sick dog

How to Compare Pet Insurance

sick dogWhilst most responsible owners take out pet healthcare insurance, how many study the  small print of the contract they are signing? It’s essential that you do some research before choosing your pet insurance policy to ensure you have the best cover possible, and that means tackling the details.

The small print in pet healthcare contracts can be confusing, so check the details with your vet if you’re unsure. Here we look at comparing pet insurance deal for pets with a pre-existing medical condition. This is not uncommon if you have adopted a dog or cat from a rescue centre. Older animals often have conditions which have had treatment in the past, and the rescue centre should warn you if this is the case. It’s important to understand that some insurance companies will not insure any animal with a pre-existing condition. Some insurance companies will insure your pet, but specifically exclude treatment that relates to a pre-exising condition. So, if your cat suffers with chronic arthritis, for example, your insurance will cover her for other types of illness, but not for drugs to control her arthritic condition. You must be aware of this when adopting a rescue animal.

What Counts as a Pre-existing Condition?

Pre-existing medical conditions are either hereditary or congenital. ‘Hereditary’ conditions might include problems such as the hip dysplasia, deafness, epilepsy, and blindness, which are a genetic feature of some breeds. Pedigree dogs are more likely to suffer from these conditions. If your dog is born with a condition that is not a feature of the breed, then you need to ensure you take out a policy that covers ‘congenital’ disorders. Congenital conditions can affect any cat or dog, and are no more or less common in pedigree or mixed breed dogs. If you are not sure whether your pet has a congenital or hereditary condition, check with your vet before applying for pet insurance.

On-Going and Recurrent Conditions

The other small print you need to be aware of when choosing an insurance policy, is the definition of ‘on-going’ and ‘recurrent’ conditions. An on-going condition could be a previously broken leg, for example, which may need attention at some time in the future. A recurrent condition might include an infection that is prone to recur.  Most pet insurance companies will take on an animal with both of these types of pre-existing condition, but you must declare them when you apply for the policy. If you don’t they will take a dim view, and may not pay out. Again, check with your vet to see if they consider any of your pet’s conditions fall into these categories.

What Else Do I Need To Know?

There are a few other important issues to consider when making a choice of policies to compare. Look at the maximum amount of treatment fees that will be covered, and what the ‘excess’ charge may be. Make sure it suits your budget. If your will find it hard to cover the excess fees, look again. You might have to pay a little more for a lower excess, but it may save you money in the event of a medical problem. Also, check the time limits for claims, and be aware of them if something goes wrong.   Once you have checked which conditions your pet has, the best course of action is to visit an insurance comparison site, which will list the insurers that offer the cover you need. Just as with car and house insurance, these comparison sites take the hard work out of finding the right insurance. You will be able to tailor quotations to your pet’s precise profile, and get the best price on the market.

The Importance of Insurance

A pet falling ill is a tremendously stressful event, particularly if it is a serious problem. It is wise to cushion yourself against the stress and difficulty of finding vet costs when your pet becomes sick, and to know you will not be forced to make treatment decisions based on financial constraints. With proper pet insurance you can enjoy a happy and healthy pet for the course of its natural life, and be there if it falls ill. Towards the end of life you may be able to help with palliative care and see your companion off in a way that leaves you feeling that you did all you could. These difficult times are often hard to think about, as pet owners. But they are important to address, not just for your pet, but for yourself.

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Source: A Pet Insurance Guide from


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