Is PET Insurance worth it?

In these hard times is it worth shelling out $40 a month on pet insurance for your dog? Or what about almost $20 a month for cat cover? These are the average amounts pet owners are paying worldwide, according to financial research company PNFX.

Pet insurance just like life insurance is not a mandatory but worth a look in case of any mishaps. There are millions of pet owners who prefer not to take an insurance and risk paying hefty Vet bills. And there are yet another millions who throw their Pets to shelters.

So, should you take it out? How much should you pay? And what’s covered? Here’s our step by step guide.

Decide whether or not you want to take out cover

Pet insurance is primarily designed to cover the cost of vet fees for the treatment of illness and injury. Other policy benefits can include meeting the cost of advertising, and rewards for lost and stolen pets, and paying for looking after your animal if you have to go into hospital. Some Pet insurance even cover pet tagging at a premium.

However, the majority of Pet Owners either haven’t got round to taking out cover or have decided not to bother – it’s estimated almost half of the world’s dogs, and well over two-thirds of world’s cats, are uninsured.

Is insurance a requirement, well that depends from one pet to the other. Many decide to take their chances while some settle for peace of mind.

Choosing the best Pet insurance just like any other insurance is not a cake walk, there are hundreds of policies and their terms vary from one provider to the other.

There are four basic types of policy:

• Lifetime – this covers vet fees up to a certain amount per year and, provided you renew your policy, it gives you the same amount of cover each year no matter how many claims you make. It’s usually the most expensive, but means you are covered if your pet develops a long-term condition such as diabetes which, for a dog, could mean on-going costs of $100 a month (daily insulin injections, regular check-ups etc) for the rest of its life.

• Maximum benefit – provides a maximum amount of vet fees cover per condition. But once the financial limit has been reached, the condition becomes a pre-existing condition and is excluded from future claims.

• Time limited – also known as “12 month”. Again there is a maximum per condition, but there’s also a limit of one year during which vet fees can be paid for each condition, after which it is excluded from cover.

• Accident only – covers treating accidental injuries, such as being hit by a car (some policies also cover illnesses that result from an accident).

 Where to start?

Probably your best bet is to try one of the insurance comparison websites. This will give you a flavor of what you can expect to pay. You will need to key in details about yourself and your pet. Some sites will want your pet’s date of birth, how much you paid for it, and its microchip number.

Age makes a difference, too

When your cat or dog reaches a certain age – usually between eight and 10 – you could well see a leap in the cost of your cover. In some cases, premiums have doubled in the space of two years. Some owners say that, as a result, they can no longer afford to insure their pets.

“As your pet ages, the premium and policy excess are likely to increase because, like humans, the risk of illness increases,” says the Association of British Insurers.

Some people may struggle to get new cover for an older animal, though if you took out the policy when your pet was younger, it can usually be continued with the same provider … for a price.

What’s not covered?

Pre-existing medical conditions won’t be covered – this also applies if you change your insurance provider, regardless of whether you’ve ever made a claim. Preventative and routine treatments, such as neutering, vaccinations and flea and worm control, will also be excluded, as will anything related to pregnancy/birth.

PETSTRONG recommendations?

Petstrong is an independent Pet website and hence not biased to any insurance providers, However in the interest of Pet owners we are negotiating with a few providers and will update this page in the coming months.

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