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- Marc Ching
Submitted by: SeanHorton
Everybody agrees pet health care insurance is vital, if you want to make sure your pet receives the best possible care.
However, once you have purchased your pet health care insurance policy, you may be tempted to sit back and think you are covered for all eventualities. But this will almost certainly not be the case.
In actual fact, there are very few pet health care insurance policies that provide total blanket cover. The vast majority have some exclusions, and usually (though not always) the less expensive the policy the more exclusions it will have. Plus of course the onus is usually on you to make sure you know what the exclusions are. Its no good finding out just when you are about to make a claim.
So what types of exclusion are we talking about?
The most common exclusion is for a pre-existing condition that is, a medical condition which the pet was already suffering from before you took out the policy. Obviously, this is to guard against pet owners hastily deciding to take out insurance when their pet is diagnosed with an expensive problem! The easiest way to avoid this is to insure your pet as early in its life as possible this will often ensure cheaper premiums too. But remember insurers vary widely in their interpretation of pre-existing conditions some will find all sorts of excuses to avoid paying out.
Some pet health care insurance policies exclude age-related conditions. If you see this in the small print you would be well advised to avoid that particular policy, unless you can obtain a specific list of exactly what conditions are referred to. Obviously, the older pets get, the more likely they are to be ill, so any condition could potentially be classed as age related! But it is very likely to mean a condition such as arthritis will be excluded, and this is very expensive to treat.
It has been known for an insurance policy to rule out investigative work! Again, you should avoid such a policy unless it is made very clear whats involved. Very few diagnoses can be made by the vet without some form of investigative procedure such as x-rays, scans or blood-tests, which can all be very expensive.
Some policies impose age limits that is, they wont take on a pet over a certain age e.g. 8 for a cat or dog for a new policy. This is understandable though it can cause problems if you adopt an elderly rescue pet. What can be much more of a problem is policies that wont continue a pets insurance when it reaches a certain age. You should look for a policy that offers lifetime cover though even then you have to study the small print to make sure lifetime really means lifetime.
If you have a pure-bred pet, you need to check the policy to make sure that conditions related to that breed are not specifically excluded. For instance, spaniels are particularly susceptible to heart problems, so some policies may exclude heart disease for a spaniel.
You may find a policy excludes conditions for which a vaccine is available, if the pet has not been vaccinated for that condition. For instance if you fail to have your cat vaccinated against cat flu and he develops that disease, you wont be covered.
Obviously, no pet health care insurance policy can offer a blank cheque it would be far too expensive. Exclusions are just a way of keeping the cost down most are reasonable but some are just an excuse to avoid paying out. Before taking out a policy, it goes without saying that you must study the small print and particularly the exclusions. But as well as this, find out as much as you can about the companys pay-out record. These steps should prevent you getting a nsaty shock at claim-time.
About the Author: Sean Horton is a Director of
who provide comprehensive and affordable
Pet Health Care Insurance