Is an expensive policy worth it?
You pay for home and auto insurance – but is your pet insured?
There are many costs associated with owning a pet, and vet bills tend to be the most expensive of all.
If your dog or cat is injured or becomes ill, pet insurance will protect you from unforeseen bills that could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Like other types of insurance, pet policies can vary widely.
We’ve taken a look at what the different policies cover, how much they cost, and if they’re really worth it.
What is covered?
In general, most policies will cover veterinary costs up to around â¬ 2,000 for an accident plan only and between â¬ 3,000 and â¬ 4,000 for an accident and illness plan.
The other benefits included will depend on the level of coverage you choose.
Treatments for injuries and illnesses typically include surgery, prescription drugs, and tests.
Most policies will also cover some of the costs associated with finding a missing or stolen pet, such as the cost of putting up posters or offering a reward.
Liability for dogs is generally standard and means any damage or injury caused by your dog is covered up to â¬ 250,000.
If you are hospitalized and must leave your pet in care, most insurers will cover the costs of an emergency kennel and cattery.
Vacation cancellation coverage is also fairly standard and will cover the cost of your vacation if your pet becomes ill.
If your pet dies by accident or illness, most insurers will usually pay up to $ 1,000.
These are some of the standard benefits – cheaper policies may not include all of these benefits, and more expensive plans will have some additions.
Is Pet Insurance Expensive In Ireland?
The average cost of pet insurance in Ireland last year was â¬ 16 per month, according to Switcher.ie, a website that compares insurance prices.
Insurers will offer a range of plans, from basic to premium.
The type of plan you choose will determine the price you pay. So make sure you read all quotes you receive carefully and watch out for exclusions.
The price of your policy will depend not only on the level of coverage you choose, but also on the age of your pet, the breed of your dog or cat, and the state of health of your pet.
How to choose the right package?
Generally, insurance companies offer three types of plans.
An âinjuryâ or âaccident onlyâ plan will be the cheapest option and will cover any treatment your pet may need after an accident, up to a certain amount.
A limited-term injury and illness policy will cover any injury or illness that occurs during a specified period – typically 12 months. You may want to consider this if your cat or dog suffers from a limited duration injury or illness.
A âlifetimeâ policy will automatically renew at the end of each year and will not limit the time you can claim for a specific illness or injury.
It should be noted that all plans will have an excess amount that you will need to pay before the policy goes into effect.
Most plans in Ireland have a surplus of around â¬ 125, anything above that could prove costly in the long run.
Esame policy will have a cap on veterinary fees – so be sure to check this out before committing to a policy.
If the cap is less than $ 2,000 for an injury-only plan, you may want to continue shopping.
Can you give us an idea of ââthe prices?
Pet insurance policies can be quite expensive, but not having your pet insured could cost you more in the long run.
To give you an idea, I priced some policies for Sammy, a nine month old cocker spaniel.
An Post offers an injury-only policy for $ 14.62 per month, which would work out to $ 175.47 for the year.
This includes a government tax of 5% and an administration fee of â¬ 15.
This is their cheapest option, and it will pay up to â¬ 2,000 in vet fees in the event of accidental injury to your pet.
This policy will not cover any illnesses your pet may develop during the period of coverage.
As with most policies, it will pay up to â¬ 250,000 in liability if your dog causes injury or damage to a third party.
It also has a standard deductible amount of â¬ 125, which means you will have to pay vet bills below that amount yourself.
An Post’s next option is the Limited Time Injury and Sickness Policy, which amounts to â¬ 19.92 per month or â¬ 239.00 for the year.
Again, this includes the government levy and administration fees.
This option will cover veterinarian bills up to â¬ 3000, if your pet is injured or becomes ill.
The deductible for this policy is also â¬ 125 and it also includes the civil liability of dogs up to â¬ 250,000.
It includes some extras that were not included in the cheapest policy, such as up to â¬ 250 for âadditional careâ for your pet, such as acupuncture and hydrotherapy performed by a veterinarian or a certified therapist.
This policy will also cover emergency boarding costs for your pet up to â¬ 500 if you need to go to the hospital for emergency treatment.
If your pet is stolen or lost, the police will reimburse you for advertising costs and an âappropriateâ reward will be offered.
The police will also pay a certain amount, as stated in your policy, if your animal dies or needs to be slaughtered.
The third and most expensive option for An Post’s Sammy would cost â¬ 25.21 per month or â¬ 302.53 for the year, including government tax and administration fees.
This Lifetime Injury and Sickness policy would cover vet costs up to â¬ 4000 in the event of injury or sickness.
The deductible is the same as their other plans at â¬ 125, with liability for dogs up to â¬ 250,000 – the same as the intermediate plan.
This plan will cover emergency boarding costs up to â¬ 1,000, while the cost of advertising and rewards in the event of theft or disappearance of your pet is higher than the intermediate plan.
This policy will also pay more money if your pet dies or needs to be slaughtered.
How to get a good deal?
Shop around and call the insurers if you are unsure of certain policy items.
Very often you will get a discount for purchasing your insurance online or if you are purchasing policies for more than one pet.
Visit the websites of several providers, fill out their short questionnaires, and choose the right plan for you and your pet.
Don’t just go for the cheapest plan as it could have a higher surplus and a lower payout amount.
Here are more price examples for Sammy, the nine-month-old Cocker Spaniel.
Pet Insurance.ie quotes â¬ 11.60 per month for a time-limited injury plan, which would equal â¬ 139.14 for the year, including government tax and administration fees.
This policy will cover vet bills for your pet’s injuries up to â¬ 1,500.
Their Limited Time Injury & Sickness ‘Premier’ plan of â¬ 19.41 per month will cover vet bills up to â¬ 4,000, while the ‘Premier Plus’ Lifetime Injury and Sickness Plan To â¬ 23.50 per month will also cover vet bills up to â¬ 4,000, but will pay more for extras such as emergency boarding costs.
Allianz Insurance offers an annual plan for Sammy for â¬ 264.54, which covers veterinary costs in the event of injury and illness up to â¬ 4000.
This would represent â¬ 24.05 per month, over 11 months.
It also covers civil liability and legal costs up to â¬ 250,000 and boarding or cattery costs up to â¬ 1,000.
The deductible for this plan is â¬ 150, but it can be reduced.
Will anything be excluded from the policies?
You should read the terms and conditions to see what exclusions may apply to your policy before committing.
It should be noted that you will not be able to insure dogs registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act, and most policies will not insure pets under eight weeks of age or dogs over six years of age.
However, if you renew your policy continuously from an early age, you may be able to insure your pet into their final years with a lifetime coverage plan.
Preventive and routine treatments such as vaccinations, deworming and flea removal will not be covered by pet insurance, while costs related to pregnancy and childbirth are also excluded.
While you can insure an animal with a pre-existing condition, insurers will not cover treatment for the pre-existing condition.
So, is it worth it?
Every pet owner hopes their four-legged friend never needs major surgery or treatment, but no one knows what to expect.
It’s worth asking if you would be able to cover a bill of up to â¬ 4000 if your pet needed surgery.
If not, it may be worth considering paying a policy to give you that peace of mind and keep the line waving.