If your much-loved pet was to become suddenly ill or to have an accident and require urgent veterinary care would you be prepared for these unexpected veterinary fees? During this upsetting and stressful time, the last thing you want to be worrying about is how you are going to be able to pay the bill. Did you know that you can take out pet insurance for your pet to help cover veterinary fees in these situations? 



What is Pet Insurance?


Pet insurance is something that you can take out for your pet to provide cover for veterinary costs when your pet is unwell. There are many insurance companies that offer pet insurance and each policy offered will be different. They vary on the total amount of veterinary fees covered, whether behaviour consultations are included or even if hereditary conditions (conditions that your pet may have been born with) are covered, along with many more options. We would advise comparing different insurance plans carefully and making sure you are happy with the cover they will be providing for your pet. 


There are two main types of pet insurance; 12 months cover and lifelong cover. A 12 month cover policy will pay out for veterinary fees for 12 months and then after the 12 months (or when the veterinary fees limit is reached) that condition will be excluded for the rest of your pet’s life. This means that you will have to pay for any further veterinary fees for that particular condition. A policy offering lifelong cover will renew your veterinary fees limit every year and will continue to pay out for a condition or recurrent illness each year for the rest of the life of your pet. You must continue with your policy for this to happen and you will need to pay your excess every 12 months for any ongoing claims. 


Once you have taken out an insurance plan there will usually be a short waiting period before you can start claiming. This means that a policy needs to be taken out before your pet becomes unwell, although usually any accidents will be covered during this time. It is also worth bearing in mind that insurance companies will often exclude any of your pet’s previous injuries and illnesses, meaning that these conditions will not be covered by the insurance policy. 


Who can I insure? 


When thinking about pet insurance you are probably aware of insurance policies for dogs and cats, after all there are adverts on television that show these policies are available, but did you know that you can also take out insurance on your other pets too?


There are increasing numbers of insurance policies available for rabbits. Rabbits may seem like low maintenance, easy to keep pets but they are prone to certain illnesses which can require intensive veterinary treatment to treat. Over recent years the diagnostic and treatment options available for rabbits has improved greatly, which is good news for our rabbits but it does mean that there are additional veterinary costs involved. This is where insurance policies can be invaluable, as it gives you peace of mind that if your rabbit does become ill then you are able to proceed with investigations and give your rabbit the best chance of recovery. 


Alongside rabbits, there are also a small number of insurance policies available for rodents, exotics and birds. These pets often require referral to specialist exotic vets for treatment and the cost of this can quickly add up. 


What are the benefits of pet insurance?


If your pet was to have an unexpected accident, such as a broken leg, then pet insurance can be invaluable. Sometimes emergency veterinary treatment will be needed which can be lifesaving, though often an unexpected expense. For injuries such as a broken leg, treatment often means repeat x-rays, surgery (sometimes at an orthopaedic specialist) and follow up care. The costs of these treatments can add up and are unexpected and hard to plan for. Having pet insurance in place can give peace of mind that if an unexpected veterinary cost arose, you have appropriate cover, allowing you to concentrate on your pet’s recovery. 


Pet insurance can also be invaluable for long term illnesses that require repeat veterinary visits, repeat tests and long term or even lifelong medication. For example, a dog that has been diagnosed with diabetes will require lifelong insulin medication. They will also need regular blood and urine tests to check for stabilisation. These dogs are also prone to certain illnesses so may require more comprehensive tests and additional treatments from time to time. Again, a considerable cost will build up over a period of time with veterinary fees continuing monthly for the life of your pet. Unfortunately, the owners of some diabetic animals are unable to afford continued veterinary treatment, resulting in euthanasia of their pet. Pet insurance may be one way to avoid this situation as some pet insurance plans will give continued cover for life long conditions. 


The range of veterinary treatments available is growing and this often means a referral to a specialist for access to the latest developments in treatment. This can be an additional expense, and often your pet insurance will cover this referral. This means the most up to date diagnostic tests and treatments can be used to enable the best possible outcome and care for your pet, without the financial worry that comes with it. 


Why we recommend pet insurance


We care for every one of our patients as if they were our own and want to give every animal the best possible care and treatment available. While improved diagnostic tests and treatments are great for your pet and make a successful outcome more likely, unfortunately, this does come with increased costs. We want to be able to give the most up to date treatment for your pet and find that this is more likely to happen for insured pets. 


We understand that with the number of pet insurance policies available that it can be very daunting to find the ideal policy. If you have any questions then a member of our team would be happy to talk to you about different types of policy.