Lifetime pet insurance is one of the most comprehensive types of pet insurance that aims to cover your pet for its whole life providing you keep renewing each year. Crucially, this should include chronic conditions requiring longer term treatment.
This is exactly the kind of comprehensive pet insurance we offer with EmeraldPet, provided by Covea Insurance.
To fully understand what is lifetime pet insurance you need to see how other pet insurance products deal with medical conditions. Vet treatment for ongoing medical conditions can be hugely expensive, which is why it can pay to have effective pet insurance.
The vast majority of pet insurance policies do not cover pre existing conditions and so any vet fees arising as a result would have to be paid for by you as the pet owner.
As such there are time limited pet insurance policies that give you a level of vet fee cover for a year – or whatever the agreed timeframe happens to be. That’s great for a one-off injury or a short illness. But what if your pet develops ongoing medical problems as are common with age?
If you have a time-limited policy then you would get a year of vet fee cover up to your cover level but once that policy expires you would then have a pre existing medical condition, which would be excluded from most new policies.
There are specialist pet insurance products for pre-existing medical conditions out there but these tend to be complex and expensive.
With a lifetime policy you basically lock in your cover for future medical conditions. As such it is a good idea to buy lifetime pet insurance when your pet is young and healthy before it starts to develop medical conditions or suffer an injury with long-term effects.
Once you have the pet insurance you are covered for future claimable medical conditions as long as you keep renewing the policy.
What To Look For
Nevertheless lifetime pet insurance is still a fairly broad and generic term so you should always check the policy wordings of any suppliers claiming to offer lifetime pet insurance.
Regardless of whether pet insurance is advertised as lifetime or not, you should check the exclusions of a policy carefully to find out what you can and cannot claim for.
Most pet insurance policies exclude cover for vet fees for any conditions arising within the first 14 days of the policy.
They also tend to exclude more voluntary treaments like vaccinations and pregnancy.
And of course the big exclusion remains pre-existing health problems.
A lot of lifetime pet insurance policies will offer a set cover level which may include a set amount per condition per year. That means that if your cover level was £3000 and your dog developed athritis you would have cover for up to £3000 of vet bills to treat it that year, excluding your excess.
However, if your dog also injured its leg and required treatment and you had a policy that provided a cover level per condition then you could have another £3000 of vet bills covered for the damaged leg.
With EmeraldPet we keep things simple and offer four levels of cover up to £7,500 which includes all elligible conditions a pet may develop in a year.
As lifetime pet insurance is the most comprehensive it is typically the most expensive. You also have to renew every year and your premium is likely to increase.
The price of lifetime insurance cover will depend on a lot of factors, but mostly your pet’s breed and age and your postcode. These are used to judge your pet’s risk of incurring vet fees and their cost so the insurer can work out what to charge you for cover.
Pet insurance prices change all the time so it is worth shopping around to compare similar cover. Insurers are always focused on balancing their book value – meaning they want to spread their risk evenly. If an insurer finds they have a lot of older dogs or a disproportionate number of one breed, they may change their insurance pricing to balance out their book.
That means you may find the same pet’s insurance is very expensive with one insurer but quite reasonable elsewhere.
The age of your pet can have a big impact on price and your ability to get cover at all. At EmeraldPet you can get lifetime cover from when your pet is just eight weeks old and we have no upper age limit to start cover.
Depending on how old your pet is you may have to get quotes from more lifetime pet insurance providers
Some lifetime pet insurance include complementary extras. EmeraldPet offers treatments like homeopathy and hydrotherapy, up to £200 towards training and up to £200 towards clinical diets.
EmeraldPet is also highyl customisable with a range of paid add-ons such as missing pet advertising and reward costs, emergency boarding and minding as well as holiday cancellation if you have to postpone travel plans because your pet is seriously ill.
Third party liability cover can also be an important extra for your dog. This covers your legal liability if your dog causes damage or injures someone resulting in legal action against you.
Some lifetime pet insurance policies may require you to use a certain vet but with EmeraldPet you can use your choice of vet.
Your excess is how much you contribute towards any claims. A higher excess may result in cheaper cover but obviously means claims are more costly. Some lifetime pet insurance, including EmeraldPet, uses “co-insurance” which means on top of a small excess you pay a small percentage of the claim as well.
For EmeraldPet our excess for each condition arising during the period of insurance is
Cats under 8 years at the date of treatment
The first £85 for each condition per period of insurance.
Cats over 8 years at the date of treatment
The first £95 plus 15% of the remaining cost of treatment per condition per period of insurance.
Dogs under 8 years at the date of treatment
The first £100 for each condition per period of insurance.
Dogs over 8 years at the date of treatment
The first £110 plus 15% of the remaining cost of treatment per condition per period of insurance.