Silly question really. It is really, really important to insure your pet so that should the worse happen you are able to pay the vets fees. Dogs, cats and horses especially, but even rabbits or guinea pigs can end up costing you thousands.
Ok so you now know our position on the need for pet insurance. The trouble is you don't know when your dog will end up being allergic to grass or your cat gets in a fight and gets a cut that turns septic. Vets quickly start costing up to a £1000 for basic treatment, then there's all kinds of pills, bandages, nursing costs and overnight stays that may get added on.
It also goes without saying that 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.
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.
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.
As with any insurance there's exclusions and small print you need to be aware of to ensure you pay for what you expect to get. The one inclusion we think is vital to look out for is the one for "lifetime cover" of a specific condition. This means that if you get a recurrence or it ends up being a condition that needs treating, you will be covered.
Without this simple cover inclusion, the insurers will be quick to refuse your claims in subsequent months leaving to pick up the tab!
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.