Pet owners are increasingly turning to insurance policies as a way to plan for their pets’ medical bills. However, there are a huge range of policies now available, and some of them are definitely more expensive than others! But are cheap policies as good as expensive ones? Is a cheap policy better than nothing? What are the alternatives to pet insurance? Let’s look at the facts.
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Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
It can be difficult to know whether your pet would benefit from being insured, especially if they are young and healthy.
The benefit of pet insurance is that it can remove (or at least reduce) the financial worries that can come when your pet is unwell. Having a sick or injured pet is a stressful experience. There are all sorts of different things that you have to juggle when making decisions about their care. The risks and benefits of treatment, the practical considerations, your pet’s quality of life – and on top of this, the money. Insurance helps to make one area of this a bit easier.
However, this does come with a cost – usually in the form of a monthly direct debit. And of course, you will only benefit from this insurance if your pet gets sick and has medical bills that need covering. If they stay healthy, then you may never “benefit” from the money that you have spent. Though, of course, you will also have a happy, healthy pet!
What Is the Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Pet Insurance?
There are several things that can increase the cost of a pet insurance policy. These include:
- Your pet’s age and breed
- How much money the policy will pay out
- Whether or not it is a lifetime policy
You cannot change your pet’s age or breed. However, you should be aware that the reason that insurance costs more for older pets, or certain pedigrees, is because they are more likely to get sick and need treatment from a vet. This means that although it is more expensive to insure these pets, it is also more likely to be worthwhile.
Insurance policies can vary a lot in how much money they will pay out for medical treatment; sometimes known as the policy limit. In my clinic, I have seen policies that cover as little as £500, or as much as £12,000. You will pay less for a policy that has a lower limit. But of course, it will also cover fewer of your medical bills. The cost of treating a pet can vary depending on where you live. So speak to your vet or veterinary nurse about the average costs in your area. Ask about the cost of common treatment, such as a broken leg or a blockage from swallowing a toy. This should give you an idea of how much cover you might want.
Lifetime policies tend to be more expensive, but they will also cover your pet if they develop a long-term health condition, such as skin allergies or arthritis. For more information, check out our previous blog on this topic.
Is Cheap Pet Insurance Worthwhile?
When looking at different insurance policies, it is tempting to choose the one that costs the least. However, you need to look closely at the reasons why it is the cheapest policy,
If your insurance is cheap because your pet is young, healthy, and not a high-risk pedigree breed, then you may be able to get a good policy without spending much. However, if they are older or high-risk pedigree, then they are more likely to need their insurance – even though it is more expensive.
Policies can also be cheap because they have a low limit – in other words, they will not pay out much towards the cost of your pet’s medical care. These policies are still better than nothing, but do not remove the financial worries from your pet’s care in the way that a policy with better cover may.
Lifetime policies are great but are also usually more expensive than other kinds of policy. Non-lifetime ones can still be useful if they are more affordable, as they can cover the sudden, unexpected costs for new illnesses. However, if your pet develops a long-term condition, there is a good chance that you will end up having to cover the costs of their care.
What Are the Alternatives to Pet Insurance?
Some people choose to put money into a savings account each month instead of paying for an insurance policy. This can sometimes work well, but only if your pet does not get sick before you have had time to build up a reserve of money in the account. You must also have the self-control to keep saving, and not to spend the money on other things.
Pet insurance can be a useful way of covering the cost of your pet’s medical bills, but make sure you know exactly what your policy does (and does not) cover. If you go for a cheaper policy, you may end up having to cover more of your pet’s care out of your own pocket, or accept that they will have to have a more basic level of medical treatment than they might otherwise.