We never want money to be an issue should your pet require treatment but there is also no doubt that the provision of high quality veterinary care can be costly.
We hope your pet stays in good health, but, ask yourself, could you afford an unexpected veterinary bill of £2000? In the absence of a Pet National Health Service, lifelong pet insurance may offer the best solution for pet owners.
We work very closely with VetSure Pet Insurance, and so we’re going to be focusing on their policies (although of course there are other options too).
What does pet insurance do?
Essentially, pet insurance pays the majority of the bills if something unexpected happens. Typically, this would include the vets’ fees for treatment, less an excess amount. Some of the more comprehensive policies (such as VetSure’s Premier range) will also cover complementary medicine, special diets, transport to and from a vets, boarding kennel or cattery fees, and even overseas treatment and quarantine fees if needed. The exact mix of benefits will depend on what type of policy and cover you have.
How much do injuries and illness really cost?
Well, in any year, about 1 pet in 3 will need veterinary treatment for illness or injury, and the cost of high-quality care and treatment can easily run into thousands of pounds. For example, the average cost of treating diabetes in a cat is £1,060 per year, while the average cost of diagnosing and treating a dog with a limp is £392. However, these figures are pulled down by the large numbers of cases with relatively mild disease or injury - on Christmas Day 2015, a cocker spaniel swallowed a turkey baster, and it cost £1600 to treat; while the cost of your dog swallowing a grass seed might reach well over £3000 if it ends up in the wrong place. (If you’re interested, you can see the Association of British Insurers report here).
Do the insurance companies really pay out?
Insurers received and paid out more claims in 2016 than ever before – the ABI reported a record £1.8 million being paid out in pet insurance claims every day, that’s over 2,500 claims every day!
We act as an Appointed Representative for Vetsure Pet Insurance® and as such, promote this range of pet insurance products. We beneﬁt from active communication channels with the Vetsure team, this means that we can obtain pre-authorisation prior to starting treatment and can help make the claim process as easy as possible should you require any assistance. What’s more, because we are a Vetsure accredited practice, all eligible claims will be settled direct – this means at the time of treatment, all you need to do is simply pay the policy excess contribution and leave the rest to us!
How much does pet insurance cost?
There are many variables that will influence how much your pet insurance will cost. Unlike with other types of insurance, such as your car or home insurance, it may not be viable to change pet insurance provider at a later date. This is because, after a medical condition has occurred, that condition will almost certainly be excluded under any new insurance policy – even if you haven’t submitted a claim for it! Therefore, it is worth doing your research in the first instance to ensure the policy meets you and your pet’s needs – both now and in the future.
Some of the factors that will affect the cost of your insurance include: geographic location, the breed and age of your pet and last but no means least the level of cover you choose. Like most things in life you get what you pay for! It can be tempting to select the cheapest insurance policy you find on a comparison website, but be savvy when shopping around. Many of the big comparison websites only provide details of a very limited range of providers and some do not allow for price comparison at all. Insurance varies considerably across the market – so making direct ‘like for like’ comparisons is tricky! A policy that covers accident and illnesses will cost more than a plan that covers accidents only. The more comprehensive the coverage is the more it will cost.
With Vetsure, you can pick and choose from a range of beneﬁts to suit you and your budget. You can further tailor your cover and choose between three excess levels (£69, £109 and £149). The higher the excess you choose, the lower the monthly premium. In addition, Vetsure will only charge the excess ONCE per unrelated condition (many pet insurers charge the excess every year – which can soon make costs add up).
Further information here: https://www.vetsure.com/pet-information/latest-pet-news/much-dog-insurance-cost/
What types of insurance are there?
Policies will normally fall into one of the following three categories:
‘Time and Benefit Limited’ These policies typically provide the most basic level of cover and are usually amongst the cheapest available. Each condition is covered for 12 months from its onset up to a set financial limit. The condition will stop being covered after 12 months or when the financial limit is reached – whatever happens first.
‘Maximum Benefit’ These policies typically provide cover per condition, but up to a maximum financial amount. Once the financial limit has been reached, no further claims for that condition will be paid.
‘Lifetime Cover’ These policies typically provide the most comprehensive level of cover. Veterinary Fee benefits ‘re-charge’ each year that the policy is renewed. Depending on the provider, the benefit limit may apply in one of two ways:
1. The benefit limit is applied to ALL conditions per year e.g. £5,000 in total per year.
2. The benefit limit is applied PER CONDITION per year e.g. £5,000 per unrelated condition per year. For example, if your pet was unfortunate enough to have three unrelated conditions you could benefit from up to £15,000 per year.
All Vetsure policies fall into the ‘lifetime’ category and benefit limits are ‘per condition per year’.
Further information here: https://www.vetsure.com/pet-information/latest-pet-news/pet-insurance-cover-right/
If you want to talk about this, give us a ring, or check out our Pet Insurance page.
Are there any other options?
Yes - if you have the money, you could set up a ring-fenced saving account for your pets. However, a really unlucky year could leave that account empty and you unable to pay for further treatment.