Pets, insurance ensured to confuse!

As I mentioned on a recent show, I feel strongly that it is important to insure your pet. While you will hopefully never need to make a claim, they are a member of the family and should be treated as such. It is something that I feel strongly about, as I would hate to find myself in a position, not able to look after my cat.

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But it is a minefield to figure out what type of insurance is best for your particular pet, so it is certainly worth shopping around a little!

Which have produced a guide to help you through the minefield, with reviews of the top insurers : http://www.which.co.uk/money/insurance/reviews-ns/pet-insurance-reviews/

If you are rescuing a pet, most shelters will offer a month insurance to cover you while you get settled in, and this gives you room to shop around and see if it is the best insurance for you. When I bought Barbeque, we were given 2 months at his first checkup which was great. I didn’t really understand much about insurance in general, let alone insuring an animal at the time so I continued with the insurance company initially.

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It wasn’t until I was approached while shopping, and realised I was paying twice as much as I needed to pay, that i realised I should be shopping around. Barbeque is now 10 years old, and I have only switched 3 times, you can of course change much more often, and I certainly encourage you to look around, make sure that you are getting the best deal.

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There are things to consider when looking at pet insurance, like any really, check the excess on the claims. Sometimes premium can seem really low, however the excess on any claims might be higher so it isn’t cost effective if, touch wood, you do need to claim.

Another thing to look at is what is included in your insurance – do they pay directly to the vet or do you need to claim? Not everyone has the means to pay large vet bills – so this is another consideration when choosing.

What you need to think about as well, the level of insurance, do you just want a basic cover, would you like accidental damage (for example you new fur buddy getting into your neighbour’s house and redecorating their curtains), will you be going abroad with your pet?

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And now, what you really don’t want to have to think about, but what is important – the level of care when it comes to ongoing claims. This will affect the premium, but you should give it some thought before making a commitment. When it comes to claiming for an ongoing problem, say where medication and visits, possibly diagnostic testing, therapeutic treatments needed. You can either opt for a one off payment to help cover, or ongoing. You can opt for lifetime, or non lifetime cover – non lifetime will have a set amount that they will pay out. Once this has been reached, no further payments will be made. Lifetime cover is more expensive but will continue to pay out for the lifetime of the pet – your premiums will go up as well but you have to work out what you can afford to pay both short and long term.

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There is something else to consider when looking at insurance – the length of the insurance, some will not cover over a certain age. I didn’t realise this when I was shopping around a couple of years ago, there are policies that will not pay out of your cat is considered ‘senior’ which is typically where insurance is concerned, 8 years old. So please make sure as your cat gets older, your insurance will continue to cover!

One really REALLY important piece of advice – READ the paper work when you do choose an insurance policy – there is a lot hidden in the small print. Make sure you keep up to date with boosters, chip your pet. You need to make sure you are doing everything you can to protect your animal.

But on a more positive note, because there is a lot of competition it is worth checking to see if you can get a like for like (or better) cheaper elsewhere, and your own company might match the premium, I would keep an eye because they can sneak up if you aren’t paying attention. But it also means that you can get added extras for free – for example, my insurance company offers a 24/7 telephone service so you can speak to a vet if there is anything you are concerned about.

And because I don’t want you to think I am bias, here are my hamsters, Pumpkin and Charlie – both of whom were adopted – remember it isn’t just larger animals that can be adopted 🙂

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Please tune in to Lifestyle:MK on Secklow sounds, saturdays 12 – 14:00 – find us on FB : https://www.facebook.com/livethemomentradio?fref=ts

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