What is pet insurance?


Pet insurance works like most other forms of insurance.  A premium fee is paid monthly or yearly to an insurance company, who would then reimburse you for any major veterinary costs accumulated, should your pet fall ill.



Is it just vet's fees that are covered?


Not usually. Most insurance policies also insure against third party injuries, theft and death of the animal.  These are often just as important as the vets fees. For example, if a dog causes a road traffic accident or if a person is bitten, the owner is responsible for any cost incurred should the animal be uninsured.


Some policies can include cover against holiday cancellation and kenneling fees in case of emergencies.



How is the premium calculated?


The premium that you are charged will depend on a number of factors, including:


  •  Insurance company and/or policy within a company that you choose.
  • Species of animal.
  • Breed of animal (pedigree's are usually more expensive to insure than cross-breeds or mixed breeds)
  • Size of animal - bigger dogs generally incur a higher premium
  •  Age of animal when you commence the insurance policy
  •  Value of animal
  •  Post-code



How does a claim work?


Most policies will have an "excess" figure which the insurance companies will deduct from any claims received. For example, if your policy has an excess of £50 and you acquire veterinary costs adding up to £250, you will receive £200 returned from your insurers. Claims are processed on an "individual condition" basis. This means that the smaller "one-off" problems (for example cat-bite abscess, torn claw or mild stomach upsets) usually aren't claimed for as the costs incurred are often less than the "excess".


Claims are normally made “per-condition” rather than “per-visit” and so if the problem spans over several weeks/months etc, you will only have to pay the excess amount once per policy year.


The normal procedure is for the owner of the animal to pay the full amount of a claim to the veterinary practice, and then we will send a claim for the amount directly to the insurance company along with a copy of our clinical notes and costs.  They will check that they agree with the amount being claimed for, and usually then send a cheque for the full amount (less any excess) directly back to the owner of the animal.


There is a much more detailed explanation about HOW TO MAKE A CLAIM on this section of the site.


Veterinary treatment for unexpected injury or illness can be expensive.  Pet insurance can help.

What can be claimed for?



Although most things can be claimed for it is important to remember that insurance won't cover all vet's fees. For example routine checks and general health care ( i.e. vaccination, wormers and flea treatment) aren't usually covered, nor are problems relating to breeding (e.g. caesarean sections, pregnancy scans etc).  Mpst policies don’t cover dental treatment (including extractions) unless the problem has been caused specifically by trauma.


Pet insurance is really there to help financially should "the unexpected" occur.  Often the types of situation usually claimed are for emergency treatment (e.g. car accident), diagnostics (blood tests, ultrasounds, x-rays), surgery (e.g. lump removal, biopsies, fracture repairs) and medical treatment (e.g. courses of medication, tablets, injections etc).


BEWARE - if you take out a new policy AFTER your pet has been seen for an identical or similar problem before,  it will be EXCLUDED.

This also is the case if you change insurance provider.



Are all insurance policies the same?



Not at all - there are many companies offering pet insurance these days - some are independent, others are subsidiaries of other companies (e.g. the supermarkets). Most offer different types of policy too - for example a "basic" policy may just cover vet's fees up to a certain limit, whereas other policies may protect against kenneling fees, cost of holiday cancellation etc. When thinking about taking out a policy, you should consider the following:


  • What level of cover do you want
  • How much are you prepared to pay as a premium
  • Does the policy allow you to pay monthly or annually?
  • Is there an upper limit to the amount that you can claim for? If so what is it and is this realistic for your pet?
  • Is there a finite claim length?  This is very important with regards animals with long term problems (eg diabetes, arthritis etc).  Some companies will only pay out for each condition for a certain length of time (often one year) and then it will be excluded when the policy comes up to renewal.
  • Is there an age limit on the policy - will cover stop once the animal reaches a certain age or is there a premium change when a certain age is reached.
  • Are there any exclusions that may cause you particular problems - i.e. inherited problems or genetic disorders in certain breeds?
  •  What is the upper limit that you can claim for? Make sure that you have a suitable amount in the “kitty” that you can claim for.


Many insurance policies don't actually give you a suitable level of cover.  You must get covered-for-life and life-long cover.


What is the best advice with regards to taking out a policy?


The decision to take out pet insurance, or which company/policy to go with is going to be based on individual circumstances. However you should always try to:



  • Check the small print - do they cover chronic conditions or long term treatment?
  • Talk to friends with animals - see if they have had particularly good or bad experience with insurance companies.
  • Take out insurance early - the unexpected can happen at any age or at any time.  Don't wait for a problem to occur as this is likely to be excluded from any insurance policy
  • Talk to your vet or veterinary nurse - we are always able to help and sometimes advise on which type of policy may be better for you.
  • Look at the broad picture - the policies with the cheapest premiums may not be the best. It is often a case of you get what you pay for!




Do you recommend any particular company?


At Bilton Veterinary Centre we recommend Petplan’s Covered For Life™ insurance for the following reasons:


  • Petplan’s Covered for Life™ policies guarantee your veterinary fees cover is renewed each year no matter how often you claim (providing you renew your policy each year with no break in cover).
  • Petplan doesn’t place exclusions at renewal on their Covered for Life™ policies so chronic on-going conditions continue to be covered year after year.
  • Petplan won’t increase your premium or excess just because you make a claim.
  • Petplan is a pet insurance specialist so they understand pets and work closely with vets, charities and breeders.


Click here to find out more about the different types of pet insurance available.


Also why not try before you buy? For 4 weeks’ free Petplan insurance simply click here

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CV22 7EQ

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259 Bilton Road, Rugby

Warwickshire, CV22 7EQ


01788 812650

01788 522439

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Veterinary treatment for unexpected injury or illness can be expensive.  Pet insurance can help.

Many insurance policies don't actually give you a suitable level of cover.  You must get covered-for-life and life-long cover.

Call Us

01788 812650

Find Us

259 Bilton Road, Rugby, CV22 7EQ

24hr Emergency Service

For Registered Clients