When it comes to having a new puppy there are so many things to sort out and so many questions will be asked. One question that will always be asked if that be by the breeder or by your vet or veterinary nurse is, would you like us to sign you up to 4-week free puppy insurance, or have you thought about insurance. Some breeders offer this, and most vets will work alongside an insurance company so they can offer this at your first visit. You may not have even thought about insurance or you may have already got a plan sorted. But what does this mean, what is the point of these packages because after all it is 4-week free puppy insurance? And nothing is ever free, so is there a catch?
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What are the benefits of taking this offer?
Peace of mind
Having your new puppy insured for the first 4 weeks that you own it provides a peace of mind with finances and allows you time to focus on your puppy and bond with them. Knowing that if anything was to happen you have that security of the insurance there.
Help with costs
Although all policies differ, having insurance can help with veterinary bills should you need to use it. Money worries wont not exist, but the insurance is there to help contribute to veterinary bills.
Once your 4-week period is over there is no obligation to carry it on, no payments were exchanged so you wouldn’t be charged for not carrying the policy on or cancelling. Using this offer allows you to decide on if you want to carry on with the company. Have they got good customer service, are they easy to contact, do they question any claims that are made, do they have good reviews. If you’re not impressed by them then you have no obligation to carry on but if you are impressed, then you can carry on using them. A 4-week policy is a good way of getting to know a company.
Some policies cover instantly for illness from when they are activated. With new puppies who can do stupid things unexpectedly, this can be a literal life-saver!
No upfront payments
No payments or upfront costs are needed when this cover is taken out and there are no cancellation fees. Although this will apply to most free insurance policies, always do double check.
What are the possible disadvantages to the policies?
We always like to read about the positives but where there are positives there’s always some potential negatives. Things we must consider when looking at these offers include:
Most of these policies are exactly how they sound. We know we are taking out a 4-week policy so after this time it stops. The question is, will we remember when the policy ends?
Before taking out a 4-week policy it is ideal to look at what they cover. For example, do they just cover for accidents, or do they include illness too? It is important to always read the small print as there might be some exclusions within the policy which means things you won’t be covered for. What we do have to bear in mind is if our puppy becomes unwell during this time and it’s going to be an ongoing medical problem, will this be classed as what they call a pre-existing condition? If so, when taking out another policy after 4 weeks their cover might expire.
You will usually be fine if you stick with the same provider, but if you change provider this could be a problem. To ensure this doesn’t happen what would be best is to take out a fully comprehensive cover as early as possible, in which case the 4 week policy will just cover the first (largely unprotected) fortnight.
With any insurance there is always an excess, so whilst these policies remain free, be aware of the excess fee if you do make a claim.
With only having 4 weeks to decide on the policy if to carry it on or not is in reality a short period of time to decide, and this could lead to you making a bad decision or a quick decision.
It would be very easy to miss an insurance renewal as it is only a short period of time so there is a risk you will be without insurance. This is a risk with 4-weeks cover.
So are these short term policies worth it?
Taking out these policies sounds great, even better because they are free but still always read the small print. There will always be small print with any policy, and you need to be aware of what your puppy is covered for and more importantly for how much. Different companies offer different things so definitely read up on this. Always do some research. You normally have 24 hours to activate the policy so there’s a window of time to read about it.
I think they are a good idea to get people thinking about insurance but they might not be so useful if there’s an ongoing medical problem, especially if you want to change provider in the future.
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