How does pet insurance work?

5th February 2019by Joanna White

For so many people, their beloved pets are an integral part of the family, therefore they should be treated as such.

This means ensuring they receive the love and care that they deserve, as well as being equipped with a comprehensive pet insurance policy.

While pet insurance certainly isn’t cheap, it is imperative to have to ensure that your pet is well-looked after in every eventuality. If you’re wondering how does pet insurance work, then this guide will tell you everything you need to know!

What you need to know – how does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance is one of the most popular types of insurance in households all over the world, and for good reason; it helps to cover your pet for the likes of vet bills, treatments costs and cover in the untimely death of your pet.

There is often a waiting period that is enforced by your pet insurance provider; it is the time between when you first purchase your policy and when the coverage begins. This is to prevent people from purchasing pet insurance once their pet has already suffered from an illness or injury; this is known as pre-existing conditions and very few providers will offer cover for it.

Furthermore, the way that pet insurance works is that you’ll likely have to pay for treatment costs and vet bills upfront first, and then make a claim back on your insurance policy.

Your pet insurer will assess your claim to ensure that it’s valid and will then offer you reimbursement funds for the cost of treatment that you paid out for. Not every pet insurance company will do this; some will pay for the costs straight away, but as each provider differs, it’s a good idea to check what you can expect from your insurance policy.

Every policy provider will also likely differ in the way that they handle claims. For example, some insurers may require you to fill out a form or call their helpline in order to make a claim. Whereas others may deal with the veterinary practice directly, meaning that you don’t have to worry about filing for a claim as your vet and insurer will work together to ensure you get your claim money.

Unfortunately, as with every other type of insurance, once you make a claim on your pet insurance policy, you will likely see your annual cost go up for your premiums. This is because your insurance provider will deem you as more at risk of making a claim, thus meaning you’ll have to pay more for your cover.

The way that your reimbursement works differs slightly between each policy provider, but there will be a few common features that you can expect to see with every pet insurer.


This is the money that you must pay towards your pet’s veterinary bill, usually each year or per incident, before your pet insurance provider will pay out for the claim that you make. It varies with each provider but will usually range from £0 to £1000.

Reimbursement level

The reimbursement level is the percentage of the vet bill that is reimbursed by your pet insurer, once the deductible has been paid.

Maximum annual coverage

The annual maximum amount is the amount that your pet insurer will pay in pet medical bills each year. If treatment costs for your pet exceed the maximum annual amount, then you will be required to pay for the rest out of your own pocket.

Veterinary practice

Usually, there isn’t one set vet practice that you must attend for your policy to be valid. Providing that the practice you choose is a fully licensed veterinary, then your pet insurance policy will be valid, and you’ll be able to seek treatment for your pet at this practice.

Conclusion – how does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance can be quite a complex thing to get your head around as there’s so many terms and conditions that you must be aware of.

However, if you know exactly what your pet is covered for under their pet insurance policy, then you can work out the conditions and terms with your provider.

While many pet insurance providers will require you to pay for the treatment costs directly, you will be able to get the money back once you make a claim on your policy. Every insurer differs somewhat, but reimbursements generally take 3-5 working days to complete, so you’ll be reunited with your money in no time.

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