Pet Insurance without the fluff - a complete guide
What is pet insurance?
Pet insurance is just like the insurance you take out for your phone or car, but it's for your pet.
If you drop your phone and damage it, you would claim on your phone insurance for the cost of repairing it.
Well that's exactly how it works If your pet becomes unwell or gets injured. You would claim on your pet insurance for the cost of treating your pet.
Simply put, pet insurance is basically there to protect you against unexpected costs related to your pet, like big vet bills!
If you’re thinking about taking out a policy, there are plenty of things you need to consider first. And we’re here to help break everything down easy peasy!
What does pet insurance cover?
Pet insurance policies can help you cover the cost of veterinary treatment and medical expenses as a result of unexpected injury or illness.
There are many different policies which all vary in cost depending on what the insurance covers and what it doesn’t.
Often pet insurance providers will cover you for wellness and preventative care, emergency treatments, and illness costs for your pet.
Other more comprehensive policies may cover the cost of dental careand loss of a pet through theft and third-party liability (when a pet has caused harm or damage to property or a person)
The insurance company will usually pay you back for any expenses that are covered by the policy including vet visits, accidents, illnesses, surgeries and hospital stays.
According to the PDSA Paw Report 2023, 61% of dogs and 39% of cats are insured.
That still leaves 39% of dogs and 61% of cats in the UK uninsured.
At Buddy we would love to see more pets covered by insurance, not only for the pets benefit but also to help with vet costs in the current cash crisis.
Top reasons for not insuring pets according to the PDSA Paw Report:
- 39% too expensive
- 24% save money for vet bills instead
- 23% don’t think they would get their moneys worth
- 16% not necessary
- 11% too old
- 10% excess to high
Why is the cost of pet insurance increasing?
The costs of monthly premiums are increasing in pet insurance due to a few reasons.
- Vet prices are on the increase due to more expensive equipment, and amazing advances in veterinary medicine. I’ve been a vet nurse for over 20 years and can see how veterinary treatment has changed in that time. For example it was pretty much unheard of 20 years ago for MRI scans for our pets, and this is now a routine for most vets.
- Cost of living not only affects us at home but also businesses such as vet practices. Bills, staff wages, medicines, bedding and equipment have all increased in price.
- The age and breed of your pet can determine the price of the monthly premium you pay. Usually the older the pet the more expensive it can be, along with varying prices for different breeds.
- Pet parents wanting more for the health of their pets and researching to see what options are available
What kind of things are covered?
Examples of items that may be covered under hospitalisation policies:
- Unexpected surgeries
- Diagnostic imaging (abdominal ultrasound and x-rays)
- Treatment for urinary tract, respiratory, gastrointestinal and other infections requiring hospitalisation
- Emergency care
- Broken bones
- Foreign body ingestion
Is it worth getting pet insurance?
We definitely recommend insurance for your pet. As veterinary professionals and pet owners too, we've been on both sides and experienced all the positives and negatives.
But nothing is more devastating than seeing people forced to make poor decisions when it comes to their pets health because of a huge vet bill.
83% of owners told the PDSA that they were concerned that the cost of living crisis would have a negative effect on the welfare of pets in the UK. And sadly, this may be true already.
56% of veterinary professionals say that more of their clients are not able to afford unexpected veterinary bills because of the cost of living crisis and 52% say that more clients are delaying bringing their pet to a vet when ill!
Unhealthy pets are unhappy pets and if left untreated, most issues only get worse and end up costing more.
Pet insurance could be a lifeline for those that find themselves in emergency situations and without the funds.
How do I know which insurance to choose?
We know, pet insurance can be an absolute minefield for pet parents! Especially if you're a new owner.
There's so many different options, but it all comes down to what you would like your pet to be covered for.
Would you prefer to pay more per month and have most of your vet bills paid, along with cover for behaviour issues, lost pet advertising and dental treatment?
Or would you want to keep your monthly payment low and cover the basics so that you're protected against big hospitalisation bills?
There are plenty of opportunities with insurance to find cover that suits you and your pet the best. There is no one-size-fits-all solution,.
Do some research and read those boring terms and conditions (sorry, I know, it’s a drag but you will thank me in the long term!).
It's all about doing what's best for your pets and yourself!
How does pet insurance work?
Usually, pet parents pay monthly for the pet insurance policy.
If veterinary treatment is needed usually you pay for this as normal and then claim this back with the insurance company for costs for the treatment most of the time minus an excess.
An excess is an amount for every condition you claim for that won’t be paid back to you. This can vary but is usually around £50-100.
On some occasions if larger cost treatments are required for your pet you can see if a direct claim is on offer between your vet and the insurance company.
This means all you will pay is the excess amount and the rest of the treatment will be claimed directly from the insurance company to pay the vets directly.
To sum it up!
- Pet care can be expensive and that’s where pet insurance can help. As veterinary medicine advances, the cost of care may naturally increase along with it. Pet insurance can help by offsetting most or some of the costs of diagnosing, treating and managing your pet's injury/illness.
- Pre-existing conditions and limitations. Many plans have pre-existing condition limitations or exclusions. Starting coverage when your pet is young and healthy may help reduce those exclusions.
- Hereditary conditions. Some breeds of cats and dogs that are considered at higher risk and may come with a higher premium than others.
- Standard coverage. Pet insurance plans are generally available for accident and illness, as well as preventative care. Pet insurance plans can be customizable and can cover a range of injuries, conditions and illnesses. Read the policy carefully and ensure all coverage details are understood.
- Research. It’s important for pet parents to research and determine the best plan for your pet. Flexible pet insurance plans are available, with options to customise deductibles and annual benefits limits.