Here at Brentknoll Vets we understand that Insurance can be a mind blowing...
So we've compiled a Guide to Insurance using commonly asked questions from our clients; all of our staff have completed Insurance advisor training provided by Petplan, who are the UK's leading pet insurance providers and regularly complete continuing professional development (CPD) on the topic.
Why should you have Insurance?
The important thing to ask your self is "If my pet were to become seriously unwell tomorrow, could I find the money to treat him/her?"
In the UK, we are fortunate to have the NHS which shields us from the true cost of healthcare. Sadly, there is no NHS for pets, so it can often come as a shock when pet owners are faced with the true cost of healthcare procedures (even though pet healthcare is significantly cheaper than the human equivalent.)
Many pet owners face the situation at some point in their pets lives when they are required to make decisions about their pets care. Sadly for many pet owners, finances play a huge role in deciding what treatment their pet receives and some may be forced to choose make difficult decisions because they cannot afford the treatment.
Pet Insurance eases the worry and allows pet owners to make choices based on what is best for their pet. Knowing that the majority of the veterinary fees will be covered means vets are able to provide them with the very best care with the highest chances of recovery.
Are all Insurance companies the same?
No! There are many companies now offering various levels of Pet Insurance, but not all are created equal and we've seen many clients caught out by the small print on their policies, some issues we've witnessed include;
- Policies cancelled when the pet reaches a certain age
- 'Life time cover' that actually doesn't last your pet's full lifetime
- 'Life time' Policies with claimable limits that don't refresh each year (i.e. Your pet is ill early on in life and uses the £3ooo limit, you then have no money for care later on)
- Exclusions on unrelated conditions (i.e. your dog breaks it's front leg, the insurance company will not pay out for any injuries to any of the other legs in the future)
- Very general exclusions (i.e. your cat has mild kitten diarrhoea at 9 weeks of age, the insurance company will not pay for any gastrointestinal (stomach) related problem whether related or not.)
Our general rule is that you get what you pay for with Insurance. If they monthly price seems to good to be true and is significantly cheaper than other policies, it probably has a lot of limitations and exclusions so read the small print so avoid being caught out with problems like those listed above.
What policy should I take out?
We cannot stress the importance of getting Life time cover for your pet. Life time cover means that if your pet is diagnosed with a medical condition the Insurance company will pay out for the duration of the pet's life (dependent on the small print of policy, all may vary)
Why is this important?
Lets pretend your 9 month old Labrador puppy was diagnosed with Diabetes (which is a lifelong condition.) If you had chosen to only take out the 12 month policy, after 12 months from the date of being diagnosed, your insurers will no longer pay out for your dogs veterinary care, you're on your own for the remaining 8 years (approx) of that pet's life.
However, if you had taken out the life time policy your insurers would continue to pay out until the death of your pet. The lesser insurance policies will sometimes allow a non-replenishing limit, so once the 'pot of money' is used that's it; but the better insurers will give you the policy limit each year (e.g. the £3ooo pot of money refills at the start of every policy year)
Who to choose?
As a practice we are happy to recommend Petplan, they deal with pet insurance only and there are many benefits for you as a pet owner and your pet.
Covered For Life®
Covered For Life®
Our final tips...
- Be honest when speaking to your insurers - trying to hide if your pet's had a medical problems in the past will only come back to haunt you when they request the clinical history from all of your pets previous vets.
- Be aware of pre-existing conditions - if you take out a policy before your pet is diagnosed with any problems you should be covered against most eventualities. However, if you take out an insurance policy after a problem has been diagnosed your insurers will likely place an exclusion against this or any related problems, so they will not pay out.
- Don't swap and change - choose a good policy to begin with and stick with it because moving from one insurer to another could result in exclusions being placed on your policy, especially if you change insurers during your pet's treatment (we've seen it done several times.)
- Insurances increase annually - it's the same as with car and home insurance. Some insurers (usually the cheapest to begin with) start off with low premiums to entice the buyer to choose their policy, this is fine until your pet has a problem, often then we see the premiums sky rocket as soon as you make a claim. Petplan do not asses their policies in this manner, they do increase as your pet ages and the likelihood of medical treatment increases, however you will not be penalised with overly inflated premiums for making a claim.
If your still feeling a bit baffled about Insurance, why not speak to the friendly team at Brentknoll Vets who are happy to help you make a well informed choice
Call 01905 355938 or visit www.worcestervets.co.uk