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Policies will normally fall into one of the three categories below.
Each policy is different – so check the terms and conditions carefully to ensure it meets your needs.
‘Lifetime Cover’ These policies typically provide the most comprehensive level of cover. Veterinary Fee benefits ‘re-charge’ each year that the policy is renewed.
1. Cover is provided up to a set amount for veterinary fees and refreshed each policy year.
2. No time limit on how long you can claim for each illness or injury as long as you renew the policy each year without a break in cover.
3. Ideal if your pet develops an ongoing condition such as arthritis or diabetes.
1. Cover is provided up to a maximum amount per condition.
2. There is a 12-month limit, meaning conditions will only be covered for the first 12 months.
3. After 12 months the condition will be excluded from the policy.
1. Cover is provided up to a maximum amount per condition (e.g. £3,000).
2. Once you have claimed up to the maximum amount, that condition is excluded from the policy.
It is important to get the right cover from the start as switching to a different policy could cost you more in the long run if your pet already has any illnesses.
If you decide to change your insurance after a medical condition has occurred, that condition will almost certainly be excluded under any new insurance – even if you haven’t submitted a claim for it. For this reason, it is worth taking all factors into account when making your selection.
Not all pet insurance is the same so don’t just shop around on price alone. It’s also important to check how the cost of your policy will change over time. Most policies increase in price as your pet gets older but some insurers also increase your premium if you claim and others don’t.
With many providers there is a tiered increase in premiums once the pet becomes classed as ‘senior’, but the approach taken by insurers varies widely. Some breeds can be more expensive to cover than others because many have a predisposition to certain medical conditions.
Most policies have an ‘excess’. This is a sum that the policyholder must pay towards the cost of their insurance claim. Excesses can vary greatly so refer to the policy terms and conditions.
For ongoing conditions most insurers will apply the excess once per year per condition. In addition, insurers commonly ask for co-payments – where the policyholder also pays a percentage of the over all veterinary treatment bill. This commonly applies for ‘senior pets’, but can be seen much earlier on some policies.
Normally, payment for treatments is made by the client to the vet at the time of treatment. The treatment costs are then claimed back from the insurer by the client.
Most insurers suggest that they will ‘allow’ direct claims – meaning that the client would only have to pay the vet the excess and any co-payments for eligible treatments. However, vets are not obliged to offer this and it is entirely at their discretion.
Some policies will not only cover the cost of veterinary bills but also include cover for the cost of advertising and a reward if your pet gets lost or stolen. And, can even help with legal costs if your pet causes an accident, injury or damage to someone else’s property.
*You should always check the details and exclusions of your pet insurance policy to understand what is and is not covered.