Why pet insurance makes sense

Owning a pet means taking on a whole range of responsibilities, not least of which is ensuring that you can pay for any necessary vet bills if your cat or dog falls ill or has an accident. And as the treatment can run into hundreds of pounds, it’s wise to ensure that your pets are covered by pet insurance, which could help to cover the majority of your vet bills.

In the past, say around 10 years ago, if you took your pet to the vet and it was diagnosed with a serious illness, chances are you would have been advised to have it put down.

Medical advances

With recent advances in veterinary treatment and developments in surgery, medicines and intensive care, your pet is now likely to be given the equivalent of private healthcare received by us humans! In fact, if your dog is suffering from cancer, it might even be offered chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

And if your cat is hit by a car, it now has a much higher survival rate. Cats are regularly given a second chance thanks to major operations in which damaged legs are either pinned or amputated and internal injuries repaired.

But while this is all good news for your pet, the cost of this treatment can be very expensive. Hence the need for pet insurance.

So what exactly does pet insurance cover? A wide range of policies is available and most cover a variety of veterinary treatments, including the cost of anaesthetics, operations, X-rays, laboratory charges, medicines and hospital care.

Churchill pet insurance

Churchill pet insurance will pay for all reasonable charges made for treatment carried out by a vet, up to £3,000 for each condition. Each condition is covered for 12 months following the start of the treatment. Churchill will also pay up to £1,000 for complementary treatment.

Pet insurance does not cover the costs of vaccinations (around £31 for a cat; £34 for a dog), neutering (£50-£60 for a cat; £130-£270 for a dog) or any claims that involve a pre-existing condition. Nor do they cover for preventative treatments, such as worming and flea control. And, as with most policies, there is an excess payable.

Vets usually charge fixed prices for certain services, so you will at least have an idea of how much a particular treatment will cost. Charges are often based on the size of the animal to be treated; treatments for a dog are more expensive than those for a cat. Remember, too, that if you need to see a vet outside their opening hours or during a bank holiday, you will be charged extra.

What does it cost?*

Vet fees for the treatment of common conditions include: up to £500 for an abscess; £1,000 for the removal of a lump or tumour; £500 a year for the ongoing treatment of arthritis.

The average cost of treating a cat after a road accident is around £300; for a dog, it’s £680. A blood test for a cat comes in at around £100, while for a dog it’s £120. X-rays can cost up to £160 each time; surgery is around £300 for a cat and £580 for a dog; and an overnight stay at the vets can add up to around £300.

You can get an online pet insurance quote and buy cover from Churchill on this website – it only takes a few minutes.

*Costs correct in April 2008

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