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Pros and cons of pet insurance in the UK

Vet bills in the UK are expensive, and continually increasing. Many people therefore consider it a good idea to get one of the many pet insurances which are on offer from a number of companies. Here, we look at the pros and cons of pet insurance for dogs and cats against unexpected veterinary bills.

The advantages of pet insurance

Pet insurance pays expensive bills If your cat or dog has an accident, serious injury, or gets a chronic illness, the vet bills could run into thousands of pounds. Pet insurance will pay those bills for you. Gives you peace of mind Having pet insurance means that you do not have to worry about not being able to afford a vet's bill. Need not be too expensive if you shop around While pet insurance is not cheap, it is possible, as with any other insurance, to shop around, compare insurance policies, and get several insurance quotes. In this way, it need not be too expensive.

The disadvantages of pet insurance

The price goes up with the age of the pet Pet insurance can become very expensive as your dog or cat gets older, since the premium goes up for elderly pets. It can end up being prohibitive for multi-pet households. There are people have been quoted over £1000 a year for insurance for their cats! Not all pets and conditions covered It is not possible to insure old pets for the first time (i.e. they have to have been insured since they were young), and pre-existing conditions are not covered. This can make some pets, for example rescued older cats and dogs, cannot be covered under an insurance. Read the small print As with all insurance policies, you need to read the small print. You may find that pets are only covered for a year for each condition, which may not be enough in the event of chronic illness. Moreover, there will be an excess for each condition, which is sometimes quite high. Finally, there will be a ceiling on the amount which will be paid out per condition, and this is often fairly low when compared to modern veterinary costs. Insure of self-insure? These disadvantages mean that some owners decide to 'self-insure', that is, they set aside a sum of money every year in a separate bank account o pay for unexpected veterinary costs. Every situation is different, but this can be a viable alternative.

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