When you are looking for pet insurance it can be difficult to know what cover you need. We cannot advise you on what to purchase but we can give you some guidelines for making the most of the vet fees section of your policy.
There are many policies and various levels of cover on the market so you should check carefully before deciding on which one is best for you and your pet.
Pet insurance policy types
- Accident only policies: These will only cover your pet for injuries that occur following an accident. You should be aware that these policies do not provide any cover at all for any illness related conditions.
- Time-limited policies: After you make a claim there will be a time limit, usually 12 months, that you can claim for that condition, after which you will not be able to claim. There will sometimes be a maximum claim limit too.
- Maximum benefit policies: These will cover your pet for each condition up to a set limit. Once you have exceeded the limit you will not be able to make any further claims for anything related to that specific condition.
- Lifetime policies –This will provide a set amount for all qualifying vet fees, which will renew (or top back up) each year. You select the vet fees cover you require. This is the most expensive type of policy, but it can cover your pet throughout their lifetime if you renew the policy and pay the premium.
Lifetime cover is the only policy type that can cover your pet indefinitely if they develop a chronic condition, providing you continue to renew your policy and pay the premium. Checkout the policy terms and conditions before you buy though as not all providers are the same.
If you feel your pet is displaying symptoms or you are concerned about your pets health, a call to the careline can provide you with the relevant advice and/or best course of action (if provided – not all policies offer this unfortunately).
Helping you make your money go further in three easy steps
Once you have selected the cover you require for your pet, you will want to ensure that the policy works for you and your pet in the best way possible. We call it making the most of your policy.
To ensure that you use every penny on your pets health and not waste it just follow the check list below:
Use veterinary helplines
If you feel your pet is displaying symptoms or you are concerned about your pet call the helpline (if provided – not all policies offer this unfortunately).
To ensure you are getting the most out of your policy and to avoid unnecessary vets visits that can stress out your animal when not required, we include within our policy the free Scratch & Patch Careline – it’s a service that is available to you 24 hours a day 7 days a week, 365 days a year and provides advice and guidance on how to care for your pet as well as in an emergency.
If you have concerns about your pet:
- call 0333 332 1926
- you will need to provide your insurance policy number as show on your schedule.
- describe your concerns, questions or your pet symptoms – they will be happy to help you
- a veterinary nurse will answer your questions and explain what you need to do next
- remember that before you make a claim your pet must see a vet
You could save money by doing this prior to going to the vet, our careline vet nurses are always happy to help, and we want you to be able to use your money wisely for your pet’s health so why not use this free service.
Compare veterinary costs
If your pet needs treatment it can be worthwhile asking several vets for an upfront quote. Veterinary charges can drastically differ from vet to vet and because all pet insurance policies will have a set limit either per condition or per policy year, it is worth shopping around to receive the best from your policy coverage.
Vets are required to display their pricing and as a responsible pet owner you can ask for the cost of the treatment and or a breakdown prior to having the treatment. Remember the more you save on each visit, the more your policy will protect your animal moving forward. We want you and your pet to benefit as much as possible from the product you are buying.
You may notice that some pet insurance polices carry certain inner limits within their veterinary fee cover. For example Cruciate Ligament, Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), Complimentary Medicine and MRI/CT scans (or any other specialist diagnostic testing). The reason for this is that these all tend to be quite complicated and specialist areas. By having an inner limit, this enables coverage at the diagnostic stage and also at treatment stage, resulting in less impact on the total policy cover limit and also helps to prevent extreme premium increases.
Unfortunately, due to advances in veterinary medicine and veterinary inflation, veterinary fees have seen a large increase. As a result, the total cover limits under any pet policy can be used up very quickly. As we are unable to control the costs vets charge, these inner limits are in place in an attempt to keep the risks and impact on insurance as best controlled as possible.
One of the best ways to keep your costs down in the long term is to make sure you are using a veterinary service offering the best value for money.
Ensure your pet receives regular routine health checks. These checks may pick up any early signs of illness which may require treatment or even prevent an illness occurring due to early detection. Although routine health checks and treatments are generally not covered under pet insurance policies, it can also make sense to check the cost of these, including neutering and vaccinations, at several vets before deciding on which to register your pet with, especially if your pet is in good health. This will save in the long run. Some vets also offer pet health packages, often on a monthly direct debit, which will include free or reduced routine health care.
Consider getting your pet medication online
Due to mark up costs at most veterinary practices, pet medication can be cheaper if you purchase from, or are recommended to use, an online authorised pet prescription medication site, especially if your pet requires long term and repeat medication. It is easy to do:
- Obtain a prescription from your vet for the medication needed,
- Buy your pet medication from the site paying careful attention to match the exact medication and quantity written on your prescription,
- Add your pet(s) to the website and match each medicine to the correct pet,
- Send in your prescription to the site provider,
- They will provide your prescription products to you.
- Always make sure you use a reputable UK online pharmacy site
Most pet insurance policies also include a general condition regarding ensuring your pet remains within acceptable weight ranges for their breed. Just like humans, most pet’s health relies on regular exercise and a balanced diet as being under or over weight can cause risks to their health. Ensure you are taking steps to prevent any increase in health risks to your pet by being aware of their exercise and dietary requirements. Discussing this with your vet can help if you are unsure.
Please also take the time to get to know your policy terms and conditions, any exclusions and also the claim process. This will help to ensure a smooth experience if you are ever in the position where you need to make a claim.