Pets will require potentially costly veterinary care at some point in their lives. Pet owners want to make sure that their pets can get the treatment they need in the event of an accident or a medical emergency. However, the reality is that without pet insurance, many pet owners struggle to pay the veterinary bills.
Is it worth getting pet insurance or would you much rather go the self-insurance route? It’s a decision that can have an impact not only on your pet but on your finances as well. Before you make that important decision, consider some of the pros and cons of both insurance options.
Pet insurance serves as a safety net to protect you against unexpected expenses as a result of your pets getting sick or being in a situation where veterinary care is required. The cost of premiums vary across insurance companies depending on the policy and coverage but typically, premiums can cost £300-£400 per year.
What pet insurance cover to look for?
The type of pet insurance coverage to take depends on the kind of pet you have, the risks involved, and your ability to pay. Typically, pet insurance policies cover the following:
The main reason for getting pet insurance is to cover expensive vet bills but it must be emphasised that not all types of treatments are covered. Most pet insurance covers the general vet cost which includes treatment for illnesses and injuries.
Congenital conditions or health issues acquired from birth are usually covered if they are not classified as a pre-existing condition and if the cover is unrestricted. On-going health conditions are usually covered under a lifetime insurance policy.
Death due to injury or illness
Pet insurance covers the purchase price when your pet dies due to an accident or a disease. Unfortunately, insurers put an age limit and they don’t typically pay out for older dogs. So if your dog passes away at a very advanced age due to illness or injury, you will not be able to file a claim for his death. A good policy must also include euthanasia.
Loss of pet due to theft
Ideally, the insurance should cover the purchase price of your pet but they would require you to provide proof of the price. If you can’t provide papers for it, you will get the market value price. The cost of advertising for the lost pet and the reward offered when the pet is found might also be covered.
This is available for dogs only and it covers costs that you are legally responsible for paying if somebody is injured or property is damaged because of your dog’s actions.
It is important for pet owners to have a thorough understanding of all pet policies before purchasing one. Do a side-by-side comparison and evaluate the cover that addresses the needs of your beloved pet.
Pet insurance exclusions
Apart from veterinary exam fees, most insurance policies have the following common exclusions:
There are also other certain breed-specific exclusions. One example is the exclusion of the Shar Pei dog breed due to its susceptibility to skin conditions.
With self-insurance, pet owners set up a contingency fund to be used in case of an emergency or if a vet treatment is needed. It’s no different from a savings fund where you would earmark a certain amount for the fund and build it up over time.
Self-insurance requires commitment and discipline to ensure that there will always be funds available to cover treatment or on-going care. For this to work, you must decide how much money you can realistically put aside on a regular basis and you have to keep putting money into the fund to cover unexpected vet bills.
Before you decide to self-insure, you must consider the age, size, breed, and susceptibility of your pets to certain illnesses or health conditions.
- The emergency fund remains in your hands even if you do not need to use it. This may be the case for pets that rarely get sick.
- You can use your self-insurance funds without the approval papers from an insurance company when seeking veterinary treatment.
- It covers conditions that are otherwise uninsurable under pet insurance policies—pre-existing conditions, hereditary defects, vaccinations, spaying, and neutering, among other things.
- It covers uninsurable pets like older dogs, working pets, and some exotic pets.
- You may be placed in an undesirable situation wherein the vet fees exceed the amount of money in your funds. This is especially alarming for people who have just started saving up. You will have no other options compared to insured pets.
- There will be no third-party liability on damages or injuries caused by your pet.
- On-going health conditions or surgical procedures may result in very expensive veterinary treatments. The emergency fund may not be enough to cover the increasing cost of veterinary care.
|Offers a wide range of options on pet policies; accident-only, lifetime, maximum benefit, and time-limited.||Financial dealings are at your own terms.|
|There is an assurance of payment cover on unexpected veterinary treatments.||No approval papers needed.|
|Depending on the acquired pet policy, it does not always cover the full costing with a number of exclusions.||There are no exclusions as long as your fund can afford.|
|There will be no third-party liability.|
|Offers a wide range of options on pet policies; accident-only, lifetime, maximum benefit, and time-limited.|
|There is an assurance of payment cover on unexpected veterinary treatments.|
|Depending on the acquired pet policy, it does not always cover the full costing with a number of exclusions.|
|Financial dealings are at your own terms.|
|No approval papers needed.|
|There are no exclusions as long as your fund can afford.|
|There will be no third-party liability.|
The decision to get pet insurance or to self-insure lies in your hands. If you think that your pet would need expensive medical care down the road and you’re extremely worried about not being able to have enough funds to cover the bill, pet insurance will give you some peace of mind. If you have the discipline to start and maintain a pet emergency fund, then self-insurance can be a viable alternative.