The Importance of Pet Insurance

With new advances in Veterinary Medicine and the rising cost of pet insurance, we assess is it worth it?

Veterinary medicine is constantly expanding, meaning there are hundreds of new medicines and procedures to help our pets lead longer and happier lives! Unfortunately, this does come at a cost. As a veterinary nurse I cannot express enough the importance of pet insurance. I have witnessed first hand the costs of out of hour emergency care and referral veterinary fee's. Just one of my dogs by the age of 9 years has cost my insurance company a whopping £14,000, money I probably would have had to borrow.

Are the veterinary fee's today justifiable? In my opinion most definitely! As a qualified veterinary nurse I know how much hard work goes into the training of nurses and vets, it costs thousands of pounds to go through the training and funding is rarely available. When you visit your vet you are paying for their knowledge and expertise, which is priceless when it comes to saving an animals life.

So what is pet insurance?It sounds silly but a lot of people don't understand the ins and outs of pet insurance as there are so many different policies. Although I cannot influence your decision when selecting pet insurance I must stress the importance of reading the small print and ensuring the annual amount claimable is a decent amount as visiting a specialist could put you back thousands of pounds. All my pets are insured under a 'life time policy' with annual limits ranging from £4,000-£12,000.

I hear a lot of my clients say they have a savings account for their pets, which if true, will obviously come in helpful if you have a pet that needs to visit the vets. Unfortunately, I also have clients who have dipped into their pets savings for a new car or to pay for home improvements, then when their pet needed treatment funds were an issue. I have witnessed first hand the heart break of households unable to pay for their pets veterinary fee's and although as a profession we are all animal lovers, we sadly cannot fund and save every pets life.

Pet insurance is invaluable in the case of an emergency. They are always unexpected and extremely stressful and even though money is the last thing on our mind, someone needs to settle the bill at the end of the treatment. Average cost of a Road Traffic Accident can range from £500 through to £5,000 - £6,000 if specialist re constructive surgery is required. Foreign body ingestion £800 - £2,000. Blocked bladder £500 - £1,500. Ingestion of a toxin £500 - £1,500. The list is endless!

Pet insurance can also help cover the costs of medical conditions and their medication such as arthritis, (average costs £500-£600 a year) diabetes (average costs £1,000-£1.500 a year), hyperthyroidism (average costs £800-£1,000 a year) and heart conditions (average costs £1,500 - £4000 a year) (average costs are that of a 4kg cat).

In my eyes pet insurance is a must and I cannot stress the importance of it! As both a pet owner (3 dogs & 3 cats) and a veterinary nurse I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Becki Griffiths RVN, Head Nurse, Rosewood Animal Hospital