In the UK there are roughly 14-15 million cats and dogs, of which just 20% of Dogs and 12.5% of cats are insured, according to research company Datamonitor.
Each year up to 1 out of every 2 pets require veterinary treatment following injury, illness or accident. The average cost of a visit to the vet is more than £220, but costs for some of the more expensive treatments can exceed £3000. Remember that your pet is an important part of your family and should be treated like one. Vet bills are just one of many situations you can protect yourself against.
Finding the Most Suitable Provider
As veterinary care costs continue to increase in the UK, Pet Health Insurance is becoming more and more popular among pet owners. The choices of Pet insurance companies available to the Pet owner are still limited, so finding the right one can be a tricky task.
Pet insurance packages work in a similar way to health insurance for people, as they offer coverage for accidents and illnesses. When you decide to choose a Pet Insurance Company there are many policy options you will want to ask about such as benefit limits and the levels of cover.
Reputable companies that specialise in Cat Insurance and Dog insurance, along with policies dealing with Small pets or Equine Insurance, include: Halifax Pet insurance, Direct Line insurance and E and L Pet Insurance.
Pet Insurance Principles
The Concept of Pet Insurance is the same as any other type of insurance - you pay your premium and hope that your pet manages to stay clear from any accidents or illnesses for the rest of its life.
However, if your pet should unexpectedly fall ill, or have an accident your Pet Insurance Company will make a payout out of the collective pool of money. But remember, Pet Insurance won't provide you with cover for routine or preventative treatment for your pets such as worming tablets or regular injections.
The list below is representative of the typical types of problems that will require your domestic pet to require a trip to the Vets. This list is indicative of the typical incidents and ailments you can expect to deal with whilst owning a Pet and some of claims you will have to make on your Pet Insurance: - Cuts/lacerations
- Road-traffic accident
- Pyrexia/anorexia of unknown origin
- Ear infection
The good news is that it is now becoming cheaper and more popular as the cost of veterinary services continues to increase.
The basic level of pet insurance costs much less than most people think and although some policies may not cover you against every eventuality; it's still better to have some form of cover than none at all.
Usually, the more comprehensive level of cover means higher costs, but you should take care to ensure you are not paying for more cover than you actually need.
Different companies often use different rating methods to work out the cost of your premiums, with some rating according to the species of animal you own, the breed of the animal, its age and where you live.
Other companies make you pay the same amount as everyone else, regardless of what species your pet is. This means that if there is a rise in claims, the price may increase for everyone, rather than just for those who are making the claims. You should be able to tell roughly how each company charges by the questions they ask, e.g. If they want to know more detail about your pet then it is likely that you are probably being rated on an individual basis.
Remember, most policy contracts are annually based and the cost of the pet insurance can usually either be spread over the year by paying monthly or as a one-off annual payment.
Pet Insurance Excess & Claims
An excess is the part of a claim that must be paid out of your own pocket. Its main purpose is to prevent people claiming for minor ailments that only cost a small amount but cost pet insurance companies a lot of money and time to process.
By charging an excess, pet insurance companies can keep the insurance premiums at a low rate making them more affordable.
Different companies will apply differing amounts of excess:
- Fixed excesses. Companies deduct a fixed amount, regardless of how much your claim is for.
- Percentage excesses. This is where the excess is based on a percentage of your claim (usually after a fixed minimum has been applied), so the more you claim the higher the excess you will have to pay.
- Annual excesses. If a single condition spans two policy years the excess will be taken twice.
- Variable excesses. The excess can vary according to the area in which the pet lives and/or the pet's age.