In the course of our lives, most of us will insure our homes and cars. We’ll protect ourselves whilst traveling, and might even take out life insurance. It stands to reason therefore that pet insurance should follow as a logical extension of this policy. Naturally, no one wants to dwell on the thought that their beloved pet might fall victim to illness or accident: it’s something they’d really rather not dwell on. Nevertheless, whether you’re the proud owner of a pedigree or the rescuer of an abandoned pooch, and you think the cost of veterinary bills may be beyond your financial reach, pet insurance is a must.

The pleasure of owning an animal is also a huge responsibility, which comes – like anything else in life – with unforeseen circumstances. Whether it’s getting up to mischief in the back garden, or running riot in the bedroom, accident-prone pets will certainly put your through your paces. They may also suffer health issues at any stage in their lives: some will be born with heart murmurs, whilst others will develop diabetes in old age.

Pet insurance doesn’t only provide cover for illness and accidents however; it can provide financial aid in a variety of situations. We all know the panic and dread that comes with losing sight of our dog in the park; likewise when the cat hasn’t been home for a few days. If your animal goes missing, you’ll inevitably want to make sure they’re returned safe and sound. Similarly, if you found yourself falling prey to an illness and couldn’t manage the care required, you’d want to make sure your pet was looked after properly in a kennel or cattery.

Situations like these can prove both emotionally and financially crippling, with the worst-case scenarios potentially costing thousands of pounds to rectify. No one wants to choose between paying a bill and sacrificing a pet’s health. Thankfully, for a small monthly sum, pet insurance can offer you protection against such incidents and afford peace of mind. The knowledge that your pet will be looked after, whatever the future may hold, is imperative.

The most basic pet insurance should generally cover you for veterinary fees which result as a consequence of injury or illness. It gets a little trickier once you start reading about the limitations placed upon these however. Most companies will put a limit on the amount they are willing to pay out per individual condition, whilst others will put a limit on the amount they are willing to pay out per year.

Most policies will, however, include cover for medicines, hospital care, operations, anaesthetics, x-rays and laboratory tests. Of course, there are always additions and extras available to you, which will include a variety of benefits unrelated to veterinary care. Although almost every eventuality can be covered, talk to your insurer to see if they’ll adapt the conditions to suit, should you find there’s something important missing from your preferred policy.

For the elderly, or families with elderly relatives, trying to find a suitable home for pets when their owner is hospitalised can be a distressing affair; pet insurance, however, can cover the cost of boarding for the pet, ensuring that financial costs are the last thing you need to worry about. Similarly, if you need to cancel a holiday because your pet is ill or injured, pet insurance will account for the cancellation fee. As well as cover that will protect you from the financial cost of advertisements and/or a reward if your pet goes missing, there are also policies that will refund you the purchase price of your pet if they don’t come home. Some may even pay for an animal behaviorist to iron out any problems in your relationship, and should you happen to be bitten in the process you could receive compensation for time off work. Of course, if your pet happens to bite someone else, you could be subject to legal proceedings. Thankfully, pet insurance can provide for this, to protect you ending up out of pocket. Some insurers will also provide support, advice and bereavement counselling if your pet passes away, and will often cover the costs of a cremation or burial.

Increasingly, pet insurers are also branching out for those who would rather treat their pets homeopathically. Over three quarters of policies now include cover for the cost of acupuncture, herbal medicine and physiotherapy; if you want to explore all avenues, some will even pay for a psychologist.

There are many things pet insurance will not cover, including pre-existing, congenital and hereditary conditions. Generally insurers will not pay out for ‘optional’ treatments, so if you want to have your dog neutered or spayed, you’ll need to pay the bill yourself. Similarly, policies won’t cover boosters and vaccinations, worming treatments or nail clippings; if your pet gets fleas, you’ll have to make a trip to the supermarket. If you find your companion is becoming a little overweight, you’ll need to pay up for any recommended diet food.

