Insurance can provide an excellent safety net for you and your pets, whether you have a dog, cat or rabbit. Insurance enables you to choose treatment for your pet that you may otherwise have not been able to afford. A lot of pet insurance companies also help with the cost of alternative treatments i.e acupuncture and hydrotherapy. Some even cover the cost of prescription food that has been recommended by your vet.
There are a lot of insurance companies on the market so it is a good idea to shop around and compare the different companies to ensure you select the cover that is right for you and your pet.
Different types of insurance policies
• 12 month or time-limited policies – These usually run for 12 months from the start date of the condition. Any condition claimed for is then excluded from future policies. This tends to be the cheapest type of insurance.
• A sum assured policy or maximum benefit policy – These policies offer a fixed amount of money which is the total amount you are insured for, irrespective of the time period. The insured amount is usually split across any condition/s, or it may be that you will receive a separate ‘pot of money’ per condition.
• Covered for life policy – The most comprehensive cover for your pet. Once your insurer has approved a claim, your pet will be covered for that particular condition for the rest of their life. You must make sure to renew your policy each year without a break. Different insurers will offer various amounts which will usually cover all conditions per policy year. On renewal, the amount of money renews too.
Should I claim?
If your pet has come to us for treatment, you may be eligible to submit a claim. There are a couple of things to consider –
- Cost of treatment – Any claim that your insurance approves is subject to the deduction of an ‘excess’. This is the amount that you pay towards the claim. If the treatment has been completed and is below the excess amount, you may not wish to submit a claim. However it is still a good idea (and sometimes a condition of your policy) that you advise your insurer about your pets treatment. Should the same condition need further treatment which takes the total amount spent above your excess and you are still in the same policy year, it is then advisable to submit a claim.
- Pre-existing conditions – The majority of insurers will not cover any condition that was already present prior to the policy being taken out, and in most cases for a short period of time after the policy start date (usually 14 days).
How do I make a claim?
The process to submit a claim depends very much on your insurance company. For some companies, you will need to contact them to request a claim form whereas others will allow you to download a form from their website. Some insurers will send us a digital link, usually via email, where we can submit the relevant information.
Please make sure all policyholder sections are completed in full, as any missing information may delay the claim once it reaches your insurance company.
We charge an administration fee of £10.50 for each claim form submitted and our aim is submit all claims to your insurance company within 10 working days. If your pet is a member of our VIPets Club, we will process your claim form for FREE.
It is our usual policy to receive payment in full for any treatment received and we then instruct your insurer to reimburse you. If there is an outstanding balance on your account, this may delay the submission of your claim.
We understand the costs of veterinary care can be unexpected and finding the money to pay for your pets treatment can be difficult. Because of this, we are happy to consider the request for a direct claim, where your insurer will pay the claim directly to us. All direct claims are considered on a case by case basis and you will need to give your insurance company permission for us to speak to them. A pre-authorisation form will usually need to be submitted to the insurer to see if they will accept or decline the claim. If we agree to claim directly, we will ask you to provide us with a completed claim form and to pay your excess and insurance administration fee upfront. Once we have received payment, we will advise you of any shortfall that you need to pay.
4 weeks FREE insurance
At Bright Side Vets we strongly recommend insurance and we are happy to provide you with 4 weeks free insurance through Petplan. This is available for cats, dogs and rabbits and the cover varies slightly depending on the age of your pet –
- Puppies, kittens and rabbits aged 6 weeks – 18 months of age – If your pet has received a health check with a vet, we can introduce them to Petplan. This gives you the option to activate 4 weeks free insurance to cover for illness or injury.
- Pets that have not had a veterinary health check or older pets – You can self activate 4 weeks free insurance if your pet has not received a health check or if your pet is older than 18 months and is therefore ineligible for the 4 weeks free mentioned above. To activate, go to petplan.co.uk/4vv and use our practice reference number 1300060944. This cover is available for cats up to their 10th birthday, dogs up to their 8th birthday and rabbits/certain dog breeds up to their 5th birthday.