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How much money is a realistic "pot" before cancelling insurance?

(35 Posts)
LibidinousTurkey Fri 11-Dec-15 08:32:14

Insurance for three dogs and one cat comes to <whispers> about £120 a month 🙀
A recent claim for a minor injury totalled £209, with a grand total of £42 coming back to me hmm We have just worked out that this one policy alone costs over £350 a year.

Previously we have always kept insurance going due to the fear of large bills and I have always been a firm believer in it. However we have been fortunate to hardly need to claim over the past few years and when we have done it has always amounted to no more than £250 before deductions, therefore within the limits of a CC or our disposable income.

So my thinking is that I squirrel away X amount as a buffer and then cancel the policies. I then set up a standing order for the monthly amount to go to a dedicated savings account. My question is, what should X be and ultimately what would be a comfortable pot to be sitting on?

HeadDreamer Fri 11-Dec-15 08:34:46

I would guess it's the amount you are willing to spend on a pet before putting her down.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Fri 11-Dec-15 08:38:03

I wouldn't cancel dog insurance as if your dog causes an accident or injures someone they can sue you. Your dog insurance would cover it.

I cancelled cat insurance due to the cost, but put £25 a month in to OldBoy's savings account for vets bills. We've got about £400 in there and have just paid for some tests for him out of it.

MitchellMummy Fri 11-Dec-15 08:43:36

Our late fella was insured. We claimed back £30,000 in his lifetime. His 'sister' is insured too, haven't claimed more than £1,000 or so. But happy that if she'd needed treatment then she'd get it. It's not only peace of mind but sometimes you could have exploratory tests which may or may not tell you anything. They may be expensive. With regard to 'Milk's' point I think it's possible to get third party insurance without the health insurance, which I guess should be much cheaper. So to answer the question of X ... I'd be comfortable with £20k.

TheoriginalLEM Fri 11-Dec-15 08:44:13

how long is a piece of string?

what breed of dog do you have? how old are they?

should any one of your dogs develop a heart condition then you are looking anything up to £100 a month for treatment.

if one swallows something they shouldn't you could get to £1000 very quickly.

referrals cost thousands of pounds.

saying all that , your animals may not get sick . Also unless you have lifetime insurance cover then they will only pay out once per condition and treatment for a year only. There will also be a limit to what they pay out.

I think if you have £1000 in the pot you'll be in good shape.

my dogs aren't insured but i work in a vets. I can't afford to leave!!

i think its a game of two sides.

Some insurance companies are very good at minimising payments!

TheoriginalLEM Fri 11-Dec-15 08:46:22

£30000???? that would be quite exceptional though.

Spidertracker Fri 11-Dec-15 08:47:59

I would want at least a few thousand for my cat I think. I know someone who sold their car to pay for treatment for their cat and that is going back 20 years, I'm not sure how inflation affects that anecdote though.
I think dogs are more expensive but don't know I've never had one.

FishWithABicycle Fri 11-Dec-15 08:54:55

Depends how you would feel about having a pet put down if they have a treatable but expensive condition.

When our cat was getting elderly the premiums were around £30 per month and I asked the vet about this very question. She said that if he developed a kidney condition, quite common in elderly cats, he would be perfectly fine to keep going on medication which costs £50 per month and would be covered by the insurance so it would be a false economy to cancel.

(sadly he died of something that wasn't remotely treatable but was mercifully quick about 6 months later)

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Fri 11-Dec-15 08:59:20

I suppose one of the things that made me cancel OldBoy's insurance (and obviously you need to check your policy carefully) is that they would only pay out up to £1,500 or 12 months per condition. OldBoy is now too old to be put through major investigations (eg, I don't think he'd survive an anaesthetic) so I can't think of anything that will cost more than my savings that I'd be prepared to put him through. Due to his age it would be for my benefit ('cause I luffs him and want him to live forever), not his. I can't do that.

LibidinousTurkey Fri 11-Dec-15 09:02:27

lem I have two working cockers and a staffieXwhippet, all fit and healthy with no ongoing health problems <frantically caresses wood>

Age is an issue as DDog1 is nearly 8, though his insurance creeps up in bigger leaps every year (my old girl was at £76 a month when she was PTS) With age as well there comes a reluctance (between DH and I anyway) to put them through invasive and possibly distressing treatments.

I'm just worried about making that judgement call. Potentially if I could save £1000 as a buffer then cancel the policies I could then be adding nearly £1500 a year to the pot (assuming no claims out of it)
<procrastinates further>

Lancelottie Fri 11-Dec-15 09:06:00

We didn't insure Old Girl.

She is three years into treatment for thyroid and kidney problems costing us a steady £50 per month for meds plus £60-100 every 3 months for blood tests plus emergency treatment roughly once a year so far at around £600. So that would be about £4500 so far and probably £1500 a year for the rest of her life...

If we'd had insurance, we might have opted for thyroid surgery at a one-off cost of about £600-800. I'm reluctant to try that now on a cat quite this old.

Little Cat is insured. She's only 6 months old and we've so far claimed back far more than we've paid in (admittedly because she is remarkably thick clumsy for a cat).

LibidinousTurkey Fri 11-Dec-15 09:09:17

I should also say that DH and I had almost decided on an "insured for two years" policy, from the time of birth or adoption.
This would hopefully allow any hidden conditions and the general haphazardness of youth to get out of their system before they settled down to a peaceful, healthy life grin

Fabellini Fri 11-Dec-15 09:09:25

I have two dogs, and a cat....and a horse, but he's a separate issue! All insured, (the dogs and cat) at a cost of around £60 a month - younger dog injured himself in September, emergency vet appointment with painkillers was around £100, next day appointment with anaesthesia, X-rays and more medication was £500...and the operation he needs now as a result of the injury is going to be between £1200 and £1400. He's three, older dog is seven, and cat is eight.
I've paid the insurance and never claimed til now, but I'm fecking glad it's there.... I wouldn't have saved that much, there would always have been a school trip, or a washing machine fault, or something, and I would have reasoned that the animals have always been fine....then Bam!

