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Does pet insurance cover long term illnesses?

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What type of insurance covers long term pet illness?

If your pet is unfortunate enough to develop a long term illness, there are essentially only two types of pet insurance that will cover your vet bills on an ongoing basis, and even then, one of these options only provides limited cover. These two policies are called Max Benefit and Lifetime. 

The main problem here is that no pet insurance policy will cover a condition that already existed when the policy was taken out. So if you currently have a time limited policy for example, then the illness won’t be covered for more than 12 months and the policy will also expire after 12 months.

If you take out Maximum Benefit pet insurance, then the costs of an ongoing illness will be covered indefinitely, but only up to the maximum benefit level specified by your policy. Once that limit has been reached, then you cannot make any further claims for that condition.

The most comprehensive form of pet insurance available is Lifetime pet insurance. This means that you have cover for the rest of your pet’s life, and although technically speaking you will need to renew the policy each year. When you renew, conditions for which you have 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.

What to do if a pet develops a long term illness

Once your pet develops a long term illness, as we have seen, it will not be possible to insure your pet for that condition. You will have to rely on whatever insurance you already have in place.

Hence your first step should be to find out how much you can claim, whether the insurance you have is accident only, time limited, maximum benefit or lifetime.

You should talk to your vet and establish what the long-term prognosis for your pet is – how long the condition might last, what the costs might be etc. If you don’t believe that your insurance will provide sufficient cover, then you need to look at what assistance might be available from animal charities, and what savings you can put aside for future medical bills.

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The pros and cons of life time pet insurance

The advantages of life time pet insurance include:

  • It is 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 £7,000 per year.
  • The disadvantages of lifetime pet insurance include:
  • The cost can be significant, especially for animals such as pedigree dogs that carry a higher risk of developing hereditary illnesses.
  • Even though cover is available for the rest of your pet’s life with this form of insurance, 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 obtain for older pets.
  • Hereditary conditions may be excluded from cover on some life time insurance plans.

Why not start a comparison today and see how expensive lifetime cover is for you? Just tell us a bit about you and your pet. We’ll do all the leg work for you and provide you with a list of policies to suit your needs. Just see how much you could save!

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