See what FirstVet can offer you and your pet
What is FirstVet?
All petGuard customers can take advantage of 24/7 access to our one-to-one video appointment service through our partnership with FirstVet, a digital veterinary clinic supported by registered UK vets. So if your cat or dog gets unsettled by trips to the vets or you are unable to easily make it into the vets but have concerns about your pet’s health or well-being, you will have free access to the FirstVet app. Through the app, you can book an appointment and speak directly to a vet, who can then refer you to a local veterinary practice if necessary.
How does FirstVet work?
- Download the app and register your pet
- Answer questions about your pet's symptoms
- Arrange a video call with a vet
- Get treatment recommendations or referral to a local vet clinic
What common ailments can FirstVet help me with?
Some of the more common ailments that FirstVet often advise petGuard customers on, are:
- Gastrointestinal (vomiting, diarrhoea or any other stomach or intestine related issues including stomach or abdominal pain)
- Anal gland irritation or scooting behaviour
- Eye and ear problems (sore, watery / eyes with discharge or closed eyes)
- Loss of appetite or not eating at all
- Poisoning (including chocolate, grape or raisin poisoning)
- Internal worms and parasites
- Itching and skin problems (including abscesses, lumps, eczema and rashes)
- Mouth or teeth problems
- Lameness, back problems and injuries to claws or nails
- Problems with the genitals (vulva, penis or testicles)
- Respiratory or breathing difficulties (including nasal discharge, abnormal breathing or reverse sneezing, coughing, sneezing, asthma attacks or chocking)
- Weight and obesity (including general advise on weight loss, diet and general care)
- Behaviour (behavioural issues and anxiety)
- Urinary and reproductive
- Minor injuries and accidents
- Advice for emergencies (shock, heatstroke, seizures, bloat or an enlarged abdomen, haemorrhaging and fever)
Who can use FirstVet?
The FirstVet service is available for new and existing petGuard customers. FirstVet offers petGuard customers digital access to registered and experienced vets, who are available 24/7, 365 days a year.
Will using FirstVet affect my insurance premiums?
No, by using FirstVet, it will not affect your insurance premiums, and there is no excess to pay for this service either.
Frequently asked questions about FirstVet
Want to find out more about FirstVet?
Got a question about our cover for your pet? Or want to know more about cats and dogs in general? We’ve answered a few questions for you here!
How do I use FirstVet?
1. Download the app and register your pet
Download the FirstVet app in the App Store or Google Play. Create an account with your email address and mobile phone number. Add your pet's details into your account. If you currently have a policy with petGuard, your video calls with FirstVet will be free.
2. Answer questions about your pet’s symptoms
Answer questions about your pet's symptoms, describe their symptoms and choose a time for your appointment that suits you. You can upload pictures of your pet, prior to the call if it will make it easier for the vet to assess your pet's condition.
3. Arrange a video call with your vet
FirstVet will send you a text message just before your call with the vet is scheduled to start. Log in to the FirstVet app on your phone or tablet. FirstVet vets are UK registered, with a minimum of three years post-qualification clinical experience.
4. Get treatment, recommendations, or a referral to a local vet clinic
FirstVet vets can try and solve your pet's health issues through simple at-home treatment or recommendations. If your pet needs further treatment, FirstVet can refer you to a physical veterinary clinic in your area, and provide detailed clinical notes as part of the referral.
Do I have to pay for FirstVet?
If you currently have a policy with petGuard, then you do not have to pay for FirstVet services.
Will using FirstVet affect my premium?
No. Using FirstVet will not affect your premium.
Can FirstVet replace my regular vet?
No. FirstVet should be seen as a complement to, not a replacement for in-clinic care.
How does multiple dog insurance work?
If you’ve got more than one dog, then why not look at multi-pet insurance?
Instead of having each of your dogs on different pet policies, with our multi-pet insurance, you can save any hassle and take advantage of our multi-pet discount. You can cover up to five dogs on one policy. We are unable to insure dogs that are used for breeding purposes and pre-existing illnesses and conditions are not covered.
