How much do you REALLY love your pet?

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In the UK, about 1 in 2 households own a pet of some description.? That’s a whopping 22 million, which doesn’t even include fish! With animals playing a central role within the family unit, we place a great deal of importance on treating them as such.? Fortunately for us humans we have the good old NHS to rely on if we get ill, but not so for our furry friends.

When buying a pet, the cost of vets’ fees is not necessarily the first thing you think about, but it is an important factor to consider. Vets’ fees are increasingly expensive and if your pet is unfortunate to need a visit, costs of treatments, overnight stays, medication etc can? soon mount up. This is just one of the reasons why it is essential to take out pet insurance.

It is all too common to only think about pet insurance after your pet has needed a visit to the vets.? We have fallen prey to this ourselves, when a few years back we had a house rabbit who had contracted an infection around it’s rear end.? We didn’t have pet insurance, as quite frankly it didn’t even cross our minds that you would need it for a small pet like a rabbit, and the costs rose to well within a couple of hundred pounds.? It was a lesson we learnt the hard way.

Pet-Insurance-1024x642To put it absolutely bluntly, if you haven’t got pet insurance and your pet becomes ill, you will be faced with the terrible dilemma of either finding a way to pay the medical bills or putting down a well loved pet. It is also worth remembering that in general the cost of taking out an insurance policy is going to be far, far cheaper than any costs incurred at the vets.

Ulitmately, pet insurance gives you the peace of mind that if something unexpected does happen to your pet, you will be able to do something about it without leaving you in financial turmoil. It is worth remembering that the older your pet gets, the more likely they are to develop one or more chronic disease. Always check and double check the insurance terms and conditions as some policies may not cover a pet beyond a certain age and always be aware of when the policy needs renewing.

Pet insurance can be broken down into three categories. It is up to you to sit down and work out which one best suits your needs, based on the type of pet you have and the amount of cover you may need in the future. The most basic level and the cheapest option is annual cover which pays out per condition and has a time limit.? This type of policy is best for one-off injuries, small surgery after an accident or short term illnesses such as a skin condition.? This would be best suited for younger pets, where the chance of them contracting a disease is much smaller. Secondly, is a cover which is based on pay outs per condition but for which there is no time limit. Like the basic policy it is best for one-off injuries but will also cover short/medium term illness.? And lastly, a lifetime policy, which is the highest, most expensive level but will cover your pet for such long term illnesses as diabetes, arthritis or some cancers which require constant, regular treatment.? This type of policy is the best option if you have an older pet, or a pet with a longer life expectancy, eg cat, dog, horse.

According to the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association (PFMA), the most commonly owned pets are cats and dogs, with us Brits keeping more than 8 million of them. These animals are also the easiest to insure, with many dedicated insurance comparison sites available online who will give you a quote after a series of questions.? Remember to check in the small print whether things like kennel and cattery fees are included in the cover as it is also surprising how quickly these fees can mount up. Also, if you have what is considered a dangerous breed or a working dog, check that this isn’t excluded as many may well be.

rabbit-pet-insuranceIf you have smaller pets, e.g rabbits, guineapigs, chinchillas, hamsters etc you do need to put in a lot more thought as to whether it is worth taking out an insurance policy for them. Unfortunately, there are no dedicated comparison sites for these types of pets so you will need to do your own research and weigh up the costs. An alternative to taking out pet insurance is to self insure, which involves putting money into a pet fund.? This takes a lot of self discipline, but if you are able to put away a set amount of money each month into a designated account, it will be there should you need it and if you put it into an easy access savings account it will also be earning interest. The advantage of this is if your pet is lucky enough to avoid a trip to the vets, then you have a nice pot of money waiting for you. It is worth remembering that the costs of treating a smaller animal are likely to be a lot less than say a dog or a cat, which is why self insuring could be considered the better option.

If you have what is considered an exotic pet, then you will need to find a specialist pet insurer that specifically caters for their needs. A good exotic pet insurance company is ExoticDirect. Pets such as snakes, lizards, tarantulas or even pot bellied pigs are all considered exotic and will need a specific policy. There are many dangers associated with keeping an exotic pet and they are generally more expensive to buy, so these are all things to take into consideration.

The most important rule when researching pet insurance is to know exactly what you are getting for your money.? Read the small print as many can exclude things such as, pre-existing conditions, age restrictions or even accidental damage. As the old adage says, “a pet is for life, not just for Christmas” and for peace of mind that your cherished pet will be well cared for it is absolutely essential that you think about taking out pet insurance.? Trust us your pet and indeed yourself, will thank you for it!

 

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Head writer and researcher extraordinaire, I'm here to answer all your insurance questions and hopefully save you a bit of money in the process!

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