover the veterinary fees for accidents and illness, advertising and rewards if your pet is lost or stolen, boarding kennel or cattery fees if you are hospitalised, third party liability if your pet causes accidental injury, damage or loss to person or property and death from illness or accident.
Other companies will also cover behavioural problems and veterinary fees for complementary medicine, for example, veterinary prescribed diets, physiotherapy and homeopathic or herbal medicines. The things which the pet insurance companies will not cover are any pre existing conditions and the routine treatments like spaying or castration (neutering) unless on medical grounds and vaccinations. The insurance company may place an exclusion on the policy of any pet with a pre existing condition when the policy is taken out, the exclusion will be reviewed at the policy renewal which is usually on a yearly basis.
In some areas of the country the veterinary treatment costs are higher and so the monthly insurance premiums are higher to reflect this. Also as some breeds of dogs cost more for veterinary care then there usually is a breed supplement to be added to the premium. The breeds most commonly requiring the higher premiums are Bulldog, Deerhound, Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Leonberger, all of the Mastiff breeds, mountain dogs (Bernese, Estrela and Pyrenean), Old English Sheepdog, Rottweiler and the Saint Bernard. Again policies differ in these breeds so always check.
You can benefit from having pet insurance if you start the policy when your pet is between certain ages. Normally the age range for starting a policy is from 8 weeks until 8 years of age, again some companies insure pets from 5 weeks and some until the pet is 10 or 12 years old. Obviously if you insure your pet within these age ranges the policy will continue past these ages to old age with no upper age limit. However the policy may change after a certain age so that death from illness is no longer covered, also you may have to pay your excess plus a percentage of the total claim.
With most policies you can pay the premium monthly by direct debit or annually by direct debit, cheque or credit card. Special discounts may be found with the pet insurance companies if you are insuring three or more pets or if you are a pensioner.
If you need to make a claim there will be an excess to pay, this can range from £35 to £65 for dogs, £30 to £50 for cats and £30 to £45 for rabbits. The pet insurance companies usually state that they will settle a valid claim promptly, sometimes within 24 to 48 hours of receiving the claim.