How does multiple cat and dog insurance work?
If you’ve got dogs and cats at home, then why not look at multi-pet insurance?
Instead of having each of your dogs and cats on different pet policies, with our multi-pet insurance you can save any hassle and take advantage of our multi-pet discount. You can cover up to five pets on one policy. We are unable to insure dogs and cats that are used for breeding purposes and pre-existing illnesses and conditions are not covered.
When can I get pet insurance?
Insurance for your cat or dog can start as soon as possible! Our cover starts for cats and dogs aged eight weeks and over. We cannot cover claims arising within the first 14 days of your insurance starting and pre-existing illnesses and conditions are not covered.
Can I get dog insurance for an older dog?
Yes! Our pet insurance includes older dogs. If you’re looking to get insurance for your long-time companion, or whether you’ve recently taken in an older dog, then we can provide you and your dog with cover.
What about dogs over eight years of age?
Much like us, as dogs get older their health and behaviour may have changed since they were a young pup. This might mean that they need more frequent trips to the vet. Their treatment can even be complicated by their old age and therefore potentially more expensive.
If you’ve got a dog over eight years of age and you’re making a claim for their vet fees, then the excess that you must pay is:
- The first £150
- Plus 20% of the remaining cost of treatment
The excess applies to each condition claimed for annually.
Is dog insurance worth it?
Owning a dog can come with those unexpected surprises. Dog insurance can help you when you’re given a particularly nasty surprise, but is it worth it?
All too often, dogs fall ill or suffer injury. That’s why with our dog insurance, you can get up to £12,000 a year to help cover those unexpected vet bills.
You never know when your dog could end up hurting themselves, so that’s why you can choose between either our Accident Only cover, or cover against Accident and Illness to protect you and your dog against the nasty surprises that could come your way.
No dog owner ever wants to make a claim on their pet insurance but having dog insurance means that you can be safe in the knowledge that you’ve got cover in place in case something goes wrong. We can also offer up to £1,500 in local advertising and reward costs if your pet has gone missing for over 24 hours and up to £500 to cover accidental damage to your pet accessories as standard.
Any claim for accidental damage to pet accessories requires a £50 excess and your accessories must have been owned from new. Insurance can start for dogs over eight weeks of age. We cannot cover any pre-existing conditions; nor any claim for a condition or illness within the first 14 days of cover starting.
Dog insurance with Public Liability
Public Liability insurance for your dog, sometimes referred to as Third Party Liability insurance, can provide up to £2million per event if your dog injures someone or damages property and you are held liable.
If you’re out for a walk with your dog and they were to knock somebody over, then we can keep you covered if you’ve chosen our Public Liability option. Heading out for a dog walk shouldn’t end in hefty compensation costs, which is why we offer dog owners Public Liability protection for claims of property damage or injury from a third party.
Cover only applies in the UK.
Some dog breeds cannot be covered by our Third Party Liability option, see “Are there any breeds of dog that you are unable to insure?” For assistance dogs to qualify for Third Party Liability cover, they must have been trained by a member of, and within the guidance of, the organisation of Assistance Dogs UK.
How does dog insurance work for vet fees?
Having insurance for your dog means that you can be covered against the cost of potentially very expensive trips to the vet.
You get to choose either Accident Only cover or cover for Accident and Illness for your dog. We offer three levels of vet fee cover, which means that you can be covered for up to £3,000, £6,000 or £12,000 per year.
If your claim has been successful, then we can pay the agreed amount, less any excess, either:
- Straight into your bank account so you aren't left out of pocket, or;
- To your vet if this is more convenient for you and your vet.
All vet fee claims are handled in the UK by Covea Insurance. While your claim is being dealt with, you can receive regular updates on its progress via email or text message.
Can I get dog insurance which includes cover just for accidents?
