These questions aren't specifically linked to the pet insurance plans on our panel but are general FAQ about pet insurance.

Will my pet be covered as soon as I take out a policy?

By far the majority of policies have a period at the beginning of the first policy year during which your pet will not be covered for illness claims. This can vary from 10 days to 30 days, depending on the company.

Does my pet have to be vaccinated?

Most pet insurance companies will insure your pet, regardless of whether or not your pet is vaccinated, simply excluding the diseases associated with the vaccine should you choose not to vaccinate.

Are hereditary conditions covered by pet insurance?

All previous medical history must be declared to your insurer prior to the inception of your policy. However, any treatment carried out by your vet for the well-being of your pet, other than routine, preventative care, should be covered provided there have been no clinical signs before the policy starts or within your policy inception period.

Can I have my pet insured at any age?

Full insurance is normally available for pets from the age of 8 weeks onwards. Many insurers have an age limit beyond which they won't onset cover for a new policy, however they will continue to provide cover for a pet already insured with them beyond that age. The upper age limit, if it applies, is usually 8 or 9 years old for dogs, 5 or 6 years old for select breeds. For cats the upper age limit, if it applies, could be 10 to 12 years old.

What is a select breed?

Most pet insurers have a list of select breed dogs for which a higher premium will be charged based primarily upon the higher costs involved in their treatment. This list will usually include the larger breeds e.g. Great Danes, Mountain Dogs etc. but for some companies more recently the list now includes breeds deemed to be at higher risk of producing significant claims regardless of their size e.g. Shar pei, German Shepherd

Do I have to pay the excess every time I make a claim?

Generally speaking, the excess applies once per condition, per year. So for example, if you needed a monthly check up and prescription for your pet, you would only pay the excess once in each policy year regardless of the number of vet visits required during that period. Your policy excess may also carry a veterinary fees contribution, which is an extra percentage, payable in addition to your basic excess.

Can I take my dog on holiday?

Some pet insurance policies include cover for travel but it’s worth looking into carefully as inclusive cover can often be limited compared to the full cover offered by your insurer whilst in the UK. Other policies don’t include any cover for travel at all but in any event, you can take out a stand-alone travel policy for the duration of your trip.

Am I covered if my pet causes an accident?

Third party liability cover ranging from £1million to £3million is normally included as a standard part of your pet insurance policy but as ever it’s always best to be sure of the limitations of any policy before taking out cover. (Note - Third party liability cover is not available for cats)

How do I make a claim?

The claims procedure varies between companies and it’s important to be familiar with the procedure specific to your policy. Often, there will be a time limit following treatment, within which claims must be submitted, and this can vary from 30 days to 12 months depending on your insurer.

Can I claim for flea treatment?

Routine, preventative treatment is generally not covered by pet insurance so things like flea treatment, worming, vaccinations, neutering and spaying would normally be excluded from cover on the majority of policies.

What if I want the insurance company to pay my vet directly for claims?

The vast majority of pet insurance companies are more than happy to pay your vet direct, as this is the simplest and quickest method. This decision however, is entirely up to your own vet so it’s worth querying this with your veterinary practice from the outset.

What if I want to cancel my policy?

You can normally cancel your pet insurance policy at any time without penalty. However, in the event of a successful claim, some insurers will request payment for the remainder of your policy year and you should be clear on this before taking out cover.

How long can I claim for?

This depends entirely upon the type and level of cover selected at inception. VIP would recommend a lifetime policy in every case where possible, to enable you to claim year after year for the same condition(s). However, if you choose a less comprehensive policy this can/will limit the length of time you can claim on any given problem.