A growing number of pet owners are insuring their pets and claims have almost doubled in the last six years, with the average claim totaling nearly £1,000.
But the pet insurance market can be a minefield of jargon-laden complexity, and there are several options available with varying levels of coverage – from “lifetime coverage” which insures a pet against new conditions throughout his life, subject to an annual limit and deductible; down to simple “accident cover only”.
Farmers have been able to insure livestock since medieval times, but pets didn’t begin to be insured until 1890, when a Swedish insurance company took out a policy for a horse.
In 1924, the first dog in the world was insured, also in Sweden.
Today, pet insurance has become a common expense for owners of the estimated 21 million dogs, cats and rabbits in the UK.
In the first weeks of the 2020 lockdown, pet insurance companies reported cancellations of policies by those seeking to cut household expenses, but this was offset by an increase in new pet owners. pets taking out policies during the pandemic.
As an existing policyholder, it may not pay to shop around for the best deal.
A new policy will not cover existing medical conditions, and a new insurer may refuse to cover subsequent claims or may argue that you should have disclosed certain things about your pet’s health.
Even more worryingly, if you switch to a new insurer, you will likely find that your pet’s illness is not covered by it for the first 14 days of the policy.
Most major insurance companies have this 14 day rule which they say exists to deter fraudulent claims.
You can layer old and new policies to ensure continuity of coverage, which can be more expensive than simply renewing.
Or you can challenge the renewal quote by researching what other companies are quoting, then calling your provider and asking them for a better deal.
Another alternative is to set aside a certain amount of money each month to cover emergency vet bills to help cushion the impact of a large bill.
But the risk here is that your pet gets sick or injured before you have saved enough money.
Veterinarians can do more for pets than ever before as science and technology advances and treatment costs can quickly rise.
Many people underestimate the amounts of money that may be needed.
One way to lower your pet insurance bill is to avoid dog or cat breeds that attract higher premiums, such as Great Danes, French Bulldogs, and Chihuahuas, or Maine Coon and Bengal cats. .
Age is another key factor in the cost of premiums, with pets over the age of 12 almost twice as expensive to insure as those aged four to six.
The decision to insure a pet is as personal as the choice of animal to own and is subject to each person’s animal and financial justification.
All dogs, cats and rabbits adopted by the ManxSPCA go into their new homes with free four-week pet insurance, and then it is up to their new owners whether or not to continue with the insurance.
The border collies, Albie and Skye, are in excellent health, so their insurance policies won’t need to exclude any pre-existing conditions. Six-year-old Albie adores the love of her life, three-year-old Skye, who doesn’t necessarily return her affection and is everyone’s best friend (she would do anything to rub her belly!).
As you would expect from this breed, both dogs are energetic, so they will need an active new home, with plenty of physical and mental stimulation.
Albie thinks the children are sheep and tries to herd them, and so a home with older children (or without) would suit him better, and given that the dogs are incredibly bonded, they will need to be rehomed together.