Having a pet is a lot of fun. Really, it cannot be recommended highly enough.
Pets provide us with a source of companionship and can be a great help for anyone who is suffering from loneliness. Unfortunately, they sometimes get sick or pick up an injury though, and that is where insurance comes in.
Although a pet insurance policy is usually pretty standard, there are some variances depending on what type of animal you have as your pet. Different insurance providers also sometimes offer policies with protection add-ons that you would not find in a straight down the line policy.
Here is the lowdown on the ins and outs of pet insurance for people who are new to the subject.
What Do Pet Insurance Policies Cover?
A pet insurance policy is basically something that is designed to protect you financially if some unforeseen medical emergency affects your pet. The average bills charged by vets and animal hospitals for emergency care, operations and stays in hospital can be somewhere close to astronomical.
We are talking thousands of dollars here and people can very easily be forced into debt trying to cover the costs if their pet gets sick or suffers a serious injury. It is that sort of nightmare that pet insurance will prevent from happening to you.
That is the simple explanation of what it is, but the majority of pet insurance policies cover other eventualities too.
• Missing pet protection
This will help to pay towards the costs of recovering a lost pet, such as poster campaigns and finder rewards.
• Overseas travel cover
This will protect you financially if your pet suffers an injury or illness when you are in another country, as well as reimbursing you for lost holiday costs.
• Third party cover
Third party cover means the policy will pay out if your pet causes injury to another person or damage to their property.
• Dental cover
The majority of pet insurance policies have protection for dental work resulting from either illness, injury or both. This may be dependent on you taking your pet for check-ups on a regular basis though.
That is a basic outline of the protection provided by pet insurance. There are complicating factors involved in insuring your pet that it is important to know about though.
Pet insurance policies come with waiting periods as standard. What the term means is how long you have to wait to be paid by your insurance company after you contact them.
The waiting period is usually different depending on whether the pet is sick or injured, many providers have a waiting period of 14 days for the former and 2 days for the latter. It varies depending on the insurer and will be outlined in your policy.
Again, this will depend on the company that you take out the insurance policy with. Aside from that though, there are other things that can affect the cost.
The older your pet is, the higher your pet insurance premiums will almost certainly be. That is because older animals are considered more of a risk, just as with older people and life insurance.
There are factors like breed that impact on insurance risk. Pedigree dogs or cats are at greater risk of contracting congenital conditions, which can mean higher premiums.
Large animals also have a heightened risk of joint issues and this can also affect the pet insurance premiums.
• Animal type
Common pets such as dogs or cats are very easy to get pet insurance for. A lot of companies will be prepared to insure smaller pets like guinea pigs, hamsters or gerbils too.
Many will be more reluctant when it comes to unusual pets though. That means ones like snakes.
What Do Pet Insurance Policies Not Cover?
We have looked at what is usually included within a pet insurance policy, but what about the areas that it does not cover. There are some issues that it will not protect you against.
• Existing illness or injury
No pet insurance policy will pay out for an illness or injury that dates back to before you signed the policy. Again that is completely standard practice for the industry and would apply to most policies for human beings as well.
• Pet pregnancy
If your cat or dog gets pregnant, that can potentially be expensive. This will be the case if it needs a c-section operation to be able to deliver its litter.
Unfortunately, the costs of pregnancy are usually not a feature of a pet insurance policy. There are many cases where no such operation is needed though and the expense is fairly minor.
• Preventative treatments
This means everything from vaccinations to routine vet check-ups. Although not a standard feature of pet insurance, some providers have custom policies that include preventative treatments as part of the coverage.
This should have helped you grasp the essentials of pet insurance and why it is something that every pet owner must have.