Ashman Jones

Pet Insurance: Is it worth it ?

Pet Insurance is the most claimed for insurance by a wide margin in the UK today. This is because there can be a lot which can go wrong with pets throughout their life time. Vets bills are also on the increase. It is therefore our policy to recommend some form of pet insurance for your pet in almost all situations but which insurance is appropriate for your pet ?

At Ashman Jones we often get asked which is the best insurance company to go with. Unfortunately there’s no simple ‘best buy’ as the premiums depend on a raft of variables; such as your postcode address, pet species and age.

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Think about how much your pets will cost you, the likely impact of vets’ fees and how you’d react if they got ill (would you pay for treatment costs or have them put down?). Vets’ fees are rising, so be aware of the real potential costs. Lifelong skin treatment can easily exceed £12,000 and fixing a broken leg can be as much as £1,000 (£2,500 at referral centers).

As well as vet bills, pet insurance covers all sorts of weird and wonderful eventualities; for instance, if your cat is stolen, some providers pay for advertising posters and a reward, or even cover the cost of your holiday if you can’t go because your pet’s suddenly become ill. These are often added as hype to sell a policy and are rarely claimed.

Make sure you choose the right policy !

Premiums vary according to a range of variables including pets age, pedigree and location (vets bills are higher in London and the South East). Policies differ in a number of ways so first consider what you want.

This is one product where the old adage ‘read the small print’ really works. Buy the wrong policy and you could be faced with having to put your pet down, simple as that.

When applying for a policy be sure to disclose all your pet’s medical history. This might push up premiums in the short term, but will save money in the long term, as providers won’t pay up if they suspect that the problem already existed.

TRY NOT TO CANCEL OR SWITCH WITHOUT TALKING TO US

Just like the Dogs’ Trust slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ this is often the case with pet insurance too. The reason? Most providers exclude pre-existing conditions, so if your pet develops a condition, you’re stuck with that policy, as other plans won’t cover it - not without a huge rise in cost anyway. So ensure you get the right policy from the off.

What to look out for

  • Pay out limits. Some insurers limit the amount they pay out each year. Others have a limit for each condition. Also check whether there is a time limit on how long you can claim for one treatment (some policies only pay out for the first year of illness). The best policies offer no time limit on how long you can claim for one ailment.

  • Beware of Accident Only policies – these have recently become more available and may sound like good value but in reality they are cheap for a good reason because they cover very little other than if your pet gets run over. We advise against these insurance policies.

  • Life doesn’t mean life. Some insurers will try to sell you ‘lifetime cover’. However, frustratingly, they can still increase premiums once your pet gets older, increase excesses while still limiting the claim per ailment and exclude prior conditions upon renewal. True lifetime cover means the insurer promises not to increase the price with age and guarantees conditions are covered for life; some do it, but most don’t so beware of falling into this trap.

  • Excesses. If you are willing to pay a fair bit yourself, changing the excess level (the amount you pay of any claim) cuts the cost. Though beware of policies where you must pay a share of any claim, usually about 10%, rather than a fixed limit e.g. £100. If your pet gets seriously ill this can be very costly. To decide on your excess consider ‘how much would it cost before I claimed?Getting a £50 excess if you wouldn’t bother claiming for less than £200 is pointless.

  • Hereditary Conditions. Watch this if you’ve got a pedigree because certain breeds are more likely to develop hereditary conditions e.g. elbow dysplasia in Labradors and Springer Spaniels. Some policies specifically exclude treatment for hereditary conditions, so check to see whether this is the case. Many insurers also exclude conditions the animal was born with e.g. umbilical hernia or cleft palate.

  • Death. Some insurers will pay for your pet to be put down and a few cover the cost of cremation. If you paid a lot of money for your pet then consider insuring your investment in case they die early.

  • Dental. Policies that include dental treatment will usually demand that the pet has regular check-ups. This is performed automatically every year at the pre-booster health check but if you don’t believe in vaccination then you will have to make provision for these routine checks to be done as often as is required.

We are able to offer 4 weeks free insurance with PETPLAN as well as offer a free consult space with one of our nurses to discuss your pets insurance needs.