Do I Need Pet Insurance?
A common thought people have when getting a new pet is ‘is pet insurance really necessary?’. As a pet insurance company, we potentially have a slightly biased view...we did think about just writing ‘YES’ in big letters under this article title, but we figured that wouldn’t be helpful to anybody. Instead, we are here with reasons for and against getting pet insurance, and we explain why ‘for’ comes out on top.
We’re straight talkers at Waggel. We cut through the BS like a hot knife through butter. So, we’re not going to sit here with an on-the-fence opinion on whether we think pet insurance is worth the money or not - we are a pet insurance company, of course we do. We will, however, supply you with a smorgasbord of information full of points, facts, figures, and testimonials, which support our biased yet correct answer to the question.
Pet insurance is designed to cover all the unexpected and unpredictable accidents, illnesses, and injuries that can happen to your cat or dog. On top of this, there are a number of , which are covered, including:
- Complementary therapies: Up to £1,000
- Behavioural treatment: Up to £1,000
- Dental treatment: Up to £1,000
On top of this, there a couple of additional coverages your policy also covers. These are:
- Death, theft or stray: Up to £1,000
- Third party liability: Up to £2,000,000
Vet bills are arguably the most common reason for people taking out pet insurance. That piece of mind, knowing you are covered if (touch wood) something bad happens, or if your pet has a hereditary condition.
Vet bills range in price, depending on a number of variable factors, including pet’s breed and age, and vet practice locations. The costs can scale from the cost of your Saturday night takeaway, all the way up to heart sinking figures in the thousands.
Now of course, there is always the chance your little one could go through life without a scratch on or issue in them - but is it worth the risk?
And of course, you could always save up money and use it when needed. But what if your pet gets an on-going or long term condition? One you have to pay out for on a regular basis - can you save quick enough to keep up the payments, especially if your pet gets sick early on in their life? By this time, if you don’t have pet insurance this will be classified as a , which means no pet insurance will cover you.
Our cats and dogs deserve the best, there is no denying that. So, when choosing what to go for, rather than simply opting for the cheapest cover, you need to make sure you find the right policy for your pet. You don’t want to find out you’re not covered when you need it most - afterall, like most things in life, cheapest doesn’t usually mean the best.
You’re probably shuddering at the word ‘policy’, haunted by how many different options are out there. And you’re right to. In the insurance world there are more types of policies out there than there are Jelly Bean flavours. B.W. (before Waggel), this used to make our head spin, which is why we only offer one:
We could go into detail about policies such as accident only, time limited, and maximum benefit, and talk about what they are and how they differ but it would be just as much of an unnecessary confuseball overload as other insures - and we aren’t about that. Instead we’ll be crystal clear on the only policy we offer, and why we chose it.
Lifetime policies offer ongoing cover for recurring conditions, accidents, and illnesses year on year. Unlike other policies, which only cover you for a particular condition or time frame, Waggel’s lifetime policies cover you for the rest of your pet’s life as long as you continue to renew it year on year.
The reason we only provide lifetime policies is simple - it’s the most comprehensive type of pet insurance policy available, meaning we get to be there and support throughout the entirety of your pet’s life.
You can choose your vet for treatment
Unlike human health insurance that requires you to see specific doctors, pet insurance gives you the freedom and flexibility to choose whichever vet you want to go to. So whether it is a vet that’s convenient for you or one you trust from previous experience/referrals from friends and family, it’s your choice.
No compromise on care
Having pet insurance means you don’t have to compromise on the level of care your pet receives based on any personal restrictions. Whether it is the financial paying for treatments or the knowledge of how and when to get treatment, your pet insurance will cover and answer all of these things.
Especially out of hours, accidents and emergency care can be very expensive. Out of the blue expensive treatments can be a big issue for people without insurance. Whereas, if you have pet insurance and an accident happens out of hours, for instance your dog eats a raisin (which can be very pricey), your pet insurance can cover this.
Avoid dipping into personal/family savings
Let’s be honest, life doesn’t always go according to plan - especially in the 2020s. Sh*t happens and savings have to be dipped into from time to time, unexpectedly. Having pet insurance means covering the costs of any accidents, treatments, or emergency care isn’t a reason to dip into savings.
Your own guardian angel
With pet insurance, you have that added peace of mind knowing that your insurer is always there for you. Looking over you and your pet so that if anything does happen to your pet (touch wood), you will be protected. Waggel also offers unlimited free and free and consultations so there are always experts on hand to keep you and your pet safe and happy.
Things pet insurance doesn't cover
- Pre-existing conditions: any condition or symptom that has occurred before you have set up your insurance policy that you have visited the vet for in the past is considered and most insurance companies won’t cover it. This is why it is always advisable to get insurance as soon as possible after getting your beloved pet.
