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Pet insurance

New Malden Vets recommends pet insurance to cover your pet for unexpected veterinary fees. We receive many enquiries (and complaints) with regard to pet insurance, so this page is designed to answer some of the more common ones. It is not intended to be comprehensive and may we remind you to carefully read any policy you take out to ensure if fulfils your needs.

Levels of cover

There are varying levels of cover available:

Cover for life

The most comprehensive offer is “cover for life”. These policies generally offer a fixed amount of cover for vet fees each year and this is repeated the following year when the policy is renewed. The excess on the policy is paid each year. Please note that the premiums that you pay may increase as your pet gets older, to take into account the greater likelihood that your pet may become ill.

Cover for each condition

Another type of policy offers a fixed amount of cover for each condition. Once this limit is reached, no further payments will be made. Exclusions under this type of policy may vary in future years. For example, a claim for a fractured leg may lead to exclusion on any further claims relating to any other problems your pet has with this leg in the future.

Limited cover

A third type of cover has a maximum claim limit for each condition and also a maximum time limit that a condition may be claimed for (usually one year). In the future years exclusions may apply as above.

Exclusions

Please note that most policies do not cover routine vaccinations, worming, neutering and other routine veterinary treatments. Dental treatments are often excluded, although some policies will pay for dental work other than routine cleaning/polishing.

Pre-existing health problems are very rarely covered.

Some policies will not pay for physiotherapy and complementary treatments, such as acupuncture and homeopathy, and additional costs of prescription diets for medical conditions. Behavioural problems treated by a qualitifed behaviourist may or may not be covered.

Please check what happens as your pet gets older. Most companies will not insure pets for the first time after a certain age, and some companies may withdraw cover for a pet that has previously been insured with them after it reaches a certain age.

Other benefits

There are other benefits to pet insurance beyond covering veterinary fees. For dogs, an important benefit is third party cover in the event that your pet causes damage to other people or their property. This may result in a substantial claim against you. Dog’s Trust offer only third party insurance as part of their charity membership, which is worth considering if you decide against having full pet insurance.

Policies may also offer to pay the purchase price of your pet if it dies due to an accident or injury. Some offer to pay for holiday cancellation or curtailment if your pet becomes ill, dies or is lost. Some offer cover for travel abroad under the PETS scheme. Boarding costs may be covered if you become ill and are hospitalised. You may be able to claim for advertisements and rewards if your pet is lost or stolen.

Excesses

Policy excesses are the amount you have to pay towards the treatment of each condition affecting your pet, before you can make an insurance claim. This may be a fixed amount or a percentage of the total claim after the fixed amount. The excess can also be affected by your pets age and breed and the area in which you live.

Requirements of you

Insurance companies have requirements of you as the owner which varies from company to company. These may include a requirement to notify them of the likelihood of you making a claim within a set period of your pet becoming ill.

They usually require you to make them aware of any pre-existing conditions prior to insuring your pet.

It’s important to comply with these requirements or your policy may become void.

More information can be found on this external website. Note that this is an external website and does not reflect the views of the practice in anyway.

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