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.
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.
The premium that you are charged will depend on a number of factors, including:
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.
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.
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:
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:
At Bilton Veterinary Centre we recommend Petplan’s Covered For Life™ insurance for the following reasons:
For Registered Clients