Aug 25

Dog insurance policies – what to look out for

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.

Dog insurance policies – what to look out for

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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.

Veterinary bills and treatment

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.

Dog insurance extras

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;

Dog insurance exclusions

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.

Good luck

6 Responses to “Dog insurance policies – what to look out for”

  1. Richard Mcnaughton says:

    I wonder if you can help ?
    I picked up 2 German shepherds yestaday and got them home one ran out into a green area and knock over a dog it had a small wound but the vets have said £294 with all the medical things to do ??

    • Play Fetch says:

      Hi Richard

      I don`t have a legal background but I suppose as it is your liability and therefore you are paying for the treatment you are entitled to suggest where the treatment is made. £294 sounds quite high, I’d take the dog somewhere else for a second opinion.

      What are other peoples thoughts?

  2. Johnny says:

    My lab is insane so I looked high and low for dog insurance that would cover him, I settled for one from a well known dog charity. Paid on time for three years but never claimed, my first claim for an injured ankle and did they want to pay did they hell. They really tried it on stating all sorts of clauses in the fine print but luckily I read and reread the documents and what they were saying didn’t apply.

    After they finally paid out I moved insurance policies so in the end after all that they are the ones to lose out as I have taken my £30pm custom elsewhere for the sake of a £200 claim after excess.

  3. Cara says:

    Thank you for the post it comes at the right time for me. My insurance has almost doubled for the last few years so I had a look around and wow it is complicated.

    I went for a medium cost policy but it seems to cover everything I need :)

    • Play Fetch says:

      Glad the post helped, dog insurance policies have certainly changed in recent years and I don`t just mean in price.

    • Ang says:

      See, that’s what I cannot stand about insurance:
      1) you paid so much into it monthly
      2) they raise the premium payments on purpose to force you out (because anyone who would stay at a high cost would not be logical — and they know people who sign up are primarily logical people)
      3) they keep all the funds and play the same trick on the next fellow.
      4) voila! their pockets are full

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