A simples guide

What is a pedigree dog?

The Royal Society for the Protection of Animals defines a pedigree dog as:

“The offspring of two dogs of the same breed, which is eligible for registration with a recognised club or society that maintain a register for dogs of that description.”

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The expense of insuring pedigree dogs

Pedigree dogs can be some of the most expensive pets to insure. One of the reasons why pedigree dog insurance can be expensive is that these types of animals are often considered to be more at risk of developing hereditary illnesses. Before purchasing a policy, check that the plan covers hereditary conditions. Because these conditions are more likely to recur throughout your dog’s life, it may be all the more important to consider purchasing lifetime insurance, in spite of the additional costs that may be involved.

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What is lifetime insurance, and what are the other options?

Lifetime insurance provides cover for your dog throughout its life, provided you maintain your premiums. To keep the cost down, it’s best to take out this form of insurance when your dog is young. Lifetime insurance usually has an annual limit on the amount that can be claimed for a particular condition, but every time the cover is renewed, this limit is renewed as well.

If you decide lifetime insurance isn’t for you, the next best option may be Maximum Benefit cover. This type of insurance sets a maximum amount that can be claimed for a particular condition, but the amount is not reset each year, so if you use 50% of the maximum benefit in one year, only 50% of it will be left in future years.

You can also consider Accident Only or Time Limited policies, however, these may not be the most suitable form of insurance for a dog affected by a condition that is ongoing and/or hereditary. With these types of policy, your dog is only covered for accidents for the former or the cost of treatment is only covered for 12 months for the latter, after which the condition will be excluded from cover.

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Besides the breed, what else affects the cost of dog insurance?

The age of your dog, its health, the level of cover you purchase and the policy excess (the amount of any claim you have to pay out of your own pocket) all affect the premium.

The insurance provider may also charge higher premiums if you live in an area where vet’s bills may be higher.

Pre-existing conditions are usually excluded from cover, but may also increase the premium.

What might I want to insure my pedigree dog for?

Pet insurance is principally purchased to cover vet bills, but if you have a very valuable pet, such as a pedigree show dog, you may want to consider taking out insurance to give you peace of mind.

Besides veterinary bills, things you might want your dog insurance policy to include the following cover:

• Death due to illness or accident
• Your dog going missing – costs of advertising and rewards, and a compensation payment if your dog cannot be returned
• Boarding kennel fees or other care costs if you become ill for several days and are unable to look after your dog
• Compensation for the costs of cancelling your personal holiday if your dog becomes ill
• Liability insurance, if your dog harms a person or another animal and you have to pay damages
• Emergency care if you take your dog abroad
• Alternative treatments, such as homeopathy, recommended by your vet

Do I need dog insurance?

It is not compulsory to have pet insurance, but if you choose not to take it out, you need to consider whether you could meet the costs out of your own pocket. The average claim on a pet insurance policy is £720 (according to 2015 figures from the Association of British Insurers), and if very specialised and prolonged treatment is required, costs of several thousand pounds are not unknown.

There is no free health care, such as the National Health Service, for dogs and other pets. You can always try approaching an animal charity for assistance, but there is no guarantee that they will be able to help.

According to our research, the average Annual cost of a pet insurance policy for a Shar Pei was £217.82, while an English Bull Dog came in at £130.39. So why not see how much pet insurance could be for your pedigree – it could save you money in the long-run*.

*Our average premiums are from comparethemarket.com data in January 2016

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