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please advise me on pet insurance.

(15 Posts)
Moonandstarsandback Mon 01-Feb-16 13:23:41

Looking to insure our puppy. We need to keep our costs down, so should we go for the basic/standard level of insurance? Is it worthwhile? I don't really understand what the others are. The standard one says for 12 months. The next one up says life cover but what does that mean exactly? Any advice is very welcome smile

moosemama Mon 01-Feb-16 13:35:40

Hi Moon

You need life cover. If you only have 12 month/annual cover and your dog develops a chronic condition, eg diabetes, you would only be covered for the first year of treatment. With life cover they will continue paying to treat that condition, for the life of the dog.

I have a PetPlan life cover policy. I've been with a few others over the years, but have come back to PP as they have been consistently reliable and never tried to get out of paying up.

You need to check the small print against anything that your breed has a genetic tendency towards. Eg some limit cover for cruciate injuries or will only do one leg, others don't cover dental treatment at all. It's really important to read all the policy documents very carefully so you know exactly what is and isn't covered, as they can vary such a lot.

As a guide, at PetPlan I pay just over £40 pm for two large Lurchers, age 10 and 2.5 (although after some discussion they are actually registered as mixed breeds by PetPlan, so that reduced the cost a bit compared to a named breed.)

moosemama Mon 01-Feb-16 13:36:21

Should have said, PP are the only company we've never had large rises in premiums from at renewals.

ScattyHattie Mon 01-Feb-16 13:47:10

12 months type means they'll only pay out for condition in that period & on renewal it will be classed as pre-existing so not covered. So you want the lifetime, some cap the amount they'll pay for a condition it total & others renew the pot annually.
Its worth going for decent cover as Once you've stuff on vet records its difficult to switch because its classed as pre-existing & can be grouped so diarrhea can become all bowel conditions. Make sure underwriter isn't one thats known for wriggling out or being slow paying, vets don't have to accept insurance direct payment so with those you'll likely end up paying yourself & claiming back. Many are happy with petplan for that reason, but check with own vets if they accept any, they'll likely know which to avoid too.

I insured my dog for £4k per condition per year 8 yrs ago & can tell you it doesn't go far if you need any specialist treatment. MRI just to diagnose was £1.5k, he's had 2 for different reasons in a year.

ScattyHattie Mon 01-Feb-16 14:13:20

I've 2 with petplan & 2 with NFU (unable to switch) the premiums don't seem to rise as much with PP and when I compared at 7yrs old there wasn't much difference in cost between PP & NFU so although PP more expensive at start,the annual rises seem to even out long-term. I do find with NFU that post claim its also risen steeply & our excess fee has increased. I don't like the uncertainty of whether it will still be affordable in future.for 2 dogs 8&10 its £110 per month but at 2yrs old we paid about £15 each.

Medication costs can be high & some need lifelong treatment

Moonandstarsandback Mon 01-Feb-16 16:12:42

Ahhh that's what I was worried about with the 12 months cover. Our last dog's cover went up to £100 as we couldn't change because of the pre- existing issue. We ended up cancelling the policy when he was about 12 as was just too much money! Of course he then became much more unwell 6 months later!!

So, with pet plan what's the difference between the lower life cover and higher cover? Just that they'll pay more money out for the different things if necessary- hence the higher premium. Might go with pet plan then....

Our vets does a health plan for £12.90 a month which includes vaccinations, worming and fleaing for the year, 2 check ups... Does that sound good to you? They said the first appointment with first injection could be about £100 on its own!! It sounds good to me, I can't remember how much the advocat is and worming tablets actually cost confused

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 01-Feb-16 18:17:50

With the health plan check what products are included advocate may not be.
Look at how much cover each policy has. For example a few weeks ago I sent a dachund for back surgery 5.5K bill in an afternoon, the TPLO/TTA surgeries for cruciates come in at about 2.5K, the average bill for the first year of treatment of a diabetic 15kg dog us 3.5K, complicated you will quickly get above 5K.

I cannot recommend PetPlan highly enough!

