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What else should I know?

Excess

Most veterinary fees and third party liability policy sections have an amount of money you pay towards the cost of the claim, called the excess.

Excesses on veterinary fees can vary considerably so it is important to check how much these are and how they are applied. Usually excesses apply to the cost of treatment of each illness or injury, some apply once and others apply to the treatment received each year.

The cost of insurance

The cost of pet insurance, called the premium, depends on the type of policy you chose, where you live, the breed of your pet, if it is male or female, and age. The amount vets charge for treatment can also impact premiums. Generally in towns and cities vets’ charges can be higher than in rural areas and premiums reflect this. Claims costs have risen in recent years due to the advancement, complexity and increased number of treatments available to owners with pet insurance.

Age

Age can be a significant factor in the price of a pet insurance policy. As Pets get older the premium may increase because, like humans, there is more risk they will be ill. Most insurance providers will not offer insurance to pets less than eight weeks old. As a pet gets older, pet insurance may be more difficult to find as some companies will not offer new insurance above a certain age. If you take out insurance when your pet is young the insurance policy can usually continue with the same provider as your pet gets older.

Co-insurance

Policy terms may change as pets get older, for example vet fee excess may increase or you may have to pay a percentage towards a claim, in addition to the fixed excess. The percentage amount is often called a ‘co-insurance’ excess. The percentage of co-insurance can vary from policy to policy, but is typically 10% or 20%.

Breeds

The insurance for pedigree pets can be more expensive than crossbreeds. This is based on claims experience, with crossbreeds usually less likely to suffer from the inherited medical conditions that individual pedigree breeds can experience. For dogs, the breed will also affect the size of the pet, which may have an impact on cost of vet fees.

Remember:

  • Shop around to find the insurance that best meets your needs; look at what your pet is covered for, not just the price alone.
  • Be aware that while moving to a new policy may be cheaper, it is likely the new policy will not cover your pet for any conditions your pet has had in the past or currently has.
  • Some insurers will only accept claims after a certain number of days from the start date of the policy (an ‘exclusion period’) – usually ten days.
  • The policy documents from insurers will tell you what your pet is and is not covered for. If in doubt, speak to your insurer. • Always answer the insurer’s questions honestly and in full. If you don’t, the insurer may not pay your claim and your policy may be cancelled.
  • Remember to tell your insurer about any relevant changes to your circumstance to ensure your pet remains covered. For example, any change of address or if your pet gets neutered, spayed or micro-chipped.