How Does Pet Health Insurance Work? - Cockburn Vets Skip to content

How Does Pet Health Insurance Work?

Owning a pet is a privilege and they certainly bring us endless joy! We know that you will want the very best for their health which is why we’ve designed our Healthy Paws Club and Junior Paws Club to provide worry-free health care and give you the reassurance that as a responsible pet owner you’re making the right choices to give you and your pet a long and happy life together.

Membership of our clubs includes preventative health treatments such as vaccinations, comprehensive parasite protection, nail clips and anal gland expression to keep your faithful friend healthy and regular check-ups to give you the reassurance that any potential problems can be detected at an early stage providing the best chance of a positive outcome. And with unlimited consultations with both our vets and nurses you have the reassurance that if something doesn’t seem quite right (maybe your pet seems a little under the weather?) you can see a vet any time, just to be sure that it’s nothing more serious.

Did you know that the average pet insurance claim is for almost £800?

However, with no NHS for pets, if they become ill looking after your pets health can still prove expensive. Claims can often run into thousands of pounds, especially if they develops a long-term or lifetime condition. Sadly, not many of us have this kind of money available at a moment’s notice – which can put pet owners in a tough position when faced with an unexpected or long-term vet’s bill. Worrying about money is the last thing you need when your pet is unwell. So, alongside membership of our health clubs we recommend taking out lifetime insurance when your pet is young and healthy in case they become ill and need emergency care, or develop a long-term condition such as arthritis or skin disease. Lifetime pet insurance can help to off-set the financial worry of the cost of treatment.

Types of insurance cover

It is really important to appreciate that not all pet insurance policies work in the same way or provide the same levels of cover. Therefore we recommend carefully considering the type of insurance cover and the level of financial cover which you wish to have. It is also vital, if your pet is already suffering from any health conditions or has had any health conditions previously, that these are disclosed to the insurance company when taking out a new policy. The most common types of insurance cover are Life-time and Non-Lifetime cover.

So, what’s the difference?

Lifetime pet insurance
  • It is there to provide cover for the lifetime of your pet, up to your policy’s vet’s fees limit.
  • This limit refreshes each and every year – like topping up a jar.
  • Your pet will be covered if they develop a long-term condition, such as diabetes or arthritis.
  • As long as your policy is renewed annually, you can claim up to the vet fees cover limit each year.
Non-Lifetime cover
  • Although generally less expensive, also tends to be less comprehensive, with conditions excluded after you hit the claims limit.
  • There are two main types of Non-Lifetime cover.
  • ‘Per condition cover’, which pays a limited amount for each condition and, once the limit has been reached, the condition is excluded from future pay-outs
  • ‘Time-limited cover’, which has both a ‘per condition limit’ and ‘time limit’, typically of 12 months, before the condition is excluded. Please be aware that the time-limit may start from diagnosis of the condition even if treatment is not required at this time.

Will my pet be covered if they are already ill?

It is really important to be aware that generally pet insurance policies will not cover conditions which have occurred before the policy started (termed ‘pre-existing conditions’) unless these have been agreed in advance with the insurance company. To ensure your pet has the appropriate level of cover it is vital that you declare all aspects of your pet’s health to the insurance company when taking out a new policy. Please be particularly aware of this if you are considering changing insurance providers and your pet has existing or has previously had health issues so that you can make informed choices about your pet’s level of cover. Should you need us to do so we are happy to provide you with an up-to-date copy of your pet’s medical history to help you to check out any details with your chosen insurance provider at the time of renewal.

Making a claim

Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your chosen insurance provider and whilst many insurance companies offer to pay vets directly, as we are unaware of the details of your insurance policy our practice is only able to accept direct payments from your insurance company under specific circumstances. Currently, these include fees over £500 where treatment has been required over a very short period of time and where the insurance company has pre-authorised the claim, for example some road traffic accidents or where investigation and surgery have been necessary to diagnose and remove an accidentally eaten an object such as a sock or stone which has become stuck in the gut. In general, we request that you settle the bill for your pet’s veterinary treatment and claim reimbursement from your insurance company at a time of your choosing.

Whilst members of our Healthy Paws Club and Junior Paws Club benefit from free completion of insurance claim forms, for all other clients, where an insurance company requires our input to complete the insurance claim form a fee, based on the time taken to complete each claim, is payable for this service. This fee includes the time taken to complete the claim form, provide the required financial data in the format required by the insurance company, forward a copy of your pet’s history to the insurance company and if required answer any queries which might arise. If a further claim is required at a later date an additional charge will be payable for completion of any additional required paperwork. Continuation claims are charged at a lower fee as they tend to be less complex to complete and therefore require less administrative time.

What do our team recommend?

At Cockburn Vets we recommend combining membership of our health plans with lifetime insurance to give your furry best friend the best possible, worry-free care.

Our pet health clubs include a wide range of benefits, which when combined with pet insurance ensures your pet is receives the best possible care for total peace of mind

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