While most of us never think twice about getting home contents insurance – after all, it is not compulsory – it is surprising how many pet owners do not take out pet insurance.
Yet, you are three times more likely to need to make a claim on your pet insurance (if you have it) compared to your contents insurance!
Many cat and dog owners see pet insurance as unnecessary, yet every year, one in three pets make an unexpected trip to the vet, meaning their owner will need to find the money to pay for their treatment. These costs can literally run into hundreds – sometimes even thousands – of pounds.
As example, when 12 year old Timmy – a Bombay cat – was adopted from a local rescue by the Ashcroft family, they immediately got him checked over by their vet and then took out pet insurance at a cost of Ł10.85 a month.
Mrs Ashcroft says: “Having been a cat owner for many years, and knowing how vets bills can mount up, it seemed the natural thing to insure Timmy. We are so glad we did now. Just four months after we took out the insurance, a routine check up showed up a heart murmur. Diagnostic tests to discover just how the bad the problem was, plus ongoing medication and visits to the vet cost us well over Ł700 in just a year.
“After that, further tests revealed a thyroid problem. Medication, tests and a operation the following year cost us another Ł700-odd. Thankfully, our insurance covered most of these costs – we only had an Ł80 excess to pay. Timmy will be on medication for the rest of his life and will need twice-yearly check ups, and the insurance policy will pay for this. It’s comforting to know that we can afford to give him the best medical treatment and attention for the rest of his life”.
There are many specialist insurance companies offering pet insurance for your pet, from rats, rabbits and reptiles through to cats, dogs and horses, at affordable prices. And while cover varies from provider to provider and depends on the type of pet you are insuring, as a basic rule, injuries and illnesses are covered. (You should note that preventative treatment, such as vaccinations or dentals are not covered).
Each time you claim for a separate injury or illness, you will be expected to pay an excess – rather like your car or home insurance.
When choosing the right policy for you and your pet, bear in mind that while the concept is the same for all the insurers, each has its own terms, conditions and criteria. The following should be taken into consideration:
• Check that there is no limit on how long you can claim for each illness. For example, if your cat need tablets to control heart problems, or your dog has arthritis, the problem will need to be controlled for the rest of their life, not just a year or 24 months
• Check that the limit per illness is realistic – over time treatment for a single illness can cost hundreds of pounds
• Check that your pet will still be covered in later life when they will need it most. Some insurers terminate policies when a pet reaches a certain age
• Look out for special discounts, such as those offered in multi-pet households and for pensioners