What Do Pet Insurance Policies Cover?


by Simon Christopher - Date: 2010-11-12 - Word Count: 615 Share This!

The most basic pet insurance policies simply cover vet bills. More advanced policies can cover everything from kennel and cattery bills if you are unable to look after your cat or dog due to illness, right through to the costs of placing adverts and offering a reward if your pet goes missing.

POLICY TYPES

There are three main types of pet insurance policy. The costs and benefits vary greatly, so the best deal for you will depend on your financial situation and the health of your pet.

- Annual policy: this is the type of cover people are most familiar with in other fields. There is a limit on the total payout for any condition. In most cases a specific condition is only covered until this payout limit is reached or 12 months has passed since the initial claim, whichever happens first. After this you can't claim for the same condition again.

- Per condition policy: This works in the same way as an annual policy, but without the 12 month limit.

- Life long cover: This allows you to make more than one claim for the same condition, and there is no specific limit on the amount you can claim for any individual condition. Instead, the only limit is on the overall amount you can claim in a single year.

With all policy types, you'll usually only be allowed to take out a policy if your pet is under a certain age. Although a growing number of providers do offer cover with no upper age limit.

LIABILITY

This is an add-on available with many pet insurance policies. It pays out in the event your pet hurts a person or damages property. (Dogs are the most likely pets to trigger such claims.) Whether pet liability is worthwhile is disputable: high excess limits may mean many claims aren't productive, while terms and conditions may limit the circumstances in which you can make a liability claim.

PET TRAVEL COVER

Coverage for your pet while abroad may be included with a policy or be an optional extra. In both cases, the policy will usually impose some very strict conditions. These can include vaccinating your pet, fitting a microchip and getting relevant documentation from the authorities before travelling.

POLICY EXCESS

As with medical insurance, you should carefully check the terms of any excess which is applied to a pet insurance policy, particularly where you have the option of a voluntary excess which will reduce your premium. In many cases an excess will apply on an annual basis, even if a claim covers more than one year.

That could mean, for example, that if you have a 100 excess on your policy and make a claim for a course of treatment which lasts for 18 months, you will pay a total excess of 200. This is particularly significant with pet insurance as, unlike claiming for money to replace household items after theft or damage (where you can choose how to spend the payout), you will effectively be forced to make the excess payment to ensure your pet receives the treatment.

PROTECT YOUR PET WITH CARE

Like any financial product, pet insurance shouldn't be an impulse buy or bought because your supermarket is offering extra reward card points this week. Therefore, take a little extra care insuring your furry friend and consider the following points.

1. Know what you need - think about what risks and events you want to cover and don't buy options you don't need.

2. Shop smart - compare your needs with as many policies as possible using price comparison websites and/or specialist brokers and don't just focus on price.

3. The devils in the detail - don't buy any policy until you have checked what terms, conditions, restrictions and excesses will apply should you need to claim.


You can find out more on how to compare affordable pet insurance online at http://www.uk-insurance-index.co.uk together with consumer reviews and insurer ratings.n
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