Taking responsibility for your first pet is a thoroughly rewarding experience and there is no better feeling in the world than unconditional love and affection from a dog or cat.
Buying toys, food, bedding and even clothing for your pet is your priority now. Insuring your Pet is probably furthest from your mind.
To most people, a dog or cat is not just a pet, but a member of the family and many pet owners will happily pay a premium to protect them.
In 2018 UK consumers paid £1 Billion in pet insurance premiums, forecast to rise to £1.8 Billion by 2025.
Approximately 45% of UK households have a pet. According to the RSPCA there are around nine million dogs and eight million cats in the UK. Statistics suggest only 20% of cats and 32% of dogs are actually insured.
In 2018 Insurers paid out £785 million in claims with an average claim costing £793. By comparison the average Pet Insurance policy cost £280 a year.
You may think the difference between the premium and the average claim is not that great and rather than pay for insurance, you could put the money into a savings account each year. This is of course an option, but whilst £793 is the average claim paid let’s take a look at the cost of actual vet treatments.
It’s common for a dog to cut themselves whilst out playing. The average claim for a wound is nearly £400, although this can vary depending on the size of the wound being treated.
Digestive problems account for nearly 10% of pet claims and can be caused by a wide range of issues. Whilst the average cost of treatment is over £300, you may need to visit the vet several times and this can quickly increase costs. The largest claim for digestive issues was over £4,000.
Here are some real life examples of claims; Angular deformity of the limb, requiring CT Scan and surgery, plus 4 day stay in hospital Cost £6,010. Jack Russell X Ray on back leg, culminating in a Luxating Patella Operation including antibiotics Cost £1,266. Broken leg, consultation, x-ray, surgery, plaster cast, medication and assessments £3,000. Removal of grass seed from ear, sedation and consultation Cost £400. Costs vary from a few hundred pounds to several thousand. If you can afford to take the risk that’s great, otherwise you may well be faced with a choice, paying the bill or putting your beloved pet to sleep. Remember there is no NHS for pets!
Pet Insurance covers a wide range of issues such as death due to accident or illness, loss by theft or straying, liability, cover abroad, euthanasia/burial costs, but the most important area of cover that you should be concerned with is vets fees.
Crossbreeds and Mongrels tend to cost less to insure than pedigree dogs, for several reasons. 1. Pedigrees tend to have a higher value 2. They are more likely to suffer from illnesses and injuries directly associated with their breed and therefore veterinary costs will be higher.
Think about the sort of policy you want. Do you just worry about accidents, do you want a policy that just covers you for a one off claim, either for twelve months or up to a certain amount, or do you want long term protection for your pet?
You should be ready to cover your pet as soon as you have purchased or adopted them. Most policies have a 14 day waiting period in respect of illness, so the sooner you are covered the better.
Most Insurers won’t cover puppies for the first 4 – 8 weeks.
Finding the right policy is absolutely critical when your pet is young and has no issues. If your pet develops a medical condition, remember that if you change Insurance Companies the condition would be classed as pre-existing by the new Insurer and would not be covered for any further costs.
It’s important to compare policies and shop around. Finding the right cover can be tricky as there are so many pet insurance policies to choose from. Use our product ratings and reviews to compare policies. We have analysed over 600 dog and cat policies and unlike some companies the information we provide is free.