About Pet Insurance
Why is pet insurance important?
Just like us, pets will at some point fall ill or have an unexpected injury. But with pets there is no NHS to absorb the cost. Pet insurance helps owners plan for unexpected vet’s fees and this is usually the reason owners choose to insure their pets.
Pet insurance policies can also cover a range of other pet-related risks including third party liability cover for dog owners, recompense in the event of a pet’s death or loss, situations where the owner is ill and several other scenarios. Find out more about what is included in Agria's policy.
Types of Pet Insurance
Some policies, often the cheaper ones, offer more restrictive cover in terms of what they’ll pay for and/or how long they keep paying. It’s therefore important to understand what you are buying from the outset and that your chosen policy will really meet your needs now and in the future.
There are four main types of pet insurance policies generally available and to help you decide we’ve detailed what each one covers and for how long:
Lifetime or repopulating cover policies
- Intended to provide cover for the lifetime of your pet with the monetary limit, for vet’s fees, refreshing each and every year.
- Provides cover for long-term conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes, to be treated and managed effectively.
- As long as the policy is renewed each year and you pay the premiums, you will be able to claim up to the full monetary limit each year for accidents and illnesses for the rest of your pet’s life.
Here at Agria, we believe pet insurance should last your pet's lifetime
Call 03330 30 10 00
Per condition cover or maximum benefit policies
- Provides cover up to a certain monetary limit for each separate condition diagnosed.
- Once you have reached your limit, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to claim again for the same condition, even with another insurer.
12 month time-limited policies
- Provides cover up to a certain monetary limit or period of time (whichever comes first) for each separate condition diagnosed.
- The time limit is typically 12 months from when the condition first showed signs or was first treated. Once the monetary or time limit is reached further claims for that condition are excluded.
Accident only policies
- Provides cover up to a certain monetary limit or period of time (whichever comes first) for an accidental injury only.
- Claims for illnesses are not covered.
REMEMBER: Not all pet insurance policies are the same
Considerations when choosing a policy
Insure your pet as soon as possible
Your pet may be happy and healthy now, but insuring as early as possible reduces the chance of your pet suffering illnesses and injuries which may then be excluded from an insurance policy.
Make the right choice first time
Consider what you want from your policy, check the amount of cover is sufficient and that if your pet is ill or injured the vet’s fees cover will pay out for the things you expect it to – both now and as your pet get older.
Always read the small print
Read the Terms and Conditions – these are normally available on the insurers website or on request and will provide details of exactly what is and isn’t covered.
Do NOT choose on price alone
Pet insurance policies do not all work in the same way. The type of vet’s fees cover is the biggest area of difference between policies and can affect the price.
Do NOT just choose the highest vet’s fees benefit
The monetary amount is important but a high level does not necessarily mean better cover. Be certain of the type of cover you buy as this will determine how much and for how long some conditions are covered.
If in doubt, ask!
If you aren’t sure whether a particular policy will meet your needs, call the provider and ask – it is sometimes easier than picking your way through several different websites or a bundle of brochures from the vet. Our team are on hand Monday - Friday 9am-8pm and Saturday 9am-5pm to answer any questions you may have. Call us on 03330 30 10 00 and we'll be happy to talk through your options so you get the right cover for you.
What factors will determine the cost of a policy?
Five key factors influence the risk your pet represents to the insurer and the price charged to cover your pet:
- Breed – some breeds are more susceptible to specific conditions than others
- Where you live – a veterinary practice’s pricing policy will be influenced by the local cost of living
- Sex – again like humans there is a significant difference in the risk or costs of illness between males and females.
- Age – like humans, the risk of pets becoming ill increases as they get older
- Type of Pet Insurance & Cover Levels – the number of restrictions and limitations to your pet’s cover.
Most pet owners insure their pets to protect them against the cost of unexpected veterinary treatment, however many policies also offer some or all of the following additional benefits. For a few policies some of these benefits may be optional.
Third Party Liability
This cover protects you if your pet causes injury to someone or damage to property which you can be legally liable for. Usually this benefit is only for dogs.
Advertising & reward if your pet goes missing
This benefit covers the cost of local advertising and offering a reward to find your pet, up to a certain monetary limit.
Loss from straying or theft
In the event your pet is not found, after a certain period of time the policy pays up to a certain monetary limit.
If the worst happens and your pet sadly dies, this cover allows you to claim up to a certain monetary limit. Policies tend not pay if your pet dies due to a pre-existing condition or if they die of an illness over a certain age.
Cover should any complications arise with fertility, pregnancy, giving birth and the litter pre-sale up to a certain monetary limit.
Covers for the cost of your pet’s boarding fees or someone to look after your pet if you are hospitalised up to a certain monetary limit.
Some policies will pay for the cost of cancelling or cutting short your holiday if your pet unexpectedly falls ill and requires emergency, lifesaving treatment or surgery up to a certain monetary limit.
An extension of cover whilst your pet is temporarily overseas. Things to consider – usually your destination must be a member of the PETS Travel Scheme, many policies do not extend Third Party Liability cover and there will be a maximum number of days or trips each year your pet can be out of the country.
This is the amount you pay towards claims. There will usually be a fixed amount that will be deducted from claims for each condition. This may be deducted for that condition once in a pet’s lifetime, every year or every time you make a claim. Many policies have a percentage contribution (also known as co-insurance or variable excess) toward the balance of a claim, once the fixed amount has been deducted.
What are age limits?
Most policies have maximum age limits above which you cannot START a policy for your pet. As long as you have insured your pet before this age, most policies will offer to renew your policy annually for the rest of your pet’s life.
What are pre-existing conditions?
Pre-existing conditions are illnesses and injuries your pet has suffered before taking out a policy. Your pet insurance will not cover pre-existing conditions and you will not be able to claim for them should they reoccur. So the younger your pet is when you insure him or her, the less likely any medical problems will have occurred.
Please note: If you start claiming or run out of cover for a specific condition with one policy and decide to switch to another policy or provider, that specific condition will now be considered as a pre-existing condition (pre-dating the start of the new policy) and will be excluded on the new policy automatically. Choosing the right policy first time is therefore important.
Exclusion or Waiting Period
This is the number of days that must pass before you can make eligible claims for illnesses (including your pet’s death). Typically 10 to 30 days. If your pet suffers an illness during this period it will not be covered for the duration of your policy. Exclusion periods may also apply to some other benefits.
REMEMBER: Terms, conditions and excess will apply to all policies, read your policy documentation carefully. Find out more about what is included in Agria's policy.