Six tips if you’re thinking about pet insurance

August 4, 2017

For many of us our pet is part of the family, which means taking care of them if they are sick or injured. Apart from routine check-ups, your pet could some day need to visit the vet for more serious reasons. To avoid costly veterinary bills you may be thinking about taking out pet insurance. Take a look at our tips before you do:

  1. Find the right cover for your pet

Pet insurance normally covers cats and dogs but some insurers will also cover rabbits, birds and horses. It can be hard to decide how much insurance cover to get for your pet. For instance, you may be unsure whether to get “accident only” cover, which covers accidental injuries such as your pet getting hit by a car, or “lifetime cover”, which covers your pet for an illness and/or injury which requires treatment for several years over your pet’s lifetime. When choosing pet insurance check what the policy covers. Most policies cover vet fees for illness or injury, care for your pet if you are in hospital and cover rewards for lost or stolen pets.

It is a good idea to find out first what illnesses your breed of animal may be prone to. You can ask your vet for advice. They know your pet and his/her needs best. Focus on getting the cover you need rather than paying for cover you don’t need.

  1. Shop around

Make sure you get the best deal on your pet insurance by getting quotes from a number of insurers online or over the phone. Write down all the details as you go along, so that you can clearly compare what’s on offer. Also be aware, if you choose to pay monthly by direct debit instead of paying the yearly fee you may have to pay additional charges.

  1. Know what your policy covers

Know exactly what is included and what isn’t in your policy. Insurers won’t insure any pre-existing conditions your pet has. On most policies, routine treatments such as vaccination and neutering won’t be covered. Flea and worm control and anything related to pregnancy or birth are also excluded.  Also, watch out for things like after-hours emergency care which can be very expensive and may not be included in a standard policy.

  1. Age matters

Pet insurance for older animals can be hard to find. Make sure to check the age limit on the policy. Some insurers will only insure dogs up to eight years old, or for some breeds up to five years old. With some policies you may need to pay towards the treatment costs for a claim once your pet has reached a certain age, usually around five to six years old.

  1. Check what happens if you cancel your policy

If you bought pet insurance and then changed your mind, you can cancel it. You have 14 days to cancel and get a full refund from the contract start date. However, you will be charged for the time you were insured for and you may also be charged an administrative fee. Any charges or fees should be set out in the terms of business which you should get when you buy the insurance. If you want to cancel after 14 days, you may have to pay the rest of the annual premium or you may not get a refund if you paid up front. Check what the terms and conditions are if you do want to cancel your cover at a later date.

  1. Know what to expect when you make a claim

If you take out pet insurance, you will usually not be able to make a claim for the first 10 to 14 days of the policy. If you have to make a claim, you will most likely have to pay an excess. The excess is the first part of the claim that you will need to pay yourself.  For example, if the excess is €150, you will have to pay that amount towards treating each illness or injury that you claim for. Any claim you make will impact on the premium you pay when you are renewing your insurance, so your insurance premium may be more expensive the following year.



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