Pedigree dogs are the supermodels of the canine world, but years of selective breeding has left many purebred dogs at a high risk of illness, making specialist pedigree dog insurance cover a must.
Whether you breed dogs to show or you are just a proud private owner, you'll want to ensure that if your pedigree dog needs expensive veterinary treatment that there are no financial obstacles to overcome.
A pedigree dog insurance policy could be the ideal solution but you'll need to do some homework to get a good deal. Here are some rules you should follow to find the right policy.
Pedigree dogs are more likely to suffer from specific illnesses than mixed breeds, and because of this you need to do your research. Find out about the conditions your dog is most likely to encounter and make sure that your pet insurance policy offers suitable protection.
Hereditary conditions are more likely to be ongoing and need repetitive treatment, so you should bear this in mind when choosing between the different types of cover:
•Lifetime pet insurance is the most expensive but comprehensive option
•Maximum benefit cover gives you ongoing cover with limits
•12 month limit polices will cover a condition for a maximum of 12 months after diagnosis
Although lifetime cover is the most expensive choice, for a pedigree dog it offers the most comprehensive financial cover against the cost of potential ongoing hereditary conditions. This is because it would provide continual cover as long as you keep on paying your premiums.
There will generally be annual limits on the amount you can claim for the treatment of any single condition, but this would reset each time you renew your cover.
With maximum benefit cover, you have a single total benefit per condition which can extend from one policy year to another, but doesn't renew (so once it's gone, it's gone); this could be a more affordable alternative to lifetime cover.
A 12 month limit policy is often the cheapest option but it will only pay out to cover the cost of treatment for 12 months and not if a condition re-occurs, if you are concerned that your pedigree might be affected be a recurring condition it may not be the best choice.
It's best to insure your pedigree dog from a young age, ideally when they're a puppy or just 1 or 2 years old because they are less likely to have any pre-existing conditions which become excluded from cover.
Many pedigree dog insurance policies will specify age restrictions; insuring pedigree puppies only once they are 6 - 8 weeks old, and refusing to accept older dogs for cover when they are as 'young' as 7 or 8.
Thankfully some insurers don't set a maximum age but it's for this reason you need to check the age limits when you're insuring your pedigree and, if you can, sort pet insurance sooner rather than later.
It's worth noting that the maximum age referenced by insurers generally relates to the age of the dog when you first take out the policy. Providing you continue to pay your premiums most will cover your dog ongoing.
The excess is the amount you have to pay towards the cost of any claim you make on your pet insurance policy.
It can be tempting to opt for a high excess to bring the cost of your policy down but this is a false economy.
You need to strike a balance between keeping the insurance costs in check with making it affordable to claim should you ever need to.
When you're looking for the best pedigree dog insurance policy it's easy to solely focus on getting the best veterinary protection. While this is key there are other factors to bear in mind, especially if you own a pedigree dog.
Some of the additional features you might need include:
Sadly pedigree pets are more sought after and so a bigger target for pet snatchers.
Pet theft insurance will usually contribute a set amount towards advertising the loss or theft of a stolen pet and in some cases offer a reward for information leading to their safe return.
You need to consider what would happen to your pet if you were to fall ill and were unable to look after them.
If you own a pedigree dog you may feel more comfortable having your dog looked after at an experienced kennel, some pet insurance policies will cover these additional costs in these circumstances.
Third party liability insurance
This offers cover against damage or injury your dog causes to others.
While pedigree dogs aren't any more likely to cause injury or damage this is something that all dog owners need to carefully consider when looking at pet insurance cover.
It's likely that a good pedigree dog insurance policy will come at a price, so how you choose to pay for it can help keep costs to a minimum.
While most insurers will offer to spread the cost over 12 monthly instalments, taking them up on their offer could prove costly - they sometimes charge anywhere up to 30% extra for this!
If you need to spread the cost, paying upfront with a 0% purchases credit card and splitting the payments over 12 months is one solution that keeps you in control.
If you can afford to pay for your policy in one go, using a cashback credit card will give you a little something back, just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full when you get your statement to avoid hefty interest charges!
Finally... when is a pedigree not a pedigree?
If your dog is purebred you'll consider it to be a pedigree of its breed, but insurers differ in what they class as a purebred, pedigree dog.
Some only consider dogs with certified breeding papers as pedigrees; others view any dog clearly belonging to a recognised breed as being a pedigree.
If you need to declare this during your dog insurance application, make sure you check the provider's definition before indicating which your pet falls into otherwise you could end up paying out more than you need to.