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Important Pet Insurance Information.

Important Pet Insurance Information

Pet insurance can be a real life saver when an unexpected veterinary bill arrives, and as with any type of insurance policy there are potential pitfalls and exclusions which we are often not aware of. These pitfalls can sometimes result in the Insurance company failing to make payment, or stating that the policy is invalid.  Below are some important details that should always be considered when committing to an insurance policy.

  • Annual Cover or Lifelong cover? – Essentially, some cover is better than no cover, but it’s important to be mindful of the differences between these two types of insurance.  Annual cover generally only covers a particular condition for 12 months. After that time, the condition is excluded from the policy and no further payments will be made.    Lifelong cover means that the condition is covered for the whole life time of the pet, as long as the premiums are paid. Obviously, there is an annual excess which will be subtracted from any payments.  Annual policies are often cheaper, and are good for accidents etc, but if your pet developed a long term condition such as diabetes or heart failure, the insurance wouldn’t cover your costs or essential medications after the 12 month period.
  • Pre-existing conditions – if you take out an insurance policy, it is vital you declare any previous medical problems. Even something which may seem incidental, such as a ‘bad ear’ or a few bouts of vomiting, needs to be disclosed to the insurance company.  The reason for this is that if you didn’t declare a pre-existing condition, and you subsequently claimed for a ‘bad ear’, once we send through the clinical notes to the insurance company, they would be within their rights to reject the claim.  It would be classed as Non-disclosure.  However, if you declare a previous issue, the Insurance company can make a decision themselves as to whether they can offer cover, but exclude ‘ear issues’ for example.  Occasionally on new policies, an insurance company may exclude the pre-existing condition for a year, but if then trouble free, they may be able to review terms on renewal of the policy.
  • Switching Companies – if you already have an insurance policy with a company and need to change provider, (maybe you’re not happy with the premium cost) it’s important not to just cancel your policy.  Have your new policy start and then cancel your old policy 14 days later.   This is advisable due to Insurers generally having a 2 week initial period where some illnesses would not be covered.   In addition, as previously mentioned, always disclose a full medical history and check for any exclusions with the new insurers.
  • Health checks – many people don’t realise that some Insurance companies insist on an annual Health check, and failure to have this check could mean that claims could be rejected.  This health check is usually completed at the same time as the annual vaccination, so if you choose not to vaccinate, it’s important to book an annual appointment for a health check. Just like a car MOT really, failure to have one can invalidate your insurance.
  • Submission of claims – ensure you read the small print of your insurance schedules carefully as some companies have a time limit between the start of a condition and the submission of the first claim. The majority of insurance companies require us to complete parts of the insurance forms, and at Jonathan Wood Vets we ask that you complete your part of the form and then bring the whole form in to us.  We then send the completed form with the medical history on to the insurance company. We do not return completed forms to owners, as we have had previous issues with form modifications and fraudulent claims.

If you have any insurance questions please feel free to send us an email and we will be happy to help if we can.