Whether you have a cat or a dog, we know you want to give him or her a happy, healthy life.
Pets need a nutritionally balanced diet, a secure place to sleep, plenty of exercise and water and a caring environment.
Depending on the animal or their breed, they may also need extra care, such as grooming and behavioural training.
Pets are a great addition to any family but they can be expensive to take care of. There are the expected costs such as food, toys and treats or paying for kennels and catteries while you're away.
But there can also be unexpected costs. Should your pet fall ill or be involved in an accident, treatment and medication costs can add up. You don’t want to be worrying about vet bills when your pet is unwell.
For pet owners, it may be worth taking out a pet insurance plan as this will help meet any unplanned costs, particularly veterinary fees.
What does it cover?
Pet insurance can help pay the vet bills (at least in part, depending on your plan) if your pet has an accident or becomes ill.
A pet policy can also cover other occurrences such as holiday cancellation due to an unwell pet. It may also contribute towards the cost of advertising and a reward if your pet ever gets lost or stolen and pay out if your pet dies after an accident.
Many policies also offer liability insurance in case your pet causes accidental damage to a third party, while others will help meet the costs of your own medical emergencies, by paying the boarding fees for a kennel or cattery if you have to spend time in hospital.
Day-to-day costs of having a pet are generally not covered by pet insurance, these include routine check-ups at the vets and the cost of spraying, flea control and vaccinations.
How is it calculated?
There are many factors which could affect the price you pay for pet insurance.
Where you live – you could expect to pay more if vet fees are high in your area
The type of pet you have and the age of the animal
The breed of your pet - pedigrees are usually more expensive than crossbreeds
As with all policies, insurers base premiums on risk factors. So for example, if your breed of dog has a tendency towards a medical condition that’s particularly expensive to treat, the price of your premium will rise.
If your cat or dog has any pre-existing conditions, any treatment for that condition may be excluded from the policy. Some policies will also limit payouts to 12 months for ongoing treatment or only pay out for the same operation once or twice.
How to compare cover
Pet plans vary enormously, which is why you need to read the small print before you buy. Most owners want their policies to cover the cost of urgent operations, ongoing long-term medical care for their pets and third party liability insurance.
Others may want it cover expenses such as alternative therapies. Some vets suggest homeopathy or acupuncture as effective treatments and there are policies that help owners pay for these.
Using a comparison site will help you compare the costs of policies but make sure you are you buy it at the right level of cover for your needs.
How to reduce the cost of pet insurance
If you already own your four-legged friend then Confused.com can help you compare policies to find a cheap deal.
Decide which policy features will benefit you the most and get the right level of cover.
Here are some other ways you may be able to reduce the cost of your policy:
Do your research: If you already have a pet then we know you wouldn’t change them for the world. However, if you’re looking to buy one it might be worth doing some research to find out which breeds are prone to certain medical conditions or are the most expensive to insure.
Vaccinations: It is worth keeping your pets vaccinations up to date as you are already looking after their health and safeguarding against potential illnesses, this may result in a lower premium.
Increase your excess: Affordable policies usually include a higher than usual excess. If you can afford to pay an increased excess, it can reduce your premiums.
Microchipping: Installing extra security for your pets (getting them micro-chipped) could also mean you are offered cheaper insurance.