Ask the Vet
Is Pet Insurance worthwhile?
Question: I have just acquired a Persian kitten and am considering Pet Insurance. Can you give any recommendations and advice? Would it be better to just put money aside each month?
Answer: Veterinary care has changed out of all recognition over the past 20 years. The days of James Herriot operating in the converted back room of his own house have been consigned to history. One in every three pets needs veterinary care each year and in order to deal with many different medical situations, veterinary practices are obliged to invest heavily in equipment, training and staff. Veterinary care nowadays mirrors current human medical practice very closely indeed. Practices routinely use ultrasonography, complex anaesthetic monitors and drugs such as interferon, hitherto the domain of ‘specialists’. Specialist referral centres abound offering the highest level of expertise where necessary. Consequently, bills can be higher than you might expect and at such times of stress and anxiety, worrying about the cost of veterinary treatment and prescription medicines is avoidable. Holding pet insurance means that your loved ones have the best available treatment without you facing the full financial burden - it's peace of mind for you and your pet. Putting money to one side is well worth considering but road traffic accidents and diabetes are two examples of common conditions that will cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds.
The most important feature to look for when comparing Pet Insurance policies is a ‘Covered for Life’ guarantee. This means the company continues to cover vet fees for a pet’s illnesses and injuries for life, as long as you renew your policy each year. Lifetime cover is invaluable if your pet develops a long-term condition such as arthritis or eczema, and the majority of policies offered by pet insurers will stop paying out after the first 12 months of treatment or only pay up to a maximum benefit per condition. Ensure the policy covers hereditary and congenital conditions, behavioural problems, alternative remedies and a contribution towards clinical diets.