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Insurance Claims Information

Pet insurance can be complex - consult our simple help page for information on insurance types, and how we handle claims here at Thistle Vets.

Thistle Vets Policy on Insurance Claims

As a service to our clients, we process pet health insurance claims on your behalf in order to simplify what can be a tricky process to navigate. Our aim is to submit all claims promptly along with any necessary documentation such as invoices and patient clinical notes, so that you don’t have to.

In order to do so, we require the following:

  • All invoices to be paid in full before a claim is processed

  • A valid claim form for each condition being claimed for, which has all sections marked ‘to be completed by policyholder’ filled in, and has been signed by the policyholder at the designated points.

  • If a ‘continuation claim’ is being made for ongoing treatment beyond the initial claim, we require a fresh completed form on each occasion.

Direct claims are granted at the discretion of Thistle Vets only. Only The final decision on whether to grant a direct claim or not lies solely with Thistle Vets and is not at the discretion of the insurer. Dirtect claims attract a £9 admin fee per claim which is typically not covered by the insurance policy itself. 


We ask that in cases where multiple ongoing small value claims are being made, for example for repeat prescriptions of a medication, that the associated fees are claimed in 'batches', rather than with every prescription in order to minimise number of overall claims, and hence the burden on our administrative staff.

Many insurers are now moving to online claims rather than traditional paper claim forms. In this case initiate a claim via your insurer’s website. We will normally be notified of the claim in the form of an email from the insurer, and will liaise with them directly to supply the necessary documentation.

'Indirect' vs 'Direct' Claims

  • 'Indirect' Claims

This is when the policy holder pays the veterinary fees to the vet at the time of treatment as normal, then claims back the amount from the insurer after. This is the standard claim type, and how almost all claims are processed at Thistle Vets.

  • 'Direct' claims

This is when we as the vet collect any fees due directly from the insurer, rather than the policyholder paying the vet at the time of treatment and reclaiming from the insurer later. It should be noted that the decision to pursue a direct claim is at the discretion of the vet, not the insurer. We do not process direct claims except in cases where there has been a prearrangement made between the policyholder and the attending vet. In cases where this has been agreed, a £9 admin fee is applied.


General Pet Insurance Info


Pet insurance covers for the costs incurred at a vets when your pet is treated for an injury or illness. The medical advancement of modern veterinary medicine has meant that fees for treatments and procedures have increased in recent years alongside the standard of care, and an insurance policy can provide peace of mind that you pet will have access to the best  available.

The popularity in pet insurance has risen steadily over the last decade with almost 4 million pets in the UK covered by a policy. Due to this, the number of insurance providers has increased massively, with a wide variety of cover types on offer.

It should be noted that pet insurance does not cover preventative health care treatments such as vaccinations, flea, tick and worm prevention, and will often exclude routine dental cleaning treatments too. The Thistle Pet Health Plan has been designed to work in tandem with a policy to cover those elements of healthcare, such as vaccines, not provided by insurance. Find out more about what’s included in our health plan here.

We highly recommend taking out an insurance policy for your pet, however like all vets in the UK, we are legally restricted from giving recommendations with regards to specific insurance providers.


'Must Know' Pet Insurance Facts

  • It is standard for pet insurance policies to deduct an excess from any claim.

  • Some policies will ask owners to contribute a percentage of the veterinary fees on top of the excess e.g. the owner will pay the first £100 of each claim, and 10% of the remaining amount. This extra percentage payment is sometimes introduced as the pet enters their latter years, or is increased as the pet ages, so always clarify with the insurer as to their policy on this matter before purchasing

  • If your pet has been diagnosed with a condition before taking out a policy, this condition will be termed ‘pre-existing’ and will not be covered.

  • If you change insurers, those conditions treated under the first policy will typically be excluded with the second insurer, meaning they will not be claimable.

  • Most policies having a 'exclusion period' (typically around 14 days) which is the time between the start date of the policy and the date from which you’ll be able to make a claim

  • Some insurers will simply not insure certain breeds of dog, or will exclude some breed-specific conditions. 

  • Pregnancy, birth or breeding related claims are usually not covered by pet insurance.

  • Some policies provide other benfits such as cover for third party liability, loss from straying or theft, advertisement costs and reward provision for missing pets, boarding kennel fees if the owner has to be admitted to hospital, and even holiday cancellation cover if the illness of your pet means having to cancel a trip!

Types of pet insurance policies

  • ‘Time Limited’ Policies

These policies will cover fees for a specific condition for a set period of time from the onset of the condition, usually 12 months, and may also have a limit to how much will be paid out per condition. After either the time limit or the cover limit has been reached, the policy will no longer pay for veterinary fees relating to that condition.

  • Maximum Benefit’ Policies

With this policy type, there tends to be a maximum claim amount per condition, but without a limit on timescale. After the maximum benefit has been reached, the policy will no longer pay for veterinary fees relating to that condition.

  • ‘Lifetime Cover’ Policies

Lifetime cover policies are usually more expensive as they provide a set amount of cover for a condition which will typically refresh yearly for the lifetime of the pet. They are particularly helpful when covering fees for treatment of chronic conditions such as skin disease or arthritis which can often require long term medications for many years.

Policy types and cover included vary between insurance companies. Please read the terms & conditions for each policy carefully.

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