2 The Green, Thurlby, PE10 0EB
T: 01778 420462
Market Deeping Practice
4 Stamford Rd, Market Deeping, PE6 8AB
T: 01778 380111, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Market Deeping Practice
4 Stamford Rd, Market Deeping, PE6 8AB
T: 01778 380111
Quick Guide to Pet Insurance
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 your choices being limited by what you can afford. Options such as in-depth investigations, surgery, surgical repairs, long term or expensive medications and referral to specialists may otherwise be unaffordable for many owners.
Legally we are unable to advise you which insurance company you should use so we have put together this guide to tell you all about pet insurance and to help you in making your decision. We recommend checking the details of any policy you are considering carefully.
Why should I consider pet insurance?
With pet ownership comes the responsibility of caring for your pet. If your pet becomes seriously ill, has an accident or causes one, you would be grateful that you took out pet healthcare insurance.
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 is injured or becomes ill, needing investigation, surgery, hospitalisation and/or treatment. Pet insurance will generally help if your pet requires referral to a specialist for investigation or treatment.
Most policies have an ‘excess’ that the owner is required to pay, anything from £50 to 20% 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 conditions, arthritis, diabetes or epilepsy. If your policy is limited to 12 months any condition your pet has in that year would be excluded in future years.
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 conditions 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 that condition will be 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 compensation.
You may be able to claim your personal travel expenses if your pet needs referral treatment further away.
If you become ill and your pet requires kennelling, some policies make provision for this.
Several companies offer a payment 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. Animates offers Pet Care Plans (which are not insurance). These plans complement insurance by covering for routine preventative health care. Follow this link for details on our Pet Care Plans.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
Once you have completed your section of the claim form please hand it in at reception with a prepaid envelope. We will complete the rest of the form and send it off on your behalf. We aim to send off insurance claims as soon as possible, but due to work load this may take a couple of weeks. Any payment made by your insurance company would then be paid directly to you.
DIRECT CLAIMS – Where the insurance company pays us
Animates prefers not to process direct claims as we are providing credit for your pets treatment.
We will consider direct claims in some cases as we are aware that large unexpected bills can be difficult for many. 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.
If we have agreed to accept a direct claim we require you to bring in the claim form on or before the day of treatment and pay any excess detailed in your insurance policy and a direct claim fee. For non-urgent procedures, where a direct claim has been agreed, the procedure will not be performed until your claim form and excess have been received
If your insurance company does not cover your claim you will be required to settle any outstanding balance.
We charge £10 per condition per year for direct claims. We reserve the right to decline to process direct claims for some insurance companies.