Affordable dog insurance cover
The common misconception amongst most dog owners is that dog insurance is expensive. However, increased competition in the pet insurance market has caused most pet insurance companies to lower their premiums over the years. As a result, most providers now charge less than £10 a month in return for a comprehensive insurance policy that covers the cost of a dog’s health care for every illness, disease or injury that may occur during its lifetime.
Most pet insurance companies also provide third party liability cover in their policies at no extra cost and offer discounts on policies purchased online and to pet owners insuring more than one animal.
A typical dog insurance policy from a reputable insurer will cover dog owners for:
- Veterinary fees – the most important aspect of a pet insurance policy is cover for the full cost of any treatment or medication issued by the veterinary practice. The level of fees covered depends on the type of cover taken out (see below).
- Third party liability – provides legal protection to the policyholder, as the dog’s owner, should their pet cause harm to someone else or damage their property.
- Advertising and reward costs for dogs that go missing, or are stolen.
- Compensation for dogs that are stolen (and not returned) or fatally hurt in an accident.
- Cover for boarding fees for dogs that have to go into hospital for a specified length of time
- Accidental death
- Lifetime cover
- Holiday cover – insures the policyholder and their dog when travelling abroad. This may include the cost of foreign vet charges and third party liability cover abroad.
- Free access to a serious illness and bereavement counselling line
* Most pet insurance companies offer a range of cover options. As with all types of insurance, the higher the monthly cost the wider the range of cover. For example, with vet fees a typical standard policy may include fees for a maximum of 12 months treatment for each illness, injury or disease, up to £3,000 (per condition). However, some comprehensive policies may cover vet fees up to £6,000 (per condition), with no time limit attached on reaching this amount.
Some policies may even include personal accident cover, which compensates dog owners for any absence from work as a result of an injury caused by their dog, and transport costs, which covers owners who are referred to another veterinary clinic by their vet.
Insurance companies have different criteria when it comes to policy exclusions. Some may refuse to cover older animals or certain breeds if they feel they are too high a risk, while others may refuse to cover a dog for certain health conditions, such as arthritis or hip problems.
Therefore it is very important for dog owners to make sure they read through all the small print and policy conditions very carefully to check the exclusions and to ensure the cover provided meets their individual needs.
Possible exclusions of a standard dog insurance policy include:
- Treatments aimed at preventing a condition, e.g. neutering, worming, flea treatments, vaccinations, spaying, nail clipping, etc
- Dental treatment
- Treatment required as a result of pregnancy or giving birth
- Behavioural and temperament problems
- Congenital or hereditary conditions
- Dogs restricted under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991/ wolf hybrids or animals listed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976
- Illness arising within the first two 14 or 30 days of the start of the policy date
- Dogs used for work, racing, guarding or commercial gain