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Friday, November 16, 2007

1-Pet Health Insurance Explained

Pet health insurance is simple, affordable solution for those owners who love their pets but is concerned about the financial hardship of high-quality pet care. It brings peace of mind, protecting you and your beloved pet from the inevitable and the unexpected.

Pet health insurance is still relatively new, and many pet owners are still unaware of their choices. By going though the components of a typical pet health insurance policy, you will know what to look for when selecting the right pet insurance policy for you.

The principal component and the number one reason for people insurance their pets, is to cover vet fees. The majority of pet insurance companies will quote the vet fees as an amount per incidents, illness or condition. The vet fees listing will be one for three types.

Type 1: Time & Fee Limit
This type of cover has a time limit over which the condition can be claimed (usually 12 months) and a maximum payout amount per condition. One the time limit or dollar amount has been reached the condition is no longer covered. This is commonly referred to as a “12 month policy”.

Type 2: Fee Limit but No Time Limit
This type of cover has a maximum limit on the amount paid per condition but no time limit. Therefore, you can claim on this condition for as long as it takes to reach the conditions limit.

Type 3: Fee Limit per Year
This type of cover has a maximum limit on the amount paid per condition per year. The amount is reset each year when the policy is renewed. This is commonly referred to as “cover for life policy”.

A pet health insurance policy can cover (sometimes as an option):
Treatment of your pet for illness, accidents or disease
Payment for accidental death
Payment for death by illness
Advertising and Reward if you pet gets lost or is stolen
Third-party liability cover (usually dogs only)
Pet boarding cost if you are in hospital for a length of time
Holiday cancellation cover if you pet is lost, injured or ill while you are away
Pet Travel cover
Alternative Treatments
Basic routine care
Telephone Helplines

A pet health insurance policy will not only vary in the level of cover offered but different companies have their own additions, conditions and exclusions. One needs to look at the pros and cons of a particular product offering carefully, and compare it with other pet health insurance products before deciding.

It is important when choosing pet health insurance to select a policy which matches your desired cover with your budget. The higher your level of cover, the more expensive the policy will become.

The breed of your pet, the pet’s age and your location will affect the cost of your pet health insurance policy. Generally, cats insurance is cheaper than dogs. Policies are contracted and quoted on a yearly basis as a one off annual charge or spread over twelve months.

All pet insurance policies will include an excess. An excess is an amount you pay before the insurance company starts paying. The excess is used to keep the policy cost down and to stop people making small claims that take up time and money to process.

Pet insurance companies will charge an excess per claim as either a fixed amount or a percentage amount. You may elect to pay a higher excess to help reduce the cost of pet insurance.

Although pet health insurance may appear expensive a first, consider the cost of veterinarian treatment if you pet has a serious accident or illness. If you are the type of owner who considers their pet an essential part of the family, pet health insurance makes financial sense.

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