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If I have to take my pet to the vet, when should I let my pet insurance company know?

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When is the right time to inform pet insurance providers of a visit to the vet?

In most cases, your pet insurance should cover the costs of an unexpected trip to the vets.

Ideally, you need to contact your insurance provider as soon as you know it is likely you’ll need to make a pet insurance claim. Your policy documents should include a number you can ring that will get you straight through to the department that deals with pet insurance claims.

If you can’t find the number then look on your insurance provider’s website, and if necessary you may have to phone their switchboard and ask for the claims department.

Explain to your insurer what the reasons for your claim are. Give them as many details as possible – so if you know the name of the condition your pet has been diagnosed with, what the costs of treatment might be and what course of treatment has been recommended, then you should tell your insurance provider all this. Have your policy number to hand when calling.

If you are unable to give any of this information when you first make contact, then ring your insurance provider again as soon as you know.

Keep any evidence of how much your pet’s treatment might cost, such as estimates your vet gives you, or any invoices for treatment carried out – in an emergency you may have already had to pay the vet before you have had the opportunity to inform your insurance provider.

Once you have given them certain details over the phone, you will need to complete a claim form, which your insurance provider will send to you. Ensure you complete all sections of the form as fully as possible. Your insurance provider may give you a set period of time to return the form, such as 30 days, but it is best to complete and return it as soon as you possibly can.

Some sections of the form may need to be completed by your vet, if this is the case then take the form to the surgery as soon as possible.

Could a delay in informing the insurance provider cause any issues with the policy?

If you delay informing the insurance provider, then this may delay the processing of your claim and mean you have to wait longer for your payout.

Insurance providers typically set a maximum period between when the event occurred and when the completed claim form and associated evidence needs to be submitted. This can vary between providers so ensure you check this as soon as you need to make a claim. If you fail to complete the form within this period then your claim may not be paid.

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Does pet insurance cover visits to the vets?

Whether the issue that has necessitated a visit to a veterinary surgery will be covered under your pet insurance depends on the terms and conditions of your policy.

Almost certainly, the following will not be covered by your pet insurance:

  • The costs of treating pre-existing conditions – injuries and illnesses from which your pet already suffered when the policy started
  • Routine medical and dental treatment, such as check-ups, vaccinations, neutering and spaying

Depending on how comprehensive your cover is, you may or may not be able to make a pet insurance claim for:

  • Dental treatment
  • The costs of treatment if you take your pet abroad and it needs to see a vet in that country
  • Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or hydrotherapy

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