Author Topic: Dog insurance recommendations?  (Read 2659 times)

Dog insurance recommendations?
« on: September 06, 2013, 11:27:36 am »
We collect our new pup from Dog's Trust, Darlington, tomorrow.  :D

She's a six-month-old crossbreed (Collie and something, possibly Doberman), spayed and vaccinated.

As part of the deal she comes with four weeks' Petplan insurance. For simplicity, I was thinking of continuing with that provider, but wondered if anyone had experience of their service in the event of a claim, or that of any other provider? Also, is it worth paying a premium to provide 'cover for life' in the event of long-term illnesses?

I'm a dog-owning newbie, so feel free to point out the (what may appear to be) obvious.

 

urban_biker

  • " . . .we all ended up here and like lads in the back of a Nova we sort of egged each other on...."
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Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2013, 11:33:41 am »
Definitely get premium cover. Dogs don't tend to need much health care when they are young (a bit like the rest of us really) and its generally when they get old that they need the expensive treatment and then most insurers want to drop them like a stone.

Our insurer is Animal Friends and we are paying £15 per month for premium cover for our Springer. Happy with the cover, but then again , so far we haven't needed to claim.
Owner of a languishing Langster

Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2013, 11:41:36 am »
Cheers, UB. I've been quoted, with Petplan, £17.42/month for cover up to £4000 in vet's bills, including 'cover for life'. The cheap premium without lifetime cover is £12.40/month.

I'll see what some comparison sites suggest. 

Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2013, 12:23:21 pm »
Definitely get premium cover. Dogs don't tend to need much health care when they are young (a bit like the rest of us really) and its generally when they get old that they need the expensive treatment and then most insurers want to drop them like a stone.

Our insurer is Animal Friends and we are paying £15 per month for premium cover for our Springer. Happy with the cover, but then again , so far we haven't needed to claim.

In my experience they're cheap for a reason - they don't like paying out and then try to exclude unrelated conditions - despite a letter from the vet.
We have german shorthaired pointers - a bit manic so have accidents in the early years and we cover them then. After 5 years we take the risk ourselves. So far (3 dogs) we've come out ahead.

Julia
Reine de la Fauche


urban_biker

  • " . . .we all ended up here and like lads in the back of a Nova we sort of egged each other on...."
  • Known in the real world as Dave
Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2013, 04:29:26 pm »
Hi Julia,

Was that remark about not liking to pay out about Animal Friends specifically, or were you just talking about insurers in general?

Owner of a languishing Langster

Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2013, 04:56:45 pm »
Part of the decision on whether to self insure might be determined by what your vets are like in your vicinity. I know that around my way I would be hard pressed to find a vet that I would regard as sensibly priced and responsible, what I would term a good old style east end vets. Instead, we have some expensive vets whose premises are geared to making the customers feel that their pets are being given a superior treatment. (Goddards, I'm looking at you)

You will quickly get to know local dog owners, talk to them, ask them what they do and then make your decision - there's absolutely no rush. Another consideration is that you will be getting what I would describe as a robust dog, as far as I know border collies the breed have no significant weaknesses, like hip dysplasia, as they are bred for qualities other than appearance. The cross bit adds a bit of uncertainty, I wouldn't know how to evaluate it, but generally crossbreeds are less susceptible to problems.

I confess I never insured any animal, but I have looked at it closely in the past and been singularly unimpressed with most offerings I saw. The question you need to ask yourself is, were you to be in the position of needing it, could you afford the vets treatment if you had to? If you couldn't then insurance adds some peace of mind and is to be recommended, as if circumstances arose you would either move heaven and earth for your pet, or blame yourself. If you can afford, you are then free to consider whether to take the risk yourself.

Wowbagger

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Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2013, 09:57:39 am »
We had a policy with Animal Friends that I have allowed to lapse. It was costing me about £30 a month and once Morphy was 8 years old I had to pay the first £75 of each bill and then 35% of the rest. I have put the £30 to one side to pay for his vet's bills and currently have £180 stashed away.

I suspect that I wouldn't be much out of pocket, if anything, if I had just done this since we got him, rather than paying for insurance.
Bach without a doubt.

fboab

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Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2013, 10:22:30 am »
All insurance is legalised gambling where the house always wins.
The question is, can you afford to take the lump sum hit when it comes?

