Pet insurance – vets are always recommending it. SO what are THE top 5 things you should know? Read on for our Pet Health Team’s Top Tips!

1. The small print is SO important and commonly catches people out.

Researching your policy is very important. Before you decide which insurance company you are going to select, you should be sure to check out exactly what clauses your insurance policy has. Comparison sites can be very useful when choosing which product to purchase.

This is very important because it will affect whether the insurance company will pay out, when and how much. You need to thoroughly understand every detail in the fine print. 

Key things to check on your insurance package which should be clearly stated:

  • Whether and by how much the payment increases by each year as your pet gets older. Some insurance companies may offer a fixed fee for life providing you start your pet’s health insurance when they are young enough
  • How much your excess is. This is the amount of money you will have to pay towards each claim before your insurance company will pay out
  • How many different diseases, per year, your insurance company will cover. For example, if your pet suffers from more multiple accidents in a year, will your insurance company be happy to pay out for all the different treatments or is it limited to 1 accident per year?
  • How much money your insurance company will spend per case. Some insurance companies will also have a maximum upper limit that they will spend per condition – or even per pet.

Find out the answers to the questions above as it is vital you know what you are paying for before signing a contract. Learn the limitations and exclusions. 

2. You usually have to make payment prior to the insurance company paying. 

Many people are unaware that they are the ones who initially have to cover the bill at the vets. This means that if the insurance company then decides they are not happy to pay for the treatment, you will suffer financial loss. Your vet is able to provide estimates for each treatment and management plan they offer; meaning you should know roughly how much you should expect to pay at the time. The estimates will break down the cost of each individual aspect of the bill so you can still choose if you feel all aspects of the bill are worth it or not. 

Some vets and some companies support direct claims. This is where the vet practice will make the claim for you and receive the payout directly; so you don’t have to pay up front and you don’t have to be the middle man. But make sure you know what the rules for “direct claims” are!

3. Communication skills are vital. 

Find an insurance company who communicate with you quickly and clearly. Whilst your pet is ill, the last thing you want to be doing is spending hours on hold waiting to hear back from the insurance company. Find out how many different methods of communicating the company provides. This increases your likelihood of getting information when you need it the most. If the insurance company has an in-person branch you can visit that is close to where you live, they may be a better option compared to a robotic answer machine. You may well need to communicate with insurance companies multiple times throughout your pet’s life, many of the scenarios being stressful, so efficiency in the communication department is essential.

By keeping in regular contact with your insurance company, you will learn how best to contact them in order to get an efficient, effective response. The insurance company will be able to answer any questions you have about their policies and this should be discussed prior to you making your first payment.

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4. Just because they paid out last time, does not mean they will pay out, again, this time. 

Many people believe that because their insurance company were brilliant last time and paid out for the previous pets, they will likely do it again. You must remember that each illness will be treated on a case by case basis. The insurance company will check all of the veterinary history made by your veterinary professionals, check all concurrent illnesses and analyse your policy. Each case is treated completely individually and no two cases should be directly compared.

5. Stay alert to changes

Insurance companies often increase the cost of the insurance depending on the age of your pet and the likelihood of them requiring medical help.

Remember, you can always look out for better, cheaper deals. As your pet gets older, your insurance company may start increasing your insurance cost. Be sure to shop around and check for any cheaper deals. 

HOWEVER – if you do decide to swap, make sure you CAN claim any concurrent illnesses that you’ve already claimed for on previous insurance claims, because most insurers will exclude them! 

Your newest insurance company may not pay out immediately, they may have a minimum period of time that you need to be insured for prior to claiming from them.

To conclude, we recommend getting pet insurance but think carefully and shop around prior to purchasing a product.

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