Three Top Tips For Choosing Pet Insurance

Research before you buy

Pet insurance policies cover different treatments, with different time limits, different financial limits and different exclusions.  It is essential that you research the pet insurance market before you choose a policy. 

It is one of the most complained about insurance products but many of the problems arise because many pet owners do not understand the limitations of the policy they have bought! 

Most cheap policies offer very limited cover so do your research first and find the policy which provides the cover you need! 

Buy a Lifetime Policy if you can afford it 

Many pet insurance policies will only pay for the first 12 months of treatment for each condition, or up to a set amount for each condition.   The danger with these policies is that it is all too easy to run out of time or cover limit and then you are left paying for any further treatment your pet needs for that condition for the rest of their life. 

Lifetime policies reinstate the financial limits each year when you renew the policy which means that they will go on paying vet fees (subject to the cover limit) so long as you go on renewing. 

Treat Pet Insurance as a Major Long-Term Investment 

Pet insurance can cost thousands over the lifetime of your pet.   And if your pet develops a long-term illness or chronic condition you may find you have little option but to stay with your current pet insurance company.   So always buy a policy assuming you may need to keep the same policy for rest of your pet’s life.  

In order to do this you should check the insurer’s reputation for paying out claims,   their reputation for premium increases and the background of their underwriter. 

Claims Reputation 

There are several ways of checking what sort of a reputation an insurer has for paying claims:  

        - Ask your friends, in pet-related Facebook groups, or internet forums. 

        - Check out online review sites  

- Ask your vet which insurance companies they are happy to deal directly with.   

Most vets only deal directly with the companies that they have a good reputation for paying claims promptly.   If a vet won’t deal directly with a particular company, not only might they have a poor reputation, but you will have to find potentially thousands of pounds to pay your vet before you can claim the money back. 

Renewal Premium Hikes 

Also check what sort of reputation the insurer has for renewal premium increases.  Some companies increase your premium after you make a claim, but some don’t.   Some also have a reputation for increasing premiums to unaffordable levels.   So if your pet develops a long-term condition you could find yourself with a choice of paying what seems to be exorbitant premiums or doing without insurance and paying the vet bills for ongoing illnesses yourself.  Do your research and choose wisely. 

Underwriters 

Finally do check out the background of the underwriter.  Who are they?  Where are they based? Are they regulated by UK authorities?     

Choosing the right pet insurance policy for your pets is a time-consuming basis but it is well worth the effort to know that your pet has the best cover available. You never know when you might need it! 

This article was written by Sally Hayward fromThe Pet Insurance Guide.   Sally is a pet owner who is passionate about making sure that all UK pet owners are able to choose the best policy for their pets.   The Pet Insurance Guide, which was recently featured on the BBC1 consumer programme, Rip Off Britain, provides independent and unbiased information about popular pet insurance policies including policy verdicts, reviews and small print analysis.  

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Sally Hayward

The Pet Insurance Guide 2015
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