Cut the cost of pet insurance without compromising your pet
Your pet is family – you probably love your pet more than most people in your life. Heck, pets are practically people. Except better. So it goes without saying that you want to make sure that your pet is fit, healthy and protected by insurance in case of illness or an accident – especially given rising vet fees. Here are some tips to get the most out of your pet insurance while saving as much money as possible.
Choose your policy carefully
The terms and conditions of every policy vary but there are essentially for types to consider:
As with all policies, it’s important to remember that one that starts out as the cheapest may not provide the best value in the long-term. A cheap policy when your pet is young and healthy, for example, might not cover you when your pet is older and more prone to illness.
Do you really need a pedigree?
If you haven’t gotten your pet yet, then consider adopting one or buying a crossbreed. Certain pedigree breeds are more susceptible to hereditary conditions like weak joints or breathing conditions which will make insuring them more expensive. Even if you do have a pedigree, or want to get one, check your policy coverage carefully – some providers exclude treatment for hereditary conditions that threaten pedigrees. They may also ask for a higher premium due to the increased risk of a pedigree being stolen.
Microchip your pet
Pet microchipping isn’t too expensive and there are many animal charities and shelters that offer the service for free. Insurers often take into account whether your pet is microchipped when calculating a quote for you – microchipping, to them, indicates you’re a responsible owner. It also makes the pet easier to find in case it goes missing, which naturally reduces costs for insurers who include a lost pets clause on their policy. So even though the cost of pet insurance varies according to factors like breed, age and location, microchipping often plays a part in reducing the cost of your premium.
Think about coinsurance
Coinsurance is fairly common when it comes to pet policies. Coinsurance is the percentage of the total bill (after deductibles) that the pet owner (i.e. you) is responsible for. So if a pet insurance company says that they pay 90 per cent of the bill after the deductible, the coinsurance is the amount you pay – in this case, 10 per cent. It helps make insurance more affordable and is a good option if you have an older pet.
Keep your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date
And make sure you have the paperwork that proves it. Because some insurers take vaccination into account, doing this will make you eligible for cheaper premiums. If you’re forced to claim for an illness that could have been prevented if your pet had been given a routine vaccination, your insurer might not pay out.
Keep your pet healthy
It’s tempting to feed Sir Woofaroo or Miss Meow-Meow that extra treat or give into their pleading eyes and hand over scraps from your table. But resist. Don’t be one of those owners that overfeeds their pet – it’s not fair on your pet and will lead to the usual complications caused by obesity. Take them for regular walks and give them plenty of love and attention. A dog is not meant to be locked up in a small space for hours on end and the toll will eventually show itself physically. To sum up, the idea is to keep your pet healthy enough to avoid constant visits to the vet – which in turn means you won’t have to claim your insurance policy. This will keep your premiums down.
If you have more than one pet, look into multi-pet insurance policies. They often tend to be cheaper than insuring your pets separately.
Explore all your options
The most important money-saving advice we can give you is to shop around as much as possible. Don’t opt for the first offer – or even the first three – that you come across. Compare all your options, taking into account your pet’s long-term needs. If you can’t afford to insure your pet, there are a few clinics and organizations that will help treat your pet for little to no money. Make sure you explore those options as well.
A special note on senior pets
Although shopping around for insurance is always a great idea, be careful about allowing existing policies on older pets to lapse. They’re more expensive to insure and you might have trouble finding alternatives as they continue to get older.