- Warm up period: most pet insurance companies have a warm up period of variable time, usually 14 days, which begins from the original inception date. Any symptom or condition that is presented within this time cannot be claimed for and moving forward will be classed as a pre-existing condition.
- Routine treatments: These aren’t covered. This includes things like vaccinations, flea and worming treatments, nail clips, grooming, neutering (castration/spay), routine dental checks/scale and polish.
We renamed excess as it makes much more sense. We like making sense. Your claim contribution is the amount which you would pay towards a claim per condition, per year, throughout your policy period. At Waggel, this ranges from £0 to £250, so make sure you select the option you are comfortable and able to pay - and always check your policy to save any nasty surprises.
Your pet’s age
It’s no secret, the cost of insurance for cats and dogs is affected by their age. Older pets tend to cost more to insure because they’re more at risk, more likely to suffer from illnesses, and subsequently need more vet visits and treatments.
Some insurance companies won’t cover pets over a certain age (usually 8yo for dogs, 10 for cats) because of it, or enforce an unpopular - we have no age limit on pets we insure and co-payment is always optional, regardless of age.
Sure, you could self-insure your pet and set aside money for potential vet visits. In the short term, this makes sense. No ‘pointless’ paying out money each month when you don’t need to, right?
The problem is, what if your pet gets a serious condition (touch wood)? If you put away the average insurance policy price (£25) with the average rate of renewal (15%) every month, it would take you circa 10 years to save £2,000. That means if you do save you’ve just got to hope nothing big happens before then.
We cover public liability costs up to £2,000,000 (yes two million). If you can put that sort of money away, then fair play - and thanks for reading our article, Jeff Bezos!
This is also an option some people opt for. Although, one we aren’t promoting. If your pet needs expensive treatment and you don’t have insurance and can’t afford to cover the cost, there are some charities that are able to help.
Here is a list of some of these wonderful charities:
We’re not even going to entertain this. Puppies love to chase, chew, and charge everything and everywhere, and cats are known to have 9 lives because of how many risks they take - accidents happen. And, as much as we’d love it not to be the case, so do illnesses. High risk, no reward.
Do vets recommend pet insurance?
Yes! Here is what Dr Jessica May MRCVS, FirstVet’s lead vet in the UK, had to say about it.
“We want animals/pets to have the very best care when they need it. We know that vet bills can be expensive and that is why insurance for your pet provides pet owners with help and reassurance, especially in times of need. We recommend pet insurance so that you don’t have to worry about the cost of treatment when an accident or illness occurs. ”
Do all vets take pet insurance?
Almost all vets will recommend insurance - most can offer 4 weeks free insurance for new pets. In terms of taking payment directly from insurance companies, most do but some don’t so it is always worth checking beforehand.
When should I get pet insurance?
- For younger pets: as ASAP poss. Don’t wait for a problem to happen and then think about insurance. It is common for puppies to get sick when they first come home - any issues before you take out insurance will be classified as .
- For older pets: there’s no wrong time to take out insurance as you never know what may happen. However, with older pets you may want to weigh up the pros/cons of what would be covered and if it is financially beneficial. There is always a risk of pets of any age getting into an accident, which insurance can of course help. Important to remember though, certain illnesses may not be covered when older as they may be deemed pre-existing conditions.
- For all pets: when looking at taking out pet insurance, always pick one you'd be happy to stay with for life. Switching between companies can result in pre-existing conditions, can create exclusions, meaning you will be covered for less, and is a lot of unwanted hassle.
Who should consider pet insurance?
Everyone and anyone who wants peace of mind and a safety net for future potential veterinary costs for their pet.
Why should I have pet insurance?
Pet insurance is there to cover the unexpected and unknown costs when pets get ill or have an accident. It's peace of mind that if something were to happen you won’t have to worry about the financial burden it may cause. When your pet is unwell it can be extremely stressful on its own, let alone having to worry about vet bills. Pet insurance can alleviate some of the stress that comes with owning a pet giving you more freedom to focus on the good times.
How can pet insurance help me pay for visits to the vet?
Pet insurance can help cover for costs related to illness, accidents, and injuries (provided they are not related to pre-existing issues). For instance, at Waggel we can either reimburse costs you have paid to the vet or, if approved by your vet, we can pay the vet practice directly.
How much can a pet health emergency end up costing me?
This is very difficult to give a definitive answer for as there are so many variables. But, depending on how severe the emergency is, it can be in the thousands.
Pet insurance should be on the forefront of new pet owners’ minds and we hope that this article has given you a deep insight into the reasons behind it - and you realise it’s not just us, a pet insurance company, being biased.