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Pet Insurance

There is no NHS for pets, and Veterinary medicine has become increasingly sophisticated over the past few years. On a daily basis we see the decisions our clients face regarding the treatment of their animals. To offer you peace of mind in knowing that you will never have to compromise on the level of veterinary care for your pet, we strongly recommend that you insure your pet against accident and illness.

The Park Veterinary Practice, serving New Malden and Kingston, strongly recommends pet insuranceWe are not allowed to advise you about which insurance company or particular policy to choose (or avoid). However, we would suggest you consider Lifetime Cover or Maximum Benefit Cover. A good point to note is that the price difference between some providers is not significant and a little increase in your budget when taking a policy out may prove to be extremely prudent in the event of a claim. Other points to check are whether the policy provides cover for dental treatment and long term medications.

There are three main types of Pet Insurance Policies available:

1. Lifetime Cover

2. Individual Condition Cover

3. Annual Cover

1. Lifetime Cover

The pet insurance policy is renewed annually. Conditions which have arisen since taking out the pet insurance policy will continue to be covered. If a pet develops a chronic condition such as diabetes, epilepsy or arthritis, the insurer will continue to pay claims up to an annual limit each and every year without excluding the condition.

• There is usually a maximum amount the pet insurance policy will pay out each year for each condition.

• Once insured pets reach a certain age the insurance premium may rise and the policy excess will increase.

Advantage

Most comprehensive cover for both short and long term illness.

Disadvantage

More expensive

What does lifetime cover mean?

Exactly that; once your pet is insured and premiums are up to date the policy will provide cover for that condition for the rest of your pet's life.

Please note:

Some insurers may state that they offer lifetime cover, but they may exclude a condition after 12 months or when the money limit has been reached, whilst continuing to cover a dog for other ailments.

2. Maximum Benefit Cover

The pet insurance policy is renewed annually. The insurer will pay claims up to a maximum benefit per condition, with no time limit on the claim. Once the maximum benefit has been claimed, the condition will then be excluded from the policy.

• Once the maximum amount has been claimed that specific condition will be permanently excluded from future cover.

• The policy excess may be deducted each year for ongoing conditions and new claims. If the period claimed for spans two policy periods the excess may be deducted for each period.

• Once insured pets reach a certain age the insurance premium may rise and the policy excess will increase.

Advantage

Lower premiums than Lifetime Cover and should cover most short- and medium-term illness as well as accidents.

Disadvantage

You may run out of cover for chronic conditions.

3. Annual Cover

The pet insurance policy is renewed annually.

Annual cover may be divided into two categories:

a) Policy will cover a condition for 12 months from the onset of the condition.

b) Some policies may only cover the condition until the policy renewal date.

• The insurance policy will pay out a maximum amount for each condition claimed for. An excess is deducted for each condition claimed for. If the period claimed for spans two policy periods an excess may be deducted for each period.

• After 12 months any condition claimed for in the previous year will be excluded from the insurance cover.

• Once insured pets reach a certain age the insurance premium may rise and the policy excess will increase.

Advantage

This type of policy provides cheaper cover against accidents and short term illness.

Disadvantage

This type of cover can be very disappointing in the event of a chronic, ongoing condition.

Medium and long term health-care conditions are not covered. In practice this means that if your pet develops a condition which requires ongoing treatment, e.g. diabetes or kidney disease, it will be excluded after 12 months.

It is worth remembering that any pet health conditions already claimed for under this type of policy will be excluded if you decide to upgrade the pet insurance cover.

If you are unsure as to which type of insurance is best for you, contact a specialist veterinary insurance broker who can advise what is best for your circumstances, free of charge. One we recommend is VIP Insurance Brokers.