Pet Insurance

What is pet insurance?

Pet health insurance covers the cost of veterinary treatment if your pet has an unexpected injury or illnesses. Subscription to the Mulberry Club is different from pet health insurance and covers preventative healthcare such as parasite treatment and vaccinations as well as giving discount on neutering, dental care and prescription diets.

What does pet insurance NOT cover?

Your insurance will not cover illnesses that have already been diagnosed when the pet insurance policy was taken out. These are termed ‘pre-exisiting conditions’ and will be excluded from your policy.

The insurance will also not include preventative healthcare such as vaccinations, flea and worming treatments and neutering. Not all insurance companies will cover dental work, it is important to check this for individual policies.

Do I need to have pet insurance?

You may want to put money aside monthly into a separate ‘pet health’ bank account or use credit cards if needed instead of paying towards pet insurance but it is important to bear in mind how much you may need for emergencies. For example, repairing a broken leg may cost £3000-4000 and if your pet is very unwell or has an unusual condition they may need referral to a specialist which could cost upwards of £5000 for CT or MRI scans and specialist surgery or treatment.

What is a direct claim?

Normally we ask that clients settle their bill with us and then claim the money back from their insurance company. There are no additional charges for us to submit these claim forms on your behalf.

In certain circumstances we may agree to a Direct Claim where the insurance company pays us directly so that you only need to cover your policy excess and our Direct Claim Fee. Unfortunately many pet health insurance companies take a significantly longer time to pay us back than they do their own clients which is you. For this reason there are some insurance companies which we can’t do Direct Claims with as they can take over 4 months to pay us and as a small independent business this isn’t sustainable for us. The vet who is looking after your pet will be able to discuss whether we can offer a direct claim with your pet insurance company.

What is a pre-authorisation of treatment?

A pre-authorisation is when an estimate of costs is sent to your insurance company to check whether this treatment will be covered before performing the procedure. This is to ensure they will cover the costs rather than claiming and then they refuse to settle the bill. We will usually insist on this before a direct claim is agreed to.

What information do we need from you to process a claim?

We will need the name of your insurance company as well as your policy number. You will either be able to start the claim on your insurance portal at home or you can sign a claim form (which you can download from your insurance website) and bring it in to us.

Top tips to know:

  • We have a dedicated member of our reception team who processes standard insurance claims at no extra cost
  • The turnaround time for insurance companies processing claims can range from 2 weeks to 4 months depending on the provider
  • You will need to pay an excess for each condition e.g. if your dog had a lump removal and xrays on the same day, you may need to pay a separate excess for both
  • Your monthly insurance cost will increase over the years as your pet gets older as they will be prone to developing more conditions as they age
  • IMPORTANT: if you change your insurance company, any pre-existing conditions (such as skin disease, lameness, or diabetes) will not be covered by your new policy
Different policy types:
If we look at an example of a cat called Bob who has been diagnosed with diabetes. This is a lifelong condition where Bob will need medication for the rest of his life as well as check ups and blood tests.
Accident Only cover: Bob will NOT be covered for his diabetes so his owner will need to pay for all of his treatment
Time-Limited cover: Bob’s policy will pay for 12 months of treatment up to the agreed cover amount. After this, diabetes will be excluded from his policy and his owner will need to pay for treatment.
Maximum Benefit cover: Bob’s diabetes will be paid for until a set amount of money is reached. After this amount is reached his diabetes will be excluded from the policy and will count as a pre-existing condition
Lifetime cover: Bob’s insurance will pay a set amount towards his diabetes each year. This pot of money will renew every year and his diabetes will be covered as long as his insurance is continued with the same policy and company. This provides the ‘fullest’ cover.

Hopefully this helps a little with understanding pet insurance,

The most important thing to be aware of is if you change your policy or insurance company, any underlying or pre-existing conditions will not be covered by your new insurance policy.

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