When I had pets I also had tame vets for whom dog/cat treatments were small beer compared to the many thousands we spent on dairy cow treatment and sundries, and quite often "thrown in". As such my view of such things is probably quite skewed. That said, our pets never had huge medical bills, they lived 12(ish) healthy years, regular jabs and wormings courtesy of a vet who was out at the farm anyway, then fell into rapid decline and were then euthanased once quality of life diminished. Much like my marriage.

In the vanishingly small likelihood I got a pet now, I'd probably be completely screwed if I got an unexpected big bill (having neither income to spare nor savings).
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Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2013, 01:31:15 pm »
Pet Plan are really good in my experience - they paid up over £1k in the first two months of us getting the cats (one had skin cancer, one had dental problems) without a single quibble.

 :thumbsup:
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Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2013, 02:19:19 pm »
I have to be careful what I say here since giving advice about a specific company would put me foul of laws regarding insurance selling. But I can tell you what is generally good to get:

Any pet insurance at all is better than self-insurance. Why? Because it is the only way of buying 3rd party cover for your dog. If your dog causes an accident where human lives are lost or expensive cars damaged, you will be personally liable for all of it and it could effectively bankrupt you. You can't self insure against a million pound claim can you?? The same doesn't apply to cats, who in law are not 'owned' by you when it comes to causing crashes.

Life cover is in my book an essential. The most expensive conditions are usually the chronic life long ones, such as allergies, skin disease, chronic bowel diseases, diabetes, epilepsy and arthritis/ joint problems. Why take out a policy that excludes all of these after the first few months? Definitely NOT worth the few quid you might save.

Take out insurance as soon as possible. Once your dog becomes unwell it is too late to then insure for that condition. Taking it out immediately means you won't have to worry about excluded conditions, so long as something doesn't start in the first 2-4 weeks of the policy (this depends on the policy, there is small print for this, intended to stop people avoiding getting treatment for symptoms their pet already has until they have taken out cover).

Go with a company that doesn't 'cheat' with the life cover promise. By that I mean some insurance companies appear to offer cheap 'life cover', but in reality they will hike up premiums so much the year following a big claim that they effectively force you to cancel the policy, and you are then uninsurable with anyone else because the condition is pre-existing. This is a really hard one to know without inside knowledge of the industry. They don't tell you this when you take out the insurance. This is why comparison sites are IMO useless when it comes to pet insurance, you are not comparing like for like.

My dog is insured with PetPlan.

Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2013, 02:53:54 pm »
When you need to pay for medical costs for pets, you realise how much of a bargain the NHS is.

Just walking into my vet with one of the cats, is probably a £25 bill.  I have avoided this occasionally, but only when it's been a minor visit as part of longer term treatment plan, and hasn't required any expenditure on drugs etc, eg a final checkup, where the cat has been healthy and no further treatment is required.  Of course, most insurance won't pay that, because it'll be under the threshold of the cover (ie the "You pay the first £50 of any treatment" element).

I've got PetPlan insurance, but haven't used it with the current two mogs.  I've got coverage up to £7000 a year, which seems reasonable for most conditions, but could conceivably be exceeded, medical care can be expensive.

Talisker was probably costing me £500 a year for his last few years, with his Hyperthyroidism.  If I'd taken out insurance a few weeks before I took him to the vets, I'd have probably saved £1200 or more, for an expenditure of less than 10% of that.
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2013, 03:20:50 pm »
I have to be careful what I say here since giving advice about a specific company would put me foul of laws regarding insurance selling. But I can tell you what is generally good to get:

Any pet insurance at all is better than self-insurance. Why? Because it is the only way of buying 3rd party cover for your dog. If your dog causes an accident where human lives are lost or expensive cars damaged, you will be personally liable for all of it and it could effectively bankrupt you. You can't self insure against a million pound claim can you?? The same doesn't apply to cats, who in law are not 'owned' by you when it comes to causing crashes.


Your views on the pet insurance policy are obviously well informed (that's really not meant to sound patronising, I hope it doesn't), but in respect to the above you are wrong. Many home insurance policies provide third party liability cover which would cover that instance. Bearing in mind that it is not just pets but children (and indeed yourself) that could cause that damage, the availability of this type of insurance is very common (and very cheap)

Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2013, 03:31:03 pm »
I have to be careful what I say here since giving advice about a specific company would put me foul of laws regarding insurance selling. But I can tell you what is generally good to get:

Any pet insurance at all is better than self-insurance. Why? Because it is the only way of buying 3rd party cover for your dog. If your dog causes an accident where human lives are lost or expensive cars damaged, you will be personally liable for all of it and it could effectively bankrupt you. You can't self insure against a million pound claim can you?? The same doesn't apply to cats, who in law are not 'owned' by you when it comes to causing crashes.


