How can you choose the right insurance policy for your cat or dog?

When you become a pet owner, you need to consider the impact of every related costs on your household budget.

Over the course of its life, it is estimated that owning a cat involves expenditure of €14,663, compared to €22,878 for a small dog (Source: veterinary media - L’Essentiel N°434 p.8). Healthcare costs constitute a significant proportion of this expenses. Indeed, the costs of veterinary treatment can sometimes be substantial, particularly in the event of an accident, and must be met in full by the animal’s owner, unless he/she has subscribed to a pet insurance. However, in France, less than 4% of pet owners have chosen to take out insurance, compared to 20% in Great Britain and 80% in Sweden (Source: ifaheurope.org). Nevertheless, it is not always easy to understand the wide variety of policies to choose from in the market. Here is some information that will help you to find the most suitable package.

Pet insurance for dogs and cats: the options

There are three main levels of insurance cover available for pets:

  • Basic and intermediate: treatment costs following illness or accidents are compensated. However, there are reimbursement ceilings in the annual coverage depending on the package chosen.
  • Premium: in addition to the expenses named above, it also covers the whole or part of preventive treatments, such as vaccines, anti-parasite courses, worming, neutering and some hygiene or care treatments.

Note: did you know that several Dermoscent® products can be covered by insurance?

Some insurance policies can require deductible, so don’t hesitate to find out more from your insurer when asking for a quote. In addition, there may be a delay in coverage starting after your subscription (between one week and six months), time period in which your pet won’t be insured.

Cancellation conditions can also vary between insurers. It is important to understand them thoroughly to ensure that there are no bad surprises when the time comes.

Criteria for ensuring that my cat or dog is insured

Before taking out any policy, you need to check whether your pet meets the eligibility criteria.

Age and breed

Puppies and kittens must be at least few weeks to months old, depending on the country, and must be vaccinated and must have a microchip. Some insurers don’t allow you to take out a policy for animals that are older than seven years.

High-risk” breeds with a shorter lifespan (such as Mastiffs, Great Danes, English bulldogs, Newfoundlands and French bulldogs) could have higher contributions compared to other breeds.

State of health

Depending on the animal’s medical history, insurers may exclude one or more diseases from coverage. It is therefore recommended that you insure your animal as early as possible to avoid this kind of problem. Insurers can sometimes require a medical check to understand the animal’s overall health before taking out a policy. Good health must be confirmed by the owner or by the veterinarian and the vaccinations must be up-to-date.

How much does it cost to insure my pet?

The contribution is set depending on your animal’s species (dog, cat, rabbit…) and breed.

For dogs, the subscription fee for basic packages ranges between €10 and €25 per month and covers costs linked to major accidents. A “premium” package covering ongoing costs would be expected to cost between €35 and €65 per month.

Steps required to obtain reimbursement for veterinarian’s fees: 

  1. Pay the veterinarian and request an invoice
  2. Have the veterinarian complete the treatment record provided by the insurer
  3. Send the treatment record and the related invoice to the insurer
  4. A bank transfer will be made a few days after your claim has been processed.

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