The Benefits of Pet Insurance

If we become ill we are lucky to have the National Health Service which we all pay for regularly through our taxes so if we need medical or surgical treatment the cost has already been covered in most cases. But what about our pets if they are ill?

If we become ill we are lucky to have the National Health Service which we all pay for regularly through our taxes so if we need medical or surgical treatment the cost has already been covered in most cases. But what about our pets if they are ill?

Like people, animals are living longer and this is partly due to improvements in the medical and surgical care we can give them. Examples include specialist services such as MRI scans available to animals which can help diagnose among other things conditions of the spine or brain, artificial hip replacement in dogs or chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer patients .As well as specialist care where costs can run into thousands, most vets now use up to date medicines including safer anaesthetic drugs (often the same as those used in humans) which minimise the risk of problems but also unfortunately cost more money. The cost of common chronic problems such as arthritis or sugar diabetes can also mount as daily medication and frequent check-ups are often required.

One way of spreading the costs of your pet's health care is insurance. Health insurance for pets does not cover routine visits such as vaccination and neutering or worming and flea treatment products. But if your pet has an accident or serious illness then the funds can be found to pay for their care.

The choice of insurance options available for cats and dogs is huge, and there are even some companies who will insure rabbits or other small rodents and exotic pets such as birds or reptiles. Like anything it’s worth researching a few options before you make your decision but it is always worth checking the small print. Ideally for all pets if possible you should try to find a policy that provides ongoing cover (i.e. there is no time limit for any one condition, some companies will only pay for each condition for up to one year), this is particularly important if your pet develops a chronic condition where they may need lifelong treatment. Also in the case of dogs in particular it’s worth checking if the policy has a third party cover in case your pet causes accidental damage to someone else’s property.

Of course no company will insure your pet retrospectively once they have had a medical problem, any policy taken out after this will exclude a pre-existing or previous problem. As vets, if an insurance company requests a pet’s history, we are obliged to send it to them so any pre-existing problems will be discovered. Likewise if you decide to change your insurance company at any point exclusions could apply

An example of the benefits of insurance is ‘Fluffy’ who was rushed into our hospital in Swindon as a stray cat after a road traffic accident. He was micro-chipped so we were able to find his owner who was abroad on holiday at the time. After several days in intensive care to treat kidney damage he had surgery on his fractured jaw and leg. During his recovery the stress of the accident caused him to develop severe anaemia for which he needed treatment with blood products and medication and a further stay in the hospital. ’Fluffy’ is currently doing well. Luckily he was insured so his owner had the peace of mind that the medical bills would be covered.


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