Over the life of our pet springer spaniel I estimate I've spent around £3000 on pet insurance. This year, following his cruciate surgery, it's certainly made me reflect on the value of insurance to date and also on the value of future cover given the premiums, for a 10 year old dog, have risen to over £50 a month.
On balance, insurance cover has been good for us. In his lifetime he has has had an operation to remove some benign lumps, various biopsies for a skin problem, antibiotics and of course his latest surgery, which for diagnosis and treatment cost the best part of £4000.
Good insurance is pretty much a no brainier when put in that context!
There are 3 basic types of policy:
- Life cover– generally covers your dog for any illness throughout its life, up to a ‘maximum’ annual cost and you can claim to that amount every year. This is great for pets with ongoing conditions.
- Per condition –this provides cover ‘for life’ for each condition but only to a maximum total amount whenever that is reached.
- Annual cover– this will cover a ‘condition’ for the year in which first claimed but after that will be excluded from the policy
From our experience 'life cover' may be the most expensive but it has provided the best value. Taking his cruciate problem as an example, our life cover means that if his other leg were to go, we would still be covered, up to an annual limit. Without that cover, even though the problem was with a different leg, it would be considered part of the same condition and we would not be able to claim anything further.
There are plenty of sites out there giving advice on the best insurance. Remember that as your dog gets older you are more likely to need to claim, so ask about policies which cover older dogs. Ours for example has a cost sharing element so in addition to our excess we pay 1/3 of the cost. If the cost of treatment runs in to thousands, you will still end up with a big bill, but it may make treatment which would otherwise be unaffordable an option.
Owning a dog is certainly not cheap!