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When it comes to insurance for dogs, policies come in an almost infinite variety of options and types, once you consider offerings from different companies and the different policies and levels of coverage offered by each one. However, one thing that all policies should have in common is that if you fulfil the company’s terms and conditions, which should be made available to you to read through before you buy the policy, they should pay out when you need them to without argument or problems.
There are of course various forms of redress available to dog owners by means of third party regulators such as the Insurance Ombudsman if you feel that a company is denying a legitimate claim or deliberately dragging out the payment process. However, this is likely to be of little comfort to you if you find yourself faced with a large vet’s bill or a requirement to explain to your vet how you intend to cover the cost of their services if your insurer won’t help you out.
There are also a range of potential pitfalls that can be found in the terms and conditions of your insurance that dictate situations and conditions for which your company will deny a claim. While these are once again there for anyone with a policy or considering buying one to read, not everyone pays as much attention as they should, or forgets about them when they have had the same policy for some time.
In this article, we will look at five potential pitfalls and errors that all dog owners should be careful of when it comes to insurance, which may legitimately cause an insurance company to reject your claim. Read on to learn more.
One thing that virtually all dog insurance policies have in common is that you are expected to declare any pre-existing health conditions (or suspected conditions) that your dog has prior to the commencement of coverage, and that the company will not provide coverage for this specific condition.
If your dog is found to have a pre-existing health condition when you attempt to make a claim, or you could have been reasonably expected to have known that a problem was present, your insurer will almost certainly deny the claim, in accordance with their terms and conditions.
It is also worth noting that most insurers also integrate a short period of suspended coverage for illness (but not accidents) for a week or two after your policy first becomes live, in order to discourage people from only taking out insurance when they begin to suspect that there is a problem developing.
Few polices offer coverage for routine or preventative care, as insurance is designed to help in an emergency, and not to cover the cost of your dog’s regular care. This means that if a problem arises that could have been prevented by the owner-such as if your dog contracted a condition that they could have been vaccinated against-the policy will not pay out.
This is true too of remedial dental work needed as a result of a lack of appropriate dental care, and few policies will offer dental coverage unless it can be proven that the condition could not have been prevented.
Any errors or inaccuracies in your information when you take out or renew your policy may in some situations be used to deny a claim, depending on the impact that they have on the coverage and how it is used.
For instance, once of the factors that dictates the cost of an individual dog insurance policy is the area that you live in, and this calculation is partially based on the average cost of veterinary care in your area. If you live in say, rural Yorkshire, veterinary care is likely to be a lot cheaper than it would be in central London. So if you then move to London and do not let your insurer know of this and adjust the policy accordingly, you may find that they will not pay out, or only pay out to a certain level, if you then make a claim elsewhere.
Third party coverage is something that few dog owners ever have to claim on, but this valuable safety net is designed to help you if your dog causes an injury, accident or damage to a third party or their property.
However, even though you will hopefully never need your third party coverage, it is wise to read the caveats of it carefully, as most policies deny coverage in certain situations, such as if your dog causes a problem whilst accompanying you at work, or if you are found criminally negligent for a third party incident.
Most policies make several standard assumptions about you and your pet, which are either stated within the policy or offered as a selection of boxes to tick. These assumptions usually include things such as your dog being microchipped (in accordance with the law) and in good health at the time that the policy commences.
If one or more of these assumptions do not apply to you, it is important that you do not skim over them, but contact the company directly, as untrue or inaccurate information in this area may lead to your claim being denied.
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