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Should You Insure Your Pet?

Apr 27, 2008
Our pets are living longer, and we're paying more for their treatment when they get sick or injured.

If your pet is affected by a life-threatening illness or needs veterinary treatment for a chronic health condition, the cost can become very expensive. As a result, pet insurance has experienced a surge in popularity. However, pet cover can be expensive, particularly for older pets. Since you could end up paying 5,000 or more for insurance over the life of your cat or dog, it's worth considering whether you actually need the cover.

Do You Really Need Pet Insurance?

If you have a smaller dog, or a cat that isn't particularly active, they may be less likely to be involved in an accident, and therefore less likely to require expensive emergency treatment.

If you're willing to take on the risk of paying for the treatment of your pet, insurance might not be a necessary expense. The problem is, trying to pre-empt and prepare for the potential costs of vet treatment. A chronic illness or a serious accident could end up costing you thousands of pounds, so insurance is well worth considering.

Is Self-Insurance a Viable Alternative?

There are alternatives to buying an insurance policy, such as so-called self-insurance. This simply means that instead of buying a policy, you set aside a sum of money each month, and build up a sum that you can use for your pet's vet bills in the future.

The problem with this plan, however, is that if your pet becomes chronically ill or is injured in an accident within the first couple of years, you might not have saved sufficient funds to cover the treatment costs which could continue for the rest of your pet's life. Similarly, a chronic illness could wipe out your savings account pretty quickly, leaving you without the cash reserves to pay for additional treatment your pet might need.

Finally, self-insurance doesn't cover you for liability. If your dog bites someone, or causes an accident (for example by running into the road and causing an oncoming car to swerve), you've got no insurance to cover expenses associated with the incident.

The Advantages of Insuring Your Pet

In a nutshell, there are three main advantages you'll benefit from if you choose to buy pet insurance:

- Cover for illness and injury suffered by your pet.

- Instant cover that applies as soon as the policy takes effect. No need to wait while you build up a savings account.

- Liability cover. If your pet injures someone or is involved in an accident that causes an injury, liability coverage will pay for medical expenses for your pet and anyone else involved in the incident, as well as any legal fees that accrue if another party takes legal action against you.

Other Points to Consider

When you're weighing up the pros and cons, keep these additional points in mind:

- You can reduce your premiums significantly by choosing plans that limit how much you can claim each year, or for a specific medical condition.

- You'll pay more to insure exotic or purebred animals, particularly those that are prone to developing certain medical conditions. Labradors, for example, are prone to developing leg problems, and older Labradors are fairly expensive to insure as a result.

- Some policies pay out for some fairly unexpected things in addition to medical costs and liability. For example, some policies pay kennel or cattery fees, or for the cost of a reward if your pet is lost or stolen. Some even pay out if you have to cancel a holiday because your pet becomes ill.
About the Author
If you've decided to insure your pet it's important to compare pet insurance companies on price and features to ensure you get the right policy for you and your budget. Type http://www.uk-insurance-index.co.uk for a list of popular insurers and price comparison sites.
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