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  • A guide to Pet Insurance

Pet insurance provides cover for veterinary fees if your pet becomes unwell or injured. It can provide peace of mind with reassurance that you will be able to afford the veterinary care your pet may need.

With veterinary medicine employing modern and complex techniques and medications, and with owners wanting to do everything possible for their pet, pet insurance has become increasingly popular.

There are many insurance providers now available, many of which have different levels of cover to choose from. Insurance companies will cover most accidents and illnesses with some also covering dental treatment, but it is very important that you read all the terms and conditions so that you know what is included and what isn’t. Preventative treatment such as vaccines, and flea and worm treatment are not covered. Pre-existing conditions are also usually excluded, and like car insurance, there is an excess to pay.

You can help spread the cost of preventative treatment by joining our Pet Health for Life plan. By being part of the Pet Health for Life plan, and having a separate insurance policy, you will be providing your pet with the best veterinary care possible.

We would advise all owners to consider pet insurance, but due to FSA regulations, we are unable to recommend individual companies or products. However, we can give advice on the types of policies to look out for:

  • 12 month or annual policies – These policies will cover a condition for 12 months from the point when it started; after that time the condition will be excluded even if no treatment was given.
  • Maximum benefit (Individual condition cover) – This policy will cover each condition for a maximum monetary benefit without a time limit. Once the maximum benefit has been reached this condition will be excluded from the policy.
  • Lifetime policy – Lifetime policies provide cover that renews when the policy renews on an annual basis. These policies provide ongoing cover for long term conditions. Benefit limits can be per condition or an annual amount for all conditions.

There are many other benefits to pet insurance which may include:

  • Third party liability – cover if your pet injures someone or damages someone else’s property.
  • Reimbursement of the price you paid for your pet if they are lost, stolen or die because of injury or illness.
  • Covering the cost of looking after your pet if you need to go into hospital for emergency medical treatment.
  • Covering the cost of your holiday if it is cancelled due to your pet needing emergency surgery or treatment close to the date you were due to leave.
  • Covering the cost of emergency veterinary treatment for your pet if you take your pet abroad.

Important things to note

In most cases, insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is something that has been noted on your pet’s medical records as a concern by you or your veterinary surgeon before their insurance policy was taken out, whether treatment was required or not.

If you make a claim with one insurance company and then cancel the policy to change to a different insurance company, the new company will exclude that condition and any previous conditions noted on your pet’s medical records, whether treatment was required or not. It is therefore important to find an insurance company that you wish to stay with throughout your pet’s life.

Some companies will automatically add exclusions for specific breeds. Please read all the terms and conditions for each policy.

Most insurance policies will deduct an excess from each claim - this is the amount you pay towards each condition each year. Some companies will also deduct a percentage excess or co-payment, which will be a percentage of the treatment claimed. Co-payments can be added or increased as your pet ages. If your policy ends and restarts whilst making a claim you will be required to pay another excess.

The excess and any co-payment are payments which must be covered by you, regardless of whether you are making a direct or indirect claim.

A guide to Insurance claims

Indirect claims

This is when your insurance company reimburses you directly.

What we need from you:

  • Full payment of your invoice(s) before your claim can be processed.
  • An administration fee for the processing of the claim form per condition.
  • A claim form signed by the policy holder, with the relevant sections filled out correctly.
  • A separate claim form for each condition you with to claim for.
  • Your insurance company may instead ask you to complete your claim online through a portal system, processes will be different with each company.

What we will do:

  • Complete our sections of the claim form and have it signed by the vet in charge of the case or other authorised staff member.
  • Attach the clinical history along with a copy of any payments you have made. (We do not need your receipts)
  • Aim to send it promptly to the insurer by post or electronically.
  • Provide any information requested by your insurer during the processing of your claim.

Direct claims

This is when your insurance company reimburses your practice. It is at the discretion of the practice whether they accept direct claims or not, as the responsibility to pay for treatment lies with the owner.

It is important to contact us directly to clarify if we can process direct claims with your insurance provider before you start a claim.

What we need from you to start a direct claim:

  • The direct claims process starts prior to your pet's surgery or treatment. A pre-authorisation request should be submitted ideally 14 days prior to the procedure.
  • An administration fee for the processing of the claim form per condition.
  • A covering letter or certificate of your policy which shows the policy limit, excess amount, start date and any exclusion(s) that may exist on the policy.

At the time of the procedure, we will then need:

  • A claim form signed and dated by the policy holder with all relevant sections completed correctly, including authorisation to pay the practice directly.
  • Payment for any un-insured work carried out at the time of treatment and payment of the excess and/or co-payment.

What we will do:

  • Complete our sections of the claim form and have it signed by the vet in charge of the case or other authorised staff member.
  • Attach the clinical history, along with a copy of any payments you have made. (We do not need your receipts)
  • Aim to send it promptly to the insurer by post or electronically.
  • Provide any information requested by your insurer during the processing of your claim.
  • Contact you if payment has not been made within four weeks as you may need to query this with your provider.

Please note if the insurer declines to settle the insurance claim, it is your responsibility to settle the account in full within 30 days.

By offering a direct claim we are not creating a contract between ourselves and the insurer. Any disputes regarding the claim will remain your responsibility and we are not required to investigate for you or deal with queries. We do aim to help whenever possible, but most insurers will only speak to the policy holder.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to speak to a member of our team by contacting us.