How to Choose a Pet Insurance Policy

When you start investigating pet insurance for your dog, it can be confusing.

There are so many policies, so many different terms and conditions, and the price
can also vary.

Here are some things you may want to take into consideration when choosing a
policy to protect your four legged best friend.

1. Does the policy allow you to use the vet of your choice? When your dog is sick or injured, it can add to your stress if you don't know the people who are caring for him. If this is important to you, choose a policy that lets you take your dog to a vet that you know and trust.

2. What percentage of your veterinary bill will be covered by the policy? This is often up to you - if you choose a lower level of cover or a higher excess, you'll have smaller premiums but you need to be prepared to pay more if you need to claim. Also, check if the policy has a yearly limit for the amount they'll pay out. If that limit isn't very high, you may find that one accident or serious illness uses up all your insurance allowance for the year.

3. What conditions does the policy cover? Some insurers won't pay for claims arising from a hereditary condition in your dog. Others won't cover any pre-existing condition - that is, one that was evident at the time you took out the policy. You may find that you have the choice of a policy that covers just accidental injury, or one that pays for treatment of both accidents and illnesses. Such restrictions are usually spelled out in the product disclosure statement, but these are often wordy and hard to read. It's very important that you take the time to do so; that way you won't have any unpleasant surprises if you need to make a claim.

4. Can you save a few dollars if you insure more than one pet? Some policies offer a discount if you insure more than one pet, and if there are two policies that are much the same, a multi-pet discount can make it easier to choose between them.

5. What happens when your dog gets older? Some insurers won't cover dogs beyond a certain age, and they will cancel the policy. Because older dogs are more likely to develop some medical conditions, this is when you really need insurance cover.

6. Are there waiting periods before you can make a claim? If your dog needs veterinary care during the waiting period, then your insurer won't pay out. You may prefer to choose a policy with no waiting period, just in case.

One way of learning more about the features of different insurance policies is to ask your dog-owning friends and family which company they use, and if they're happy with them. This will give you an idea of how difficult the claims process is, and if the insurer is prompt with payment.

Take some time to carefully research the pet insurance policies that are available to you before you purchase. By doing so, you'll find a policy that will give you the cover you want, at a price that fits into your budget.