Your views on the pet insurance policy are obviously well informed (that's really not meant to sound patronising, I hope it doesn't), but in respect to the above you are wrong. Many home insurance policies provide third party liability cover which would cover that instance. Bearing in mind that it is not just pets but children (and indeed yourself) that could cause that damage, the availability of this type of insurance is very common (and very cheap)

Not as common as you might think:
Quote
"Owners who believe that their household insurance covers them for third party liability in the event of an incident with their dog should check the small print carefully. With a decline in the number of households owning dogs, this cover is less frequently included.”
http://www.petplan.co.uk/thirdpartyliability/

Anyone who thinks they have this cover should definitely check! A client of mine who's Labrador was hit by a taxi (which hit a parked car taking avoiding action) landed a £3000 bill for treatment of their dog's fractured pelvis and a £20,000 bill for the cars. They mistakenly thought their household policy would cover them. It did not. They had to remortgage their house to foot the bill and were devastated.

Julian

  • samoture
Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2013, 03:31:44 pm »
Our cats are both with Pet Plan.  Touch wood we've not needed it yet, but their website & contact stuff is easy to use and you get through to a person.  No idea if they would pay if needed though.

Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2013, 03:33:35 pm »
Our cats are both with Pet Plan.  Touch wood we've not needed it yet, but their website & contact stuff is easy to use and you get through to a person.  No idea if they would pay if needed though.

I think you can be very confident they would be very fair with any claim you made  :thumbsup:

Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2013, 03:55:53 pm »
I have to be careful what I say here since giving advice about a specific company would put me foul of laws regarding insurance selling. But I can tell you what is generally good to get:

Any pet insurance at all is better than self-insurance. Why? Because it is the only way of buying 3rd party cover for your dog. If your dog causes an accident where human lives are lost or expensive cars damaged, you will be personally liable for all of it and it could effectively bankrupt you. You can't self insure against a million pound claim can you?? The same doesn't apply to cats, who in law are not 'owned' by you when it comes to causing crashes.


Your views on the pet insurance policy are obviously well informed (that's really not meant to sound patronising, I hope it doesn't), but in respect to the above you are wrong. Many home insurance policies provide third party liability cover which would cover that instance. Bearing in mind that it is not just pets but children (and indeed yourself) that could cause that damage, the availability of this type of insurance is very common (and very cheap)

Not as common as you might think:
Quote
"Owners who believe that their household insurance covers them for third party liability in the event of an incident with their dog should check the small print carefully. With a decline in the number of households owning dogs, this cover is less frequently included.”
http://www.petplan.co.uk/thirdpartyliability/

Anyone who thinks they have this cover should definitely check! A client of mine who's Labrador was hit by a taxi (which hit a parked car taking avoiding action) landed a £3000 bill for treatment of their dog's fractured pelvis and a £20,000 bill for the cars. They mistakenly thought their household policy would cover them. It did not. They had to remortgage their house to foot the bill and were devastated.

Well yes, that's why I toned down my initial thought that "most will have 3rd Party Insurance through home cover" to what I did; particularly in light of my experience recently renewing home insurance. It still remains that it is actually very easy (and cheap) to get if you want it, and your suggestion that pet insurance is the only way to cover that eventuality is wrong. (don't written down words sound shitty sometimes? sorry about that)

Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2013, 04:11:40 pm »
I have to be careful what I say here since giving advice about a specific company would put me foul of laws regarding insurance selling. But I can tell you what is generally good to get:

Any pet insurance at all is better than self-insurance. Why? Because it is the only way of buying 3rd party cover for your dog. If your dog causes an accident where human lives are lost or expensive cars damaged, you will be personally liable for all of it and it could effectively bankrupt you. You can't self insure against a million pound claim can you?? The same doesn't apply to cats, who in law are not 'owned' by you when it comes to causing crashes.


Your views on the pet insurance policy are obviously well informed (that's really not meant to sound patronising, I hope it doesn't), but in respect to the above you are wrong. Many home insurance policies provide third party liability cover which would cover that instance. Bearing in mind that it is not just pets but children (and indeed yourself) that could cause that damage, the availability of this type of insurance is very common (and very cheap)

Not as common as you might think:
Quote
"Owners who believe that their household insurance covers them for third party liability in the event of an incident with their dog should check the small print carefully. With a decline in the number of households owning dogs, this cover is less frequently included.”
http://www.petplan.co.uk/thirdpartyliability/

Anyone who thinks they have this cover should definitely check! A client of mine who's Labrador was hit by a taxi (which hit a parked car taking avoiding action) landed a £3000 bill for treatment of their dog's fractured pelvis and a £20,000 bill for the cars. They mistakenly thought their household policy would cover them. It did not. They had to remortgage their house to foot the bill and were devastated.

