Pet insurance can be a bit of a controversial topic amongst pet owners. Some people wouldn’t be without it. Other people think it’s over-priced and never there when you need it. Here are some points to consider when deciding whether or not it’s right for you.
Can you afford to self-insure?
If you’re thinking of self-insuring then it’s important to do your research carefully. There are a number of factors which will influence the likely cost of veterinary treatment for your pet. Here is a quick guide to the main ones.
The type of pet you have
As a rule of thumb, bigger pets tend to run up bigger veterinary bills. There are, however, exceptions. For example, it can be challenging for vets to treat very small dog breeds. This means that their treatment can end up being more expensive than the equivalent treatment on a medium-sized dog.
What’s more, in many species, there are certain breeds which are known to be susceptible to certain conditions. This means that you have to assume that your pet could need treatment for these conditions in the future, even if they seem perfectly healthy now.
The age of your pet
Similarly, it might seem obvious that older pets could run up higher medical bills than younger ones. This is often true, but the nature of the bills might be different. For example, an older pet might develop a chronic condition which needs to be managed with medication.
In this instance, the consultation fees might be low. Most of the cost would be for the prescription. Regular medication is unlikely to be covered by insurance. This would mean that you might not actually gain much by having it.
By contrast, very young pets can need a surprising amount of medical treatment. Think about how often young children get sick. Likewise, they tend to be a lot more accident-prone. For example, young animals of many species often try to eat anything they find. That can result in emergency surgery.
Whether your pet has been spayed/neutered
Spaying/neutering your pet has a number of medical benefits. Basically, it means that they are guaranteed not to have problems with their reproductive organs. In particular, it eliminates an area of vulnerability for cancer.
It also ensures that females will not get pregnant and that males will not cause pregnancy (and a potential third-party liability claim). Likewise, it will help to reduce the likelihood of pets wandering off and/or getting into fights. This also reduces the likelihood of them getting involved in accidents.
Where you live
There are three main costs involved in medical care. These are the cost of medical staff, the cost of medical supplies and the cost of a suitable building. The first two are likely to be similar to identical across the UK. The latter, however, can vary widely from place to place. In simple terms, the more your vet is paying for their building, the more you are likely to pay for their service.
The cost of having insurance
All of these factors will also influence the cost of any insurance you choose. The other key factors you want are the level of cover you want and the amount of excess you can afford. This is where careful planning and astute purchasing could get you the cover you need at a very reasonable price.
For example, if you are confident that your pet is healthy now, you could look at accident-only pet insurance with a high excess. You could supplement this with third-party liability insurance from another source like Dogs Trust. **You are now moving to a new site which is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. We give no endorsement and accept no responsibility for the accuracy or content of any sites linked to this site. Click on the link if you wish to proceed.
More extensive cover will be more expensive cover, even if you can pay a high excess. It’s therefore very important to look carefully at the terms to make sure it delivers what you need. For example “Lifetime cover” may actually have extensive restrictions once your pet reaches a certain age.