Pet insurance for dogs, is it worth it ?
No NHS for our beloved dogs! So what choices do we have when they need health care? Pet insurance does not always have a good reputation, dog owners can feel they are paying money for no service especially if their beloved furbuddies don’t require regular health care.
Pet insurance like any insurance provides reassurance against paying out large vet bills should your pet need medical care. But do you need it? Is it an expense you can do without? Rising cost of insurance premiums can seem an unnecessary cost, especially if your dog is fit and healthy. But could you really afford large vet fees in an instant by not having insurance? What should we be considering before deciding if pet insurance is worth it?
To insure or not to insure
Your car your home and even your holiday is probably insured. But when it comes to our beloved dogs we often feel pet insurance is an unnecessary cost, especially if we have a healthy dog that cruises through life without any significant health issues. Why pay for health insurance for a perfectly healthy dog? Weighing up an occasional vet bill to paying a monthly sum for insurance is something to be considered. The average claim is around £750, while the average premium is around £300. Costs can soar into thousands of pounds if your dog has an accident or develops a life long condition. A sudden large vet bill or ongoing large vet bills is something to consider when thinking of insurance your furbuddy. There a countless companies offering pet insurance, even our local supermarkets! So there are plenty of choices available.
If the decision is to insure, the correct level is vital, choosing insurance not suitable to your dog can be costly. A discussion with your vet can be helpful in deciding on the cover that is fitting for your dog and his needs. Finding the right cover has never been easier, there are many comparison sites out there. List your requirements and the site will find the most suitable provider for you.
Types of insurance
Lifetime is the most comprehensive type of cover available. Premiums are paid throughout your dogs life. These comprehensive policies have the highest payout limit. Payout limits apply per year, per condition, these are usually reinstated each year at renewal.
Accident as the name suggests covers accidents only, it does not cover illnesses. This insurance covers the cost of treatment for your pet if it’s been involved in an accident.
With annual cover you pay for 12 months’ worth of cover on a rolling basis. There is an option available to change policy each year. This policy offers a less comprehensive cover and costs less. This cover may be difficult to continue with your provider as your dog gets older.
There are a few companies out there that provide some cover for pre-existing conditions. These are usually more expensive and there are particular criteria that must be met. It is equally important to ensure you are aware of terms and conditions with this kind of policy, it may be unlikely that the insurer will cover veterinary treatment for that particular condition, due to the likelihood that the condition might flare up again.
Checking the small print is important to make certain you are buying the correct cover. If paying high premiums is an issue, agreeing to high excess is an option to keep costs down as insurers will often reward high excess payments. Most providers will also offer a reduction in costs if payments are made annually.
What to look out for
The age of your dog. Pet insurance for older dogs can be harder to find. It is easier to buy lifetime cover when your dog is young, as insurers believe an older dog will require more treatment. This is not the cheapest way to buy pet insurance but it does guarantee your dog will be covered. There are some insurers that will refuse cover if your dog is over a certain age. Choose cover that is suitable for you, ensure it includes what you require, such as vaccinations.
You must declare any pre-existing conditions when trying to get insurance for your pet otherwise the policy might be void. As with any insurance always check the small print, it is advisable to ensure the cover meets all requirements and has no exclusions.
Multi pet insurance can be cost effective, some insurers offer cheaper costs if more than one pet is insured. Compare pet insurance providers, compare plans and costs that are right for you. Ensure they have a proven track record. Its worth noting most insurers expect the customer to pay the vet bill upfront and be reimbursed at a later date.
Deciding against paying for insurance through a company is perfectly reasonable, but self-discipline is key. Decide on an amount to save regularly that is within your budget and keep in a separate fund. There is a risk to consider though, vet costs could be more than the amount in the fund and they could be ongoing. If for example your dog develops a long term condition or has an accident. There are also vaccinations, teeth cleaning and worming costs to consider.
There are charities and other organisations that can offer help toward vet costs, most of these services can be very overstretched and underfunded. They are means tested and offer help to people who are receiving benefits or low incomes.
Best for you and your pooch
Deciding on whether to insure or not is down to individual choice and circumstance. There is no right or wrong decision. Many factors come into consideration when deciding to whether to buy insurance for our dogs. Age, breed, activity levels and lifestyle are a few.
I hope you have found this post to be helpful in making a decision about insuring your furbuddy, feel free to leave comments or helpful tips on the subject.