Well yes, that's why I toned down my initial thought that "most will have 3rd Party Insurance through home cover" to what I did; particularly in light of my experience recently renewing home insurance. It still remains that it is actually very easy (and cheap) to get if you want it, and your suggestion that pet insurance is the only way to cover that eventuality is wrong. (don't written down words sound shitty sometimes? sorry about that)

What I was trying to get across is that it can be difficult to find third party only as a stand alone cover. One way round this is to join the Dogs Trust as a member to get it. The danger with household cover is that if you are like me and shop around for that every year comparing price and bicycle cover, you risk not noticing you've lost this 3rd party cover one year if you don't comb through the small print. The full small print isn't always there to see while you're doing the online comparisons either. IMO not worth the risk.

Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2013, 04:23:52 pm »
Thanks, everyone, for the tips. We have four weeks' free cover with Petplan as part of the Dog's Trust adoption deal (actually pretty good for an £80 donation: vaccinated, microchipped, neutered, flea treated and wormed dog, plus two weeks' food, a harness and lead, access to a training and vet advice hotline for the whole of the dog's life and year's subscription to an identity disc scheme).

I will be reading the small print of the Petplan insurance tonight.

 

Regulator

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Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2013, 07:50:22 pm »
Despite our vets having their own insurance, our vet recommended PetPlan - but said make sure you get the whole life cover. 
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I completely agree with Reg.

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Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2013, 08:08:57 pm »
Cam is currently with PetPlan, but only on their most basic cover, because she is so old (13) that the premiums for their more comprehensive cover became unaffordable. To be honest I'm not sure she really is 13 (as a rescue her age is an estimate) but that's what we've told the vet/insurance, because that's what her last owner told me. She is rather bouncy for an old lady.

Also they've now excluded all conditions to do with her stomach/GI tract, because she once had a dietary indiscretion that led to diarrhoea (not that I claimed for it, it only required some kaolin paste which didn't make the excess, but I disclosed it as you're supposed to). Thought that was a wee bit harsh.

Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2013, 10:03:13 pm »
In general you really need to take out the insurance before your pet is 8 years old. Some companies will then send a punitive renewal premium for the following year, so be careful who you go with at that stage. Pets over 8 are many times more likely to get sick, so from an insurance/gambling standpoint they do have a point. But really a life policy should be one you can actually afford to pay the renewal premiums on for life, so be careful who you trust. Some insurers offer very competitive quotes for young pets, but if you fall for this you will ultimately get what you paid for.

marcusjb

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Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2013, 10:22:51 pm »
Pet plan for our cats.

They were excellent when our poor previous cat managed to run up a bill of around £3k before his sad demise.
Right! What's next?

Ooooh. That sounds like a daft idea.  I am in!

Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2013, 03:00:53 am »
Going down the 3rd party cover angle, I had the same thought as Ham, that home contents insurance would probably deal with this.

I've just checked the detail for ours (from M&S) and the clause doesn't explicitly mention pets or domestic animals, though I reckon 'private pursuits of you and your family' covers it. More convincingly, the list of exclusions includes 'dangerous dogs' (four specific breeds) and 'animals kept on land other than at your home,' so I reckon we're OK ...

(No, we don't have a dog or any other pet. Obviously we're OK from this perspective ...)

Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2013, 07:51:50 am »
The risk that the PetPlan sales scare refers to IMO is the tendency of many people these days to buy insurance based on the cheapest on comparison sites, combined with the insurance companies drive to come top of the comparison listing. To do this, they create stripped down products, with the inclusive options being restricted to a newly created "premium" product.

For example, my recently renewed final insurance policy cost about 2.5x the cost of the cheapest on the comparison site, but I am pretty sure I'm covered for everything I want to the value I need. Many on this forum are probably particular about insurance as often we include our bikes on the policies, but I suspect in the general population the desire and ability to get involved in the detail is relatively limited.

Re: Dog insurance recommendations?
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2013, 08:15:52 am »
It all becomes unaffordable when a cat gets to about 10 years old.  Then you just hope.
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