Hitchin: 01462 451500
Shefford: 01462 812746
Pets benefit from insurance because it means that we can give them the best and most suitable treatment, without burdening you with the worry of cost. We have a responsibility to spend your money with consideration when treating your pet, and sometimes, in an emergency, consulting you at each stage can slow down treatment. Veterinary or Specialists fees may well exceed £4000 if your pet has a serious illness or road traffic accident and sadly, there is no NHS for pets.
In the last few years the pet insurance market has been flooded with new providers from supermarkets to High Street Retailers. Pet insurance can be a bit of a minefield and it is very difficult to know what to look for when taking out insurance. Here are some important tips to consider when purchasing pet insurance:
Is it a 12 month policy?
This means your pet is covered per condition for one year only, or 12 months or 365 days – from when the illness/injury was first noticed - the condition will then be excluded the following year and no longer covered.
Is it a life long policy?
Your pet is covered for all treatment for life, rather than just for 12 months, but there will be a limit on payment per condition, i.e. £4,000 for vet’s bills. This will depend on the type of policy you have taken out, i.e. Standard, Silver, Gold or Platinum.
Insurers should cover an ongoing condition following renewal.
Some insurance companies think dental treatment is for cosmetic reason only. Dental treatment on an animal is never cosmetic, it is often warranted because they have gum disease or other underlying pathology, which can ultimately make them very unwell and prevent them from eating. Very few insurance companies now cover dental treatment - please check when taking out your insurnace policy.
Also please note that if you have been recommended dental treatment and you do not have this done within 12 months, your insurance company will no longer pay for any dental treatment.
Premiums are the amount of money you pay per month to the insurance company and can vary from one insurance company to another, depending on the level of cover being offered.
There is an excess to be paid for each condition claimed each policy year – a new excess will be payable again at the start of each new policy year. Some insurance policies add a percentage to the excess, and each claim thereafter – this often depends on the age of the animal, but may just be part of your policy terms and conditions.
Some insurance companies have recently imposed an additional excess for certain referral centres. This does not prevent a vet from referring to a specific centre but does mean that an additional excess fee may be payable. Please make sure you read the small print. If you are not sure please ask to speak to the Practice Manager or Insurance Claims Administrator.
Insurance companies ask you to disclose all previous conditions and treatments – if you have not disclosed previous conditions or treatment and you try to claim at a later date, you may well find the insurance company will not pay out. If you are unsure, please ask us for advice. We always have to send an animal's complete and full history with every claim.
If you have a pedigree pet please check whether or not hereditary or congenital problems are covered. Most pedigree animals have problems that are common to the breed and by definition are inherited and these may be excluded from some policies. Remember that this does not just affect young animals. Conditions such as hip dysplasia or cataracts could develop in later life.
Some insurance companies insist that all vaccinations are up to date, or they will not pay out on any claim.
Informing your insurance company that you with to make a claim
Some insurance companies will not settle a claim if you have not informed them you are seeking veterinary advise which later leads to a claim. You should consider obtaining pre-authorisation before proceeding with treatment so that you can be satisfied as to what is covered.
Changing Insurance Companies
BEWARE- If you wish to change from one insurance company to another, please be aware that the new company may impose exclusions and your excess payment may be different. It is quite usual for an insurance company to exclude any condition or limb on which you have previously made a claim, eg. your pet has had an eye problem in the past, your new insurance company will not pay out on any claim relating to that particular eye.
About Insurance Claims
If you wish to make a claim for your pet’s treatment, please ensure you complete the following before treatment is commenced.
1. Ring your insurance company to ensure your pet is covered for the treatment recommended (there may be exclusion clauses in your policy)
2. Find out what your excess payment will be (this will vary depending on your insurance company and the age of your pet)
3. Ask your insurance company for a claim form. All insurance claims and queries, can be dealt with by our Claims Administrator at the Hitchin Surgery, although you may leave your form with the Receptionists at either the Hitchin or Shefford Surgery. When you leave your insurance policy with the receptionists, you will be asked to settle your account or make a direct claim if this has been agreed in advance with the Clinical Director, Claims Administrator or Practice Manager. You will then be asked to either settle your account in full or pay the direct claim fee and excess.
If you are unable to contact the Claims Administrator, please contact either Kay Stutley or Tamsin Swain, our Practice Manager.
4. A normal administration fee is charged for completion of claim forms - this is waved for VIP clients. There is no charge for continuation claims of this type. Please note that claims are for money paid for veterinary treatment - this must have been settled before claiming
Due to the increased amount of administration required Direct Claims carry a higher fee.
Making a claim at Berry House Veterinary Practice
If you wish to make a claim at Berry House, please click on the following link to read detail information.
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It’s important to realise that not all pet insurance is the same and you need to choose your policy wisely. That’s why here at Berry House Vets we recommend Petplan - the UK’s No. 1 pet insurance provider*. Petplan offers a range of policies to suit all budgets including their Covered For Life® policies, recommended by 9 out of 10 vets**.
**Headcount Research, 2012