A well accepted truth is that vet bills can become expensive. It’s very surprising though how many pet owners feel like they would never need insurance covering. Let’s do some easy maths here that will help you understand what vet bills is all about. Say Bella, your 3 year old Labrador, has an upset tummy for a few days that unfortunately doesn’t get better with chicken and rice , so she needs to be hospitalised to be put on a drip and have some supportive care. An average vet bill for a 2 day stay in a hospital could easily reach 1k ( if not more)… and an upset tummy is not even the worst condition your pet can have!
Sooooooo, these are the best 8 tips for buying the best pet insurance:
1. 15-20 years is a lifetime…
Don’t get fooled and buy a cheap insurance just because it’s cheap. Please read the small letters first! There are a lot of insurances that would only cover your pet for a year and guess what? Any conditions you claim for, won’t be covered the next year. (However, some yearly policies can be worth it, if for example your pet is elder and you want to take it year by year).
2. Be an early bird!
Taking over an insurance as soon as you get a pet (puppy or not) can save you time, effort and money. Bear in mind that it doesn’t matter how young your “little” one is, not buying an insurance on time, you ‘re risking conditions to be excluded lifelong. Two critical points to remember are: firstly, there is always a waiting period roughly about 2 weeks after you buy your insurance that most conditions are not covered and secondly, a lot of practices would offer a 4 weeks free insurance for dogs up to 18 months of age. This gives you the time to decide which provider you want to continue with.
3. Exclusions, exclusions!
It’s most insurances' policy not to cover for pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions are considered any diseases or conditions that your pet had before taking over any policy( including the waiting/cooling off period). For example, a diagnosis of infectious diarrhoea, can risk excluding any (seriously ANY!) conditions that affects the whole gastrointestinal system! Also, some policies would exclude by the following year, a condition claimed for the current year.
4. Premium… decisions.
It might sound a bit difficult to predict how much you will need to pay in vet fees but as a general rule a minimum of 4k yearly per condition would be a good policy premium. Remember Bella’s case? Now, poor Gigi, Bella’s sister, needs an MRI scan and possibly a spinal surgery, which most of the times costs around 5k. Are you still thinking insurance not needed???
5. Pure(bred) medical issues.
There are different hereditary diseases that affect curtain breeds that many policies will exclude. Make sure you check with your breeder first, as there are specific blood tests to rule out carriers of genes associated with curtain diseases that can be inherited to offsprings.
6. Dental treatments.
Dental disease can be a major problem for a lot of dogs and cats and is hugely underestimated. Particularly, small dog breeds can be predisposed to periodontal disease. Also, dental treatments most of the time include an anaesthetic, thus can be more expensive than expected. Not all insurances would cover dental work and it’s definitely a good idea to check before you take over a policy… Particularly if Chanel is a little chihuahua…
Overall, don’t hesitate to ask anything that worries you or confirm with your potential provider what is covered and what's not. Most providers can give you quotes based on your pet, their needs and your preferences and are more than happy to discuss with you any questions or concerns about your policy!
GOOD LUCK INSURANCE HUNTING!