Microchipping is also considered a luxury for pets, so policies won’t cover these either; and unless you have a dental plan included in your policy, insurers won’t usually pay for your pet’s teeth. Dogs restricted under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 are never insurable; nor are pets used for racing, guarding or general work.

Of course, the easiest way to find a cheap quote is to shop around. You’ll find different companies offer varying levels of cover, so it’s simply a case of finding an affordable policy that protects you, and your pet, against everything you need it to. Don’t hesitate to research the smaller companies as well as the market leaders; you may find a surprisingly reasonable quote.

Whatever you choose however, make sure the inclusive benefits are attuned to your needs. Some quotes may be slightly more expensive, but then these may include cover towards a dental insurance policy. The cheaper quotes might not cover you for more unusual circumstances such as theft and third-party liability, and they’ll always cap the amount they’re willing to pay out per year or per ailment. If you haven’t scrutinised the policy, you could be left in the lurch.

Ensure that the excess on your policy isn’t too high, either. One way people try to save on all kinds of insurance is by increasing their voluntary excess, or the amount of money they will voluntarily pay towards any costs incurred. The higher the excess, the lower the monthly payments, but be careful. Any pet insurance policy is a legally-binding contract, so if and when the worst case scenario does rear its ugly head, the insurers will expect you to pay up for your pet’s treatment before they do.

Pet insurance is a truly competitive business, so don’t settle for the first quote you find. Conduct your research thoroughly, and you’ll be more knowledgeable about what you are and are not paying for. For a modest sum each month, you can prepare for whatever the future holds, knowing that your pet’s protected.

Most people think of expensive veterinary bills when they consider taking out pet insurance. They should bear in mind however that such policies also cover other aspects of cover that are vital when keeping certain animals. Pet health insurance is important for all breeds and species, and you’ll inevitably find different policies tailored specifically to your animal’s needs. The big companies will cover domestic cats, dogs and guinea pigs, but insurance for pot-bellied pigs and iguanas can be found with smaller and more customised policies.

However, if you own an animal that’s prone to misbehave then pet health insurance isn’t your only concern. Pet liability insurance is equally important, and is often overlooked in the basic insurance policies that are out there. Cat-owners are not legally held responsible for the actions of their pets; felines do as they please, when they please. Dogs, on the other hand, are an entirely different matter. If your dog was to bite someone, or run across a busy road and cause an accident, you are held responsible for the damage. This means that you could face prosecution and even thousands – if not millions – of pounds in compensation for the victims. Many top insurers do not include third party liability in their insurance policies, so making sure you research this alongside basic health insurance is a prerequisite for keeping mischievous pets.

Pet liability insurance can cover you for damage towards other people’s vehicles, homes and gardens, and protect you against potential road accidents too. With the increasing amount of television advertisements promoting ‘no win, no fee’ claims companies, it makes sense to prepare for every eventuality; even if your dog only set its sights on the prize-winning roses next door, you never know what they could get up to next.

Generally speaking, there are three types of pet health insurance policies available on the market. Their exact titles will differ from insurer to insurer, but they follow the same basic structure. Broadly speaking, the three types of policies are termed ‘time-capped cover,’ ‘financially-capped cover’ and ‘lifelong cover.’

The cheapest policies you will come across are time-capped policies: they will cover a condition for the first year you claim, but any longer than this and the funds will dry up. If, for example, your pet develops diabetes, you can claim the full amount needed to pay for treatment in the first year of the diagnosis. After this however, you are responsible for covering the costs of treatment each year, for every year of the animal’s life. This is not, therefore, the best option if your pet is suffering from a long-term illness.

The second type of policy – financially-capped cover – will often be termed ‘lifelong’ by the insurer, but again, you should read between the lines. The cover might well be ‘lifelong’ in terms of the amount of time they will pay out, as unlike time-capped policies they’re prepared to pay out for the duration of your pet’s life. They’re certainly not ‘lifelong’ in terms of the amount you can claim from them however, for these policies only pay out a certain amount per condition. If your pet has developed a long-term illness therefore, and needs treatment for the rest of their life, this cover isn’t going to be the best option for you either. If your pet develops arthritis, you’ll need to pay for lifelong treatment; financially-capped policies, however, may set out a limit which means that after two or three years the available funds for that particular condition have run out. Once the amount of coverage for the given condition is used up, you’re left to foot the bill.

