Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Pet insurance Tips

Vets claim this inflation-busting rise is the result of the development of new drugs and medical technologies – which have helped many pets recover and live with conditions that would have proved fatal in the past.
But there have been concerns over some veterinary practices recommending additional check-ups or treatments to extract more money from the insurer.
With vets' fees rising sharply, the average single pet insurance claim now costs more than £600, with pet insurers paying out £1.3m in claims every day, according to figures published by the Association of British Insurers.
But is it always worth taking out cover? Or should you join the millions of pet owners who take the risk and don't get any cover at all?

How does pet insurance work?

Pet owners can choose from four main types of cover: "accident only", ''per condition with a time limit''; ''per condition''; and ''lifetime'' cover.

"Accident only": very basic cover

This insurance covers a pet if they need veterinary treatment after an accident, but not if they have an illness. Some policies may also have a time limit for the treatment and there is a fixed sum of money for each accidental injury to pay for the treatment.

"Per condition with a time limit": basic cover

The cover is one of the cheapest. It will pay vets' fees for accidents and illnesses, but only for a maximum of 12 months after your pet has been diagnosed.

Insurers of this type of cover will often impose a maximum payout, so, if the cost of a treatment reaches the limit, you will have to foot the remainder of the bill.

An insurer may provide a policy, for example, with a maximum veterinary fee of £2,000 and a time limit of 12 months. So, if the bill is more than £2,000 or you go after 12 months, you will have to pay the extra.

"Per condition, no time limit": mid-level cover

With ''per condition'' cover, insurers provide cover for a set fee limit, but do not impose a time limit for how long the treatment lasts. The cover will continue for any treatment as long as you renew the policy after 12 months. Re-occurring illness or injury will not be covered by this type of policy.

"Lifetime": high-level cover

''Lifetime cover'' is the most comprehensive type of pet insurance, but also the most expensive. Insurers will set a high maximum amount per year – say, £10,000 – but you will still have to renew the policy each year, and some insurers can refuse to renew it.

The policy will sometimes cover extras like dental fees or burial expenses.

For all types of cover, pet owners must pay the "excess", or first part of any claim themselves. You can choose to lower your premium rate by increasing your excess, or vice versa. Usually, there will be an initial flat-rate excess charge of around £50.

Peter Jones, president of the British Veterinary Association, said that all pet insurance policies had some exclusions. "The most common being pre-existing conditions, anything related to pregnancy or birth, and any routine, preventive or planned treatments such as vaccinations and spaying."

Almost all insurers will refuse to cover an animal with a pre-existing medical condition. If they do, the premiums are likely to be huge.

How much does it cost?

The price of pet insurance varies depending on where you live and your pet's breed and age.

For example, Rottweilers are one of the most expensive dogs to insure based on their breed's history of medical complaints.

If your pet has been neutered and microchipped, the premiums will often be reduced.

Should I take out pet insurance, or just take the risk? How do the prices compare?

It really is up to you. There is no NHS for pets, so even basic treatment can cost hundreds of pounds. For instance, the average cost of treating a dog injured in a road traffic accident is £674, and £300 for a cat.
More serious conditions such as hip dysplasia can cost more than £4,000. And bills can run up to more than £10,000 if the animal has cancer.

On the other hand, your pet could be lucky and only have to go to the vet a few times in its lifetime. As a result, the total spent on veterinary bills would be quite low.

If you chose to take out monthly insurance for your pet, for an animal's entire lifespan, say 12 years, at an average policy price of £50 a month, then you would end up paying more than £7,000 over the 12 years.

"Pet insurance is as much about peace of mind as it is about money. You may pay insurance premiums for years and never make a claim. But think about whether you could afford a huge vet's bill if your pet fell ill or had an accident in the short term," warned consumer body Which?

The tricks insurers use to trap their customers

Premiums for older pets rise rapidly year on year, leaving pet owners in an uneasy position. They could pay extortionate prices to have their pet covered; take Greg Rowan, who had to pay out £285 a month to insure his British bulldog Busby with M&S Bank, because of the dog's age and history of claims due to dermatitis and eye treatment. Or pet owners could leave their pet uninsured, and pay the vets' bills themselves.

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