Taking out insurance for your dog provides many pet owners with an additional level of peace of mind that comes from knowing that if your dog needed to see the vet, you would be able to cover the cost of their care.
However, picking the right insurance policy can be really confusing, given the sheer number of companies that offer coverage for dogs, and the different types and levels of coverage that each company offers. If you are comparing dog insurance quotes, you may also find yourself surprised by the variation in the cost from policy to policy for each dog, and whilst it may be tempting to pick the cheapest policy and/or the lowest level of coverage, this may not be economical in the long run.
The technical terms and various caveats, explanations and small print that come with each policy too can be filled with pitfalls, and making a simple error when you fill out your policy details may even mean that you would be denied cover if you did need to make a claim.
Whilst every dog owner will have different priorities and considerations to factor in when it comes to choosing the right policy, there are some important factors that you should review critically in order to pick the best choice when it comes to comparing policies.
In this article, we will look at the five most important factors to consider when trying to pick the right policy for you and your dog. Read on to learn more.
First of all, in order to be able to make an informed decision on insurance for your dog, it is important to understand the difference between lifetime coverage and fixed term coverage. Fixed term coverage is generally the cheaper option, but this option has limitations, which usually involve a payout ceiling per condition, year or pet.
After this ceiling has been reached, the company will not cover that condition or pet any further, and when it comes to renewal time, the exclusion remains in place.
Lifetime pet insurance on the other hand will cover your pet and insurable conditions up to the level of their policy each year-which means if your dog has a chronic, costly or ongoing condition, the policy will pay out for it each year up to the annual coverage limit.
If you are trying to insure a mature or elderly pet, you will quickly find that many companies will not offer coverage for dogs over a certain age when it comes to taking up a new policy. Additionally, some companies and policies will only offer coverage up until the point that your dog reaches a certain age, after which they will not be willing to renew the policy.
This means that you will be somewhat limited when it comes to finding policies for older pets, and even if your pet is young, you should choose carefully with this in mind. Look for a policy that will continue to provide coverage for the lifetime of the pet, and that will not deny coverage once they reach a certain age.
This will allow you to establish a policy with a company that may have a higher limit cut-off for new clients, but that will continue to cover existing clients when their dogs reach old age.
Exactly what is covered by any given policy can vary considerably, with some basic policies offering coverage for accidents only, rather than accident or illness. This is one of the most basic examples of coverage differences, but there are plenty of others as well!
Some policies will provide coverage for alternative therapies and supportive therapies such as hydrotherapy, acupuncture and other non-standard treatments when recommended by your vet, while others will not offer the same number of options as standard.
The most important consideration when it comes to picking a policy is feeling confident in the willingness of the company to pay out when you need them to, and checking online reviews and the reputation for each company can be very informative in this respect.
Additionally, it is wise to find out the standard timeframe that companies claim to pay out in as standard, and what their policy is if there are any unusual circumstances, or a claim needs to be investigated.
Also, many vets today accept direct payment from insurance companies that they know and trust, meaning that you do not have to find the money to pay the vet’s bill and be left claiming it back from the insurer.
You should talk to your own vet about companies that they will and will not accept direct payment from when making your choice, and also, check with the insurer to ensure that they will make direct payments if requested to as well.
Finally, the issues of affordability and value for money need to be factored into your choice as well! Picking the cheapest policy on the merit of cost alone is rarely the best option, but it is important to ensure that you can afford the cost of the policy without struggling.
Additionally, altering things like the excess and whether you pay monthly or annually can all change the cost, so make sure that you check all of these things out first so that you don’t get a surprise at the checkout!