Pet insurance helps cover the cost of veterinary bills if your animal falls ill or is injured. Depending on the cover you have they may also pay out if your beloved pet passes away, are lost or stolen or even if they cause damage to property.
Insurance policies must be renewed each year for cover to continue and the annual fee can be paid upfront or in monthly direct debits.
Main types of pet insurance:
Lifetime cover – This is the most comprehensive cover available and can be per condition per year or annual lifetime cover. Both will reset the amount available each year but annual lifetime cover will be a set amount for all conditions per year whereas per condition per year will be a set amount for each condition each year.
Non-lifetime cover – This is less comprehensive and will exclude certain conditions once a set limit is reached which will not be reset annually. This can be per condition or time-limit per condition cover. Per condition cover will have a limit for each condition over the entire life time which will not be reset. Time-limit per condition will have both a financial limit and time limit (usually 12 months) per condition.
Accident only – This is often the cheapest and will offer a lump sum for each accidental injury your pet experiences but will not cover illnesses.
What does pet insurance cover?
This will depend on the policy and the company you decide to go with so it is always important to read the terms and conditions to make sure the insurance has the appropriate cover. A claim can be submitted for any amount but has to be above the excess amount for any settlement to be paid out.
Continuation claims – after a new claim has been processed, all claims for the same condition will not incur another excess until the policy renewal time.
Depending on the policy insurance may also cover:
Missing pet cover – Some insurance companies will cover the cost of putting up missing posters and money for a reward if they are found.
Travel overseas – Some companies will cover the cost of medical expenses if your pet falls ill or is injured and requires medical treatment while travelling abroad.
Cattery or kennel fees – If you are hospitalised (usually for more than 2-4 consecutive days) and there is nobody available to care for your pet your insurance may cover the cost of a kennel or cattery.
Euthanasia, cremation and burial – Some companies will help with the cost of this.
Dental cover – Often only accidents are covered by companies but some may cover dental disease or routine dental work.
Death by accident or illness – Some policies will pay out the cost of what you bought the pet for or what you could have sold it for. Most policies will have an age limit for this after which they may not pay out or you may have to make a contribution to costs.
What might be excluded?
Premiums are likely to rise when your pet reaches about 7-8, so if you are thinking of changing insurance companies be aware that pet insurance is different from house/car insurance. There will be exclusions on pre-existing conditions with most companies and this can prove costly in the long run.
Excess – a set amount usually deducted by the insurance company from the final settlement, applicable in every new claim, these can vary greatly between different companies. Sometimes in addition there will also be a percentage of the claim amount deducted for continuation claims. This highlights the importance of doing some research when choosing the right insurance company for you and your pet, sometimes a seemingly cheaper option can have hidden costs.
How to claim with Orchard Vets – clients can either bring in a paper form or contact the insurance company online/phone and ask for a claim/s to be submitted. Most claims are submitted by us via email however several companies now have their own portals for submission, making claiming both easy and quick. Settlement time can vary between companies but is usually within 2 weeks, a quick phone call to their customer services will clarify matters if there is a delay.
How to submit a claim – Your insurance company website will guide you on how to make a claim. They will ask for a few details about the claim and then send us a link. Most insurance companies are moving away from paper claim forms, however if you have one, please complete your section ensuring it is signed, and drop it into the surgery/email it to us. We will complete our sections and email it to the insurance company along with your pet’s history.
We kindly ask that your account with us is settled before we submit your claim.