Vet Q&A: 5 myth-busting questions about pet insurance

by PDSA | 7 October 2022 #VetQ&As

As a pet owner, it can sometimes be hard to know whether pet insurance is worth the cost. Here, we’ve looked at the common myths surrounding pet insurance and why having cover is vital for looking after your animal companion.

If you have a pet and are considering taking out insurance, you may have been put off thinking it’s expensive, complicated, or that your pet isn’t covered. There are many misconceptions about pet insurance, so to help you make the right decision, we’ve researched some of the most common myths. 

To help debunk some of these common myths, PDSA vet Claire Roberts has answered some of the biggest concerns surrounding pet insurance. From how much it costs to which pets it covers, we’ve responded to some of the most common questions to help you find the right cover for your special companion.


“Pet insurance can be costly. Is there a policy that helps low-income families?”

Most providers offer a range of cover levels to choose one that is affordable to you. A policy with a lower level of cover could be better than not having any cover if your pet needs veterinary care. 

You can also use comparison sites, although remember that not all insurers are found on these sites. As always, make sure you check that your chosen policy has all the cover you require and that you will be able to afford the excess in case of an emergency.

You can also check if you are eligible for free or low-cost veterinary treatment at PDSA.


“Does it cover all pet treatment costs?”

Choosing pet insurance can seem complicated, but there are only a few types of cover (although different providers can give them other names!). Accident-only insurance will cover your pet in the event of an unforeseen injury, such as a broken bone, but will not cover any illnesses. 

Time-limited cover (sometimes called annual cover) includes vet fees for each new condition for a set amount of time, usually 12 months from when symptoms are first seen. Lifetime policies will continue to cover ongoing conditions year after year, up to the maximum amount included in your policy, for as long as you keep your insurance up to date. Make sure to carefully read your chosen policy's terms and conditions.

Costs to look for when you are choosing a policy include:

  • Excess - the amount of money that you will have to pay when claiming vet fees
  • Co-payments- sometimes, especially with older pets, policies may require payment of a percentage of your vet fees in addition to the excess

As well as vet fees, some policies may also cover loss or theft of your pet and boarding fees for them if you become ill and can’t look after them. Third-party liability, in case your pet causes an injury or an accident, is also something to look out for and is mainly available for dogs.

Other handy benefits to look out for include 24/7 access to veterinary helplines at no extra cost and payments being made direct to your vet.

You should also look at exclusions for your policy, such as any pre-existing conditions. These are medical issues that were present before you took out insurance so aren’t insurable.

Finally, your pet's breed can affect your premiums, so consider this when looking for a new pet.


“Is pet insurance a waste of my money?”

As with all types of insurance, it’s always nice if you don’t have to use it, but it is a fantastic safety net if you do ever need it. 

Unexpected accidents like broken bones can happen to any pet at any time, as can illnesses and diseases. Having insurance means that costs are one less thing to worry about when your pet is sick or injured. Unfortunately, veterinary care for complicated conditions, including referrals to veterinary specialists, time in intensive care units and expensive diagnostic tools such as MRI scans can be unaffordable to many people without insurance.

“How can I be sure I’m getting the right cover for my pet?”

Pet insurance can be really confusing, with lots of different names used and lots of terms and conditions. You can find the right policy for you and your pets needs here.

If you have a lifetime cover policy and your pet gets an ongoing disease such as diabetes or arthritis, the vet fees will be covered by your policy (up to a set amount per year) for the rest of your pet’s life, so long as you renew the policy each year. This is compared to an annual policy, which will cover a condition for one year only.

If you make a claim, or your pet suffers from an accident of illness, it’s unlikely you’ll be covered for that condition if you take out a new policy, so you’ll likely need to stay with your existing insurer to continue claiming in future. The primary purpose of pet insurance is to cover you for unexpected losses so, if you move to a different provider, you will have to declare this issue as a pre-existing condition and it may not be covered. This can therefore be a risky move to take.

However if your pet has not had any illness or injuries then you can move between insurance providers to try and find a better deal. If doing this, you should take into account that if your pet has shown a symptom of an illness then this may be classed as a pre-existing condition, even if you haven’t claimed on your insurance before, so make sure your pet has been entirely healthy if you are considering this.

Find out about PDSA Pet Insurance.


“Can I get pet insurance that covers dental treatment?”

Dental health is really important for our pets, just as it is for us. Dental disease can lead to bad breath, difficulty eating, tooth loss and can even contribute to some more serious illnesses. 

It is a good idea to look for insurance policies that will cover dental issues. These might have certain requirements, such as regular dental check-ups, so read the policy terms and conditions carefully.

You can help prevent dental issues in your cats and dogs with dental chews or toys, and even by regularly cleaning their teeth with special toothpaste and toothbrushes!


PDSA Pet Insurance offers a range of policies for cats and dogs with cover levels to suit your needs if there is an unexpected emergency or illnesses. And what’s more, every policy sold contributes to our life-saving work, which helps pets and owners receive the vital veterinary care they desperately need.

Share this article on:  PDSA | 7 October 2022


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