Advertisement

The pros and cons of pet insurance

Read the small print on your pet insurance contract and make sure you don’t get caught out by policy exclusions.

930-PF-dogs
Pets: lovable, but expensive

Paying £1,300 to have excessive earwax removed from your dog's ears is not the kind of expense you want to be saddled with. Unfortunately, if you have pet insurance, your insurer might not pay for it either. The small print of some pet-insurance policies can conceal exceptions that will give you a nasty surprise, as Kate Palmer points out in Sunday Times Money.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Robert and Mary Mirfin from Yorkshire, who had paid for the wax-removal up front, couldn't claim on their insurance policy because they had bought their new policy with insurer More Than through a comparison website, rather than accepting the renewal quote directly from the firm. The insurer treated them as new customers, meaning they were not covered for any illnesses arising with the first two weeks of cover.

More Than ultimately did pay the £1,300 back to the couple after the newspaper got in touch but this episode is a useful reminder that giving customers the best deal tends not to be top of the priority list for insurance companies, so reading the small print is worth your while.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

One way around this problem would be to overlap two policies (so one starts two weeks prior to the old one ending), but you'd have to ensure that paying for two policies at the same time didn't wipe out the cost saving of switching.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Pet-insurance policies typically don't cover pre-existing conditions, either. This includes both chronic problems that your pet is suffering from when you take out the policy (the likes of heart conditions or hip dysplasia) and historic conditions (such as healed tissue injuries or illnesses). Next, and perhaps less predictably, routine and preventative treatments are also often excluded spaying and vaccinations, for instance. Finally, expenses associated with pregnancy, giving birth and treatment of any offspring also tend to fall outside the limits of the policy.

Is it worth getting cover?

At the basic end, there's "condition in total cover". This is best for one-off injuries, small surgery after an accident or a short-term illness, which puts a time limit on how long you can claim for a particular condition, and a cap on how much youcan reclaim.

With mid-level cover ("per condition, no time limit"), vets' fees are limited for any one illness, but there's no time limit on how long the treatment lasts. Finally, lifetime policies offer the most comprehensive cover, and are best for long-term illness such as diabetes, arthritis or some cancers that require constant regular treatment. They will insure your pet for illness or injury up to a high maximum amount per year. However, given how much is excluded from policies, you might want to consider just putting aside cash every month (though this does run the risk of not covering costs fully).

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Want a pet? Watch out – they are a pricey proposition
Personal finance

Want a pet? Watch out – they are a pricey proposition

Dog and cat ownership is booming. But before you invest in a furry friend, consider how much it costs to buy, feed, care for and insure one.
22 Jul 2020
Why you should keep a close eye on your National Insurance contributions
Pensions

Why you should keep a close eye on your National Insurance contributions

The state pension now requires a 35-year record of National Insurance payments to get the maximum payment. Check your record is correct, because any m…
20 Dec 2019
How to cut your car insurance premiums
Personal finance

How to cut your car insurance premiums

Customers end up paying more for the convenience of price comparison sites, but there are still ways to reduce your car insurance premiums.
3 Dec 2019
How to protect your home from burglars
Personal finance

How to protect your home from burglars

As the days get shorter, burglars get busier. But there are simple steps you can take to guard your property.
12 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Can the recent rally in sterling continue?
Sponsored

Can the recent rally in sterling continue?

A "double top"  – a very recognisable pattern – is forming in in the US dollar. Dominic Frisby explains what it is, and what it could tell us about st…
3 Aug 2020
UK banks have had a shocking week – so it’s probably a good time to buy
UK stockmarkets

UK banks have had a shocking week – so it’s probably a good time to buy

Lloyds Bank reported a £676m loss this week. And, with all of the UK's high street banks having a terrible time of things, bank stocks are detested ri…
31 Jul 2020
Gold bugs' dreams are coming true – but we could still see a V-shaped recovery
Gold

Gold bugs' dreams are coming true – but we could still see a V-shaped recovery

John and Merryn talk about how it's perfectly reasonable to expect a V-shaped recovery and to continue holding gold as well. Plus, inflation, staycati…
30 Jul 2020