Pet Insurance — What to Look For
Deciding to adopt a pet is one of the best decisions you will ever make. Your furry friend will be a constant source of joy and entertainment for the entire family and will brighten even the most gloomy days.
As a responsible new pet owner, you are surely planning on visiting the pet store to buy toys and accessories, registering your pet with a veterinarian practice to get the best advice on how to look after your fur baby, and getting pet insurance.
While the first two items on the to-do list are easy to check off, getting your pet insured can be a bit more complicated — it’s not quite as easy as taking a trip to a pet shop or calling a vet. Lucky for you, we have all the information you need to make the best decision!
What Is Pet Insurance?
Your new pet will quickly become a family member — and while the human members of your family have access to free health services through the NHS, your pet will require paid health insurance.
Pet insurance works fairly similar to private health insurance for people — you pay a monthly premium to an insurer for coverage. Exactly what the insurance covers will be established when you sign the forms (more on this below).
In the unfortunate event that your pet needs medical attention, the insurance will cover all or some of the bills you receive from the veterinary practice. Some insurance policies will even cover the loss of a pet or damage that the pet might have done to someone’s property.
What Are the Primary Types of Pet Insurance Available?
There are four main types of insurance that you can get for your pet, depending on what you need to be covered by the policy:
- Lifetime insurance — This option is the most comprehensive out of the four. You pay your insurance premiums every year of your pet’s life and, in return, the insurer covers you regardless of your pet’s age or the health conditions that might appear as your furry friend gets older.
- Time-limited insurance — Usually limited to a year, you pay this insurance monthly. The benefit is that you can switch to a cheaper policy if one is available at the beginning of the following year — the downside, however, is that it might become harder to find cheap options as your pet gets older.
- Accident only insurance — This option offers the cheapest and most basic level of cover available. It will cover unfortunate events such as car accidents but not any cases of illness. If your pet spends all of its time indoors, this is probably not the best type of insurance for you.
- Per condition insurance — This might be a good option if you know your pet is likely to suffer from certain medical conditions — for example, if they are predisposed to an ear infection or a skin condition. With this type of policy, the insurer will pay a limited amount for each condition but you might need to cover the rest.
What Does it Cover?
Pet insurance will cover costs related to keeping your fur baby healthy. However, you should carefully read the policy to understand exactly which expenses you can make a claim for — this will vary from insurer to insurer.
Generally, the policy will cover:
- General costs at the vets (including treatments for accidents and illnesses)
- Dental care (if it is due to an illness or an accident)
- Congenital and hereditary conditions
- Long-term and ongoing conditions
- Alternative treatments (if recommended by your vet)
- Costs of breeding
Does it cover pre-existing medical conditions?
Pet insurance does not cover pre-existing medical conditions, so it is best to get it as soon as you adopt your pet. By doing so, you ensure you don’t have to worry about any medical issues specific to young pets.
Does it cover older pets?
Some insurance policies cover older pets but not all. You should be honest about your pet’s age and read the policy thoroughly. You might also want to opt for a lifetime or per condition type of policy if you are adopting an older pet.
What Is Usually Excluded in the Policies?
As mentioned above, pre-existing illness or injury is not covered in pet insurance policies — this includes both chronic conditions (ongoing issues your pet has when you take out the insurance) and historic conditions (illnesses or injuries that your pet had in the past).
Also excluded are costs with routine and preventative treatment, which include vaccinations, flea, worm and tick treatments, neutering, and grooming activities such as claw clipping or teeth maintenance.
Last but not least, keep in mind that most insurance providers do not cover the first 14 days of the insurance policy so it’s vital to plan ahead.
Lifefyle has just recently released a new feature called Pet Spaces where you can easily store information about your pet, including setting up reminders for vaccinations, worm treatments, flea & tick treatments, and most importantly, your pet insurance. You can also get exclusive discounts for pet insurance directly through the Pet Space. Give it a try!