Our insurance office can be contacted on 01384 823534
People tend to think it’s only older pets that get ill and therefore younger pets don’t need pet insurance, but we know from the patients we see each and every day that this is not the case.
In fact, the younger your pet is when you insure them, the better as it means you are less likely to have any existing conditions, which may not be covered by the policy and you can then receive more help covering the cost of any future treatment your pet needs.
It is important to note that not all pet insurance is the same. There are many different types of policy available and the level of cover provided can vary considerably. The four main types of policy are as follows:
- Accident: provides cover for accidents only and no cover for illness
- Time-Limited: provides cover for a set amount of time (usually 12 months) and after this period the condition is excluded
- Maximum Benefit: provides cover up to a maximum amount of money per condition and once this limit is reached the condition is excluded
- Lifetime: provides a set amount of money each year which is refreshed each time you renew your policy allowing you to continue to claim for ongoing conditions
As you can see from the information above, the type of policy you choose can have implications for the veterinary care of your pet and the costs you will face, so it’s important to choose the right cover. Sometimes, the cheapest insurance can cost you more in the long run. When shopping around for a policy, we suggest that you ask the following questions to allow you to compare the overall value you are getting, not just the price:
- Does this policy cover congenital, hereditary, hip-related, dental and behavioural conditions?
- Is there a time or monetary limit on how long this policy will cover ongoing conditions for?
- If I claim, will my premium increase?
Unlike other forms of insurance, it is not easy to switch pet insurance in the future as any pre-existing conditions your pet has are likely to be excluded, so it’s important to do your research and choose the right cover from the start.
*Please note- Black’s Vets do not sell pet insurance.
Insurance processing at Blacks Vets
It’s not just clinical excellence we strive for at Blacks Vets, but also excellence in customer service, which is in abundance in our Insurance Office and contributed towards us winning the 2008 Black Country Business of the Year Customer Service Award.
Run by Accounts Manager Kirsty Bennett, with Lynn Jones, Dawn Campbell, Lisa Wilkins and Deb Parker, our excellent team work tirelessly on behalf of clients to process their paperwork to recover the cost of treatment from their insurance policies. It is often possible for us to directly claim the cost of treatment from clients’ insurance companies, meaning that our clients are not out of pocket while their pets are undergoing treatment. This direct claim facility means that our patients can be admitted for treatment, which they often urgently require, without worrying about having cash available to meet the costs. Clients are required to produce an original current insurance certificate, policy documents and details of previous medical history before we can undertake a direct claim. If clients are unsure whether a condition or treatment is covered by their policy they should contact their insurance company direct, as failed direct claims are due for immediate settlement by the client. Also, please bear in mind that an insurance policy is strictly between the insurance company and the policy holder and as a third party, insurance companies will not discuss any aspect of a client’s policy with us.
‘The Blacks Vets Insurance Team are always happy to help’
Are all insurance policies the same?
Unfortunately, the answer to that is no. There are four different types of policy:
- Lifetime Policy. These are the best type of policy to have, especially if your pet develops a long term, recurring or chronic illness. For example: diabetes, epilepsy arthritis or a skin condition. This policy renews the vet fee benefit each year for the rest of your pet’s life as long as premiums are up to date.
- Time limited Policy. This type of policy will usually cover your pet for up to 12 months from when the illness or injury first occurred. Unfortunately, when the maximum cover or 12 months is reached your pet will no longer be covered for this problem.
- Maximum Benefit Policy (No time limit). These policies have no time limit but have maximum cover for the life of your pet, per condition. Once this amount is reached your pet will no longer be covered for this problem.
- Accident only Policy.This type of policy usually offers the most basic level of cover and therefore usually have cheaper premiums but less extensive cover. It does not cover illness and has no added policy benefits. (For example it will not offer holiday cancellation cover or death benefits.)
So if for instance your pet has a road traffic accident or has been attacked by another animal this is likely to be covered.
Always think very carefully and give a great deal of consideration when selecting a policy and make sure that you read the terms and conditions.
So, is it essential that I take out Insurance for my Pet?
We actively encourage Pet insurance because we see the difference that it makes every day to our clients being able to give the best care to their pet when they need it most. We never want our clients to face the anxiety caused by the worry of a poorly pet and at the same time have to consider facing the financial consequences of having no insurance, which may have helped their pet to recover. Sadly we have seen this happen and it can be avoided
Pet Insurance gives you peace of mind should your pet develop an illness or injury, and obviously providing the best healthcare for your pet is very important.
Unforeseen circumstances can always occur and your pet may develop a sudden illness or injury that requires immediate treatment. Having adequate pet insurance cover will take the extra worry out of these situations, allowing you to concentrate solely on your pet’s welfare.
