Pet Insurance is an increasingly common means of covering the costs of sudden unexpected illnesses or accidents, as well as ongoing long-term medical conditions.
However, many pet owners are frustrated by their insurance policy to the point where some feel it is just a waste of money. This is often the result of being unfamiliar with how pet insurance works and the different types of policy available.
There are four main types of policy available and understanding the terms and conditions of your chosen policy is important:
Accident only –
- The cheapest type of policy available which doesn’t cover illness and generally has a low payout
Time Limited –
- Covers symptoms for a limited time (usually just 12 months) from when they were first noticed (either by you or the vet) – even if the exact cause wasn’t known or you never made a claim at the time
- The insurance will only continue pay for treatment over 12 months if you renew your policy and continue to pay your premiums throughout this period
- These policies can decline claims made “several years” later for symptoms a pet exhibitied during a previous policy year eg ‘scratching’, lumps, limping etc – these symptoms are considered “pre-existing” and are therefore not covered when you renew
Maximum Benefit (Individual condition cover)
- One “pot” of money per condition but without a time limit.
- Once you’ve reached the maximum, that condition will be excluded, even if it appears in another part of the body
- The pot does not get refilled each year
Lifetime cover –
- Cost more but cover more
- The “pot” refills each year as long as you renew your cover with no break
- Generally include other benefits such as Complimentary treatment,
- There will be an annual excess per condition claimed
A pre-existing condition is one which has been noted on your pet’s clinical records before an insurance policy is taken out. This means that if you switch insurance providers all symptoms that have been recorded on your pet’s clinical records will be considered ‘pre-existing’ – even if you have never claimed for them. This is why it is important to do your research and choose the right cover from the start – and stick with it, for as long as you wish to insure your pet.