Many people find it difficult to decide whether to take out pet insurance. There are a number of factors that you need to take into consideration when thinking about whether a pet insurance policy is a good idea, and it certainly pays to weigh up the pros and cons before you sign up.
Interestingly, pet insurance emerged in the 1980s when a policy was devised for ‘Lassie’, the popular television star. Since then the demand for pet insurance has grown steadily, and currently there is a greater demand for pet insurance than ever before. This is due to a variety of different reasons including advances in pet medicine; veterinarians are now able to treat a wider variety of illnesses resulting in higher costs. Changes in the cultural attitude towards pets; people these days value their pets more, and are prepared to pay a greater amount towards their medical care. Changes in the pet insurance industry; more and more providers offer pet insurance cover, and policies are more comprehensive. Finally, a growing awareness amongst the public as the insurance industry does more to market their products has also resulted in the growing popularity of pet insurance.
The benefits of taking out pet insurance are numerous. If you have a policy in place you will be able to better afford more costly treatments enabling you to prolong the life of your pet, and improve their health. Surgical procedures, drug therapy, and chemotherapy can cost thousands of pounds without insurance; with insurance this cost would be significantly less. Premiums are worked out according to how much of a risk your pet poses to the insurer. This means that premiums are lower for a younger animal, increasing in cost as your pet matures. This also means that you don’t have to pay out a high premium cost straight away. Finally, the growing demand for pet insurance has resulted in insurers offering a wider variety of products. You can choose from basic policies that just cover injuries sustained in an accident, to more comprehensive policies that include a wider range of ailments, including dental care. This allows you to take out a policy that best suits your budget.
When considering the drawbacks of taking out pet insurance you should firstly take into account that it is reasonably likely that you will pay more into the policy than you get back. It may be more cost effective in the longer term to put the money that you would spend on premiums into a savings account, and use these funds to cover any veterinary costs that may arise. Bear in mind that if you include preventative care such as flea treatment, and vaccinations, then this will also increase the cost of your premiums. Another drawback of having pet insurance is that you may agree to treatment that is not necessarily in your pet’s best interest simply because you can afford it. Often pets undergo painful treatment that prolongs their life for just a short time.
If you do decide to take out pet insurance you should be aware that many insurers will not provide cover for older animals, and if your pet is prone to certain conditions due to their breed these conditions may be excluded from the policy. Pet insurance should always be taken out when your pet is very young.
There are pros and cons to taking out pet insurance. If you do commit to taking out a policy then the premiums will leave your bank account every month, whereas if you decide to save the funds in a savings account you may be tempted to dip into these funds in an emergency. You could also be faced with an unexpected vet’s bill shortly after you have begun savings leaving you with a significant shortfall of funds. Even if you have been saving for quite some time you may still find that the amount you have put aside is simply not enough as vet’s bills can be very expensive.
In addition to taking out cover for veterinary bills you might also wish to cover your pet against loss as many breeds of animal can be very expensive. Policies are available that will pay out if your pet dies, is lost, or stolen.
Before taking out a policy be sure to read the terms and conditions very carefully. Your claim could be denied for a number of reasons; for example, should your pet die unexpectedly you may need a post mortem which may not be covered under the terms of your policy. An insurer would only pay out in these circumstances if mortality cover was included in your policy. Many policies stipulate that should your pet pass away during the first year of the policy you would need to pay for a post mortem out of your own pocket. Take time to read the small print to avoid costly disappointments later on.
Pet insurance has both its advantages and disadvantages. If you are at all unsure of whether you need to take out cover for your animal it pays to consult an experienced insurance broker. They will find a product that is best suited to your needs, at a price that fits comfortably within your budget.