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Homebase Pet Insurance






Finding Best Pet Insurance Providers

Looking after a sick or injured animal can cost hundreds of £££s in vet bills. And even thousands if they develop a long-term illness. Which is why you need to make sure you've got sufficient insurance cover for your pet. Many worry about the high cost of vets' fees and believe pet cover / pet insurance gives them the peace of mind that their friend will be cared for through illness or injury. Sometimes pets fall ill and require treatment for several years; diabetes or arthritis are two examples. Only a Lifetime Policy would cover such ongoing illnesses; many pet life cover policies limit cover to 12 months. So look at the terms before you buy!

Plenty to wag your tail about

We all love our pets. Muddy paws. Hair all over the sofa. They're part of the family. Wouldn't be without them. But what happens if they get ill, get lost, have an accident or cause one? Who'll take care of them then? Who'll foot the bill? The answer should be a well-trained and obedient owner with good pet insurance.


Overview

When pet owners purchase a pet they shop around at the various pet shops, breeders, pet rescues, and animal shelters until they find the dog, cat, or exotic pet that suits them, what very few pet owners do is consider the cost of veterinarian cost for their new pet. The oversight can prove financially devastating and emotionally heartbreaking.

The cost of veterinary cost is on the rise. Technology, liability insurance, medications, and medical research have forced veterinary clinics to raise their cost. Many pet owners try to keep the unexpected veterinary bills at bay by providing excellent care for their pets. They make sure that the pet is kept well groomed to prevent insects and skin disorders. They only feed their pets foods that are very carefully balanced with a proper blend of nutrients. They make sure the pet maintains a healthy weight, not to thin and not to fat. Some pet owners won't let their pets out of the house, fearing a freak accident. While pet owners should take the best possible care of their pets and do everything in their power to keep their family pet safe, even the most careful, health conscious pet owner can not prevent everything.

 Pet insurance is one way to prevent veterinarian bills from becoming overwhelming. Pet insurance is insurance pet owners purchase to help cover veterinarian bills similar to human medical insurance. The chances of a pet owner being able to purchase a pet insurance policy at the same Insurance company where they purchase their human health insurance are slim. Most pet owners will find that they have to go to a separate Insurance company that specializes in pet insurance.

                                                     FACTS 

There are many points you need to consider when buying pet insurance. Not only can the policies vary in the level of cover they offer, but also each company will apply their own additions, conditions and exclusions, which mean there can be great differences between them. It is important to make sure that you compare like with like when choosing pet insurance and pick the policy that best meets your needs and budget.

Cost The basic level of pet insurance costs much less than you may think, and, although some policies may not cover you against every eventuality, it is usually better to have some cover than none at all. The more comprehensive the level of cover, the more expensive the policy is going to be. However, you should take care to ensure you are not paying for more cover than you need.

Different companies often use different methods to work out the cost of your premiums. Some companies consider the breed of the animal, its age and where you live. The benefit of this is that you are charged according to your own circumstances.

Other companies make you pay the same as everyone else - even if their animals pose a higher risk than yours do. This means that if there is a rise in claims, the company may put the price up for everyone, rather than just for those who are making the claims.

You should be able to tell roughly how each company charges by the questions they ask you. If they want to know more detail about your pet, you know that you are probably being considered on an individual basis.

Most policy contracts are on an annual basis and the cost of the insurance can usually either be spread over the year by paying monthly or as a one-off annual charge. Sometimes you can save by paying by a particular method, such as by direct debit.

Excess 

The excess is the part of a claim that you have to pay from your own pocket. One of the main purposes of an excess is to prevent people claiming for minor ailments that only cost a small amount to treat, but cost insurance companies a lot to process. Without an excess everyone could claim for everything and, ultimately, the cost of insurance would have to rise dramatically. By charging an excess, the insurance companies can keep premiums lower, making cover more affordable.

