Author Topic: Pet Insurance - any advice people?  (Read 2146 times)

Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« on: August 08, 2008, 10:47:39 pm »
We have never had pet insurance before but for some reason, possibly due to conditioning by the media, we are looking into it this time.  Does anyone out there have any constructive advice or experience regarding pet insurance please?

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2008, 10:54:23 pm »
Depends really dunnit. We've paid monthly for insurance for our mogs for the last 14 years, and it's only in the last month that we've actually had to pay much (relatively) to the vet, so a bit of a waste of money really being as they're getting old now and therefore won't be fully covered or for chronic conditions anymore.
But then they are moggies - AFAIK pedigree animals are more likely to suffer from congenital problems which'll cost lots of money to treat & so it be worth it for an in-bred, sorry pedigree. I certainly won't be bothering in the future, would rather save the money and get some interest on it..
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rae

Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2008, 10:55:56 pm »
We've never had a pet that we wanted to put through the sort of treatment that would require insurance.   When it has come to that stage, IMO it is better to accept that animals can be put out of their suffering safely and legally.   Unlike us poor humans.

border-rider

Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2008, 11:05:30 pm »
I would have said the same, but this year ours have had a series of minor ailments that have required tests, treatments etc that have come to quite a few hundred quid. 

Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2008, 11:09:41 pm »
I agree Rae.

I find the idea of putting a dog through chemotherapy, for instance, abhorrent.

Prolonging suffering in elderly pets that have, sadly, had their day...  :(

On other hand if I had a dog that broke a limb and required costly scans / surgery, if the chances of a swift and full recovery were good and the dog was not elderly, I would of course do it. But these things happen so rarely that I doubt if insurance makes financial sense.

Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2008, 11:21:16 pm »
We've got the cats insured, and for us it's been worth every penny - both Bear and Robot have been very ill, and run up very expensive vet bills, and in both cases it was very good to be able to make decisions about treatment without worrying about how to pay for it. Robot, in particular, cost thousands of pounds, because she ended up staying in a specialist cat hospital for three weeks with associated surgery and all manner of other treatment. She's such a cheerful and placid cat that she thought it was a great adventure and was very unbothered by it all, and it bought her several years more of happy cat life. She was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago, and we decided not to treat it agressivley because it wasn't going to be cureable - just postponeable. Even there knowing that we had insurance was good - we could be sure that we were making the decision based on what would be best for her, and not for our bank balance. She's baffling everyone with her liveliness now - she's a bundle of skin and bone and tumor, and still cheerful and purring and bossing the other cats about.

Sorry, I'm rambling. But yes, I think, we've found it very useful but we have claimed for more than we've paid for it, by a long way, because Battersea gave us such defective moggies. Neither of the cats was particularly old when they got ill, and in both cases there was enough of a chance that they'd be sorted out, and healthy again afterwards, that I had no huge qualms about it being unfair to them - although that was something I thought about.

Martin

Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2008, 11:23:29 pm »
AIUI pet insurance is a bit like a pension plan; you pay a (not exactly cheap) premium every year with a prohibitively high excess to prevent you claiming for the most common mishaps, and one day you may need to claim a bloody fortune. But you have to have had the animal insured since it was young and they won't take on old ones. But I've heard they occasionally have amnesties and will take on any old mutt/moggy no matter what previous medical history so worth shopping around.

Our cat died this year having not been insured for about 10 years (it was for the first 3 or 4 until it started getting very expensive); it had chronic kidney failure for the last 3 which probably cost about the same in vet bills as if we'd just paid the premium every year and never claimed. They did ask if he was insured when he was diagnosed so not sure if they would have done enything different.

A bit like fixed rate mortgages; you pay for peace of mind, it may cost you more may cost you less but you'll never have any really scary bills.

Fixedwheelnut

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Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2008, 11:38:05 pm »
 Was it vet fees you were after covering or for third party type cover ?

 Some do both pet cover I had third party cover for my staff years ago that covered vet fees up to  £1000 per ailment that I saw as a bonus to the TParty cover, can't remember who with though but the above link covers similar  :)
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Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2008, 12:01:28 am »
We've never had a pet that we wanted to put through the sort of treatment that would require insurance.

It really depends what the illness is - our cat is very elderly and was diagnosed with chronic renal failure 18 months ago...but one tablet per day has given her a new lease of life, she's not suffering, and if it hadn't been diagnosed before we adopted her, would be covered by insurance.

Sainsbury's and M+S (and I think AXA) both cover older pets and will pay out as long as you aren't claiming for pre-existing illnesses.

I suppose ultimately it depends on whether in a worst case scenario you think you're likely to have the cash available...

Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2008, 12:23:16 am »
...and we do occasionally threaten to send our cat "down the docks" to earn her keep  ;D

Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2008, 07:56:22 am »
Cats often get run over, and it cost £800 to have one of ours fixed.  You wouldn't know anything had happened now, but her pelvis was broken into five pieces.
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Woofage

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Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2008, 11:06:37 am »
We did some sums yesterday. Our conclusion was that it would probably be cheaper to just put some money aside each month.

So, basically what Mrs Pingu wrote (especially about the non-pedigree part).

We had to have our 15-year old cat put to sleep the other day. He had an aggressive tumour that no amount of surgery would fix, especially at his age. Pet insurance wouldn't have helped with that one. The kindest thing, although very difficult, was to let him go :'(.
Pen Pusher

Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2008, 11:38:16 am »
It's certainly more useful for younger cats, partly because they don't often get terminal illnesses but mainly because they're not terribly streetwise (literally).

M&S used to offer it without any excess, which was great if you had a pagga cat like Mr Joshy, requiring frequent £30-40 consultations and antibiotics for infected wounds.  However, they changed underwriters and that option's no longer available.
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2008, 02:08:58 pm »

We thought about this long and hard, especially as the excess was often more than the treatment needed (cat bites from fights). In the end we set up a mini cash isa for the cats, with the equivilent of the premium going in each month. Once this had reached an acceptable level (12 months) the insurence was stopped.

The type of policy is worth looking at. Some only pay for treatment for a year then stop. However for puppies/kittens it is worth looking at a "for life" policy, where any treatment is paid for for the life of the animal, even if the policy is cancelled after a year.

It does mean time looking at the small print

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2008, 02:28:09 pm »
However for puppies/kittens it is worth looking at a "for life" policy, where any treatment is paid for for the life of the animal, even if the policy is cancelled after a year.
Who does these then?
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Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2008, 03:33:34 pm »
However for puppies/kittens it is worth looking at a "for life" policy, where any treatment is paid for for the life of the animal, even if the policy is cancelled after a year.
Who does these then?
Petplan, but their excesses get - er - excessive once the animal is a few years old.
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2008, 03:45:25 pm »
Sainsbury's offers the same cover as Petplan, just for a lot less money. I spent hours and hours poring over the paperwork and I'm happy with what we're paying, especially as it's £25/month cheaper.

Kathy

Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2008, 04:00:05 pm »
We don't have pet insurance.

That's because if you try and insure three ferrets of unknown history (ages unknown, but estimated to be around 2, 5, and 8 years old (average lifespan 6-10 years)), then you'll realise that you can't actually get insurance for ferrets, and you can't insure generic small mammals which are over four years old. We just have a savings account, but given they don't roam freely the only treatment they need is dental stuff as they get old.

Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2008, 04:21:17 pm »
I would always get pet insurance.

Ours has paid for itself, the insurers must hate us (but the premium only rises a little each year.) This is prob because we got him as a middle-aged mutt at the age of roughly 7. As a mutt, his premiums are cheaper than pedigrees, but he still manages to have problems rather regularly...

First year we had him: he needed to see a specialist about his osteoarthritis and have lots of x-rays under sedation. Insurance paid for v. expensive specialist etc.

Second year: he grew a horrible grape-like cyst on his leg that needed chopping off under a GA. Insurance paid for expensive operation.

Third year: Silly but lovable fool tried an overambitious jump and sprained his leg. Late at night. Was screaming in pain and needed to be rushed to v. expensive emergency vet for painkilling injection. Insurance paid. Emergency vets fees are very high indeed.

And so on.

It is Argos pet insurance who are underwritten by Axa. £16 a month or thereabouts for our 11 year old Staff/Corgi cross.

ian

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Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2008, 05:37:48 pm »
Our old mog was insured through Sainsbury's. We had no problems with them and given that the vet underestimated her age, we got a nice low premium. We were net beneficiaries - the little sod developed thyroid issues requiring one gland to be removed, and then ongoing drug therapy once the problem came back. Plus a couple of years later, she developed chronic renal failure requiring more drugs and consultations, plus two week-long spells at kitty hospital (the last one, alas, terminal). Mostly, I think we paid (via Sainsbury) for our vet's regular ski holidays and trips back to Oz to see his family.

La-La and The Honey Monster are insured with M&S (cheaper premiums when we came to compare). Generally, I'm a bit sniffy about the benefits of insurance since we do essentially have the money for treatment if it came down to it, but experience is that vet's bills are high and unexpected and it's nice to just say 'whatever, go ahead' when the vet tells you that the only course of treatment is to launch your kitten into orbit for a course of zero G aromotherapy. And like I say, we came out on top last time. That said, I'd probably prefer not to, have two perpetual healthy kitties, and let the vet pay for his own ski trips.
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Mrs Pingu

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Re: Pet Insurance - any advice people?
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2008, 07:49:12 pm »
Well today we got the cheque through for Pippin's hyperthyroidism treatment:
The bill came to something like £230. Our excess was £120!  :o
Hardly worth it really.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.