The 3 key questions to ask when comparing pet insurance policies.
Lahni, a veterinary nurse, knows only too well the pitfalls of having an uninsured pet.
Elijah was found in a plastic bag with his 4 siblings at 3 days old. Lahni hand-raised him at the vets where she worked but couldn’t bear to give him up. The two soon became inseparable.
Then at 5 months old Elijah contracted an infection – pyrexia. At the time, he wasn’t insured, and Lahni had to find the cost of treatment herself. “Having had to cover the cost of Elijah’s Pyrexia before he was insured,” she says, “I know what it’s like having to find the money to pay veterinary bills you haven’t budgeted for.” Since then, Lahni has taken out insurance with Petplan. “I deliberately choose a policy that I knew didn’t have any hidden limits,” she explains.
Lahni was right to be careful. There is no shortage of cheap pet insurance policies out there. But if you want to avoid a nasty shock in the vet’s surgery, you need to look past the flashy headlines and promotional offers and find out what your pet insurance policy really covers.
“We often find pet owners don’t know what their policy covers and can be surprised by some of the restrictions they uncover when making a claim," says leading veterinary specialist Professor Noel Fitzpatrick (best known as the Supervet). "This can mean the pet parent has to pay more towards the cost of their animal’s treatment than they expected.”
Policies that provide limited cover can cost you in the long run.
Professor Noel Fitzpatrick
And the small print doesn’t end there either. In addition to having restrictive cover that results in you having to use your own money to cover the cost of things your policy doesn’t, some seemingly cheaper policies significantly increase your premium when you make a claim. This doesn’t sound like that big a deal until you discover that it can be difficult to switch providers after your pet has had veterinary treatment, as pre-existing conditions are often not covered by new policies.
"I always advise families to think about the policy they are buying in terms of its value over many years rather than looking for a short-term deal" says Professor Noel Fitzpatrick.
Before you take out any pet insurance, go through the policy carefully. Are there any additional limits within the Veterinary Fees cover? Does the policy cover dental illness and injury? Will the insurance company charge you more if you claim? Check out Petplan’s Covered For Life® insurance at the link below and you’ll find that dental cover comes as standard and you won’t be penalised for claiming. Remember – the best value pet insurance is about long-term value, not short-term savings.