Yes! Our Accident Only cover still offers you the same great choice of annual vet fee cover options for £3,000, £6,000 or £12,000.
Dogs can suffer injuries when you least expect it. Whether they’ve hurt themselves while out for a walk, or if playtime has ended in a trip to the vets.
Our Accident Only policy provides you with an uncomplicated level of cover for your dog which aims to protect you against potentially expensive trips to the vet to treat your dog for an injury.
Vet fees arising from illnesses that your dog may be suffering from are not covered and the excess you will be required to pay for treatment for injury depends on the age of your pet. Unfortunately, we can’t cover any pre-existing conditions; nor claims for injury within the first 48 hours of your cover starting.
Can I get dog insurance for a mixed breed dog?
Yes! Our dog insurance includes mixed breed dogs, as well as pedigree and cross breed dogs. If you’ve got a mixed breed pooch, then we can include them on your policy.
Unfortunately, we cannot cover (whether pedigree, cross breed or mixed breed) any of the following: Dogo Argentino, Fila Brazillero, Japanese Tosa, Pit Bull, Shar-Pei, Wolf or Wolf Hybrid dog and any animal registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and/or the Dogs (Muzzling) regulations (Northern Ireland) 1991 or any amendments.
There are additional breeds that we cannot cover for our optional Third Party Liability cover, see “Are there any breeds of dog that you are unable to insure?”
Do you cover BOAS in dog breeds such as French Bulldogs and Pugs?
BOAS (Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome) is a condition which is a progressive disorder that can impair the ability of certain breeds of short nose dog to exercise, play, eat and sleep.
We are able to consider claims provided that there are no pre-existing signs, symptoms or advice provided by a vet. In practice this usually means that the dog has to be insured with us from a very young age.
Can I get insurance for working dogs?
Yes, we are able to cover working dogs. This would include a dog that is being used for shooting, hunting, or working with livestock. Also a dog that performs tasks to assist a human companion, including therapy dogs.
Are there any breeds of dog that you are unable to insure?
Unfortunately, for all of our policies, we cannot provide any vet fees or liability cover for any animal registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and/or the Dogs (Muzzling) regulations (Northern Ireland) 1991 or any amendments; or (whether pedigree, cross breed, mixed breed or known or classed as the names listed) an Abruzzese Mastiff, African Crested Dog, African Wild Dog, Alangu Mastiff, American Bulldog, American Bully, American Bully XL, American Indian Dog, American Mancon, American Mastiff, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Rottweiler, American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Argentine Dogo, Argentinian Mastiff, Australian Dingo, Bandogge, Bandogge Mastiff, Blue Bull Terrier, Boerboel, Bole, Brazilian Mastiff, Bully, Bully Kutta, Canadian Inuit Dog, Canary Dog, Canary Mastiff, Cane Corso, Cão de Fila de São Miguel, Cão Fila, Chinese Shar Pei, Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, Dingo, Dogo Argentino, Dogue Brasileiro, East Siberian Laika, Fila Brasileiro, Gull Dong, Husky Wolf Hybrid, Inuit Dog American, Irish Staffordshire, Irish Staffordshire Blue Bull Terrier, Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Irish Wolfhound, Italian Mastiff, Japanese Mastiff, Japanese Tosa, Johnson American Bulldog, Korean Jindo, Korean Mastiff, Laika, Libyan Desert Dog, Neapolitan Mastiff, Northern Inuit Dog, Pakistani Bull Dog, Perro de Presa Canario, Pit Bull Mastiff, Pit Bull Terrier, Pocket Bully, Presa Canario, Racing Greyhound, Sarloos Wolfhound, Shar Pei, South African Boerboel, South African Mastiff, Tamaskan Dog, Tibetan Mastiff, Tosa, Tosa Inu, Utonagan Dog, Wolf Hybrid and Wolfdog.
Can I get insurance for guard dogs?
No, we cannot cover pets that are used for guarding.
Can I get insurance for crossbreed dogs?
