Pet insurance is integral part of the process of buying a new pet. The excitement of bringing your new family member home means that purchasing pet insurance can sometimes be overlooked.
Purchasing pet insurance can often be confusing and it is tempting to buy the cheapest option available; nevertheless, it is of paramount importance that you get the right cover to suit both yourself and your pet.
To help make the decision a little easier, we’ve collated 10 of the most commonly used pet insurance terms* and explained them for your ease:
- Lifetime Cover: For many pet owners, this is often the most confusing of all pet insurance jargon. Lifetime cover actually refers to a fixed amount of cover for veterinary fees per annum, however what most people don’t understand is that this renews each year in line with the renewal of the policy. You are not fixing the rate of the policy by purchasing a lifetime cover; it may rise or fall in line with costs of different policies.
- Complementary/Alternative Medicine: This is the name given to treatment which may not be considered to be part of stereotypical medical care; in short, this may be used alongside conventional health care treatments, and thus be complementing the treatment that your pet is currently undergoing. This often refers to ‘natural’ treatments, e.g. homeopathy.
- Accidental Damage: If your pet damages someone else’s property, your insurer will compensate the third party for any accidental losses. This often does NOT cover the personal property of yourself, any family member, anybody lives in your home, works for you, or looks after your pet.
- Dentistry: This may be covered in your policy, although will not be covered as a result of an accident. Some providers only cover dentistry of milk teeth, but check the terms and conditions as it can cover all teeth in certain circumstances.
- Pre-existing medical conditions: If your pet has previously had an ear infection, or something that required a similar level of treatment, this must be declared – no matter how benign. Even if your pet has not suffered from this again since the previous treatment, it needs to be stated and if it is not, your insurance company may not be willing to pay out should your pet need future treatment.
- Variable excess: This refers to the amount that you are required to pay towards the costs of any veterinary fees that your pet may need, in addition to the fixed excess, which will be later deducted from the claims settlement.
- Emergency boarding: Your insurer may reimburse your boarding fees up to a certain amount in a licensed boarding establishment. This stands if during your insurance period, you fall ill and need to stay in hospital for over 96 hours, or a family member that lives with you falls ill over a continuous period. If there is someone available to tend to your pet that would be preferable, but in the case that this is not achievable the emergency boarding will be of use.
- Pet travel scheme costs: Often referred to as ‘PETS’ this government scheme allows you to take your pet abroad to specified countries and re-enter the UK without your pet needing to go into quarantine, on the condition that certain criteria has been adhered to.
- Euthanasia costs: Your insurer may pay up to the maximum amount payable towards costs to bury or cremate your pet if your pet dies, or is put to sleep by a vet as a result of any illness or injury.
- Advertising/Reward costs: If your pet is lost, stolen or missing, insurers will often reimburse the costs of advertising in your local paper/newsletter and give you the choice of offering a suitable reward for recovery of the pet which must be confirmed with your insurer prior to being advertised.
Always check the full policy details for the level of cover you are interested in purchasing, whether you purchase online, or via the telephone.
*Exact definition of terms will differ depending on your insurance provider.