It cannot be denied that good pet insurance does not come cheap but in my experience over the last forty years or so it is well worth it. However there are pitfalls to avoid.
It is important that your pet is insured from the word go. Every pedigree puppy that leaves a breeder and is registered with the Kennel Club should come with 4 weeks free insurance – see www.kcinsurance.co.uk During this period you will be contacted by them to enquire whether you wish to continue after the free period. In my view you should shop around. This insurance may not be the best in the world but equally it’s not the worse either but whatever you choose please insure your pet at this stage.
Why? You may ask – there is nothing wrong with puppy?
The reason is that any ailment, condition that puppy suffers between now and when you do take out insurance with not be covered by the insurer. They call it a pre-existing condition. So unlike your energy supplier, credit card supplier etc., switching is not a good idea. Hence I recommend that you get it right from the start.
So what should you look for when picking pet insurance?
Firstly, look for “cover for life”. There are some insurers out there who will give you cover for one year and at the end of that time will not continue to insure any condition for which you have already claimed. So look for the best value and make sure it is “for life” and for each and every condition. Insurers will not cover routine treatments like fleas, worms and regular annual vaccinations. As an example, read about Fin and his allergies on http://www.heronbank.co.uk/fin/. When we rescued Fin at three years of age, we immediately got him insured, but he was not insurable for his pre-existing conditions (his allergies) but thankfully he was for everything else, like his anal glands and the day he ate a dead blackbird!
Vets don’t know what to charge these days (sorry vets!!). Fin’s treatment for his anal glands rose rapidly in the direction of £1000. Fortunately we only had to pay the policy excess of £70 plus 10% of the balance which works out at approx. £150.
It is not the purpose of this blog to recommend any particular insurer but we have found MoreThan very competitive see https://www.morethan.com/Process/Pet/PetYourQuote.aspx. Anyone living in the Kirklees area could do well to check out insurance promoted by our vets, Donaldson and Partners, see http://www.donaldsonandpartners.co.uk/insurance/. In addition to meeting all the criteria I have indicated above, they also give discount vouchers for routine treatments – a case of prevention as well as cure. Yes I know they are our vets – so why don’t we use their insurance – pre-existing conditions!!
There comes a time, as your dog gets older (and presumably would need more vet visits), that the annual premium for their insurance rises steeply, and I’m talking here about a 50% increase! Consider at this point whether your insurance is cost effective, or whether to put the amount you are currently paying in premiums into a separate bank account, in case of any big vet’s bills. The money soon mounts up over a few months to give you a “cushion” at least, in case it is needed.
I hope this has gone some way towards simplifying the complex insurance issues we all need to address these days.