Pet Insurance: A Buyer’s Guide For Dog Owners

By on July 18, 2011

Scrolling back the years, in 2001 K9 Magazine ran an article entitled 101 Reasons Why You Should Insure Your Pet. This salutary article detailed some wild and amazing tales of dogs who had caused their owners some pretty massive problems. As we begin Financing Fido Month, in association with Sainsbury's Pet Insurance, just take a look at some of the incredible acts of canine mayhem…

1.Luke, a four year old Doberman from the West Midlands, ran up a bill of more than £215 after a 38 inch leather belt had to be removed from his stomach.

2.Rusty, a Bull Terrier from Kent astonished vets after managing to consume a pair of bicycle handle bars.

3.Mr A Mills of Motherwell, whose Border Collie was not insured, attempted to claim on his home insurance after an accident in his back garden, when he accidentally peppered poor Mandy with air rifle pellets.

4.Following an attack from a pet Burmese python, Rudy’s injuries cost his owners the princely sum of £2,400, plus the loss of the snake.

5.Bayley, a five year old Dachshund from Hinckley in Leicestershire, required urgent attention after snacking on two of his owner’s golf balls.

6.Sian, a three year old mongrel from Swansea, broke her leg after falling from a sit-down lawnmower. This cost Huw Pickering, a retired insurance broker, £2,000 in vet’s bills.

7.Lee Sidney was left in tears after falling on top of his West Highland terrier, Jake, and fracturing two of the dogs ribs during a barbecue at his rugby club.

8.Lincolnshire couple Ruth and Marco LaBrie were charged £216 by the vet that removed assorted nuts and bolts from the stomach of Nelson, their Bassett.

9.Gemma, a miniature Schnauzer from Reading, diced with danger after swallowing a tube of super-glue. A second operation was necessary when the stitches became loose.

10.Gentle giant Mal the St Bernard needed surgery after destroying his gums by trying to clean the remaining bits of potato from a potato peeler at his home in St Helen’s.

Given that our pets have the uncanny capacity to surprise us and allowing for the fact that some of them seem to be hell bent on destroying either themselves or our most valuable property, we thought it’d be worthwhile to put together a short pet insurance buyer's resource for UK dog owners.

Buying UK pet insurance in this day in age shouldn’t be too difficult, should it. With all of the websites that offer insurance, not to mention the amount of advertising that insurers aim at pet owners, there should be no excuse for pet owners not to be aware of the presence of pet insurance.

Finding the right policy, at the right price could require a little work, so here's the basics.

Pet insurance companies will generally asses your dog on certain criteria that will enable them to make a judgement on how likely you are to make a claim.

Those criteria usually include

Breed: Taking into account associated hereditary medical conditions.

Age/Sex: Taking into account potential likelihood of medical care.

Value: Taking into account whether you have a pedigree or cross breed, and it? purpose in life. (i.e. pet, show dog, guard dog)

Location: Taking into account likelihood of public liabilities and likelihood of accidents.

So the breed you own, their age and where you live will all have a bearing on the premium you pay.

Which brings us to price. The cheapest pet insurance policy is not automatically 'the best' or even the right choice for you. Let's think about it like this; we're buying pet insurance because we want total peace of mind and, should the day arrive that we actually have to make a claim, we want to be confident that we're working with a reputable company that will pay out and not seek to make life difficult for us at the time when we need them most.

On this basis, don't buy pet insurance on price alone. Read the small print and check online for reviews from other owners.

Like other insurance products, check the level of excess you'd be required to pay.

The development of more sophisticated veterinary technology and techniques is reflected in the price of treatment, and vets bills are currently rising by between 10 and 12 per cent a year. This is why it is important for people to take out pet insurance, to help meet the cost of all eventualities. However, you need to study the policy you're thinking about buying to check things like whether they pay out on just one element of a claim rather than covering you for ongoing treatment.

Be willing to really study the policy in great detail and get to know it inside and out. You may never need to use it, but if you do you'll do so in the confidence that you properly researched and selected the best cover for your precious animal friend.

Looking for instant advice on how to select the best pet insurance policy? We can help!

Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance covers up to £7,500 vet’s fees per condition (option 2) – Click here for more information.

>> Highly Recommended: Sainsbury's Pet Insurance - £7,500 Vet’s Fees & Up to 25% online discount.

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