A Guide to Pet Insurance (for Cats): Exclusions
A Guide to Pet Insurance (for Cats): Part 2 – Exclusions
Exclusions are the reasons people get angry with their insurance products and insurance companies and form the basis on which a claim can be refused. It’s extremely important to be aware of the exclusions on your pet policy: it could be a very costly mistake otherwise.
Any illness that started prior to your policy start date
One of the most common reason claims are refused. If your pet suffers from regular skin problems and you switch from one insurer to another and then make a claim, the insurer can request the vet notes and see that the condition was there prior to the policy being taken out. It does not matter if this is a different flare up or there’ve been a couple of months between the last episode and the current one. You knew your pet had it, therefore they won’t insure you against it. Remember, they are an insurer, not a charity and they’re only going to cover you against unexpected problems.
Any illness that shows clinical signs or begins within 14 days of the policy start date
This may seem unfair but there are, unfortunately, unscrupulous owners who would notice their pet is ill, hang back from taking them to the vets, take out an insurance policy and then take them in for treatment a week later. Whilst there’s no denying that unfortunately things can come about very quickly (my kitten caught a fever 3 days into his policy!), this is a safeguard against fraud. Blame people who commit fraud (especially those of the “everybody does it” mentality) because they’re the reason for this rule. For obvious reasons, this exclusion generally only relates to illnesses: injuries are often covered as long as they occurred after the policy start date.
I’m still surprised at the number of people who phoned up to say “Oh I’ve got a one off vet bill for £35”. “I’m sorry, Sir, but your excess is £40”. “Well, that’s just stupid!”. You have an excess on your home insurance and car insurance and, believe it or not, on your pet insurance. During the course of a year you may have any number of visits to the vets for unrelated things (for example, I’ve recently taken three of mine in for fever, infection and conjunctivitis) – if the cost of consultations and treatment for each is under the excess, you can’t claim.
Flea and worming treatment
Apart from anything else, the cost of flea and worming treatments will probably come under the cost of your excess when considered separately but, again, insurance is about covering unexpected things and fleaing, worming your cat is not an unexpected cost!
Cats are prone to dental problems, therefore in most cases dental treatment (scale and polish, extractions etc) are not covered by pet policies. There are some rare occasions where teeth extractions may be required due to illness or injury and therefore this treatment may be covered. Always check with your insurer if you’re unsure.
Hospitalisation, emergency out-of-hours treatment, home visits
These will not be covered unless they are all deemed to be in the best interest of your pet’s health. Your insurance will not cover a home visit if you can’t get to the surgery because you don’t drive but will cover it if it would be dangerous to move the animal. Similarly, hospitalisation and out-of-hours treatments will only be covered if deemed essential by the vet.
There are other exclusions so it’s important to read your policy document; however, these are generally the most common.