Pet insurance – is it really needed?

This is a tough question to answer, so let us explore the advantages and disadvantages of pet insurance.

Advantages

We are a nation of animal lovers, and it is our responsibility to ensure that our animals are cared for and that means in sickness and in health.  Veterinary treatment is not cheap and with advances in technology, costs continue to escalate.

Vets strongly recommend pet insurance and Medivet stressed that lifetime cover was the best since even though when your pet reaches a certain age, policies can rise dramatically. The average claim for pet insurance in 2021 was £848. Insurance policies will usually cost less than this, and you would be able to quickly access the needed cover in comparison to having to save up over a long period of time.

Having pet insurance will ensure that you never have to choose between health care and your bank account, and you will never be in the position of being unable to provide care for an ailing pet.  Owners who do not have insurance may have to make the agonising decision to give their pets up for adoption or in the worst-case scenario, euthanise their pets if treatment cannot be afforded.

Disadvantages

You have to remember that not all health issues are covered, for example, policies may not cover any pre-existing problems such as those pets who are currently receiving treatments before insurance was undertaken.

Annual boosters and neutering are not covered, neither are certain genetic conditions such as hip dysplasia, which is common in larger dogs such as Labradors and German Shepherds. Thankfully, some insurers such as British Pet Insurance do cover hip dysplasia.

Other benefits

When comparing insurance, you will find a huge spectrum of what is and isn’t covered and you may be surprised to know that some policies help with advertising and reward costs should your pet get lost or stolen.

It is also worth noting that you may find that some policies cover complementary therapy such as hydrotherapy, homoeopathy, and behavioural issues.

Savings on treatment

Having pet insurance will be beneficial if your pet has an unexpected illness or accident. However, there may be an excess you need to pay, and the cost of this can increase as your pet gets older. Do not be tempted to skip over the terms and conditions of the policy as this can be a costly mistake, make sure you are clear on what is covered and whether you are taking out lifetime cover or whether there is a time limit to when you can claim e.g. 12 months.

There are usually different levels of cover starting from as little as £6.88 per month, right through to advanced cover, which in some cases will include alternative treatment such as hydrotherapy and animal behaviour.

The cost of treating exotic pets such as Bearded Dragons, or an African grey parrot, can run into the hundreds or thousands of pounds, hence you really should carefully consider the type of care required and the potential cost.

Pet business insurance

Having worked in the pet industry for over twenty-three years, I cannot over-emphasise the importance of pet business insurance.  Whether you run a boarding facility, pet taxi service, hydrotherapy unit, dog walking or pet sitting business, you should have insurance in place.

One of the biggest mistakes with startups is failing to research your industry since the responsibility of caring for people’s pets is enormous and presents risks, so choosing the correct insurance is vital.  For example, your local authority may require boarders, be it in-house, or a cattery/kennel to have comprehensive insurance and if you employ people, it is a legal requirement to have liability insurance.

In cases where pet owners are unhappy with the standard of care provided, or if their pet suffers an injury whilst in the care of a trainer, border etc. the possibility of court action could damage or disrupt a business.

Types of Professional Insurance

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance covers your business’s legal liability to a third party as a result of negligence. For example, if you were dog walking and a dog slips its lead, runs into the road and causes a road traffic accident and injures a third party.

Employers’ Liability

For a company that employs staff, you should have this in place. Employers’ liability insurance protects you and your business against the cost of any legal action and compensation claims that an employee may make if they have an injury or illness while at work. For example, you could claim if a work experience student gets bitten whilst trying to secure a dog on the grooming table whilst under the supervision of a suitably qualified person.

Professional Indemnity

This type of insurance covers your business against claims for loss or damage due to negligent advice, services or breach of professional duty.

Care, custody, and control of animals

This covers injury, illness or loss of an animal whilst in the care of your business as a result of non-negligence or negligence on the part of the business.

Loss or theft of Keys

With this type of cover, you will be able to claim for the loss or theft of keys and the costs associated with replacing locks.

Summary

On balance and especially as the cost of living continues to spiral, I would say that pet insurance is a must.  British Pet Insurance offer a wide range of quality and affordable cover to suit everyone’s budget and having pet insurance in place, offers peace of mind knowing that should Fido or Kitty fall ill, you have the reassurance that the majority of vet fees will be met and with the right premium. You can sleep safely knowing that you can provide your pet with the very best possible care.