Choosing Pet Insurance

Your family pet is no doubt a much loved member of your family, but as any pet lover will know, a trip to the vets is not like a trip to the family doctor. Indeed a trip to the vet can cost in some instances the same amount as a family holiday and this is why it can be a good idea to consider taking out pet insurance.

Which Company? Which Policy?

There are many different insurance companies, all claiming to offer the very best and cheapest policy to meet your needs. So how do you even begin to know which company or policy to plump for? Well one thing is for sure, you should not necessarily choose the cheapest option, as this option may not include certain aspects of cover which you require. Instead you should choose the option which factors in all of your necessary requirements, as well as being affordable to your pocket.

"In the normal day to day course of events your pet relies on you to take care of him. He relies on you to feed and water him, and ultimately when he is poorly he relies on you to take care of him. Unfortunately, in the absence of pet insurance your budget may not be able to cope, especially in these days of economic strife."

However, if you take out a pet insurance policy then you will never need to worry about the cost of vets bills again. By the way, when people talk about pet insurance they usually think about cats or dogs...but rabbits, hamsters, birds and even rats can be included on pet insurance policies too!

As with any insurance policy, there are different levels of cover on offer. Some policies will, for example cover the cost of an annual health check-up. However, as these visits are not too much of a strain on the purse strings, you may feel that it is worthwhile not to include this aspect of cover into your policy.

There is a whole gamut of companies who offer pet insurance from RSPCA Pet Insurance, through to PetPlan and Churchill - and even the supermarkets have gotten involved, including Tesco and Sainsbury's who both offer pet insurance policies. Although each of these companies are offering pet insurance policies, there will be some differences between what they are offering and it is vital that you check that your intended policy actually covers what you expect it to.

Levels of Cover

Basic Cover

This type of policy usually provides for an annual check up for your pet. A premium would be payable each month, and you would be allowed one visit to the vet per year. Accidents, emergencies and illnesses would not be covered, and you can expect to pay about 20% of the total of the bill in most instances, although this percentage can fluctuate according to the level of your monthly premium.

The Next Level

The next level of policy would be one that covers the annual check up with, in addition a limited number of visits to the vet per year. These visits would not cover emergencies but would be for any illnesses or accidents that occurred.


This policy, as its name suggests, provides the most wide-ranging cover. Not only would the annual check up and other visits be included, but emergencies would also be covered.

In Conclusion

As with human beings, the older we get the more medical attention we require, and the same can be true of your pet. Therefore, if you are insuring an older pet, then the premiums are much more likely to be higher.

In addition, a number of breeds of cats and dogs are excluded from certain policies and you should check carefully when obtaining quotes that your particular breed is covered. Some breeds will be excluded from cover due to hereditary conditions, some animals being more prone to liver disease, arthritis and other medical conditions which can be expensive.

It should also be borne in mind that if your pet has a pre-existing condition at the time you take out the insurance that this will probably not be included within your cover, or if the condition is included then the premium will almost certainly rise.

And one last thing...

You should always remember to check what is and what is not included within the policy. A good insurance company should explain in simple terms exactly what is covered and what is not - exercise caution if they do not!

To help you save money when buying a policy here's a quick guide on how to compare pet insurance.