Dogs Prices & Booking
Pet insurance – how does it work?

2 dogs running

Do you need pet insurance?

When you are with us, all our petsitters have their own insurance through Petsitters Alliance. But don’t assume that this will cover your pet in all instances. Our Pet sitters’ insurance includes public liability, liability for animals in their care, as well as cover for things like replacement locks if your sitter lost your house keys. ‘Care, custody and control’ provides cover if, for example, the sitter was negligent about putting a pet in a crate and it wandered, chewed furniture and then got sick – care, custody and control will (subject to exclusions) cover the pet’s veterinary bill but not the cost of repairs to the furniture. However, in typical circumstances, pet sitters’ insurance does not cover veterinary bills or offer cover if an owner has to return home while on holiday due to an ill or injured pet.

Vet bills for anything but routine visits can get very large very quickly – from £500 to £5,000.

This is where pet insurance can be so useful. With advances in veterinary medicine making treatments available for conditions that were once fatal and sophisticated equipment making it possible to detect and diagnose problems that would have previously been left untreated, vet bills can be high. Pet insurance can help cover the cost of vet fees and allow you to explore the treatment options available.

What should owners look for from a pet insurance policy?Flint puppy

Pet owners should bear in mind that pet insurance is usually available in three forms:

- Cover for a set period: Typically this is the cheapest form of pet insurance but cover only lasts until the policy ends – meaning ongoing treatments are no longer covered after the policy expires.

- Cover with a limit per condition: Covers conditions up to a set amount.

- A full lifetime policy: Provides a cover limit per condition, per year meaning a pet is covered as long as the policy remains active.

Cover features vary between companies but some of the features to look out for include:

- Veterinary fees: This is the primary reason for taking out pet insurance so examine cover limits and time constraints carefully. Also examine whether there are any policy exclusions (circumstances in which your pet will not be covered) and look to see if the insurance offers cover for complementary therapies, cosmetic treatments (such as teeth de-scaling) and specialist diets.

- Death benefit: Owners of pedigree dogs, exotic animals and other expensive pets may wish to look for a death benefit that offers a payout to cover the purchase price or market value of a pet in the event the pet dies of an accident or illness (subject to exclusions).

- Third party liability: Cover against liability for damages or injuries to a third party caused by a dog – cats are not covered as they are considered ‘free spirits’ and owners are not liable for their actions.

- Missing pet cover: Some insurance companies will help towards the cost of a reward and advertising should a pet be lost or stolen.

As well as considering the levels of cover available, pet owners should also pay attention to: excess levels – the excess is your contribution towards a claim; age restrictions – you may have to pay a higher excess for an older pet; and pre-existing medical conditions which are unlikely to be covered by the policy.

What about pet insurance while the owners are on holiday?Miniature long haired dachshund Rusty

Pet insurance is particularly useful for owners planning to take trips abroad. With holiday cover, if a pet falls ill, goes missing or is involved in an accident while you are away from home, the pet insurance policy will help towards the cost of travel and accommodation should you need to cancel a trip, or cut it short and return home.

There is even cover available for pet owners that plan to take their pets overseas with them. Under the Government’s Pet Travel Scheme, a dog, cat or ferret can travel to certain countries without the need for quarantine. With certain pet insurance policies you will receive help with the cost of veterinary treatments overseas.