In recent years, advances in veterinary medicine have allowed us to diagnose and treat conditions that in the past would have been left undetected, sometimes with fatal consequences. But this more advanced treatment can be expensive.
One of the hardest positions we find ourselves in, is when an owner is unable to afford the treatment cost and has to opt for a less effective treatment option. That’s where pet insurance can provide that peace of mind, so that you do not have to make these difficult decisions, allowing you to focus on caring for your pet.
People tend to think it’s only older pets that get ill and therefore younger pets don’t need pet insurance but we know from the patients we see each day that that is not the case.
In fact the younger your pet is when you insure them the better as it means you are less likely to have any existing conditions, which may not be covered by the policy and you can then receive more help covering the cost of any future treatment your pet needs.
It is important to note that not all pet insurance is the same. There are many different types of policy available and the level of cover provided can vary considerably. The four main types of policy are as follows:
Accident: provides cover for accidents only and no cover for illness
Time-Limited: provides cover for a set amount of time (usually 12 months) and after this period the condition is excluded
Maximum Benefit: provides cover up to a maximum amount of money per condition and once this limit is reached the condition is excluded
Lifetime: provides a set amount of money each year which is refreshed each time you renew your policy allowing you to continue to claim for ongoing conditionsprovides cover for accidents only and no cover for illness.
As you can see from the information above, the type of policy you choose can have implications for the veterinary care of your pet and the costs you will face so it’s important to choose the right cover. Sometimes, the cheapest insurance can cost you more in the long run. When shopping around for a policy, we suggest that you ask the following questions to allow you to compare the overall value you are getting, not just the price:
1. Does this policy cover congenital, hereditary, hip-related, dental and behavioral conditions?
2. Is there a time or monetary limit on how long this policy will cover ongoing conditions for?
3. If I claim, will my premium increase?
Unlike other forms of insurance it is not easy to switch pet insurance in the future as any pre-existing conditions your pet has are likely to be excluded so it’s important to do your research and choose the right cover from the start.
In the event that you need to make a claim, we are here to guide you through the process, and make no charge for completing our section of the claim form.
You will need to obtain a claim form from your insurance provider; some companies allow you to download a claim form online, others may send you one by post when requested. Once you have completed all of the policy holder details and answered any questions about your pet and their condition, please send us the form and we will complete our sections for you.
If you are insured with Petplan we can supply a form for you. Your claim form can then be left at the practice for us to complete. We aim to process any claim form within one week of receipt.
Owners are usually asked to settle in full at the time of any treatment. However, with prior arrangement and agreement, we are able to offer Direct Claims, meaning that your insurance company settle the claim directly to us; you simply pay your excess and any co-payment.
In order for us to be able to arrange a Direct Claim by your insurance company you must bring the following documentation with you:
It is the owner/policy holders responsibility to ensure the level of cover they have chosen is suitable for the treatment or procedure undertaken.
Owners will be responsible in full for any shortfall in your insurance payment.
If your insurance provider decline to settle a claim, or any part of the claim, you will be liable in full for the fees owed to the practice.
If you would like to make a Direct Claim for your pet’s treatment, please contact the practice, and a member of our team will be happy to talk you through the process.
For owners who do not have a Pet Insurance policy, or who’s policy is not adequate for their pet’s treatment, we are able to offer personal loans for 6 to 12 months via a third party company, CarefreeCredit. To find out more please call the practice, or click here to see if you qualify.