Pet Insurance: Is It Worth It?

Any pet lover will tell you that you can’t put a price on the special bond between them and their pet. And yet every pet owner knows that there could easily be an unexpected bill just around the corner if his or her pet becomes ill or has an accident. And who wouldn’t want their pet to be given every chance of a full recovery, with access to the very best care?

According to the figures released recently by The Cooperative Insurance, cats and dogs typically cost their owners £5,000 over their lifetime. Dog owners spend on average £5,551 or £427 a year, while cat owners typically spend around £4,980 in total, or £332 a year.
Veterinary fees account for 75% of these costs, while special dietary requirements can add up to another 17%.

The hidden costs of pet ownership

It’s important to reassure you that The Ralph Site is not affiliated to any insurance company, nor do we have any vested interest in promoting policies. The views that follow simply reflect our belief that insurance makes sense, in all its forms. With increasingly advanced tests and treatment options now available, the cost of an average vet’s bill is estimated by Moneysupermarket to be £300, with £1,500 for surgery and £5,000 for ongoing chemotherapy.

Industry figures suggest that under half of owners are able to pay a large and unexpected vet bill, with everyone else resorting to credit cards, savings, practice finance schemes or loans in order to cover the costs. Taking out pet insurance protects you against such eventualities and means that you will always have the peace of mind of knowing that your vet will be able to undertake the ‘best’ treatment, rather than only being able to consider the most cost-effective one.

There are many companies offering pet insurance, from High Street names to specialist providers; so much so that it can be difficult to choose! It’s worth talking to your vet, as not all policies are the same and you could find yourself with a policy that may well be cheap, but which does not cover your pet’s ongoing care. As mentioned The Ralph Site has no vested interest in any insurance company but the founder has received very good feedback about PetPlan from many pet carers.

Pet insurance

In essence there are three types of insurance policies:

12-month / annual policies

These policies will cover a particular condition for a period of 12 months from diagnosis; after that time the condition will be excluded. So if your dog is diagnosed with arthritis, the first year’s veterinary bills will be covered, but the policy will not cover any costs associated with arthritis care after twelve months. Remember that under such policies, when conditions are diagnosed, even if no treatment is given, they are excluded from cover after 12 months.

Maximum benefit policies (Individual Condition Cover)

With this type of policy you can claim a maximum amount for each condition, without a time limit. So your arthritic dog might be given a lifetime allowance of £10,000, and once this has been spent, cover for that condition ceases.

Lifelong cover

These policies do what they say – they cover the costs of treatment and care for as long as your pet needs them; great when you consider that many common conditions such as arthritis, heart and kidney problems, and skin disease require long-term treatment.
Such policies are more expensive, but undoubtedly offer the best peace of mind in safeguarding your pet and your purse.

Always make sure that you read the small print of any insurance policy you are considering, both to check that it is right for you, and also so that you understand any excesses imposed. Ultimately, only you can decide whether pet insurance is worth it, but we certainly urge you to take an informed decision either way. Any of the price comparison websites will allow you compare and contrast levels of cover and costs, and you can also find lots of impartial reviews and plenty of useful advice HERE.

Until next time very best wishes,

The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support

Please note: The Ralph Site is not affiliated with the third-party organisations in any of the links shared here, and the views, ideas and suggestions expressed in this and other blogs are simply shared with the intention of helping you, our friends, take care of the special animals in your lives.

2 thoughts on “Pet Insurance: Is It Worth It?

  1. Hannah Thomas

    I’m glad to see this post. Pet insurance can mean the difference between suffering and peace. When we first got our dog my husband was skeptical about pet insurance. I wouldn’t have a pet without it and insisted. For the first nine years we enjoyed a very fit and healthy dog, but then suddenly he became terribly ill. Preliminary investigations with the vet proved unfruitful, but because we had cover we were able to get him specialist care which meant a quick diagnosis (preventing needless suffering) and the best possible treatment. Sadly we lost him to an aggressive form of cancer, but knowing that we did the absolute best for him gave us peace of mind. Losing him was bad enough without the torment of wondering whether we might have saved him. We used Petplan for his insurance which is one of the few that promises cover for life. They were fantastic and what we paid out in premiums over the years we more than got back in the end. They were affordable and paid claims straight away. Not only that, but they were always there to answer questions and help when needed. I cannot recommend Petplan highly enough and we’d certainly use them again.

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