Pet insurance is now an important aspect of pet ownership. When you take on a pet, you also take on a responsibility for their health. Animals break their legs, pick up illnesses, eat silly things, and have bodily organs that sometimes stop working to their full potential. Their cells mutate and grow cancers, they get seeds in their paws, and sometimes they are allergic to the entire world. They get all the things that humans can get, but unlike humans, their healthcare isn’t subsidised. Treatment costs. 

So this brings us back to pet insurance. Or as we might word it ‘assurance’. Assurance in knowing that if something was to happen to your pet, you would have the capacity to be able to proceed with treatment. There are many different policies with many different degrees of coverage. Taking the time to choose one that suits you, your finances, and your needs is important. 

But if you find a better deal elsewhere, just how easy is it to swap insurers? 

Not as easy as you may think. 

Pre-existing illness or injury’ is a common exclusion on pet insurance policies. 

This means that any pre-existing medical condition which existed prior to you taking out a new insurance policy won’t be covered for treatment. This can include anything from chronic conditions, such as joint disease or skin allergies; to historic conditions, such as eye ulcers or gastrointestinal disease. 

Before switching policies, it is vital that you do your research into the insurance policy. This is so ensure that you will not get caught out by this. It is, unfortunately, a reasonably common occurrence. A client will put in a claim for illness, only to find that it is excluded as a pre-existing condition. And the insurance company won’t cover anything to do with that condition again. However, there are some companies that may cover the condition if the patient hasn’t required treatment for a certain period of time; industry standard being about 2 years. But this isn’t all of them. 

If your pet has received veterinary treatment in the past, you must think very carefully about the benefits of swapping pet insurers. 

If, however, they have never needed veterinary treatment outside of routine care, then shopping around may be a little bit easier for you, and have fewer implications. 

Holding periods

Another point to consider is that when you sign up to a new insurance policy, some stipulate that you cannot make a claim for a certain period of time after your policy first starts. This can range from anywhere from 2 days for accidents, or 14 days for illness. Insurers do this to prevent people obtaining insurance because they know their pet is ill and about to need treatment. So it is important to look at the fine print. Be aware of any length of time that your pet will not be covered for treatment so that you do not find yourself without cover. 

Also, no two insurance policies are the same. You cannot assume that what is covered on one insurance policy is covered on another. A good example of this is dental cover, or emergency cover. Always ensuring that you have read the fine print, and the terms and conditions, before changing policies, is important. 

What about for those who take on a pet who has now changed ownership? 

We all know that a pet may not be looked after by the same person for the entirety of its lifetime. Some insurance companies allow transfer of an existing policy to a new policyholder. This means that you do not need to worry about being caught out by pre-existing conditions that have previously been treated and claimed. 
In summary it is important to be aware of the implications of switching pet insurance. And that it is essential that you do your research before simply cancelling your policy and starting a new one. Ensuring that your pet is covered against pre-existing conditions; that it will not have a period of time where they are not covered at all; and that you know exactly what is covered on your policy is crucial for the health and treatment of your pet.

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