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What’s the difference between per-condition and per-year claims on pet insurance?

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Pet insurance is always recommended; but types of policies and what is actually covered is a common field which brings much confusion. Often owners are trying to process a pet insurance claim at times of high stress when their pet is poorly. It is therefore always very sensible to know and understand the type of insurance policy you have for your pet. There are various types of pet insurance policies available. This article will focus on two of these and aims to explain (as simply as at all possible) the differences between per-condition and per-year insurance cover.  

Do we recommend pet insurance for your furry friends? Absolutely yes! There are many benefits to having pet insurance. Knowing that you have pet insurance cover can make an extremely stressful situation that little bit easier. If your dog, cat or rabbit (remember bunnies can be insured too!) suddenly becomes very poorly, having insurance in place can sometimes give more flexibility to perform further investigations and treatment options. Whilst pet insurance is of course beneficial to your pet’s health in times of need, third party liability cover protects damage to someone or someone else’s property. As mentioned earlier, there are various policy types available, with ‘lifetime’ policies generally being more expensive but with the added benefit of them providing the most cover and protection. 

What is per-condition insurance cover?

With ‘per-condition’ insurance claims (also known as a maximum-benefit policy), the insurance company will pay a certain amount per condition and there will be a maximum limit. The value of this pre-set limit may vary between policies. With this type of policy, once you have reached this limit, they will no longer pay out towards that condition. For example, if your canine friend is diagnosed with a long-term medical condition such as diabetes mellitus, a ‘per condition’ claim will mean that once you have reached your limit, you will unfortunately no longer be able to claim towards any part of your dog’s diabetic management or treatment.

This cover is generally not suited for long-term illnesses because you may quickly reach your maximum limit. Per-condition insurance policies impose no time limit which is good. Therefore you can make a claim as many times as you need to for that condition until your maximum limit is reached.

What is per-year insurance cover?

With ‘per-year’ insurance claims (also known as a time-limited policy), the insurance company covers a condition for up to 12 months only. The cover date will usually start from the initial date of your pet’s illness. This means that some insurers will start this 12 month policy from the diagnosis date rather than the start of treatment. (Always read the small print!). After 12 months, if your pet still requires treatment then you will be responsible for the ongoing costs. And you won’t be able to claim for that condition again. You may be thinking what are the actual benefits to this type of policy? Some could argue that this insurance cover would suit an older, geriatric pet since there’s no age limit involved. Per-year or time limited insurance policies are described as the most basic. And they are generally cheaper than other types of cover. 


To conclude, I hope that the above information summarises the difference between per-condition and per-year claims. Of course, you will not be alone when processing your pet’s insurance claims. You can talk to your Veterinary practice who will be able to provide you with guidance, support and knowledge on the various cover types. Lifetime cover is usually recommended. But there definitively isn’t a ‘one size fits all scenario’. It’s about selecting an insurance company and cover type to suit both you and your pet.

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