There are thousands of abandoned pets in need of loving homes across the country, adopting one can be incredibly rewarding. If you have decided to add a new addition from a rescue centre to your family, one consideration to make is taking out insurance to help towards their healthcare.
What are the main policy types?
Only covers injury and not illness; these policies often have cheaper premiums and at least do cover injury but bear in mind your pet is more likely to get sick than in an accident.
Provides cover for a 12 month period from the onset of the condition. Again, these policies are slightly cheaper and can provide cover for short term illnesses but will not cover your pet for chronic illnesses which could last a lifetime.
Each condition will be covered up to a certain amount with no time limit as long as the policy is active. These policies are typically cheaper than a lifetime policy and can provide good cover if they have a large allowance per condition. However, these policies are not good for chronic, lifetime conditions which may exceed the maximum benefit.
Covers your pet throughout their life as long as the policy is renewed each year. Typically these policies off a high amount per condition which renews each year and a good policy will cover the cost of major trauma, chronic illnesses and referrals. These will have higher premiums.
Do I need a rescue pet’s medical history?
Many rescue pets may have existing medical problems due to mistreatment, accidents or just old age. There may be no available medical history making it difficult to be precise.
Rescue centres should do a vet check to reveal any pre-existing conditions, an age estimate and approximate breed. Insurers may not insure your pet without this. It is important to be honest and upfront with your insurance company and provide all the information you have. Some insurers may exclude pre-existing conditions from their cover, be sure to know what your pet will be covered for.
Will my rescue pet be eligible for any free insurance offers?
Some rescue centres may offer 4- 6 weeks free insurance, do ask when you adopt your new pet. Be aware of when this free insurance runs out you can either opt to continue with the policy or take a new policy out with a different provider. If you do need to make a claim for a condition using the free insurance, be aware that if you then change to a different insurance provider, the condition may be excluded as pre-existing.
What policy should I choose?
This is ultimately your choice. Choose a good policy from the start and take note of your renewal date each year so that it isn’t allowed to lapse. This is especially important if your pet has ongoing health conditions covered by lifetime insurance, it may be difficult to find cover once the policy has lapsed.
What will be excluded on my policy?
Preventative treatments, vaccinations and neutering will not be covered. Some policies require you to vaccinate your pets each year and dental care may only be covered if your pet’s teeth are checked at certain intervals, be sure to look over the small print.
If your pet has pre-existing conditions, insurers may choose to exclude these from the cover or may not offer cover at all. Pre-existing conditions does not just mean conditions that have been treated by a vet. A chronic condition like arthritis appearing a day after a policy is in effect is unlikely to be covered as it is an illness that does not develop overnight. There are companies which do offer cover for pre-existing conditions if your pet hasn’t shown any symptoms or had treatment for a certain amount of time and a lot of companies offer ‘Senior Pet’ policies specifically for older pets. We recommend you shop around and compare so as to get the best policy you can afford.
Will cover be immediate?
When you first start a new policy there is a ‘deferment period’ of typically 10-14 days. During this period your pet may not be covered against illness, be sure to check this when you take out the policy.
What extras might my insurance cover?
- Third-party liability.
- Advertising costs if your pet is lost or stolen.
- Holiday cancellation cover if your pet is sick.
- Complimentary medicine, like hydrotherapy.
What if I decide not to insure my pet?
If you decide you would rather not have pet health insurance, consider saving money each year towards the cost of future treatment costs. Bear in mind that chronic conditions like arthritis or hyperthyroidism could cost up to £1500 a year and a referral to a specialist can cost up to £2500.