Just like their humans, dogs can get into accidents or become poorly. And if something did happen, you want to make sure they get the best care possible without having to make compromises.
There’s no NHS for our four-legged family members. So let’s talk about why having dog insurance is important and could save you from making heart-breaking decisions.
Dogs can develop many of the same diseases and conditions as humans do. And, like us, these conditions can be inherited, come on suddenly, or develop as your pup ages.
A 2016 VetCompass research project on UK dogs found the most commonly diagnosed conditions included:
Out of the 22,333 dogs randomly chosen for the study, nearly 66% were diagnosed with at least one disorder. This shows just how common it is for dogs to fall ill.
It can be difficult to plan for illnesses your canine may develop, especially if they become recurring conditions. The initial treatment of these conditions might be manageable at first, but these costs can really build up as time goes on.
It’s also important to keep in mind that some insurers won’t cover your dog’s pre-existing conditions. They’ll only accept new illnesses which start after the policy is in place.
Your pooch may be young and healthy, but accidents can happen at any time and at any age.
Vet fees can be more expensive than you think. Fixing even simple physical fractures can start from £2,000 and increase if your dog needs more complex surgery.
Instead of having pet insurance, some dog parents choose to put money in savings to cover vet fees (known as self-insurance).
But with sophisticated new treatments being developed, plus the cost of living increasing, vet prices are on the rise.
Self-insuring comes with the risk that you might not have enough set aside for when your dog suddenly needs treatment. So it may mean having to compromise on your dog’s options or possibly ending up in debt to foot the bill.
Plus, you won’t be covered if any legal action is taken against your dog. You’d need to check if this was covered by any other insurance you have.
Taking out dog insurance isn’t just a way to be prepared for unexpected vet bills.
Your pooch could also be covered for other things, including:
These cover options may be optional add-ons and not included as standard. Always check your policy wording carefully to see your pet’s specific cover levels.
You never know when your canine may fall ill or get themselves into a scrape. Many providers offer pet insurance for puppies from just four weeks old.
Some insurers won’t take new dogs over a certain age, don’t cover existing illnesses, or have strict limits on cover for those conditions.
We think it’s never too late to protect your pet – it’s why we have no upper age limits and consider all pre-existing conditions.
How much insurance you’ll need for your pooch depends on their individual needs. And as we’ve seen, choosing the cheapest option may not cover all of your dog’s potential medical costs in a policy year.
Things to think about when choosing your cover levels include:
The cost of dog insurance in the UK can vary based on some of the below:
Not sure what types of pet policies are out there? Check out our handy guide on how to choose the best pet insurance.
As dogs age, the likelihood of them getting ill increases. So it’s always worth thinking about getting cover for your older dog if they’re not already protected.
As we mentioned earlier, some pet insurance providers don’t offer new policies to dogs above a certain age. If they will take on older dogs, they may include extra compulsory payments or put limits on their cover. So always check your policy wording carefully.
Your vet may suggest professional teeth cleaning to help your canine with plaque and tartar buildup. But many insurers see this as preventative care and so won’t cover the cost of this treatment.
Having a good oral hygiene routine can help reduce the risk of your pup needing dental treatment at the vet.
Spaying or neutering your dog often isn’t covered by pet insurance providers as it’s seen as routine treatment.
Like neutering, vaccines are classed by many insurers as part of your dog’s routine care. This means they won’t cover the cost of initial puppy routine vaccinations or annual boosters.