Does Pet Insurance work on the same principle as Car or Home Insurance? Can I change insurance Company annually if they offer cheaper premiums?
This is not something that we would suggest. Pet Insurance works differently to these other types of policies.
If you choose, for whatever reason, to change your insurance company it is vitally important that you are aware that any illness or injury that your pet may have had previously will then be classed as a pre-existing condition. This means that your new insurer will place exclusions on your policy and the conditions will no longer be covered.
Do you offer a claim service where you can claim the money back directly to yourselves on our behalf?
Yes we do. We offer both Direct and Owner claims
Direct Claims: These are claim that are paid directly to Blacks Vets. To enable us to submit a claim directly to your insurance company we require the following things from you:
- A fully completed Claim Recovery Form to authorise Blacks Vets to claim on your behalf.
- Current policy schedule: These are usually sent to you annually, around the inception date/ the time that your policy renews. This shows the pet details, policy renewal date, insurance limit, type of policy that you have ie: cover for life, excess and any exclusions that your pet may have.
- A fully completed, signed and dated claim form. This must be signed to be payable to Blacks Vets. Please be aware that it is the owners’ responsibility to complete all forms. We cannot under any circumstances fill these out for you although there will always be someone at hand if you need any advice on how to fill them out.
- You must call your insurers before the start of treatment, to give authorisation for blacks Vets to discuss your policy directly.
- A policy excess: this your contribution towards a claim. It is usually either a fixed excess or a fixed excess plus a percentage or a co-payment.
This is usually confirmed by your insurance company when you take out your policy and is liable to change at your company’s discretion. It is detailed in your policy schedule and payable when the decision is made to make a direct clam to your insurance company. If you have paid any invoices previously that are related to the condition that you are claiming for, providing that they are in the same policy year, these will be deducted from your excess and you will pay only the balance.
Owner Claims: These are claims that are payable directly to you, to enable us to process these we require the following:
- A fully completed Claim Recovery Form to authorise Blacks Vets to claim on your behalf.(as detailed above)
- Current policy schedule (as detailed above)
- A fully completed, signed and dated claim form (as above) this must be made payable to yourself, complete with your bank details in most cases. We will then fill in the back of the form and for your convenience can either send your claim direct to your insurance company on your behalf or you can collect it from us and send it to them yourself.
- Full payment of any invoices being submitted is required before your claim can be processed.
- The payment due to you will be less any excess/percentage applicable to your policy.
If it is decided that we are able to do a Direct Claim and bring in all of the required documentation, do you make a charge for this service?
No. As this is a hugely time consuming process many veterinary practices will charge an initial admin fee, and may also make a charge per claim submitted on your behalf. At Blacks Vets this service is provided for all of our eligible clients completely free of charge. This can only be done if current policy details and a signed completed claim form are received before treatment is received and an excess appropriate to each client’s insurance policy is paid in full.
Do I only pay one excess per condition?
The excess is your contribution towards a claim. This is usually fixed by your insurance company when you take out your policy, however this amount is liable to increase.
With most insurance companies you pay an annual excess, this is usually one excess per condition. If your pet’s treatment spans two policy years most insurance companies will usually deduct two excesses. This is why it is very important that you have a current copy of your policy details when you make a claim as this will detail your renewal date.
As well as a fixed excess, some policies deduct a co-payment or percentage excess on the total of the claim. Please refer to your insurers policy terms and conditions for this information.
Please read through your policy details before you attend your initial consultation so you are familiar with the level of cover your pet has and the amount of excess payable.
How can I be certain that my Insurance Company will pay the treatment costs for my pet?
If there is any uncertainty as to whether your pet is covered for a certain procedure and the treatment is not urgent, a pre authorisation can be submitted on your behalf to your Insurance Company. This needs to be submitted at least one week before treatment of your pet is started.
This allows for an additional check and peace of mind should the treatment become costly.
If approved, the treatment will need to be carried out as soon as possible as strict time limits usually apply.
Not all insurance companies offer this to their clients so if you feel this is something that your pet may need, please call your insurance company for advice.
Remember that it is your responsibility to check with your insurance company about your level of cover, any exclusions you may have and the excess that you need to pay. We will always do our best to help with this process, but insurance companies often prefer to deal with the policyholder, and ultimately your bill with us is your responsibility, whether or not you are insured.
What could delay the Insurance Company processing my claim?
As long as your claim form is fully completed and signed by the policy holder we will enclose all of the relevant invoices, lab reports and a full clinical history and submit this on your behalf.
However, if you have attended any other veterinary practice, it is your responsibility to request your pet’s previous clinical history as your insurance company will always require this to process your claim. Non- disclosure does result in non -payment.