Pet Insurance Suss Out The Answers To 10 Key Questions

If your joints and bones are flexible and strong,​ they move freely. And that means life can be fun and appreciated to​ its' full. But for one in​ seven people,​ movement is​ hindered by a​ musculoskeletal problem - back pain,​ arthritis,​ osteoporosis,​ fracture,​ or​ sports trauma. Faced with such pain you​ may be delighted to​ pay £4,​000 for orthopaedic surgery to​ get those painful joints flexible again. But would you​ be so willing to​ spend the​ same money on​ your pet Basset Hound?

Veterinary care has moved quickly over the​ last ten years and as​ pets get older they are increasingly liable to​ suffer illness that can be expensive and lengthy to​ treat. Take diabetes for example. Diabetes is​ relatively common in​ dogs and whilst it​ can be successfully treated,​ the​ management of​ the​ condition is​ ongoing and expensive – one vet estimated that typically,​ treatment cost around £2,​500 per year. Eczema is​ yet another of​ many conditions that require an​ extended period of​ treatment.

But as​ with humans,​ your pet can need emergency treatment at​ any time. According to​ research company Mintel,​ one in​ three pets make an​ unplanned visit to​ the​ vet every year. Boxers and Spaniels are susceptible to​ dodgy hearts,​ Labradors and Golden Retrievers are prone to​ progressive retinal atrophy,​ Setters' can get canine leucocyte adhesion deficiency and Alsations,​ hip dysplasia. And then there are always scrapes in​ which our pets are so likely to​ become involved. Your cat may have nine lives but you​ may well land yourself with nine vets' bills! With a​ series of​ x-rays costing £400 and an​ MRI scan putting you​ back £1,​500 the​ case for insurance cover becomes convincing.

Against this backdrop,​ pet insurance is​ now the​ fastest growing form of​ insurance in​ the​ UK. Petwise,​ Petplan,​ Pet Protect,​ PDSA,​ E&L,​ Animal Friends,​ and Marks and Spencer are all names in​ the​ market. Indeed,​ competition for your business is​ fierce with over 60 insurers offering over 220 different policies. With so much choice,​ the​ task of​ choosing a​ policy becomes somewhat complicated.

So lets try and keep things simple. Pet insurance falls into three basic groups. the​ first and usually the​ cheapest form,​ limits the​ claim to​ per condition per 12 months - suitable for one-off emergencies but not too good for diabetes! the​ second limits the​ total paid annually whilst the​ third limits the​ amount paid per condition.

Faced with all this choice what features do you​ need to​ look out for? Here are 10 key questions to​ ask:

• Are claims subject to​ a​ maximum annual limit or​ on​ a​ “per condition” basis?

• If the​ insurance is​ limited “per condition”,​ what is​ the​ time limit?

• What is​ the​ excess per claim? Sometimes the​ excess will be a​ set sum,​ sometimes a​ percentage of​ the​ cost and more often,​ a​ combination of​ both.

• Is there a​ limit on​ vets' fees? if​ so,​ what is​ it?

• Find out if​ your pet is​ prone to​ any hereditary conditions and whether the​ plan will cover those. For cats you'll find information about hereditary conditions at​ and for dogs you'll get the​ answers at​

• Is your dog covered for third party liability? Remember,​ if​ your dog causes injury or​ damage you​ could be liable for damages.

• Does the​ pet insurance cover the​ cost of​ advertising and a​ finders' reward if​ you​ pet is​ lost or​ stolen?

• If you​ pet undergoes urgent surgery shortly before you're due to​ go on​ holiday,​ will your pet insurance meet the​ holiday cancellation costs?

• If you​ go in​ hospital,​ does the​ policy cover kennel or​ cattery fees? Some policies will payout after the​ owner has been in​ hospital for a​ certain number of​ days.

• Does the​ plan make a​ payout when your pet dies? if​ so,​ how much?

How can you​ get answers to​ all these questions? Surprisingly,​ vets are not particularly well clued up. They normally have details of​ one or​ two plans in​ their waiting rooms but are rarely up to​ date with what else is​ available in​ the​ market. Perhaps not surprising with all the​ developments in​ veterinary care to​ keep abreast of!

No,​ you've already found the​ best source of​ information – the​ Internet! Search for pet,​ dog or​ cat insurance and you'll find all the​ information you'll ever need. it​ might take you​ an​ hour to​ complete your research,​ and remember to​ make notes,​ but it​ will be worth it​ in​ the​ end.

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