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What does pet insurance cover?

Knowing what your insurance doesn’t pay out for is just as important as understanding what it does. So, what does pet insurance cover, and what might not be included in your policy?

The first thing you need to know when choosing insurance is that all policies are different. Some policies cover almost all the care your pet could need and others just the basics. With some policies you will not pay more for claiming and other policies your premium will increase significantly if you claim. This is why you might get quotes at varying prices, and why it is important to look into the details of your policy before committing to purchasing it.

At Petplan, we design our insurance policies to pay out. We know that your biggest priority is keeping your pet happy, safe and well, so we aim to provide cover for as many different eventualities as we can. We’ll also tell you up front what is and what isn’t covered in your policy and with Petplan you won’t pay more for claiming.

Petplan’s insurance policies are designed to cover as many illnesses and injuries as possible. Our Covered For Life® policy provides lifetime cover so that you can continue to claim for veterinary treatment for ongoing illnesses, as long as you renew each year. We also offer an Essential policy, which provides support for 12 months after an injury or illness is first treated. After that time, the condition will no longer be covered – but you can still claim for new ones.

Cat atop door

Some of these apply to every plan taken out with us, but because we tailor our insurance to each individual pet, some elements of your cover will also be based on factors such as their medical history, age and general health.

It is important that you understand any exclusions fully when you take out your policy. To help you with this we will ask you some questions about your pet’s health when you take out your policy. Based on your answers, we will then confirm what will and what won’t be covered from the start, and state any exclusions clearly on your Certificate of Insurance.

Hidden limits are clauses in the small print of an insurance policy that mean your policy might not cover the care your pet needs and you could find yourself needing to pay more towards your veterinary bill than you expected. Some common ones to look out for are:

  • Cover not being provided for the full cost of diagnostic tools such as MRI scans
  • Cover only being provided up to a certain limit for conditions, such as cruciate ligament disease
  • Cover only being provided up to a certain limit within the overall vet fee benefit level – for example even if your overall limit was £4,000, you would only be able to spend £1,000 of that on your dog’s hip surgery.

With over 40 years of experience of looking after the health of pets like yours, we have learned that no two animals are the same. That is why we underwrite each policy individually instead of applying the same rules to all animals. If we do need to apply an exclusion to your policy, we will notify you whether this is something that we may be able to provide cover for in the future or not. Some exclusions are able to be reviewed after your pet is clear of any issues for a set period of time.

It is important to insure your pet as early as possible before any veterinary conditions occur. We pay 97% of all the claims we receive and with Petplan you won’t pay more for claiming.

How do vaccinations affect pet insurance?

If your pet contracts an illness which they should have been vaccinated against, but has not been, an insurance policy will not usually cover them. It is important to keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date throughout his or her life. Dogs must be vaccinated against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parvovirus. This usually means a first course of vaccinations at 8 to 10 weeks of age, followed by a booster every year.

Cats must be vaccinated against feline infectious enteritis, feline leukemia and cat flu. Again, this normally starts with a course of two injections at 9 and 12 weeks of age, followed by an annual booster.

How can I compare veterinary cover provided for pre-existing conditions?

When shopping around, it’s important to look beyond the headlines and check how much cover will be provided for any pre-existing conditions your pet has. As with all pet insurance, the breadth of the veterinary fee cover provided can have an impact on the veterinary care you can afford for your pet and it’s no different when treating pre-existing conditions either. Two key questions to ask when comparing pet insurance cover for pre-existing conditions are:

  • How much cover will be provided for my pet’s condition in the first year?
  • When will cover start for this condition?

Do you cover euthanasia?

In the sad event that your pet needs to be put to sleep you can claim for the cost of euthanasia within the veterinary fee benefit.

Will my pet insurance cover antibiotics?

If your pet picks up an infection for example, from a wound or because of a common condition such as a urinary tract or respiratory infection, a vet may prescribe antibiotics. The good news is that your Petplan policy will cover the cost of antibiotics, as long as they have been prescribed by a vet to treat an accident or illness.

How much of a pet insurance claim do I have to pay?

When you claim for veterinary fees you will need to pay a contribution towards the cost of the claim known as the excess. When and how much you pay depends on the policy you chose and type the age of your pet.

On Petplan’s Essential policy, you will pay an excess per condition for the 12 month period in which you are entitled to claim. If you have a Covered For Life® policy, you will pay an excess per condition, per year.

Once your pet reaches a certain age you may also be required to pay an additional percentage excess. If this applies to you, you can find details in your Certificate of Insurance. We will automatically deduct the excess amount whilst we are assessing your claim, so you will receive the claim settlement amount minus the excess.

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