Either you realised from experience there are better options for yourself and your pet. Or your renewal quote has come up and you don’t think the new price is fair. Or you realised your policy was time-limited or maximum-limited and suddenly it doesn’t cover your cat’s urinary issues anymore. There are a lot of reasons for wanting to change pet insurance… But can you?
The short answer for this question is yes, you can change pet insurer after you make a claim. However, there are a few things you should consider before doing so, as it may not always be advantageous.
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What happens after I change pet insurer?
Changing pet insurance is essentially the same as starting a new policy for the first time.
Most policies have a period in which you can’t make claims. This is usually around two days for accidents such as broken legs or poisoning. And two weeks for illnesses such as diabetes mellitus or kidney disease, for example. However, some insurance companies offer cover for a certain time after cancellation. In these cases, you do not need to worry about your pet’s health during the initial period of your new policy.
When should I change?
After you’ve made a claim, you become more experienced on what it entitles and may learn some things you didn’t know were important for you when you first got your pet insured.
Furthermore, the market moves fast and there may be better options now that weren’t available when you got your insurance.
Overall, the main advantages of changing pet insurance are that you can get lower prices and/or a better cover for your pet; especially if you notice your insurance price increasing exponentially at renewal; or if there are more limits than you’d like on what your pet is covered for.
Why should I even think twice?
The main disadvantage of starting a new policy is that everything your pet has been seen or given advice for will be considered a pre-existing condition by your new insurer. These conditions (or even body parts!) will usually be excluded from the policy.
Fortunately, there are exceptions to this rule, though! Some insurers don’t exclude pre-existing conditions if your pet hasn’t received treatment or advice for a certain period of time. For example if your dog had back pain 3 year ago, some insurers won’t class back pain as a pre-existing condition. Therefore, your pet will not be excluded for that.
Furthermore, there is a circumstance where this concern may not apply. If your current insurance is a maximum benefit policy or time-limited policy and you have achieved your limit on your pet’s pre-existing conditions, you are not covered for them anymore. And, for this reason, changing insurance won’t make a difference for those conditions. You may get a better deal for the conditions your pet is still insured for (the ones that haven’t happened yet!). For example, if your dog had stifle surgery but is otherwise healthy and you can’t claim for stifle problems anymore because you have reached your limit, then changing insurance means your dog will be excluded for stifle problems anyway; but you may find a better deal for when other medical problems arise.
On the other hand, if you have a lifelong cover and your pet has had health problems in the past, even if a different policy offers a better deal you need to consider whether the advantages of the new policy outweigh the loss of cover for those conditions over time.
What’s the verdict?
If your pet has never had a medical condition or illness in the past you shouldn’t have any concerns changing policy and/or insurer. It is almost always beneficial changing if you find a better deal.
Equally, if your insurance is time-limited or you reached the maximum you can claim for a certain condition, that condition will be classed as pre-existing by your new insurer. However your pet won’t be covered for that condition anymore anyway. So it may be worth it to switch to a better deal or to a lifetime cover. At least your pet will have a better cover for everything else that hasn’t happened yet.
However, if your pet has had previous conditions and you have lifetime cover, you need to consider carefully whether the benefits of a new policy outweigh the disadvantage of having those conditions excluded. Especially if your pet has got chronic conditions like allergies, diabetes or kidney disease, that need lifelong treatment and monitoring.