Yes, we are able to cover a crossbreed dog.
Do you only cover UK residents?
Yes. You must be a UK resident and domiciled in the UK.
How can I pay for my policy?
You can choose to pay in full by credit or debit card. Alternatively, you can take advantage of our interest free monthly payment option and simply spread the payments out, without any additional cost.
What is the minimum / maximum age for a pet to be insured?
Your pet must be eight weeks old at the start date of cover. There is no maximum pet age to apply for this insurance, but there are age limits on cover sections.
Death due to illness is limited to pets under five years of age at the time of the incident. Full details are found in the policy wording.
How long can I claim for each condition?
Provided that you have chosen our Accident and Illness cover we will refresh your veterinary fees benefit each year allowing you to claim for ongoing conditions on your pet insurance for as long as we are able to offer a renewal and you renew without a gap in cover.
Is dental treatment covered?
Yes. Depending on the type of cover you select we are able to cover treatment provided that it is related to an injury or illness.
Is there an excess on this policy?
Yes there is an excess you will need to pay in respect of each illness or injury for which you wish to claim each year. These are as follows:
For each illness or injury arising during each period of insurance your excess will be:
- For pets under eight years of age at time of treatment: The first £150.
- For pets older than eight years of age at time of treatment: The first £150 plus 20% of the remaining cost of treatment.
Holiday Cancellation - The first £75 of the claim
Accidental Damage to Third Party Property - The first £75 of the claim
Accidental Damage to Pet Accessories - The first £50 of the claim
Emergency Expenses - The first £50 of the claim
Third Party Liability - The first £250 of property damage claim
Do you insure pets used for breeding?
No, we cannot provide cover for pets that are used for breeding. There are special policies for their specific risks, and we suggest you speak to your vet or local insurance broker for help finding suitable cover.
Do you provide cover for chronic and ongoing veterinary conditions?
We offer a choice of three annual benefit levels. You can insure up to the chosen limit each year and provided that we are able to offer renewal and you renew without a gap in cover the benefit will be reinstated for the next period of insurance. This means that you can claim for chronic or ongoing conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart or skin conditions whilst the policy remains in force.
What information do you need to start my cover?
We need some details about you and the pet you wish to insure together with either bank account or debit/credit card details for payment of the premium.
Can you pay my vet directly?
This is something we are able to do provided that your vet is happy with this arrangement.
How do you calculate premiums?
We look at a number of factors including the age and breed of the pet, the risk of chronic or recurring conditions associated with certain breeds, the area the pet lives in and any claims history.
How do I make a claim?
If you need to make a claim (excluding Third Party Liability claims), then feel free to contact our UK-based claims team. Once you've made a claim, we can keep you updated regularly by text or email.
Make your claim by either calling Covea Insurance on: 0333 130 4534 or email: email@example.com
For Third Party Liability claims, contact Ageas Insurance Ltd on: 0345 415 0495
For Dog Liability claims, please contact Ageas Insurance by either phone: 0345 415 0495 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Setting up a policy
As the insurance policy is a legal agreement between us and the policyholder, we can only set up a policy with the person who will be named as the policyholder.
How does Brexit affect travelling with my pet?
Travelling with your pet within the European Union is due to be affected by developments regarding Brexit. Her Majesty’s Government has clarified that until an agreement has been reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union you will need to follow the guidance set out below for any pet that travels overseas from 1st January 2021. More details on the current guidance and requirements for travelling abroad with your pet can be found in our section on How will Brexit affect travelling with my pet?
- Ensure your pet is microchipped
- Have your pet vaccinated against rabies. It is advised that your pet has a blood test at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination or booster to ensure the rabies antibodies are present
- Wait three months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you choose to travel. You will need to ensure your vet gives you a copy of the test results and records the date the blood sample was taken on your Animal Health Certificate (AHC).
Please be advised that you will not be allowed to travel with your pet if you have not completed the steps above.
