Before you rush to insure your beloved pet, it's worth looking at what pet insurance will cost you in the long term. It costs between £50 and £500 a year to insure a dog, and £30 to £200 to insure a cat.
Consider What You Need
So, over the life of your pet, you could pay out more than £5,000 for pet insurance you may never actually need. If your dog or cat is older than about eight, it's likely you'll pay even more to insure it, and the excess (the amount you pay if you make a claim) is often higher for older pets, too. Some insurers will also make you pay a percentage of the value of any claim - on top of the excess.
What Affects Costs
Some dog breeds can be especially expensive to insure, and you might have to pay more to insure a pedigree animal. Where you live can also affect the cost, mostly because of the higher vets' fees in certain areas, such as southeast England. Another, less predictable, cost is the potential increase in premiums after you've made a claim.
Pet insurance certainly gives you peace of mind - but policies are expensive and, once you've made a claim, premiums can rise. It's hard to predict the likelihood of your pet being ill or injured, but you might prefer to simply save the money and pay for treatments if the need arises.
Once you've made a claim, don't assume that it makes sense to carry on with the insurance. You may be better off paying for the treatment yourself if the premium and your contribution to the bill are more than the cost of treatment. Of course, if you stop paying the premiums, your pet won't be covered for any other illnesses.
It makes sense to shop around for a good policy but, if your pet's older than about eight, your options are limited. And switching insurer means losing cover for any existing illnesses.