Before taking out pet insurance, it’s important to be fully aware of what your coverage includes and excludes. Doing so can help thwart any current misconceptions and avoid common pet insurance pitfalls.
While different levels of cover address different conditions (ranging from basic to more comprehensive), there are some conditions that are generally excluded across all top pet insurance providers. Let’s take a look.
1. Pre-existing conditions
This refers to any health complaint from which your pet has suffered prior to purchasing pet insurance or during the waiting period. To provide an example: if your pet has previously been diagnosed with arthritis in their hip and subsequently requires treatment for arthritis in their shoulder, this will not be covered. Importantly, it should be noted that a formal diagnosis is not required for a pre-existing condition to be established: if a pet displays any discernible symptoms of a condition beforehand, such as limping, then it is considered a pre-existing condition.
2. Dental care
Whether it’s regular cleaning or something more serious such as gingivitis, standard pet insurance won’t cover your furry friend’s dental hygiene costs. Rather, this is counted as ‘routine care’. It should be noted that some providers offer routine care cover as an addition, meaning your pet may be eligible for dental care cover if you pay a higher premium.
3. Elective treatments
Pet insurance does not cover any treatments or procedures that are not considered medically essential. Some examples include cosmetic procedures such as tail docking or ear cropping, or standard hygiene routines, such as nail clipping. An important procedure that also falls into this category (often to the surprise of pet-owners) is de-sexing. Despite the RSPCA recommending pet-owners ensure their four-legged mates are de-sexed, this procedure will only be covered if you opt for an insurance policy with routine care cover.
4. Deliberate harm and negligence
Injuries or illnesses that have been deliberately caused by yourself or someone you live with are not covered by pet insurance. As a pet-owner, it is your responsibility to keep your furry friend safe from health risks. While negligence refers to things like failing to provide adequate food, water, shelter or veterinary care, it can also include allowing a collar to grow into an animal’s skin, or leaving poisonous substances accessible for your pet to consume. In the case of deliberate harm, some examples include guarding or racing (although it should be noted that this exclusion does not extend to guide dogs).
5. Pregnancy and obstetrics
This is particularly applicable for pet-owners who are considering breeding. Most pet insurance providers do not cover any services or products related to pregnancy. This is certainly something to consider if your pet’s breed is likely to require major surgery related to pregnancy, such as a caesarean section.
6. Complex treatments
The term may seem vague, but ‘complex treatments’ essentially refers to any of the following: prosthetics such as artificial limbs or pacemakers, organ transplants, genetic testing and cell replacement therapy. What about blood transfusions, you ask? If this procedure is necessary to your pet’s survival, then it should be covered by your pet insurance.