Pet insurance

This article was originally published on GoCompare

Pet insurance gives you quick access to care when your pet’s in need, and depending on what your policy includes, it may also cover you for some costs at the vets, such as your pet’s annual check-up and vaccinations, up to a certain sum.

As you compare pet insurance quotes, check what cover’s included as standard:

  • Illness
  • Injury as the result of an accident
  • Death
  • Theft or loss
  • Damage caused by your pet to third parties

Get informed

  • Find guides and tips in the Pet insurance library
  • All you need to know about cat insurance and dog insurance

How much does pet insurance cost?

Depending on the type of medical treatment, medicine or therapy your pet needs, the cost of vets’ bills, medicines, and alternative care can be eye-watering.

If you’re trying to decide whether to invest in pet insurance or as another option, pay a little into your savings every month to cover the unexpected, it may help to balance up the cost of insurance versus the upfront cost of medical care.

Bear in mind that you could wind up with care costs racking up in the hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds.

Although you’d pay almost anything to keep your most adorable friend healthy, if the ailment is recurring, the cost of ongoing healthcare may become particularly alarming.

When you compare pet insurance, you can weigh up multiple policies to find the one that suits not only your pets’ needs but your budget too.

What’s more, if you find the cost of pet insurance cranks up when it’s time to renew, you can shop around and plump for a new policy.

How to get pet insurance

Setting your pet up with a suitable policy is straightforward, so long as you have this information to hand:

  • Your personal information, such as your name and address
  • The breed, age and gender of your pet
  • Where your pet lives
  • Its purchase price
  • Whether it’s microchipped
  • Medical history, including any pre-existing conditions, if it’s been spayed or neutered, and if its vaccinations are up to date
  • Details about its behavioural history

You can opt to pay for pet insurance monthly or annually, and you can also adjust the amount of excess you’re comfortable with.

To help you choose, we’ll show you star ratings and helpful information from independent financial researcher Defaqto.

When you’ve got a favourite, you can buy online or phone the insurer if you have any questions.

Pet tails

  • There were 8.5 million pet dogs in the UK in 2016
  • 17% of households played host to a cat

Cheap pet insurance

The cheapest policy may not offer the right protection, so sniff-out what will really look after your pet before signing up with the most affordable insurer.

There are several categories of pet insurance and some tend to be cheaper than others:

Accident-only pet insurance covers treatment if they’re involved in an accident

Time-limited pet insurance covers treatment for a capped amount within a 12-month period. If you renew the policy after one year, you won’t be able to claim again for that condition

Maximum benefit pet insurance gives you an annual sum to claim on throughout the year, either per policy, per condition, or both

Lifetime pet insurance pays for ailment or illness with no time limit on each condition

Be aware that some policies are ‘co-insurance’, meaning you’ll have to pay a percentage of the remaining vet’s fees after the excess is deducted.

Keeping your pet insurance premiums low

The cost of pet insurance is based on a number of factors, including the type of pet insurance you buy.

But, the insurer may also reflect on:

  • The specific conditions associated with your pet’s breed or pedigree – if there’s a great risk of illness or injury, your premium may be higher
  • If the vets’ fees in your area are affordable, or more expensive
  • Your pets’ age

To keep your pet insurance premium within your financial grasp, there are a few tricks to try:

  • How much is your excess? Insurers may offer a more favourable premium if you’re prepared to pay a little more upfront
  • Keep up with their vaccinations so they’re in the best preventative health
  • Microchip your animals for increased security. If they wander off or get stolen, you’ve got a greater chance of finding them

What’s excluded under pet insurance?

Every policy is different, but you will always find the exclusions within the terms and conditions of the policy document.

Keep in mind that if medical treatment for your pet exceeds a set amount, you may need prior authorisation from the insurer before proceeding.

And, cosmetic treatments, such as dental work, won’t usually fall under the jurisdiction of pet insurance. Likewise, if your pet is overweight, any exercise regimes, training or surgery won’t usually be included.

However, if your pet goes missing, gets lost or stolen, some insurers may offer a budget for a reward.

Every insurer is different, so it’ll make for an interesting read.

Carefully considering an insurers’ policy documents is time well spent, exclusions and all, so you have a clear idea of what assistance is important to you in difficult moments.

What’s the best pet insurance?

Wondering which company offers the best overall insurance for your dog or cat? We’ve reviewed many different pet insurance companies, and have compiled a list of our top picks in various categories.

View our full list of The 5 Best Pet Insurance Companies.

Find out more about pet insurance

If you have any unanswered questions about insurance for your pet, explore the guides in our Pet insurance library.

You can read about vet fees, cover for older pets, third party liability, co-insurance, dental cover, kennel and cattery fees, previous medical conditions, foreign and holiday cover, pedigree breeds, accidental damage, alternative therapies, cremation costs, excesses and missing pet cover.

We’ll walk you through buying and owning pets, travelling with them, microchipping, vaccinations, and great small pets for young kids, plus lots of money-saving tips.

And, we’ll ‘paws’ for thought about cover for dogs, puppies, cats and kittens, plus snakes, rabbits and tortoises.

Featured Image Credit: savitskaya iryna, Shutterstock