Explaining all about pet insurance

Roger Salmon
Roger Salmon

The number of people taking out pet insurance to protect themselves from big bills is rising.

This is due to the increase in obese animal’s illnesses, raised rate of tax on premiums and the increasing cost of veterinary treatment. As advances in pet medicine increase apace with those in human medicine, treating pets is getting more costly. The number of dogs covered jumped nearly 30% between 2009 and 2014 and a total number of 3m pet policies are held.

Pet insurance mainly provides cover for veterinary fees if your pet is injured or becomes ill and therefore gives you peace of mind that you are in a position to afford all the veterinary treatment your pet may need.

Owners of dogs such as Patterdale terriers, cross breeds and mongrels are the least likely to claim as they have fewer genetic disorders than pure breeds as breeders are less concerned with breeding show dogs.

There are four main kinds of pet insurance - lifetime, maximum benefit, time limited and accident only.

Lifetime policies provide the greatest level of cover as they promise a set amount of money that can be claimed each year. Maximum benefit policies pay out only a set amount for each condition.

So, for example, if your dog has an eye problem and the maximum benefit is £1,000 you will not be able to claim more even if the treatment does not solve the problem.

Time limited or 12-month policies cover treatment for only 12 months or a set time and from that point the condition will not be covered again.

Accident policies will only pay out if your pet has an accident that requires veterinary attention.

Pet insurance may also include other benefits such as:

• Third party liability cover if your dog injures someone or damages someone else’s property.

• Paying you the price you paid for your pet if it is lost, stolen or dies.

• The cost of advertising a reward for returning your lost or stolen pet.

• Paying the costs of looking after your pet if you have to go into hospital.