It is a fact that significant veterinary interventions such as surgery or lifelong medication can be expensive, and it makes good sense to plan for such eventualities as part of your responsibilities of caring for a pet or horse. There are various options available to you including: putting aside regular savings; pay as you go; credit cards; or insurance. The advantage with insurance is that it is a regular outgoing that can be budgeted for:
Insurance + Practice Health Care Plan + Pet Food = Majority of all costs in owning a pet that can be simply budgeted for
Unfortunately we are not permitted to provide advice on which specific animal insurance company you should purchase insurance from as this is viewed as giving "financial advice".
We can though provide some general information for you to consider.
Types of Policy
- Cover is provided up to a set amount, which is renewed each year;
- No time limit on how long you can claim for each illness or injury as long as you renew each year;
- Ideal for ongoing conditions such as diabetes or eczema.
- Cover is provided up to a maximum amount per condition;
- There is a 12 month limit, meaning conditions will only be covered for the first 12 months;
- After 12 months the condition will be excluded from the policy either permanently or for a set period of time.
Maximum Benefit Policies
- Cover is provided up to a maximum amount per condition (e.g. £3,000);
- Condition duration not time limited;
- Once you have claimed up to the maximum amount, that condition is excluded from the policy.
Other things to consider:
- Pre-existing conditions are not normally covered, or a set period of time will need to have elapsed (e.g. 12 or 24 months) without the condition reoccurring.
- Policies normally cover injury immediately but illnesses may not be covered until after an initial "waiting period" of 2 weeks.
- Some policies have exemptions such as congenital, hereditary, dental and behavioural conditions.
- They often have a maximum age that a policy with that company can be started, meaning you are tied to that insurance company after your dog, for example, is 8 years old, cat is 10 years old and rabbit 5 years old.
- A policy can have reduced premiums if your pet/horse has a regular health check and its vaccinations are up to date.
- Your premiums may increase over time as you pet/horse gets older?
- What is the excess and can you change this?
What is a direct claim?
Insurance companies provide the option for the claim to be paid direct to the Practice and with more companies opting for online claim submissions, this is becoming more the norm, although there may be a minimum claim amount the Practice has before a direct claim can be used, for example in Small Animal this is £500.
A Direct Claim also means that you do not pay the Practice yourself then reclaim the amount from the insurance company. We reserve the right to have Direct Claims pre-authorised.
You do still need to pay any excess or non insured items (horse livery, food etc) as normal, and should the claim be rejected, then you would need to pay the outstanding balance as normal.
Animal Insurance is a financial agreement between you and the insurance company, and NOT the Practice. Where there are issues with payment or authorisation of a claim then this is an issue that you have to discuss with the insurance company directly. We will often liaise with your insurance company to ensure that they have all the clinical information they need to authorise your claim, and this is done within the confines of Data Protection requirements. On an individual basis we are happy to talk through your claim with your insurance company in more detail, but you will need to advise them that you have given permission for this.