Pet Insurance in the UK

The UK has a pet population of over 20 million. Vet fees are usually high and it makes it difficult for the pet owners to insure them. Pet insurance often covers non routine costs such as broken limbs as a result of an accident, illnesses such as asthma and the cost of advertising and reward in case your pet in napped, dental treatment costs and third party liability cover.

The insurance often does not cover the routine check-ups and injections like that of flu, anti-flee medication, worming treatments, cosmetic treatments, international costs, existing conditions and whelping costs.

Most families consider their dog or cat as part of the family and when they fall ill or are injured the whole family is upset. It becomes more traumatic when treatment becomes unaffordable. This is where pet insurance comes in and the comprehensive coverage will ease the financial burden on the family.

Self Insuring for Pets

Self-insuring is different from normal pet insurance. For self-insuring, you set aside some money so that when your pet is sick, the money can be used for its treatment. The money is kept in an easy reach or in a regular savings account every month. You can get the money in case there isn’t any problem with your pet. However, self-insuring has some challenges as compared to pet insurance.

Public liability. In self-insuring, your pet is not covered for public liability. For instance, if it causes harm to other people or it causes an accident, you are liable. In case you are sued, you will be required to meet the cost.

A problem can arise before you have saved enough. No one knows when danger can strike. This means that you need to have enough cash just in case a problem occurs. This can be an expensive means and you may fail to raise enough cash. However, charities such as PDSA, Blue Cross and RSPCA can help you.

Types of Pet Insurance

In the UK, almost all domesticated animals can be insured. There are, of course standard policies which insure cats and dogs. While some of the others include rabbits, birds and horses. In the case of more exotic animals, it is always best to get the most competitive quote in the market, by approaching as insurance providers who have expertise in these kinds of animals. In most cases, the premiums will vary according to the breed.

To determine the best policy for your pet, you need to look at the age of your pet, breed, gender, how much you are willing to contribute, its susceptibility to diseases and whether the pet has been sprayed. The following are some of the available insurance for pets in the UK.

  • Accident only pet insurance. It only covers vet fees in case of an accident. However, it does not cover long term diseases.
  • Time-limited pet insurance. The insurance covers your pet for a limited period, usually 12 months. Therefore, it will only include an illness that has lasted for not more than 12 months.
    Lifetime pet insurance. This insurance covers your pet for its entire lifetime against injuries and diseases.
  • Maximum benefit pet insurance. The insurance covers the pet against a particular disease or injury for a specified period. When you exhaust the coverage period, you cannot make a claim in case of an event.
  • Third-party liability. The insurance covers accidents and injuries caused by your pet. In most cases, this cover is included in the other pet insurance covers.

Most insurers in the UK, will reimburse veterinary fees and this the main reason that pet insurance is taken in the first place. The other benefits of taking pet insurance are – if your pet was to die in an accident, your policy may cover the price you paid for your pet. You are also eligible to third party liability cover, if your pet was to hurt someone or cause damage to someone’s property. You can even claim the cost of advertising if your pet went missing!

Pet Insurance Costs

The average cost of pet insurance in the UK is 20.50 euros as monthly premiums. On average, monthly premiums for cats are 14 euros and 27 euros for dogs. However, this will differ from one insurer to the other, the policy you have taken, age, period and gender of your pet. The cost of premiums is likely to be higher in case your pet is a pedigree or an older animal.

But the hard truth is pet health care is expensive and unless you have a comprehensive plan in place, caring for your pet is going to be difficult. Today there are a number of private pet insurers who issue pet insurance policies. What you need to know, is that not all pet insurance policies are the same. You need to read the fine print rather carefully and find out if the policy covers cancer, accidents and pre existing conditions.

It is often hard for a lay person to find out which pet insurance policy is right for them. However, there are some thumb rules which you could observe. The first is that most of the very cheap policies don’t cover major illness or accidents. Once again you need the read the policy through to understand it.

The best part is that there are no networks in pet insurance. You can go to any veterinarian and get your pet treated and then claim the insurance, as the policies are agreements between the service providers and the pet owners. All you need to do is to fill out the form, attach the veterinarian’s invoice and send it to the insurance company.

The need for pet insurance in most cases arises from

  • Emergencies such as broken bones, swallowing of objects and accidental poisoning,
  • Chronic diseases such as diseases of the heart, liver and kidney and cancer
  • Diseases such as pancreatitis or leptospirosis, or a bacterial infection