When you're thinking about buying a pet there are all sorts of costs that you have to factor in, such as vets bills, cat food, bedding and even puppy or kitten toys.

And one expense that you simply can't afford to neglect if you're being a responsible dog or cat owner is pet insurance, as you never know if or when your mutt or moggie might fall ill or be involved in an accident.

However, it's not as simple as just calling up a provider and taking out instant insurance, as there are all sorts of policies available offering varying levels of cover.

Therefore, it pays to take a bit of time to carefully consider your options and ensure that you end up choosing the right insurance policy for your canine companion or feline friend.

Most individual companies will help guide you to choose an appropriate policy but it always helps to have a good idea of your requirements beforehand as this will make the process easier for everyone involved.

Cheap is not always the best when it comes to pet insurance. Sometimes a basic policy is all you need, but it's worth bearing in mind that these will have monetary and time limits.

So if your mutt or moggie gets a chronic illness that will stay with them the rest of their life, if you've just taken out a basic policy you may find that you're only covered for a year or so.

You'll also need to let your insurer know if your pet has any pre-existing medical conditions, as this might alter how much your policy costs. This is really important as failing to do so could mean that your insurer refuses to pay out if your pet needs medical attention for their illness.

Finally, make sure you look out for any added extra benefits that may be appropriate for your circumstances. For instance, some insurers will cover cremation costs if your pet dies, pay for advertising costs and a reward if your pet is missing or stolen or even provide a level of compensation for a missed holiday if your cat or dog becomes unwell.

Written by: Hannah