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When should you get pet insurance?

There’s nothing quite like having a new pet in your life. Protect them against unexpected injuries or illnesses from the start by choosing the right insurance policy.

When you first bring home a new pet, the thought that they might have an accident or get ill doesn’t even cross your mind. Whether you have a young puppy or kitten, or you’ve chosen to rehome an older pet, the first few weeks of getting to know each other are a lot of fun. But pets are unpredictable, and an illness or injury can happen at any time. That’s why it’s best to insure your pet as soon as you can.

If your pet develops an illness or gets injured before it is insured, you will need to pick up any bills yourself. In addition, you may find your breadth of cover limited or face higher premiums in future. This is because many insurers will not cover your pet for conditions they already have when you take out a new plan.

Younger animals are just as prone to accidents as older ones, and there are lots of illnesses that can affect them, too. This is why it is important to get your pet insured straight away.

Getting insurance once your pet is already ill is too late, as pet insurance isn’t designed to cover problems that have already happened.

If your pet ends up taking a trip to the vet before they’re insured, almost all insurers will refuse to cover this condition on a new policy. You could then be left to foot the bill.

Sadly, pets become more prone to illness as they get older. If you’ve only just thought about insurance or are rehoming an older pet, this is something you need to consider.

Taking out insurance before your pet gets to this stage is a good idea, especially as older pets are at higher risk of chronic conditions. These can entail regular vet visits, procedures and medication, so insurance could be better value than paying for it out of your own pocket. Bear in mind some insurance policies have upper age limits so age can sometimes be a factor in what plan you choose. For our Covered For LifeⓇ policy we have upper age limits, so you can take out a policy for cats up to 10 years old, 8 years for most breeds of dogs (for certain breeds this can be up to 5 years old) and 5 years old for rabbits.

If your cat or dog is too old for our Covered For LifeⓇ policy then don’t worry, there’s no upper age limit on our Petplan Time limited policy for cats and dogs, which provides cover for each new condition for up to 12 months.

Our policies at a glance

Covered For Life®

• Covers your pet for illness or injury year after year so you can continue to claim for a condition as long as your pet needs treatment, provided you renew your policy without a break in cover.

• We’ll pay up to £4,000, £7,000 or £12,000 in vet fees each year depending on the level of cover you choose.

Time Limited

• Covers new illnesses or injuries for 12 months, after which the condition becomes excluded from the policy and you will need to cover any further costs yourself.

• We’ll cover up to £3,000 in vet fees for 12 months from when your pet starts treatment.

So how do I get started with getting pet insurance?

Pet insurance is a lot like human health insurance. You will need to give your insurer some information about your pet, and then they will give you a quote for how much you will pay based upon that information. This quote is for your premium. Premiums are the amount you pay every month or year for your pet insurance.

woman with black cat

When you take out a policy with Petplan, we carefully calculate this based on things like:

  • Your pet’s age
  • Your pet’s breed
  • Where you live

Some insurers increase their premium when you make a claim. We don’t. This is because we believe that every animal deserves the best care, and we don’t want to discourage owners from getting their pets treated. However, your premium will increase over the lifetime of your policy. This will be due to things like, your pet’s age, increases in the costs vets charge and advancements in veterinary medicine.

When you take out your policy, your insurer should also let you know if they have excluded anything from your policy based on your pet’s individual circumstances. This would include details of any pre-existing conditions that the insurer will not be able to cover you for. However, you still need to read the small print yourself to check that it covers everything you need.

Once you are insured, you can make a claim if you need to – although some policies may have limits on what you can claim for and when.

Why choose Petplan?

At Petplan, we have been insuring animals for more than 40 years, and we know that what matters to you is getting the best care for your pet, whenever they need it. That’s why pet owners in the UK trust us to take care of their pets – over 1.3 million, that’s more than any other provider.

The sooner you insure your pet, the sooner you can stop worrying about unexpected illnesses and injuries.

Explore our policies

We also offer a multi-pet discount if you have more than one furry friend

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does pet insurance cost?

Pet insurance policies are as unique as pets themselves. At Petplan, we calculate your premium based on factors such as your pet’s age and breed, and where you live.

What you pay will also depend on what policy you choose. Petplan has a range of options to suit different needs. When picking a plan, you need to look at what is covered and what the costs are to work out what is best for you and your pet.

Are pre-existing conditions covered?

We know that pet health is complex. For this reason we underwrite all policies at the start of cover and will confirm whether any pre-existing conditions your pet has will be covered by your policy or not. You may have seen specific pre-existing condition policies being offered by other insurers, but it’s worth checking the cover provided because in some instances you would actually have more cover for a pre-existing condition on your standard policy.

When you take out a policy with us, you must tell us about any previous or existing conditions, illnesses or injuries, and we will then confirm whether we can provide cover for these on a case-by-case basis. We may tell you that we can only insure a condition when your pet has been free from it for a certain amount of time, for example.

We will be transparent about what is and isn’t covered, and will include this information in your Certificate of Insurance and terms and conditions.

Find out more

Do pet insurance premiums go up after a claim?

Many other insurers restrict cover with hidden limits and caveats in an effort to create cheaper products, or pricing to attract new business and then rocketing up premiums when customers claim. We do things a little differently – offering the best breadth of veterinary fee cover by not increasing premiums based on individual claims.

We won’t penalise you for claiming. Your policy premium will increase as your pet grows older but we won’t suddenly hike your premium simply because you’ve claimed. We believe pet ownership is a long-term commitment, and we’re here with long-term support to help you give your pet the best care possible.

How do vaccinations affect pet insurance?

You must keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date for the duration of your Petplan insurance. If you choose not to vaccinate, you will not be covered for conditions that your pet should have been vaccinated against.

Dogs must get injections from the vet to protect 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.

Do you cover dental treatment

We’ll cover the treatment of a dental injury and illness providing your pet has had a dental examination by a vet within 12 months prior to the onset of the dental injury or illness and that any treatment recommended was carried out within three months of the examination.

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