Lancelottie Fri 11-Dec-15 09:11:09

Cross-posted with Fish about the steady £50 a month for elderly cats - did your vet mention the repeated testing, without which they won't prescribe the meds? I get a wee bit humphy about that bit.

80sMum Fri 11-Dec-15 09:24:09

Not so long ago, pet insurance barely existed. It was unheard of for pets to be offered hugely expensive treatments. If a condition wasn't curable at a reasonable cost, then the pet died. Very sad, but it was the accepted way of things.
It has all changed since insurers jumped on the bandwagon and started pushing insurance for pets. Now a vet won't shake his/her head sadly and say there is nothing they can do, they will offer hope of recovery with some massively expensive treatment. For owners who don't have insurance, it then feels like they have 'killed' the pet by not consenting to the treatment.
Someone is making a lot of money out of people's devotion to their pets, as most owners now feel they have no option but to fork out for insurance (which incidentally is often void once the pet reaches the age where it's likely to become ill). Pet insurance exploits pet owners, in my opinion.

KinkyAfro Fri 11-Dec-15 09:28:32

Well our dog is 3 and our insurance has covered almost 8k of medical bills

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 11-Dec-15 09:31:02

When our old boy died last year we had spent about £1500 on tests, treatments and drugs. We could have sent him for an MRI if we'd thought it would do any good, sadly he was a bit too far gone, which would have set us back another £3,000+. We cancelled his insurance years ago. The only thing that was ever wrong with him was he used to have these random fits, epilepsy ruled out, and the vet couldn't get to the bottom of it so the insurance company wouldn't pay out. Seemed pointless keeping it going by then.

Scuttlebutter Fri 11-Dec-15 10:05:27

For anyone in doubt, let me tell you about our beautiful Callie and her year last year. Within a six month period she:-

Got her paw stuck between the slats of a wooden footbridge while out on a walk - had a very nasty degloving injury which was expensive and awkward to treat.

Developed a soft tissue sarcoma on one of her front legs. Treatable, but some issues with the healing on the scar (paper thin greyhound skin).

Then the big one. Ran head first into a tree at high speed. Fractured skull, many injuries on front leg, spinal damage so paralysed. Over to Langford vet hospital, in ICU, had MRI, fantastic care. Amazingly, she regained the use of her legs and one year on, is now frolicking like a gazelle.

Each of these were eminently treatable, and she has recovered beautifully, but that little lot would probably have cost not far off £10K if you added it all up.

As well as the 3rd party costs mentioned upthread, after Callie's year last year, I don't think anything less than several thousands is enough of a cushion, and personally I am delighted we have insurance.

LibidinousTurkey Fri 11-Dec-15 10:29:31

Goodness scuttle, I bet you were pleased to have insurance grin

But for every tale like yours, there are infinitely more tales where people have only ever claimed a tiny fraction of their premiums back (for us two high value claimants, one of which we only did because of insurance, and seven either non or very small claimants)
<procrastinates still further>

Lancelottie Fri 11-Dec-15 10:37:07

Well, yes, on average the insurance company wins. Otherwise they wouldn't be in business. The aim to to balance things so that anything unexpectedly huge isn't too painful.

(I missed out our other cat, who went to the vet for annual vaccinations only -- nothing else at all, over the course of a 17-year lifespan.)

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Fri 11-Dec-15 10:57:52

Howbold are your pets? And what is considered a "good age" for them?

OldBoy was insured up until last year, when he was 17. It's only now that he's getting frail that I think I wouldn't put him through invasive, traumatic or in-the-big-scheme-of-things-pointless procedures. (I'm thinking about his possibly slightly dodgy heart which they can check by doing a scan, but it would involve an anaesthetic and they wouldn't be able to do much about it anyway.)

LibidinousTurkey Fri 11-Dec-15 12:11:13

DDog1 is nearly 8, DDog2 nearly 3 and DDog3 about 18 months. I reckon they would need to remain insured for at least another year while I squirrelled away a little pot of cash which covers our "two year rule" for all of them. I would guess a good age is 12-14 for all of them.

TrionicLettuce Fri 11-Dec-15 12:11:50

Don't underestimate how expensive medications can be for common (and very manageable) conditions that often come with old age.

For the last two years of his life DDog1 needed vast amounts of medication for congestive heart failure and arthritis. It cost us £150 a month for all his pills. That's £3600 over the two years shock

His heart was also not covered by insurance as he'd had a murmur since we adopted him. Good job we loved the old sod!!

CrabbyCockwomble Fri 11-Dec-15 12:22:22

I'm considering this at the moment because our dog insurance jumped £100 last year and over £100 again this year, despite us not having claimed anything for three years. The premium for the coming year's insurance is over £500. shock That's for a 6 year old cocker spaniel. We've paid far more than we've ever claimed, and if it keeps going up at >£100 per year, it'll be totally unmaneagable within a few years. Fuckers! hmm

YeOldeTrout Fri 11-Dec-15 12:38:08

The rule with insurance is that on avg the insurance company makes a good profit. So on avg, individuals pay way more than they can ever claim back.

I think with a load of pets over a lifetime, they won't all cost us a load of money, so I'm quids in to go without insurance... but not every year fgrin.

I would probably have insurance if we couldn't get the money the animals might need, though. I also don't feel bad about putting a pet down if they have had a high quality life & the only treatment is very expensive with uncertain prognosis.

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