Anybody who has a pet is likely to adore it and treat it as a member of their family; they are important and also expensive. Unfortunately medical treatment and also other mishaps can be expensive and for this reason many people choose to take out medical insurance. Pet insurance is actually older than many people may realise, the first policy was actually underwritten in 1980. British people are well known for loving their pets and many households have them, in 2009 Britain became the second highest country to take out pet insurance, behind Sweden. Out of all pet owners in the UK, 23% have pet insurance; this may be due to the worry of vet bills, due to the pet being valuable or rare or for many other reasons.
10 reasons your pet insurance will fail you: When taking out pet insurance you should be aware that there are likely to be some exclusions which are not covered within a policy. These exclusions are the typical ones although each providers’s policy should be checked; the exclusions are likely to include:
* Illness which arises within the first thirty days of a policy being taken out, this often applies to many insurance policies in relation to any claims being made.
* Illnesses or conditions which arise due to pregnancy or the process of giving birth.
* Animals, mainly dogs which are registered under the Dangerous Animals Act 1976 or the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, any policy which is found to breach these acts will be immediately be classed as void and illegal
* Dental treatment, although this is often policy dependent
* Behavioural problems and hereditary conditions
* Pets which are destroyed under the orders of the courts
* Illness associated with the illegal importing or exporting of animals
* Travel outside of the UK, unless stated within the policy, this is a major issue as many claims have been made which are not viable as people have failed to check their policies, individuals intending to take their pets abroad are advised to check all policy details.
* Claims in relation to diseases which should be reported to the correct associations, this includes diseases such as rabies.
* Dogs which are working, racing or guard dogs will not be covered under typical pet insurance although specialist insurance may be available.
People who take out pet insurance should also bare in mind when taking out a policy or when making a claim that there is likely to be a maximum pay out by an insurance company. The policy limits will depend upon each individual policy and also on the reasons for the claim. Some insurance companies stop pay outs for pets at £6000, although as previously stated, each individual policy is likely to be different.
Just like any other insurance policy, individuals taking out the policy will be asked to pay an excess towards any claims made, this happens with both house and vehicle insurance also. Some companies have a set excess fee and some will vary depending on the type of cover.
**The cost of excesses are listed below:
Direct Line – Fixed Fee
Marks & Spencer Standard – £75 cats, £90 dogs
Marks & Spencer Premier – £50 cats, £70 dogs
More Than – £50 cats, £70 dogs
E & I – Between £66 and £99
Churchill – £55 cats, £65 dogs
There also different types of pet insurance which can be taken out, individuals should select the type which they feel presents the best policy and also the best value for money. Some policies are time limited, meaning that a fee is paid for an agreed contract length, for example a 12 month policy is taken out, similar to car insurance. Although there is also the opportunity to take out pet insurance which will be valued for the lifetime of the animal, in other words the insurance policy is valid for the life of the animal whilst ever the insurance premium is being paid. People must consider that lifetime insurance provides a guarantee which is important.
As animals get older people may struggle to find fixed term insurance policies, for example a very old pet may not be a good opportunity for an insurance company to insure. Similarly if a pet has previously had extensive veterinary work, an insurance company may be reluctant to insure the pet again. These are serious considerations which must be made by all pet owners before agreeing to take a policy out.
People who own pets which are of unusual or rare breeds, whether this be a cat, dog or even snake, are likely to face higher pet insurance costs. This is ultimately due to the pet being valued at a higher price. These animals are also likely to require specialist vets to treat them which will produce higher costs than usual standard vets. Some insurers may avoid insuring such animals at all as the costs associated with these animals are often incalculable. Rare breeds are often expensive and are obviously very hard to come by; this increases the risk of such animals being poached or stolen. This risk has to be calculated into the policy and ultimately passed on to the owner of the pet; this may increase the premium substantially. What must be considered is that if the insurance is not taken out and anything was to happen to the animal, the owner would not have any form of cover at all.
Veterinary care has advanced substantially in recent years which means that pets can be treated with different kinds of treatments which do not include surgery. Such treatments include acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, herbal medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy and osteopathy. Whilst these advances are obviously a great asset to the veterinary world, unfortunately the costs are often very high which are obviously passed on to the pet owners. Due to this insurance policies have now begun to include such treatments up to a certain value. Not all insurance policies do include these treatments and therefore it is important that the policies are checked first. Companies such as Petguard, Direct Line, Argos, Liverpool Victoria, Marks & Spencer and Churchill all offer cover for such treatments up to a certain value. The value which these are covered up to is likely to depend on each individual policy. It can not be stressed enough that all pet owners taking out pet insurance should read all the terms and conditions so that they fully understand the extent of the pet cover taken out.
Many pet owners wish to take their pets abroad with them; legislation now states that insurance must be in place before doing this, the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is the scheme which allows certain animals to enter certain countries without quarantine if certain standards have been met. The travel scheme can only be obtained if pet insurance which covers pets going abroad is taken out. There is often a premium to pay on top of usual policy costs to ensure that a pet is insured whilst abroad, although there is also likely to be a large amount of terms and conditions associated with taking a pet abroad.
People who own exotic pets are likely to want to take out pet insurance, this is normally done so though specialist insurance brokers. The cost of this cover is likely to be dependant on how rare the species is and also how much the pet is worth. Anybody wishing to take out exotic pet insurance may have to gain a vets medical report on the animal before a policy can be taken out. The majority of household names within the insurance market do no offer exotic pet insurance as it is such a specialist area.
Pet lovers will know that it is very important to keep a pets teeth in order, this just like any other pet treatment is expensive. Some pet insurance policies may cover dental treatment, although just like any other matter, it is policy dependent. If the policy does not cover dental care, specialist tailored policies can be taken out relatively cheaply which cover just pet dental care.
Horse riding is very popular within the UK and is also a multi million pound industry. Race horses and regular horses are worth large amounts of money, for this reason insurance will be taken out to cover them. Although insurance is not just taken out to cover the horse, the rider offer takes out insurance to cover them. Serious injury can result from horse riding and this risk must be covered through taking out an insurance policy. Horse insurance is often very expensive due to the value of horses and also the potential for them to be injured when racing or during regular riding. The benefits are clearly that the risk of being injured, whether it is the horse or the rider, is always covered when an insurance policy has been taken out. Fail to take out a policy may mean that any accident will be extremely costly in relation to loss of earnings and also injury.