Health insurance for animals

Health insurance for animals

Health insurance for animals is not as simple and straightforward as most would want you to believe. This is because like people, no two animals are the same. 

Different animals have different insurance needs

When insuring a reptile such as a snake or a lizard, there will be different risks to the insurer than insuring a dog or a cat. Snakes are unlikely to go for an outing with their owner but can still escape their enclosure and get lost or stolen. In respect of health insurance for your pet the cover can vary greatly depending on the species, the breed and even the gender of the animal. In some cases, sterilising an animal will reduce premiums because additional risk has been removed.

Health insurance for Reptiles

Reptiles are a specialist pet insurance area and you’re advised to seek an expert insurer or an insurer that offers specific health insurance for your reptile. There are an eye watering 3000 breeds of reptile that are bred in captivity, and in the UK alone it is estimated that over 800 000 reptiles are part of the family circle.

For this reason, it is no longer difficult to get specialist health insurance for your reptile. It may in fact be more difficult locating a vet that has the specialist knowledge required to treat your exotic pet. Remember that not all health insurance policies for animals are created equal, so it’s best to check around and ensure that you’re adequately covered. Compare a few policy offers before taking the plunge.


Health insurance animals - Dogs and Cats

On the surface, it may appear to be a simple process to seek out and initiate a good health insurance policy for your pet. Different underwriters use different criteria to assess risk when insuring an animal. Certain breeds of dog are prone to certain congenital disorders. These are health problems that are genetic or present from birth. Some genetic disorders only surface later in an animal’s life and are more prevalent in pedigreed animals. German Shepherds for example are considered high risk for hip dysplasia and Dalmatians high risk for urinary stones because they can’t process certain proteins correctly.

Policy Structure

Pet insurance policies cover all sorts probabilities, including theft, loss, death, public liability and more. The core reason why someone takes out a policy to insure their pets is for the health cover that provides assurance for both illness and accidents.

It is important to shop around because different insurers will mix and match their policies in accordance with the market segment that they are targeting. It may seem strange to you that it appears that you can get the same cover for a lot less elsewhere. It is unlikely that this is the case. 

When you see a policy that offers £500 cover for illness per year and the excess is £250, it is definitely more worth your while to pay the few extra pounds to get the same cover with an excess of £75. The reasoning here is that there will always be a reason for disparity in quotation. Search the fine print to establish why.

Variables that affect the quote

Other factors that will affect your quotation are your postcode, the age of your pet, whether the pet has pre-existing conditions that will be excluded and whether your animal is neutered. The simple act of having your pet sterilised may save you much more that the original cost of the procedure, not only in premiums but also the excess you pay when the animal needs treatment. If your dog or cat has ever behaved aggressively before or had a complaint made about its behaviour will also affect the premiums. Carts can behave aggressively too and have been known to attack dogs walking past their homes. The consequence of not declaring this information and it is later revealed that this information was withheld could invalidate your policy.

The little Extras

When looking at Health insurance for animals, it is often the little extras that make all the difference. Does the policy offer a free veterinary advice line? You may find that you will able to get pet products at a discount or a lower excess charge if you use a specific vet. Accidents don’t happen by appointment, so will after hours emergency care be covered? What about the insurers call centre – is it based in the UK?  An important consideration for many new customers. Do you have to pay upfront and then claim, or can the bill be paid directly to the vet?

Once you have found the right policy, with all the weights and balances in place, remember that you will get what you pay for. Don’t be afraid to pay a little more for that extra peace of mind. After all your pet is worth it, isn’t he?