As the economic squeeze continues, managing the budget carefully is becoming ever more important.

While Vets are always conscious of giving the best possible value for money, there is no getting away from the fact that modern medical and surgical interventions can be costly and the requirement for Veterinary treatment is usually unpredictable, making budgeting difficult.

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance will cover your pet for those unexpected emergencies making budgeting much easier. Most pet insurance policies will cover the cost of Veterinary treatment as well as 3rd party liability. This 3rd party liability is a very important but often overlooked benefit. If your dog should escape from the garden and run in front of a car and cause an accident, you could be deemed liable. The risk of a substantial claim is demonstrated by the level of cover offered, with many policies providing liability cover up to a million pounds or more.

Most owners, understandably, focus on the cover for Veterinary treatment. Policies generally fall into 2 categories – 12 month and lifelong. A 12 month policy covers your pet for veterinary treatment of a specific condition for a year but if there is on-going treatment required after a year, further treatment would not be covered. A lifelong policy will cover on-going treatment for the duration of a pet’s life although the premiums are likely to be higher.

All policies will have an excess to pay. This is the first portion of the costs for treating a condition. Most insurers charge an excess every year for each condition claimed, and many insurers have increased the amount of the excess. This can substantially reduce the benefits you receive from the policy.

There are over 200 providers of pet insurance in the UK. Some Veterinary Practices such as Donaldson’s Vets have introduced their own insurance policies and these bespoke policies can offer major benefits over other policies, allowing for low excess payments that are only paid once a lifetime per condition, rather than annually. Some Practice branded bespoke insurance even includes discounts off the cost of routine treatments such as vaccinations, worming and flea treatment.