Different companies offer different types of excess: Fixed excess - This type of excess is fixed at the outset, say at £50, and stays the same regardless of the size of your claim. Percentage excess - This is where the excess is based on a percentage of your claim (usually after a fixed minimum has been applied), so the more you claim the higher the excess. Annual excess - If a single condition spans two policy years the excess will be taken twice. Variable excess - The excess can vary according to the area in which the pet lives and/or the pet's age. Most companies will charge you an excess for each condition you claim for, so if you have to claim for two different problems in one year, you'll have to pay two excesses.

Exclusions 

Different insurance companies apply different exclusions. Some may refuse to cover older animals or certain breeds if they feel they are too high a risk. Other companies may refuse to cover your pet for certain conditions, such as arthritis or hip trouble, which certain breeds of dog are especially prone to. Make sure you check the exclusions to ensure the cover provided meets your individual needs.

Possible exclusions may be:
Treatments that are aimed at preventing a condition e.g. neutering, worming, flea treatment, vaccinations, nail clipping
Treatment arising as a result of pregnancy or giving birth
Behavioural problems
Illness arising within the first 10, 14 or 30 days of the policy date
Home visits, unless the vet feels this is absolutely necessary for the pet's welfare
Congenital or hereditary conditions
Dogs restricted under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991/ Wolf hybrids or animals listed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976
Pets used for work, racing, guarding or commercial gain
Dental treatment
Diet food
Pre-existing conditions
Most insurance companies won't insure your pet for a condition that started before you took the policy out. How strictly this general rule is applied will vary between companies. For example a dog that has suffered from arthritis in one joint prior to the insurance starting may be excluded from all arthritis cover by one company, just the specific joint by another, or for any bone and joint problems by another.

Changes in terms for older pets Check what happens to your policy as your pet gets older. Some companies may increase the premiums or excess as your pet gets older. And sometimes they change from charging a flat rate excess to a percentage excess instead.

Age limits 

Many companies won't insure your pet for the first time if it's past a certain age. This is usually 8 or 10, but it can be as low as 5 years old depending on the breed. Whilst generally speaking, most companies who will insure your pet will insure them for life, there are some companies who won't. So, even if your moggy or pooch is already insured, once it hits the company's cut-off age, insurance may cease or cover may be restricted.

Additional benefits 

Some companies offer important additional benefits at no extra cost. For example, a phone line to help you find a vet in an emergency.

Company reputation 

You may be better off choosing a company that has a proven and good reputation that you can trust to deliver a reasonable level of service. Speak to friends and family about which companies they recommend. Remember also that the company name on the policy is not necessarily the company that underwrites the risk or administers the sales and claims process.

How can I buy pet insurance? 

Common ways to buy policies are by post, over the phone, online or in supermarkets.

How do I claim? 

Although companies will differ in their requirements, it is generally very simple to make a claim. Some companies will allow you to make a small claim for vet fees over the phone, without having to complete any paperwork. However, for larger and more complicated claims you will probably be asked to complete a claims form. You will then need to pass this onto your vet, so that the surgery can add necessary medical details, such treatment received and costs incurred.

If the claim involves a third party you must notify your insurance company in the first instance, so that they can liaise directly with the third party.

Important considerations 

As you can see, there are a number of things to consider when taking out a pet insurance policy. Here is a checklist of the key points.

Things to consider 

*Does the cost of the policy suit my budget?
*Is the level of vet fees cover appropriate for me?
*What are the exclusions and how will they affect me?
*What are the excesses and how are they applied?
*Does my pet have any pre-existing conditions that affect the cover?
*Will the terms and conditions stay the same when I renew the policy?
*Will the company insure my pet as it gets older?
*What happens to the policy's terms and conditions as my pet gets older?
*Do I want to pay my premium on a monthly or annual basis?
*Should I have third party liability cover?
*What additional benefits are important to me?
*What do I know about the company's reputation?

Taking out pet insurance is a wise decision and one that you should be pleased you made in the long term. Buying a policy is easy and the benefits can be considerable. Pet insurance gives you peace of mind and can literally save you thousands of pounds for just a few pounds a month.

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