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Look after your furry friends with pet insurance

Compare pet insurance with MoneyHub to give your furry friends the protection they need.

MoneyHub experts say:

“With mortgage, rent, energy, and food costs soaring, cutting or forgoing a spend such as pet insurance is easy. But this can lead to difficult choices for many if treatment is needed, as there’s no emergency cover for pets, and treatment costs can be €100s or €1,000s.” 

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Pet Insurance FAQs

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What is pet insurance?

Having pet insurance in place means that your furry, scaly, slimy or feathered friend would be covered in the event that it needed medical treatment for an injury or illness – and would mean you could recoup some or all of the cost of the vet’s bill. 

Plus, a pet insurance policy will usually include liability cover (in case your pet causes an accident and you are held responsible) and loss or theft cover, but this does depend on the type of policy, and level of cover.

More than half of Estonian households own a pet, and the average cost of pet insurance has been rising along with the increasing cost of treatment. Treating long-term conditions – such as arthritis or diabetes – can cost €1,000s, as can treating a pet that’s been injured in an accident.

Unlike with car insurance, it’s not a legal requirement for you to insure your pet. Remember, though, that if you choose not to and something unexpected happens, you could be left with some very difficult decisions.

What is multi-pet insurance?

You can often insure multiple pets under the same policy. You’ll still choose the type of insurance you want for your multi-pet policy from the abovementioned options, and all your pets will get that same level of coverage. Some insurers will also offer you a discount for doing so, which can make it cheaper than getting multiple individual policies. 

Is multi-pet insurance cheaper?

Many insurers often offer a 5% to 10% discount if you insure two or more cats or dogs at the same time (on a so-called multi-pet policy). However, don’t let it stop you looking for a better, cheaper policy elsewhere. After all, 10% off is no good if you can get two individual policies elsewhere for 12% less.

What factors affect the cost of pet insurance?

Insurers will consider many factors about you and your pet(s) when they calculate your quote. 

They don’t have to reveal this process, so we can’t know exactly what they take into account, but broadly they base the final figure on how risky they perceive you to be and how likely they think you are to make a claim on the policy.

So if they consider there to be a high risk of you making a claim (perhaps because your pet is an older animal or a breed known to be prone to certain illnesses or injuries) then you will likely get a higher premium quoted. This is also why insurers won’t cover your pet for existing conditions, as they know you’ll almost certainly have to claim for treatment in future.

Some of the factors that might affect the cost of your insurance include:

  • Pet’s health and medical history: This can have a big impact on your insurance. Providers will typically exclude ‘pre-existing conditions’ from cover, so if your pet has ongoing or historical health issues, you won’t be able to claim for treatment. There are some specialist insurers that can cover existing conditions, but this is rare and will likely be more expensive. 

  • Pet’s age: The older your pet gets, the more likely it is that it will develop longer-term health problems. So, usually, the older the pet, the more expensive the insurance. Some insurers also have maximum age caps that vary depending on the animal insured (meaning they won’t insure animals above a certain age). 

  • Pet’s breed: You might find that insurance is more expensive for certain breeds. This is because of factors such as varying life expectancy and certain breeds being more likely to develop hereditary health conditions, or being more susceptible to certain illnesses or injuries.

  • Where you live: Vet fees vary widely across the country. If you live in an area where vets typically charge higher fees, this will likely be reflected in your premium. 
What does pet insurance NOT include?

Your pet likely won’t be covered for the following:

  • Routine injections such as flu, tetanus, parvovirus, annual boosters 
  • Routine check-ups
  • Worming treatments
  • Anti-flea medications
  • Whelping costs

Typically, you also won’t be covered for pre-existing conditions if switching to a new policy, though ongoing problems should continue to be covered by your current insurer.

There are exceptions to what each pet insurer will pay out for, so it’s important to check the small print when taking out a policy.

What does pet insurance usually include?

As a rule of thumb, and it does depend on your individual policy, pet insurance covers the big, non-routine costs, including:

  • Broken bones/injuries from accidents
  • Many illnesses, from cancer to asthma, skin infections to bone diseases and arthritis
  • Third-party liability cover
  • The cost of advertising and a reward if you fall victim to dog/cat-napping
Is switching pet insurance a good idea?

When you take out a new policy, most insurers won’t cover your pet for pre-existing conditions, whether that’s a chronic problem that they need regular treatment for, or for recurrences of or complications from historic injuries or illnesses.

So if you’re still claiming for a particular treatment on your current insurance policy, and haven’t yet hit the maximum amount or ‘length of time’ payout, or you have a top-end ‘lifetime’ policy which does not have these exclusions, you may be better off staying put.

However, you can still switch to a new insurer as long as you’re prepared to accept your pet won’t be covered for the ailment it’s already been treated for.

For example, say your dog suffers cataracts in both eyes and is cured, with the treatment covered by your existing insurer. The cost of the cataract treatment may well have reached a specified limit but this won’t stop you from switching away to a cheaper policy with the same T&Cs as your existing insurer – just be aware that your new insurer will now treat the cataracts as a pre-existing condition, and will exclude it, so won’t provide cover if there’s a recurrence.

You may also decide the cost of the existing policy is now so high, you are prepared to risk switching to a cheaper policy and hope the old injury or illness does not reoccur.

And remember, it’s important to declare all pre-existing conditions – even if your new insurer is likely to exclude them – to avoid the chance of invalidating your policy.

What aged pets are not insured?

The older your pet, the pricier it becomes, and some policies start to impose an upper age limit as well as additional contribution costs (known as ‘co-payment’ in the insurance world) should you make a claim.

Here are three main things to look out, and be aware of:

  • Ageing pets cost more to insure. The age, combined with the breed, of your pet affects the price you need to pay. This information helps the insurer calculate the likelihood of your pet becoming ill, or picking up an injury. And as that increases with age so does the cost of insuring your pet.

  • It’s harder to get cheaper cover for an old pet as there is less choice of policies. Once your pet hits a certain age –  which varies from insurer to insurer, and depends on your pet – you might have trouble switching policies. For example, many insurers will say a cat or dog needs to be nine years old or younger when your policy starts with them, meaning you’re then stuck with your current insurer.

  • A claim’s payout may not be as comprehensive as you thought. This is not something that is always made easy to read in a policy. Not only are you expected to pay more for the insurance once your pet gets older, many policies also state you must pay 20% of any treatment cost – on top of the excess – once your dog or cat reaches a certain age.

    For example, if you have a €500 vet’s bill, you may be asked to pay 20% of the bill (€100) because of the age of your pet, on top of the policy excess (for example, €100) – meaning your contribution has doubled from €100 to €200, and almost half of the bill.

    If you have one of these clauses in your policy, your share of the ‘co-payment’ can turn very costly, very quickly.

    It is therefore important you scrutinise the small print of the policy as the co-payment condition is usually found in the main body of the policy document instead of next to the excess that appears on your schedule.

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