However, it’s also a huge financial commitment. There are countless things to consider, including the cost of food, routine vet appointments, toys, grooming and, of course, pet insurance. At PDSA, we believe the latter is certainly worth paying for as it can help with the cost of any unexpected veterinary treatment that might crop up should your furry friend develop a health issue or have an accident.
But precisely how much will pet insurance set you back? Well, unfortunately, there isn’t a single, one-size-fits-all answer. Rather, the amount you can expect to pay for pet insurance depends on many factors. Read on to discover what they are.
Pet insurance cost factors
1) Type of policy and level of cover
When shopping around for pet insurance, you’ll usually come across four different types of policies – lifetime cover, maximum benefit cover, time limited cover, and accident only cover. Some policies may even include extras such as the cost of behavioural consultation, physio and acupuncture as well as cost of boarding if needed.
As the name suggests, lifetime policies cover the cost of treatment for your pet’s lifetime and are the most popular, comprehensive (and, therefore, expensive) type of pet insurance available. There will still be a financial limit per year with lifetime policies, which you will be made aware of when you are choosing a policy that best suits you and your pet.
However, it’s worth pointing out that there will be an upper financial limit per year to lifetime policies, which can be a total amount allowed per year or an amount per condition per year (which is usually the more expensive one). The amount covered per year varies which can also affect the cost of a policy.
Maximum benefit cover
Maximum benefit policies gives you a pre-set amount to spend on each injury or illness with no time limit. If your pet develops a long-term health condition or needs ongoing treatment for an injury, for example, you can claim as many times as you need to until the maximum benefit has been reached.
Time limited cover
On the other hand, time limited policies (often-called 12-month policies), cover vet fees for up to a year, usually from the date of when your pet’s illness or injury first appeared, not necessarily from when you first claimed. This type of policy will also have a financial limit for example £2000, so the policy will end once the financial limit is reached, if this is before the 12-month time period has ended.
Accident only cover
Accident only policies cover the cost of treatment only if your pet is involved in an accident, such as being hit by a car. Whilst time limited and accident only policies are often more affordable options, it’s important to note that they are less wide-ranging in what they cover.
Did you know that even the region you live in can play a part in the cost of pet insurance? Why? Just as the cost of living differs across the country, so too can the costs of veterinary treatment. For example in a city like London, you can expect to pay more. It’s also worth pointing out that risks may vary in different areas affecting your premium, such as cats being more likely to be hit by a car in urban locations so policies can be more expensive in these areas.
3) Your pet’s age
Like humans, our pets will likely experience more health hiccups as they get older. As they age, health problems are more likely so, naturally, they might need to visit the vet more often. For this reason, insuring your older pet is usually more expensive and in addition to this, there may be an upper age limit on when insurance companies will insure a dog for the first time. That’s why, at PDSA, we encourage you to get pet insurance as soon as you get a new pet.
4) Your pet’s breed, size and gender
Some breeds of cats and dogs are cheaper to insure than others. For example, pure breeds may have more hereditary health problems than cross breeds making them more expensive. Certain breeds are significantly more costly to ensure than others due to health issues within the breed. Even the size of your pet can hint at how big the dent in your wallet will be when it comes to pet insurance.
As a rule, bigger pets will be more expensive to insure. This is because surgeries are more expensive, and they need higher doses of medications if they are sick. Finally, most pet insurance companies may charge more for male dogs as they are more likely to get injured or into fights. However, neutering your pet may reduce your premium – so it is something worth considering.
5) Your pet’s medical history
Lastly, this one probably won’t come as a shock, but if your pet has any pre-existing conditions, then this will undoubtedly affect the cost of your pet insurance. Pre-existing conditions are unlikely to be covered in most policies and may affect coverage in other ways. For example, if the cruciate ligament is repaired in one limb, then a lot of policies won’t cover the repair in the other leg. Switching policies may also lead to conditions not being covered – which is something else to be aware of.
At PDSA, we offer lifetime cover and time limited cover pet insurance policies. Why not get a quote for your four-legged friend today?