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Pet Insurance - can you afford to be without it?

As a vet I am constantly berated about the rising cost of veterinary treatment. The simple fact is that veterinary medicine is no longer practiced in the way that James Herriot did it where a handful of potions cured all.

The technology, drugs and level of care has risen an incredible amount in the last few years. We now use the same anaesthetic drugs and monitoring equipment as are used in human medicine.

You only have to get a price list from a private hospital for routine procedures and you will see how relatively cheap veterinary care is.

Pet insurance is a rapidly expanding business and is an incredibly good idea. It is very distressing from our point of view to see the suffering of animals and the heartbreak of owners who simply cannot afford to have the best care for their pets.

You may be surprised to learn that I insure my animals. Even though, many of their conditions can be treated by myself, I would hate not to have insurance for larger calamities.

If either of them needed major orthopaedic work I would have to refer them and could easily face bills of 1000 or more. It is a peace of mind I would not be without. The other important aspect of insurance is 3rd party liability. If you dog causes an accident you could be liable for all the damages and costs of everyone involved.

There are many different policies around and many people ask which one they should pick. Low premiums are obviously attractive but these can have draw- backs.

Many companies such as Tesco and Direct Line are very cheap but if your pet develops an ongoing condition they will stop paying for it after a year. In many cases such as diabetes, skin allergies and arthritis this can be a very expensive and life- long problem.

Always make sure you get investigate all the options. Your vet should be able to recommend a few good policies. If you do go for a cheaper one it is still helpful for one- off accidents and liability claims but be aware of potential short- comings before you commit.

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