2 The Green, Thurlby, PE10 0EB
4 Stamford Rd, Market Deeping, PE6 8AB
Quick guide to pet insurance
If your pet becomes ill, has an accident or causes one, you'll be grateful
that you took out pet healthcare insurance. But how do you choose? Here
are a few pointers:
Why should I consider pet insurance?
With pet ownership comes the responsibility of caring for your
pet, and one in three animals needs some form of non-routine
veterinary treatment each year.
Modern veterinary medicine is offering an ever greater range of
treatments and diagnostic services for pets, with no ‘NHS’ for
pets unfortunately these come at a cost.
The last thing you want if faced with an expensive and possibly
long-term treatment for your pet, is to be worrying about
whether you can afford it without making major sacrifices in
other areas of your life, or having to consider euthanasia.
What does pet insurance cover?
The purpose of pet insurance is to cover payment of your vet bills if your animal needs an
operation or becomes seriously ill requiring extensive tests or treatment.
Most policies have an 'excess' - anything from £50 to 20 per cent of the total claim is common.
This excess is usually payable annually for each condition claimed.
There tends to be two main groups of policies – Policies limited to 12 months of cover and those
policies that offer cover beyond 12 months, often called ‘lifelong’ or ‘cover for life’. Policies
which provide ongoing cover beyond 12 months may cost a little more, but are recommended as
many conditions will continue throughout a pets life e.g. skin allergies, arthritis, diabetes or
Many insurance companies offer a range of policy levels and will have varying limits on the
amount they will pay –either an annual limit or a claim limit.
Pre-existing problems must be declared at the start of the insurance. Insurers will usually only
cover problems that begin after the policy has been issued to you and there is normally a
fourteen day stand down period. Changing insurers or starting insurance once a problem has
occurred will usually mean it is excluded from cover, so get the right policy from the start!
Are there age limits?
Most insurance companies allow you to start your pet's insurance any time up to eight years old.
The sooner you take out cover, the more affordable the premiums.
Expect premiums to rise with age because older animals are more prone to illness and need more
veterinary assistance, leading to more claims.
Some will not renew the policy as the animal gets older - or only at their discretion.
What is third party cover?
Most insurers offer 'third party liability cover' because, as a pet owner, you are now personally
liable for your pet's actions. If your pet causes damage to other people, their pets or
property, you can be made to pay the cost of repairing the damage.
Most third-party cover is usually £1-2 million.
Some policies also pay out for accidental damage caused by your animal, for example, where
there is no legal liability but there is a moral obligation for you to pay for the damage that's
been caused by your pet.
Is anything else covered?
Some insurance companies will allow you to claim costs incurred if your pet is lost, so that you
can advertise his loss and offer a reward for his safe return.
If you have to cancel a holiday due to your pet becoming ill, you may be able to claim
You may be able to claim your personal travel expenses if your pet needs referral treatment
If you become ill and your pet requires kennelling, some policies make provision for this.
Several companies offer a payout if your pet dies earlier than generally expected.
PLEASE BE AWARE:
• Pet insurance does not cover routine preventive treatments for your
pet such as vaccinations, worming or parasite protection, or routine
dental care. Failure to keep these up to date could result in your
insurance company refusing to pay a claim if it could have been
prevented by these routine treatments.
• Staff at Animates will be happy to explain the concept of pet insurance
to you. We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority to
recommend policies from a particular company. As with all insurance we
recommend you read your policy documents carefully i.e. read the small
print so you know how much cover you have, how long it will last and any
other limitations as every company is different.
• This information is provided as guidance only, you must read your policy
documents and we cannot be liable for any disagreement between
yourselves and your pet insurance company.
Using your Pet Insurance at Animates
At Animates we support the principle of insuring your pet against unexpected injury or illness.
We believe it enables you to provide the best available care for your pet without being limited
by what you can afford. Options such as in-depth investigations, surgical repairs, long term or
expensive medications and referral to specialists may otherwise be unaffordable for many
Please be aware that it is your responsibility to settle your fees with us and to then reclaim
these fees from your insurance company. You are ultimately responsible for your veterinary bills
should there be any disagreement with your insurance company. We are unable to act on your
behalf with your insurance company and likewise they are unable to provide us with your
personal details and reasons for non-payment of claims.
If you are claiming on your insurance, the general procedure is for you to settle your account
as it arises with us on the day of treatment. We can then assist you in the completion of your
insurance forms to allow you to claim back the fees. Completion of insurance claim forms is
time consuming and costly. We currently do so as a complimentary service but special requests
such as extra copies of the completed forms may incur administration fees. Due to workload,
forms can take up to twenty one days to process.
Animates prefers not to process direct claims where the insurance company pays us as it can
often leave us with thousands of pounds outstanding at any one time. However we are aware
that large unexpected bills can be difficult for many people. Direct claims will only be accepted
at our discretion, following discussion and approval by the veterinary surgeon at the time of
your initial consultation, prior to further treatment being undertaken.