Over 14 months (all of last year and the last month or so of 2014) ddog2 had £10,000+ of veterinary treatment - she ruptured both cruciate ligaments, necessitating two knee operations and then dislocated her knee cap - yet more orthopaedic surgery. Plus she had emergency admissions for a fluid collection in the wound from the knee cap op, and a gastric ulcer, caused by the painkillers she was given for the dislocation.

PetPlan have paid the Vet Hospital directly, without any delays or problems at all, and her premium for this year has not gone up massively, as we had feared it would. It has risen, but is still very reasonable indeed.

WeAllHaveWings Mon 01-Feb-16 18:34:52

We are with petplan for our lab, he's still not 3 yet and we've already used it twice, recouping most of our money.

We also have a health plan for £11 a month which gives us vaccinations free, monthly advocate and 6 monthly milbemax (was originally drontal but he vomited with it twice so changed). Was definitely worth it in the first year for the initial vaccinations and 15% off neutering/kennel cough vac and a couple of health checks in the first year. We could also get a tick collar (serasto?) if we needed it for tics.

Keep meaning to cancel the health policy as we don't use the advocate religiously every month and over the 3 years I've got around 7 months of advocate in the cupboard now (all well within date) but I need to find the policy as I'm sure cancelling mid year meant you had to pay the difference for any treatment you had in that year.

CQ Mon 01-Feb-16 18:41:39

I self insure. Premiums for my 2 dogs were ridiculous to cover things I wanted covered, given their history. I put away £100 a month, it's growing nicely and they are both fit and healthy crossbreeds so long may it continue.

My biggest fear was 3rd party cover, eg if someone left a gate open and they got out on the road and caused an accident. Following a good tip on here I joined Dogs Trust - annual membership includes up to £1million public liability.

Moonandstarsandback Mon 01-Feb-16 19:50:43

Thanks all of you for all the advice. The health care plan includes advocat according to vet nurse I spoke to today. But I will definitely check. That plus insurance though sounds like it would be nearing £50 shock the pet plan life cover middle one quotes me as paying £30 odd quid. But I know any investigations and scans add up very fast so is worth it.

Dieu Tue 02-Feb-16 00:06:34

John Lewis reasonable and excellent.

Adarajames Wed 03-Feb-16 00:37:21

Moosemama Id love to know how you get it do cheap when my very health 4 year olds was quoted as way above that in her 3rd year of insurance, and we've never claimed as never needed any treatment! (Other than knocking out to trim claws as she's a total idiot about it and just won't let it be fine awake! But paid direct for that)

moosemama Wed 03-Feb-16 10:04:18

I took the policy out when the younger dog was about 11 weeks old and older dog was 8. They quoted quite a bit higher based on 'Lurcher' as a breed. I inisisted on speaking to the underwriters - took a long argument and a lot ofpersuasion to get put through though. Had a multi-way telephone call with the underwriter and PetPlan's call centre, explained that Lurcher is a description of a 'type', one of my dogs has at four different known breeds in his mix and the other was abandoned at birth and has no clear breed heritage, other than some sort of sighthound - and that's only based on his conformation. They argued a bit, but eventually gave in and agreed to list them both as mixed-breed, which I believe is even cheaper than cross-breed. Both of my dogs are also registered as mixed-breed at the vets as well, which is important if you're insuring them that way.

You get a discount for insuring multiple pets on the same policy and we had an initial discount from some sort of offer at the time. Think it was £40.00 ish the first year and has only gone up to around £44/45.00 so far. I'm expecting it to probably be around the £50.00 mark at renewal this year, which isn't bad at all for two Large dogs.

My older dog is now above the age threshold though, so I will have to pay a percentage of his treatment as well as the excess if we need to claim. It's a PetPlan Classic policy with £7,000 of lifetime cover per dog.

In my experience you shouldn't just accept what they quote you, you need to stand your ground and state your case clearly and confidently for them to drop their quote. I do know of other Lurcher owners who have tried and failed to get a similar deal. Not sure if I was lucky or just exposed a loophole that they have not plugged somehow.

Adarajames Wed 03-Feb-16 18:43:42

Thanks. Mine was with john Lewis, but changed when this years quote came in with another big increase, used the Bought by many link on a website, it's with more than now, better cover for less cost, will always check before renewing any insurance etc each year; so far pet plan have quoted a lot more, but will keep your info in mind smile

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