Lastly, the third and most expensive type of policy available is called lifelong cover. In its truest form, lifelong cover will pay for treatment up to a certain amount, each year, for as long as your pet needs the treatment. Again, this isn’t ideal if your pet is likely to cost thousands annually, but it’s the best optiono f the bunch.

Levels of Cover

Generally speaking, there are three types of pet health insurance policies available on the market. Their exact titles will differ from insurer to insurer, but they follow the same basic structure. Broadly speaking, the three types of policies are termed ‘time-capped cover,’ ‘financially-capped cover’ and ‘lifelong cover.’

The cheapest policies you will come across are time-capped policies: they will cover a condition for the first year you claim, but any longer than this and the funds will dry up. If, for example, your pet develops diabetes, you can claim the full amount needed to pay for treatment in the first year of the diagnosis. After this however, you are responsible for covering the costs of treatment each year, for every year of the animal’s life. This is not, therefore, the best option if your pet is suffering from a long-term illness.

The second type of policy – financially-capped cover – will often be termed ‘lifelong’ by the insurer, but again, you should read between the lines. The cover might well be ‘lifelong’ in terms of the amount of time they will pay out, as unlike time-capped policies they’re prepared to pay out for the duration of your pet’s life. They’re certainly not ‘lifelong’ in terms of the amount you can claim from them however, for these policies only pay out a certain amount per condition. If your pet has developed a long-term illness therefore, and needs treatment for the rest of their life, this cover isn’t going to be the best option for you either. If your pet develops arthritis, you’ll need to pay for lifelong treatment; financially-capped policies, however, may set out a limit which means that after two or three years the available funds for that particular condition have run out. Once the amount of coverage for the given condition is used up, you’re left to foot the bill.

Lastly, the third and most expensive type of policy available is called lifelong cover. In its truest form, lifelong cover will pay for treatment up to a certain amount, each year, for as long as your pet needs the treatment. Again, this isn’t ideal if your pet is likely to cost thousands annually, but it’s the best option of the bunch.

It is also worth remembering that these types of cover will often present themselves in different ways. Presented as ‘essential and advanced’ cover, or ‘standard and premium’ cover, the companies will often avoid spelling out what their policies actually do and do not insure you for. As a rule of thumb, ‘advanced’ and ‘premium’ covers are not lifelong policies, but offer financially-capped insurance under the guise of lifelong protection. Always read the small print to find out exactly what the temporal and financial limitations are, and you’ll be able to find the right policy to suit the needs of you and your pet.

Most people think of expensive veterinary bills when they consider taking out pet insurance. They should bear in mind however that such policies also cover other aspects of cover that are vital when keeping certain animals. Pet health insurance is important for all breeds and species, and you’ll inevitably find different policies tailored specifically to your animal’s needs. The big companies will cover domestic cats, dogs and guinea pigs, but insurance for pot-bellied pigs and iguanas can be found with smaller and more customised policies.

However, if you own an animal that’s prone to misbehave then pet health insurance isn’t your only concern. Pet liability insurance is equally important, and is often overlooked in the basic insurance policies that are out there. Cat-owners are not legally held responsible for the actions of their pets; felines do as they please, when they please. Dogs, on the other hand, are an entirely different matter. If your dog was to bite someone, or run across a busy road and cause an accident, you are held responsible for the damage. This means that you could face prosecution and even thousands – if not millions – of pounds in compensation for the victims. Many top insurers do not include third party liability in their insurance policies, so making sure you research this alongside basic health insurance is a prerequisite for keeping mischievous pets.

Pet liability insurance can cover you for damage towards other people’s vehicles, homes and gardens, and protect you against potential road accidents too. With the increasing amount of television advertisements promoting ‘no win, no fee’ claims companies, it makes sense to prepare for every eventuality; even if your dog only set its sights on the prize-winning roses next door, you never know what they could get up to next.

