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Does pet insurance cover long-term illness?

Does pet insurance cover long-term illness?

Not all pet insurance will cover your vet bills if your pet develops a long-term illness. That’s why it’s so important to have the right pet insurance in place. 

Tom Harrison
Content writer
minute read
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Posted 8 OCTOBER 2019

What are the most common long-term illnesses for cats and dogs?

Some common long-term cat illnesses include:

  • kidney disease
  • diabetes
  • heart conditions
  • eye problems

Some common long-term dog illnesses include:

  • arthritus
  • cancer
  • respiratory conditions
  • hip dysplasia
  • kidney failure
  • thyroid problems
  • heart conditions

It also isn't unusual for older pets to have two or three chronic conditions at the same time, in the same way humans do. 

Pedigree breeds can be more at risk of developing hereditary conditions than pets that are cross breeds.

What types of pet insurance cover long-term illness?

There are essentially only two types of pet insurance that will cover your vet bills on an ongoing basis.

  • Lifetime pet insurance – this will cover your pet for the rest of their life, but you’ll need to renew the policy each year. When you renew, conditions for which you’ve previously made a claim will still be covered. This means that lifetime pet insurance is the only way to fully insure against the risks of your pet developing a chronic or long-term illness. Premiums are likely to go up as your pet gets older.
  • Maximum Benefit – this will cover the costs of an ongoing illness indefinitely, up to the level specified by your policy. If your pet is still unwell once that limit is reached, you won’t be able to make any more claims for that condition.

What should I do if my pet develops a long-term illness?

If you don’t already have lifetime cover and your pet develops a long-term illness, it might not be possible to insure them for that pre-existing condition. Instead, you’ll have to rely on the insurance you already have in place.

Your first steps should be to find out:

  • which type of pet cover do you currently have?
  • how much can you claim on your insurance?
  • what is your vet’s long-term prognosis for your pet?

If you don’t think your insurance will provide enough cover, you’ll need to see if you can put aside savings for future vet bills or look into what help might be available from animal charities.

What are the pros and cons of lifetime pet insurance?

The advantages of lifetime pet insurance are:

  • It’s the most comprehensive form of pet insurance and is the only way to fully insure against the costs of a long-term illness.
  • The limits on the amounts that can be claimed for each condition are often fairly high – say around £5,000 per year.

The disadvantages of lifetime pet insurance are:

  • The cost can be significant, especially for animals such as pedigree cats and dogs that carry a higher risk of developing hereditary illnesses.
  • There is still likely to be a limit on the amount you can claim for each condition in any one year.
  • Lifetime insurance may be difficult to get for older pets.
  • Hereditary conditions may be excluded from cover on some lifetime insurance plans.

Why should I compare quotes for pet insurance?

To quickly see which pet insurance suits your needs, start a comparison today. Just tell us a bit about you and your pet. We’ll do all the legwork for you and provide you with a list of policies showing you how much you could save.

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