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Pet Insurance. Warning: A Visit To Your Vet Can Severely Damage Your Wealth.

March 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Finance

The Chinese year of the dog started last January. And according to Chinese tradition, anyone born in the following year, will be honest and loyal. They also aren’t much concerned about wealth. This could help to explain why there are 5.2 million homes owning dogs without pet insurance cover. As many will have discovered to their cost, they’re leaving themselves exposed to enormous veterinary bills.

The average cost of treating a dog following a road accident is £379 and the cost of just a scan could exceed £1,000. And as Veterinary science becomes more advanced with breakthroughs in medicine and surgery, the cost of owning an dog can potentially increase.

There is no National Health Service pets and if your dog is ill, detailed diagnostic tests, surgery, medication and care can mean an unexpected shock to your pocket. Studies have shown that on average, an insured pet owner makes a claim every three years.

But do take care. Pet insurance policies vary widely in terms of their cover, the excess you have to pay, the maximum costs that can be reclaimed each year and various exclusions.

So when you’re on the net shopping for pet insurance, it’s important to swot up on the small print. Don’t automatically fall for the cheapest. Cheap premiums customarily reflect limited cover. For example, not all insurers will cover your pet for life. This means that if your dog’s problem requires ongoing treatment, then cover ceases at the twelve-month stage.

Take Sheila Follows’ spaniel, Bonny. Seven years ago Sheila wisely took out insurance cover for Bonny as soon as Bonny joined the family as a pup. All was well until the first spring. Then, Bonny developed a skin allergy and later that year a hip problem. Treatment has been ongoing ever since requiring regular visits to the local vet.

Sheila says,” Bonny has to have a special diet and regular injections to control her allergies. The bill from my vet is usually between £375 and £450 per month so my decision seven years ago to take out insurance, proved to be one of my best investments. My insurance premium is just £15 per month and I’m not sure what we’d do if we weren’t insured!”

Sheila’s policy is a Budget policy issued by Pet Plan and covers lifetime conditions for up to £4,000 each year. Pet Plan also have two other pet schemes – their Standard Policy will pay out up to £6,000 per year and their Supreme Plan provides unlimited cover. So you can see that even within the same insurance provider, you can be faced with several policies to choose from.

So there’s lots of choice. Some policies even provide protection for kennel fees, or boarding fees if you become ill or even pay your cancellation fee for your holiday if your pet becomes ill before you travel.

Our advice is to look at several pet insurance web sites. Better still, print off their schedule of benefits and terms and conditions. Then spend forty minutes comparing their premiums and look closely at what you’ll get for your money. We know it’ll be a bore but a little extra effort now will be rewarded with a great deal and your peace of mind.

And if your dog could talk, he’d say thanks too. But perhaps a big lick will do!

Postscript

If you receive either Council Tax benefit or Housing Benefit, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) will provide veterinary treatment free of charge.

At the moment there are some 5.8 million households that fulfil these eligibility conditions with just over 7 out of ten of homes served by either a PDSA PetAid practice or a PetAid Hospital.

There are 328 PetAid practices and 4 PetAid branches plus 43 PetAid Hospitals.

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