The main reason why people need pet insurance is to cover the cost of vets’ fees.
Recent advances in veterinary science mean that vets can successfully treat animals for a greater number of serious conditions.
That’s great news if your much-loved pet has fallen ill or been in an accident and it means many domesticated animals are living longer, healthier lives.
But vets bills can be hefty and if a pet needs medical care, it can seriously drain owners’ savings or leave them in debt.
That’s where pet insurance comes in. Insuring your pets can seem like a luxury product but it may mean your much-loved animal is able to have the medical treatment he or she needs.
In fact, for many owners, it’s not a luxury but a necessity: studies show as many as one in three policyholders make a claim.
Buying the insurance is relatively simple. It’s usually done over the phone, online or through a broker and it’s no longer a specialist area, most of the major insurers offer the cover.
There are lots of different policies and it’s important to choose the one that covers your pets’ needs.
There’s no point buying a basic policy if you want it to pay for alternative treatments, such as homeopathy for your dog, for example.
Likewise, there’s no need to pay for a fully comprehensive pricey policy if you just want to cover the big stuff, such as major medical expenses at home and abroad and liability insurance.
Changing your policy
Once you have a policy in place, you can change your mind within a 14-day “cooling- off period” and expect a refund of the premiums you’ve paid to date.
If you want to cancel your policy later than that, you still can though you won’t receive a refund. But there may be times when you want to change your policy, rather than cancel it.
During the term of the policy and your pet’s lifetime, your circumstances may change and your pet may develop different needs.
When this happens, it may be time to look again at your policy details and decide if it’s still the right cover for you.
Many insurance policies now automatically renew if the policyholder does not expressly ask the insurer not to renew the policy.
While automatic renewals do provide peace of mind that you will never be without cover, renewal quotes and automatic renewals can prove expensive.
As with all of your products, pet insurance should be reviewed regularly – at least once a year.
Using a comparison website can give you a quick indication as to the cheapest premiums on the market.
Once you’ve established the best buys, compare the details of the cover on offer to check you’re comparing like-for-like.
Let your insurer know
If you do decide to cancel your policy and switch to another one, let your insurer know as soon as possible.
This usually needs to be done in writing (the details will be on your policy documents) but if in doubt, call your insurer.
If you don’t want to stop having insurance, it’s just that you want a different policy, it may be worth giving your own insurer a call before you do elsewhere.
Tell them the changes you wish to make to the cover. In some cases, your insurer may be able to extend the policy to cover what you ask for, at little or no extra cost.