The past 20 years has seen an incredible growth in the uptake of Pet Insurance by Owners and Breeders. This growth began initially in Europe, but it is also being seen in the USA and other parts of the world.
Types of Policy
For a fairly modest premium you can have your pet animal(s) insured against the cost of veterinary treatment so that in the event of an accident, infection or development of a serious disease you don't have to worry about the cost of the treatment. Like human health policies, these pet insurance policies sometimes also pay a lump sum on the death of the animal under specific conditions.
A wide variety of policies are available to suit most situations depending on whether you own a single animal or a group of animals. Policies may appear to be the same, but you must read the small print because there are often large differences between them.
What to look for in a Policy
Take out an Insurance Policy that you can afford and which will cover the costs of veterinary treatment if your pet is suddenly taken ill and needs major treatment. These days major procedures (such as open heart surgery, cancer therapy or orthopedic surgery) can cost anything from £1000 - £4000.
Make sure that the Policy covers the on-going, long-term treatment of chronic conditions, and that your cover is guaranteed if you renew the Policy every year.
Some Policies exclude pets over specified age - check how this will affect your pet as it gets older.
If your pet already has a chronic illness most Insurance Companies will not cover it for that condition - so don't be surprised. Also, it is illegal to state on your application form that your pet does not have a disease, when you know that it does. If every animal being insured had a pre-existing condition the Insurance Industry would soon be out of business !
What is an "excess"
Most Pet Insurance policies carry an "excess" which means that you have to pay a small sum (agreed in advance) towards the cost of any treatment claimed for under the policy. So, if you have an agreed "excess" of £50 and the actual cost of treating your pet is £250 - you can only claim £200 back from the Insurance Company. Sometimes the cost of minor treatments may be totally covered by the "excess" alone so you cannot claim anything back.
Is it worth taking out Pet Insurance ?
You could take out Pet Insurance for your Pet as a youngster, pay the full premium every year and never make a claim -just as you might never claim on your Car Insurance. Under such circumstances you will have spent the money with nothing other than peace of mind to show for it.
However, the published statistics from the Pet Insurance companies claim that about 33% of all policy holders claim on their Insurance every year ! This is an incredibly high rate, and means that statistically you will have a 1 in 3 chance of incurring veterinary fees greater than the excess on your policy - every year. Insurance is all about "risk" - and on this basis Pet Insurance simply has to be a good investment.
If you can afford it - do it !
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