Dog insurance works in the same way as most other forms of insurance. For a premium each month (or annually) you should be covered for veterinery bills up to a certain value to save you big bills. But not all dog insurance policies are the same, infact each are very different.
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Your dog insurance policy should provide peace of mind, should you dog fall ill or become injured your insurance policy should take away the worry of paying for treatment. Insurance companies have changed their policies so much in recent years adding on little extras such as third party claims, advertising help if your dog goes missing etc making dog insurance quite complicated to buy. Here is a handy little guide on how to decipher a dog insurance policy and what to look out for.
There are so many different packages available, whilst none of us can foresee what will happen, look through the info below and work out exactly what you might need and look for a policy covering that. My dog Molly tore her cruciate ligament a few years ago, what I thought was fully comprehensive insurance featured a clause in the contract. The insurance company paid only £500 of the £3000 vet bill.
Paying for vets bills is the main reason we take out dog insurance, we want piece of mind that should our dogs need treatment we can provide it without worrying over cost. Looking at dog insurance policies of not just the large companies but smaller ones too, there is no standard policy for this.
Things you need to look out for are
Combining the four points above can get complicated but it is a big consideration, suppose your dog falls ill and needs recurring treatment. A 12 months rolling policy will only pay for treatment for a while whereas a per condition policy may continue to pay for the condition until the limit has been reached. If your policy covers you for a certain maximum value regardless of condition, say £3000 and your dog has an operation, this will eat up that £3000 leaving you uncovered for the rest of the year. Then you need to look at the limits, a single operation can cost around £1000-£5000, will a policy covering you up to £500 be enough for you?
On top of this we have to consider the excess, almost all policies contain an excess payment. The excess is how much you have to pay per claim. Generally a low excess of around £40 will mean higher monthly premiums, a higher excess of say £250 per condition will give lower premiums but you will most likely not be able to claim for many vet trips as the vet bill may be less than your excess payment.
Many dog insurance policies include extras, some will include them for ‘free’ whereas the budget policies may add them for a small fee. Typical extras include;
In order to reduce their payouts, dog insurance companies impose exclusions on almost all policies. These exclusions mean that you cannot claim for an illness or accident if a certain criteria is met. Typical exclusions include;
There is a lot to look out for when insuring your dog, what features/cover you require will greatly affect the premium you pay. Remember, cheaper isn`t always better, it will be a false economy if you end up having to pay for vets bills yourself that a cheap policy didn`t cover.
Also try to think what type of policy you are likely to need. If your dog is clumsy maybe go for one that covers third party liability. Does the breed have known illnesses/problems, go for policy that will provide cover over several years. If you have an injury prone dog you may want the insured amount to be rather large to cover multiple trips to the vets.
The premium you pay will heavily depend on factors such as age, breed, sex and medical history. Certain breeds have known health issues so your premiums will likely be higher (and some may even hike up your premium but then exclude the known issue!). Also older dogs are more likely to fall ill so premiums are generally higher as your dog gets older.
I hope this article gives you plenty to think about when buying insurance for your dog. It is a great piece of mind to have insurance but as always, prevention better than cure, keep them fit and healthy and away form any potential dangers and your visits to the vets should be few and far between.