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Dog Insurance

Dog Insurance is basically health insurance for our dogs - if our dog falls ill or is involved in an accident, the insurance helps pay the vet bills.

Generally, the dog insurance covers all the vets fees apart from an excess which you pay for each condition you claim for. However, all dog insurance companies have different kinds of exclusions and conditions, so be aware. Read on to get better acquainted with the world of dog insuranceÖ

Itís probably a good idea to start with what dog insurance does Ďnotí cover. Dog insurance does not cover things like routine vaccinations, flea treatments, grooming bills, kennelling when you go on holiday, etc.

Dog insurance only really covers accident or illness (and 3rd party liability - in case your dog or her actions injure or cause damage to someone). Some insurance policies also include cover for accidental death or death by illness and even the cost of advertising if you lose your dog, so itís a good idea to study the exact cover each company is offering, as itís not always the case that the most expensive is best.

What is the cost of dog insurance?

The cost of dog insurance per dog can be anything from £5 per month to over £25 per month. Normally you will find that smaller dogs are cheaper to insure than bigger dogs, and the same usually applies respectively to younger and older dogs. You will also find that as your dog gets older and the more claims you have made, your policy goes up. Some companies even cease to offer cover for older dogs when they reach a certain age, so again, youíll need to shop around.

Once you have looked at the different policies on offer and identified a dog insurance policy that you are happy to go with, they will normally send you a form to fill in, sign and return (pretty similar to when taking out house insurance). Always be honest about any previous claims and conditions/treatments that your dog may have had. If you donít, the insurance company may refuse a future claim.

Making a claim

Ok, so you have found dog insurance that suits you and you want to make a claim - what happens then? When you make a claim on your dog's insurance policy the process goes something like this:

Dog is taken ill > you take him to the vets and get treatment.

You notify the insurance company as soon as possible > they send you a claim form.

After treatment is complete (or as specified by the insurance company) you fill in part of the claim form > take it to your vet and the vet fills in the rest.

Normally your vet will send the claim form to the insurance company.

The insurance company then makes an offer on the claim > you accept (or decline) and they send out payment (or contact you if you decline their offer).

Who will the dog insurance company pay?

You or your vet? This is normally decided by your vet. Some vets prefer you to pay them directly (at the time of treatment) which means you keep the claim money when it arrives. Other vets allow the insurance company to pay them directly. Itís often a lot easier if the insurance company pays the vet directly - most reputable vets are happy about this, but check this before registering with a vet.

What is the Ďexcessí?

Dog insurance excess is the amount you pay for each condition you claim for, it will vary from policy to policy but generally starts at around £60. You may find this goes up as your dog gets older or as you make more claims.

Once you find the policy thatís right for you, dog insurance can prove to be a godsend, especially as the price of treatment is steadily rising as new (and more expensive) procedures are becoming more widely available. Sometimes we think or hope it wonít happen to us, so we donít investigate dog insurance adequately or we keep putting it off (until itís too late). Remember that to make a claim, you need dog insurance before the injury occurs - insurance companies wonít cover you for anything that happened before you take out a policy.

Dog insurance isnít without limits or restrictions though and there are many exclusions and conditions you should be aware of before taking out a policy Ė be sure to read the small print so you know exactly what you are getting.

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