History Of Pet Insurance
October 9, 2012 1:57 PM

Pet insurance is a policy that will cover the cost of veterinary care should your pet become sick or suffers an injury, based on you paying in to the policy on a monthly basis. Some policies will cover costs relating to the death of your pet or if it has been lost or stolen. Contrary to the wide-held belief that pet insurance is similar to health insurance for humans, it is actually a form of property insurance. 

Although the first insurance policy was written in the late 19th century, the first pet insurance policy wasn't sold until over 50 years later, in the Britain during 1947. Britain now has the second to highest rate of pet insurance policies with Sweden the top country. It is slightly less popular in the U.S where pet insurance is a more recent phenomenon - the first policy taken out was to insure TV canine Lassie in 1982.

How policies work - the U.K and the U.S
U.K policies will cover veterinary costs either entirely or with an excess fee. U.S policies work through a benefit schedule, where limits and deductibles are attributed to individual problems or vet visits. In both cases lifetime or limited cover is available - lifetime cover will apply conditions over the lifespan of the pet, which means that it will cover repeated treatment for the same illness over an unlimited number of years. Limited cover means that once a pet is treated for a particular illness, subsequent annual policies will not cover that again.

In the U.K some pet insurance companies such as Pets at Home will cover costs incurred by the actions of your dog through third party liabilities. 

How to make a claim
Usually you will take the pet for treatment and then submit a claim form to send to your insurer for them to assess and then pay all or part of the costs. In the U.S some vets may allow time for your insurers to assess and then pay out for a claim, rather than requiring you to immediately stump up costly bills. In the U.K it is regular practice to pay the vet directly.

For all claims it's important to fill out the information correctly in order to avoid delays. When taking out insurance make sure that you read all of the small print so that you are entirely clear as to what protection the policy will afford you.
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