Generally speaking, there are three types of pet health insurance policies available on the market. Their exact titles will differ from insurer to insurer, but they follow the same basic structure. Broadly speaking, the three types of policies are termed ‘time-capped cover,’ ‘financially-capped cover’ and ‘lifelong cover.’

The cheapest policies you will come across are time-capped policies: they will cover a condition for the first year you claim, but any longer than this and the funds will dry up. If, for example, your pet develops diabetes, you can claim the full amount needed to pay for treatment in the first year of the diagnosis. After this however, you are responsible for covering the costs of treatment each year, for every year of the animal’s life. This is not, therefore, the best option if your pet is suffering from a long-term illness.

The second type of policy – financially-capped cover – will often be termed ‘lifelong’ by the insurer, but again, you should read between the lines. The cover might well be ‘lifelong’ in terms of the amount of time they will pay out, as unlike time-capped policies they’re prepared to pay out for the duration of your pet’s life. They’re certainly not ‘lifelong’ in terms of the amount you can claim from them however, for these policies only pay out a certain amount per condition. If your pet has developed a long-term illness therefore, and needs treatment for the rest of their life, this cover isn’t going to be the best option for you either. If your pet develops arthritis, you’ll need to pay for lifelong treatment; financially-capped policies, however, may set out a limit which means that after two or three years the available funds for that particular condition have run out. Once the amount of coverage for the given condition is used up, you’re left to foot the bill.

Lastly, the third and most expensive type of policy available is called lifelong cover. In its truest form, lifelong cover will pay for treatment up to a certain amount, each year, for as long as your pet needs the treatment. Again, this isn’t ideal if your pet is likely to cost thousands annually, but it’s the best optiono f the bunch.

Levels of Cover

Generally speaking, there are three types of pet health insurance policies available on the market. Their exact titles will differ from insurer to insurer, but they follow the same basic structure. Broadly speaking, the three types of policies are termed ‘time-capped cover,’ ‘financially-capped cover’ and ‘lifelong cover.’

The cheapest policies you will come across are time-capped policies: they will cover a condition for the first year you claim, but any longer than this and the funds will dry up. If, for example, your pet develops diabetes, you can claim the full amount needed to pay for treatment in the first year of the diagnosis. After this however, you are responsible for covering the costs of treatment each year, for every year of the animal’s life. This is not, therefore, the best option if your pet is suffering from a long-term illness.

The second type of policy – financially-capped cover – will often be termed ‘lifelong’ by the insurer, but again, you should read between the lines. The cover might well be ‘lifelong’ in terms of the amount of time they will pay out, as unlike time-capped policies they’re prepared to pay out for the duration of your pet’s life. They’re certainly not ‘lifelong’ in terms of the amount you can claim from them however, for these policies only pay out a certain amount per condition. If your pet has developed a long-term illness therefore, and needs treatment for the rest of their life, this cover isn’t going to be the best option for you either. If your pet develops arthritis, you’ll need to pay for lifelong treatment; financially-capped policies, however, may set out a limit which means that after two or three years the available funds for that particular condition have run out. Once the amount of coverage for the given condition is used up, you’re left to foot the bill.

Lastly, the third and most expensive type of policy available is called lifelong cover. In its truest form, lifelong cover will pay for treatment up to a certain amount, each year, for as long as your pet needs the treatment. Again, this isn’t ideal if your pet is likely to cost thousands annually, but it’s the best option of the bunch.

It is also worth remembering that these types of cover will often present themselves in different ways. Presented as ‘essential and advanced’ cover, or ‘standard and premium’ cover, the companies will often avoid spelling out what their policies actually do and do not insure you for. As a rule of thumb, ‘advanced’ and ‘premium’ covers are not lifelong policies, but offer financially-capped insurance under the guise of lifelong protection. Always read the small print to find out exactly what the temporal and financial limitations are, and you’ll be able to find the right policy to suit the needs of you and your pet.

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