Our lovely Fern is now three, and young Moss, alias Captain Chaos, is just over one. Fern has finally settled down, and she is now generally very well behaved. Moss is still very much “ the pup”, and he is still quite a handful! During his puppy stage Moss did chew at everything in sight, including his bedding, and poor Fern’s precious toys. As a result, Moss has had quite a few tummy upsets secondary to these incidents.
One of the first things that we did for both our dogs was to make sure that they had good, adequate, “covered for life” pet insurance.
When you bring a pet into your home, there are many important decisions that you need to make. You want to make sure that your pets are well looked after and are kept in good health. What happens though, if your pet becomes sick or is involved in an accident and needs emergency care? You, of course, would want your pet to have the best care possible, but this could leave you with an expensive vet’s bill. This is the type of scenario where adequate pet insurance is key to pay any unforeseen bills.
We all hope our pets will live long and healthy lives. Yet the reality is, unexpected accidents and illnesses sadly do happen. Veterinary medicine and surgery now employ more advanced skills, techniques, diagnostics, drugs, and expertise, which can be expensive. Ongoing, required veterinary medications can cost pet owners hundreds of pounds per month, and any required surgeries can now cost thousands.
If your pet is uninsured you won’t have a financial safety net, and will instead depend on credit cards, loans, or other borrowing when faced with unexpected costs. There is no NHS for animals, so any treatment will always incur a cost to the owner.
There are other benefits that may be covered, and pet insurance policies can get a little complicated, so to clarify, the four main types of policy are:
1) Accident only: The most basic level. It will pay out only if a pet needs treatment after an accident. The policy may also have a time restriction and only pay out up to a fixed sum.
2) Time-limited: These do cover illness as well as accidents and injuries, but these will only pay out up to a maximum amount per condition, and only for a fixed period. After which that condition will then be excluded from the policy.
3) Maximum benefit: This insurance will only cover up to a maximum amount per condition, but unlike time-limited policies, policy holders can continue claiming until they reach their policy limit, after which they will then be responsible for any bills.
4) Lifetime /Covered for Life: This is the most comprehensive level of cover, there is still a maximum set amount, but rather than per condition, this is per pet, per year, and it will be much higher, say from £4000 to £12,000 per year, depending on your insurance policy. These policies do have to be renewed every year to allow their full policy cover. Your covered-for-life policy will continue if you renew the policy within each policy year end, each year and without a break. This is the type of policy which is strongly advised by vets.
Pet insurance premiums rise as your pet gets older and if there are ongoing medical conditions noted. It is not advised though that you change insurance provider though, as there would automatically be exclusions on pre-existing medical conditions.
Having a good “covered for life” pet insurance allows you to enjoy your time with your pets, rather than worrying about bills.
Alison Laurie-Chalmers is a senior consultant at Crown Vets.
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