If your pet's blood test result is unfortunately unsuccessful, you’ll need to repeat the vaccination and the process above until it is successful before your pet is able to travel.
If you have any queries relating to any future travel you may have planned, please contact your vet. You can also view the Government guidance on pet travel here. It is important that you follow all up to date Government guidance when traveling abroad with your pet.
Am I covered to take my pet abroad?
With our optional Overseas Travel cover, you can get travel insurance for your pet so that you don’t have to leave them behind when you head away. We can help with the cost of vet fees abroad, as well as providing up to £1,500 to cover emergency expenses (maximum 60 days of cover per trip). Overseas Travel can be a useful option if you are planning to take your pet on holiday with you, providing your pet complies with the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). This allows you to travel with your pet to anywhere in Europe (including Channel Islands consisting of the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland).
You can read more about our optional Overseas Travel cover and how Brexit is affecting travelling with your pets from January 1st here.
What is the best way to travel abroad with a cat or dog?
To help reduce the stress levels in your cat or dog, traveling by car or train is usually the better option. If you have no choice but to travel by plane, flying is still a safe option for your pet. However, traveling by car does allow pet owners to keep a much closer eye on their pets, with the added bonus of being able to pull-over for breaks as often as you want. When traveling by train or plane, there will be tighter restrictions on where your pet can sit, how often (if they can in fact) move around, and with more people traveling alongside you, your pet could become increasingly stressed.
Before traveling on any long journey, carefully consider what the best form of transport for your cat or dog would be, and how you feel they would cope on the journey.
Can I travel with my cat or dog on a plane?
Most airlines will allow you to take a cat or dog on the plane, either in the cabin or down below in cargo. Before booking your flight, check with the airline that they can in fact, fly your pet. You may have to book in advance, with some airlines charging additional fees for traveling pets.
Your pet will need pet travel documents before they can fly, as this will need to be presented to the airline when checking in your pet. Depending on where your pet is flying from and where they are flying to, they will need to have certain vaccinations and treatments for illnesses such as rabies or tapeworm. You will most likely need to proof of the vaccinations and treatment from your vet.
How should I prepare my cat or dog for traveling abroad?
If you’re traveling abroad, or simply going away for a few days in the UK, it’s still a good idea to prep your pet for the journey. Such preparation measures could help reduce the stress levels in your pet, help you understand how best your pet travels, and help make the journey that little bit easier for both you and your pet.
- Before taking your pet on any long car journey, take them on short drives close to home, while slowly increasing the amount of time spent in the car. This will not only help them get used to being confined in a car, but it could help them overcome travel sickness if they suffer from it.
- Avoid feeding your cat or dog right before traveling, as the motion of the car, train or plane could upset their stomach. Make sure they have plenty of water, so they are well hydrated.
- Before any long journey, consider the health of your pet. Are they fit and healthy enough to travel? Make sure they are up to date with their vaccinations and treatments and be sure to check if they need any additional ones, as this could be a requirement of certain countries or airlines.
- To help ensure your pet is comfortable while traveling, make sure they have plenty of water, (food but depending how well they travel on a full stomach), toys to keep them occupied, and a comfortable place to sleep and rest. Most importantly, they need to be secured while traveling, whether it be in a crate that is large enough for them to sit in, stand and move around in, or strapped in using a proper pet seat belt for the car.
What are the other alternatives to taking your pet on holiday?
If you don’t want to take your cat or dog on holiday with you, then why not consider the following instead:
- Leave your pet with a friend or family member
- Have a qualified pet-sitter come around to your home, to feed, walk and check-up on your pet
- Take your pet to a reputable kennel or cattery
Your policy document explorer
Documents apply to all pet insurance policies purchased from 27/09/2020 onwards.
Existing customers: If you purchased your policy before the date shown above, you can log into your account where you can view, amend, and renew your documents here. If you have not already signed up for an account, then you can register here.
If you purchased your policy before 23rd September 2019, please contact us on: 0345 450 7042
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