Is pet insurance worth it?

by PDSA | 6 December 2023 #Lifestyle

If you are feeling the pinch due to the cost of living crisis, you might have found yourself looking closely at your bank statement and wondering what you can do to make things a little easier on your wallet.

While there may be some things you feel comfortable cutting for yourself, if you are a pet owner, you might also question whether pet insurance should survive the cull.

At PDSA, we know it pays to have protection in place and our vet teams always recommend insuring your pet. But when money is tight, is pet insurance truly worth it, or is it an unnecessary added cost? Join us as we cover the benefits of pet insurance as well as the pitfalls to be aware of when looking into a policy for your furry friend.


Benefits of pet insurance


Policies to suit different needs and budgets

There are a range of different policies available to suit both your pet’s needs and your budget – from very basic cover to more comprehensive pet insurance. For example, some policies may cover accidents only or the costs of your pet’s treatment for just a limited time-period from when a problem first starts - these often have a lower monthly cost. Alternatively, if you want something more comprehensive such as lifetime policies which tend to be a little more costly, you can find a plan to suit you and your pet.

You may also be able to reduce your monthly costs if you agree to pay a higher excess – but it’s important to make sure you are comfortable you can afford this if your pet falls ill.

It offers you peace of mind

While none of us want to think about something happening to our beloved pets, having peace of mind that should anything happen, you can afford to get them the treatment they need is invaluable. It’s incredibly stressful when your pet falls ill unexpectedly or if they are involved in an accident - to have the reassurance that your pet insurance policy is there to help cover any unforeseen costs is one less thing to worry about.

Spread the cost out in monthly payments

While the monthly outgoings may be your immediate concern, if your pet is seriously injured, requires a complex operation or develops a health problem that needs long term medication and regular vet visits – the costs can add up to hundreds or even thousands of pounds. Ask yourself; could you pay this sort of money all in one go if you needed to? If the answer is no, then regular monthly costs of pet insurance is a sensible financial move.

Remember - your pet’s breed, size, gender, age, pre-existing conditions, and the type of policy you take out all affect the amount you can expect to pay, as well as other factors such as where you live.

Possibility of covering additional care

Some policies give you an extra pot of funding to cover treatments such as physiotherapy or behavioural support from a specialist. It’s always worth checking exactly what your policy covers as this is especially important if you have a breed of dog or cat that is more prone to developing certain conditions for example arthritis.


Pitfalls to be aware of when getting pet insurance


You will still have to pay some costs

While pet insurance can help cover the costs of veterinary treatment, it’s not a guarantee that everything will be paid for. It depends on what policy you have, how much your pet is insured up to, what your pet's health problem is and what treatment is required – there is a chance you may still have to pay something.

Make sure you read the small print so you understand exactly what is and isn’t covered. Remember, most policies will have an excess, which you will always need to pay yourself. The excess needs paying for each condition and yearly for ongoing conditions as well.

Routine and preventive treatment such as vaccinations and neutering are usually not covered within a policy. And if you choose not to vaccinate your pet, it’s important to be aware that insurance companies may not pay out for diseases that vaccinations could have prevented should your pet get ill.

It might not cover pre-existing conditions

With pet insurance, it’s essential to act promptly. If your pet develops a health problem before you get pet insurance, future policies may cost more than if you had insurance before the diagnosis.

In fact, you may find that many policies won’t provide any cover at all for so-called ‘pre-existing conditions’. Therefore, for pet insurance to be the most worthwhile, you should aim to take out a policy when your furry friend is young and less likely to have any pre-existing conditions.

You might not be able to claim directly

Depending on which insurance policy you have, your vet may be able to claim the cost of your pet’s treatment directly from the insurance company, meaning all you have to pay would be the excess and anything not covered by your policy.

However, for some policies, you will need to cover the cost of the treatment yourself initially, and claim the costs back. It’s worth checking with your vet what options for payment your policy has.

The verdict

At PDSA, we truly believe it’s worthwhile having pet insurance. If you don’t have enough savings to cover the cost of unexpected vet treatment, pet insurance can offer you peace of mind should your beloved furry friend become unwell. Why not check out our pet insurance policies today?

Share this article on:  PDSA | 6 December 2023


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