Advice on pet insurance - Molesey Vets
Your pet is part of your family, so it makes perfect financial sense to protect them from illness or injury and plan for unforeseen vet fees in advance. If your pet needs treatment following a road traffic accident, a life-threatening illness, or perhaps a new long-term condition, you may not have money tucked away to pay for their care. This is why we believe pet insurance is such a wise investment.
It is worth noting that if your pet needs to be referred to a specialist, the cost of investigations and treatments at a referral centre could add up to several thousand pounds, but may be the best or only treatment option for your pet.
Common types of pet insurance policy
As a veterinary practice, we wholeheartedly support the idea of pet insurance but are unable to recommend any individual insurer. We can advise on different types of policies to look out for, see below:
Lifelong Cover (Veterinary cover until end of life) – Usually includes a maximum amount you can claim annually on each condition; the pot refills when you renew your policy. Policies often provide ongoing cover for long-term conditions such as arthritis, heart/kidney problems, or skin disease. Benefit limits may be ‘per condition’ or an annual amount for all conditions.
Maximum Benefit Policies (Individual Condition Cover) – Claim a maximum amount per condition with no time limit. After the maximum has been reached, the condition will be excluded.
12 month/Annual Policies – These policies will cover a condition for 12 months from when it started, then it will be excluded, even if no treatment has been given. Financial limits will also apply.
Accident Only Cover – Only covers your pet in the event of injury or death following an accident. Does not include illness cover.
The benefits of being insured
Pet insurance can be well worth purchasing as you never know when your pet might get sick or injured, or how much their treatment is going to cost. Insurance mainly provides cover for veterinary fees if your pet is injured or becomes unwell. However, other benefits may include:
- Third party liability cover if your pet injures someone or damages someone else’s property
- Paying you the price you paid for your pet if they become lost, stolen, or die as a result of injury or illness
- Paying the costs of looking after your pet if you have to go into hospital for emergency medical treatment
- Paying the cost of your holiday if it’s cancelled due to your pet needing emergency surgery close to the date you were due to leave
- Paying the cost of emergency veterinary treatment for your pet if you take them abroad under the Pet Travel Scheme
- Paying for treatments such as physiotherapy and other supportive therapies
When choosing pet insurance you should consider:
Pet insurance plans can vary quite a bit so we encourage you to compare a few by visiting the websites of different companies. In general, you should look out for:
- Excess: The amount you must pay before the insurer becomes liable for the cost of investigation or treatment – typically £50 to £200 per condition.
- Heredity and congenital conditions: Check your insurance policy does not exclude conditions common in your breed of cat or dog.
- Amount of cover: Depends on your financial circumstances. At referral centres, a medical investigation or surgical procedure can typically carry a minimum financial bill of three thousand pounds.
- Third-party cover: If your pet is involved in a road traffic accident, you as the owner may be liable for costs involving vehicle repairs or injury to the driver.
- DO NOT CHANGE YOUR INSURER without giving this careful consideration as a new insurer will NOT COVER any conditions that arose prior to the onset of their cover.
- It is important to choose your insurance provider carefully as the policy could be in place for all of your pet’s life.
- You should always read the insurance policy documents thoroughly to see what they do and don’t cover.
Making a pet insurance claim
At Molesey Vets, in most cases we are able to do direct claims with most insurers when the amount is over £500. Speak to our friendly Receptionists about insurance claims. If we are not doing a direct claim on your behalf, this is the process you should follow:
- Contact your insurer for a claim form – this may be available by email or download.
- The owner normally has a section of the claim form to complete – do this and hand it into one of our Receptionists.
- We will complete the remaining veterinary section and provide you with a full clinical history report to send to your insurance company.
- We ask you to allow 14 working days for completion of your claim form.