Pros and cons of pet insurance

Your pet is a huge part of your life. You love and care for him like a child, and his well being is your main concern. You also worry about what you’d do if he became ill. How much would the vet bills be? You don’t want to stop your pet from receiving treatment, but the thought of those vet bills worries you. After all, vets can be expensive, can’t they?

So what are your choices…….pet insurance? Save money in a bank account? You can probably think of a range of options, and different people say different things. All you know, is that you don’t want to spend money unnecessarily. After all, more money in your pocket, is more money for your pet

So what are the pros and cons of saving money in a bank account versus insurance?

Save money in a bank account

Pro

This can be a good option if you’re a good saver. And disciplined. If you put aside £10 a month, by the end of the year you’d have £120. If you put aside £50 a month you’d have £600, and so on. If your pet doesn’t become ill, you can continue to save the following year. So, potentially you could have saved a fair amount of money after a few years.

Con

You need to be disciplined. Unexpected bills, or temptations – such as a new pet, or a holiday, could mean temptation to ‘dip’ into your savings.

You may well begin saving, and then your pet requires vet treatment before you saved enough money. This is the risk you take and needs to planned for.

Even if you have been saving for a while, the amount you have may simply not be enough. Vet bills can be expensive. Very expensive. And should your pet need ongoing treatment these can quickly escalate. At ExoticDirect we see a huge range of vet fee claims each year. Recently we saw a claim for pneumonia in a tortoise, resulting in a claim payment of £633, a fractured femur in a skunk, resulting in a claim paid of £1062, and stomatitis, which is inflammation of the mouth, in an iguana. This resulted in a claim payment of £313.

Your pet’s welfare should be at the heart of everything you do, which is why you need to ensure that if you choose to save money, you will have enough set aside, should the worst happen.

Pet insurance

Pro

The main reason for purchasing pet insurance is often to cover unexpected vet bills. If you choose a policy that covers vet fees, you will have a maximum vet fee cover level that you can claim up to in that year. It should be remembered that this is subject to your claim meeting policy terms and conditions.

Some exotic pets can be more prone to needing vet treatment, so therefore having insurance in place can be sensible. ExoticDirect see a lot of claims for reptiles such as bearded dragons and leopard geckos. We recently paid a claim for a jaw abscess in a bearded dragon – this totalled £410. And for an abscess in a leopard gecko, costing £277.

By paying for insurance, you’ve got that set amount of money going out every month. Once the policy is set up, you can forget about it. It can be suggested that the temptation to ‘cancel’ pet insurance is theoretically less than that to ‘dip into’ savings.

Some insurance companies allow you to spread payments – at ExoticDirect you can spread payments out in 10 x (0% APR) monthly installments.

Covering your pet should it sadly die, be lost or stolen can also be important. Some species of exotic pets can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds, so this can be worth considering. An african grey for example can cost around £800, a blue and gold macaw can cost over £1,000, and a tortoise can cost around £200. Shockingly, one of the most expensive parrots is the hyacinth macaw, which can cost around £15,000. You should always consider carefully the kind of insurance cover you need.

We offer policies that can include vet fee cover, mortality, loss and theft. Policies available are dependent on your pet type. Why not find out more?

Con

You may never need to make a claim on your policy. You should weigh up the risk of not needing to claim, against the possibility that you may need to claim, and the peace of mind benefits that having insurance offers.

Your claim may be declined, due to not meeting policy terms and conditions. This can happen, which is why we always advise our customers to carefully read their policy terms and conditions when they purchase their policy.

Should your pet pass away, you may need to pay for a post mortem, which may not be covered by your insurance policy. This would only be applicable to pet owners who have purchased a policy that includes mortality cover. It's worth remembering that post mortems can sometimes exceed the insured value of your pet. Try speaking with your vet to ask how much they charge for post mortems, as they can cost up to £250. At ExoticDirect if your pet were to pass away in the first year of cover, you would need to pay for a post mortem which is not covered by your policy.

What you should consider when purchasing a policy

Exotic pets can require specialised vet treatment, which can be expensive. As such, benchmarking an exotic pet insurance policy against a traditional cat or dog policy can be difficult, as the policies may have been designed to meet different needs and likely vet fees incurred.

Your policy should cover your pet for a full calender year – some insurances renew on a monthly basis, which could mean that if you make a claim one month, then that condition could be excluded the following month. You should look into this carefully.

Other considerations

We offer a range of vet fee cover levels, depending on your pet type. It may be an idea to speak to your vet to find out how much they charge for treatment. From this you could try to work out how much vet fee cover you need.

You should always carefully read your policy terms and conditions, in order to fully understand your policy. If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to phone the insurance company and ask.

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Alternatively you can call us on 0345 982 5505