Would you pay these insurance premiums?

(14 Posts)
Medievalist Fri 17-May-19 12:10:00

We have a 12.5 year old Labrador. We've had her from a puppy and adore her. She will get whatever medical treatment she needs - whether it's paid for by insurance or by us. There's no question of that. Having said that, we wouldn't put her through any major ops at her age and given her failing health.

Her eyesight isn't great
Ear ops mean she's deaf in one ear and only has partial hearing in the other
She has arthritis
Her mobility is now very limited

I know we won't have her for much longer and I'm fully prepared, when the time comes, to make any difficult decisions based on her best interests. But while she's enjoying 2 or 3 short walks a day, eating well, wagging her tail and showing an interest in what's going on, we're not there yet.

The yearly insurance letter from Direct Line has come today. Her monthly premiums have gone up from £135 pcm to £181 pcm. So I'm wondering if we should stop paying them. She did have ear ops a couple of years ago for which the insurance paid out £6k. 2 months ago she lost the use of her back legs and had an mri scan for which they paid £2k. She's also on gabapentin, the monthly cost of which is covered by insurance.

The mri scan showed that she has various issues going on with her spine - bony growths etc which are reducing the space for her spinal cord. She must have knocked herself and caused some swelling which caused the cord to be compressed. When the swelling went down she could walk again, but it's a very stiff legged, wobbly walk. The consultant doesn't think it's causing her pain, but the gabapentin is to be on the safe side.

Having cancelled insurance for another dog a few years ago, and then been hit with a £4.5 cruciate ligament bill, I'm nervous about cancelling this policy. What would other people do in this situation? Are there any other big bills we could incur for a dog of her age and medical history?

OP’s posts: |
CitadelsofScience Fri 17-May-19 12:15:46

Well that's timely! I was going to ask exactly the same question for our similarly aged dog. We pay about £380 a year in premiums but same as you, wed never put her through any major ops now just to keep her around longer.

rideawhiteswan Fri 17-May-19 12:23:26

We've just cancelled our 11 year old labs insurance with direct line which was £125 a month. It did cover £23 worth of joint supplement.
We spoke to the vet who said without saying he cancel implied it with his advice.
We accept were taking a chance and are happy to pay for any treatment which will enhance her life.
We can afford to do this however.

Medievalist Fri 17-May-19 12:25:59

Apparently the gabapentin costs over £50 a month so that reduces the overall cost a bit. We could afford to pay for any treatment but I would just find it infuriating having paid such high premiums for so long if, for example, she needed another £2k mri next month!

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Fri 17-May-19 12:38:40

As you know from experience investigations are pricey even if you decide not to treat based on the results.

I would only cancel if you had several thousand to hand and wouldn't have an using it. Even if I cancelled I would still get third party insurance as I think that is essential.

I would go through all the scenarios. If she developed a lump would you still want it removed and checked for cancer? How much would that cost compared to insurance. What if that was ok but in the same year there was another and you needed to do it again. If she was hit by a car and had a broken leg, would you still want it operated on etc. What if she needed further medication for a chronic but treatable condition. Again how would that stack up premium wise.

Unfortunately once cancelled at that age there isn't much change of getting another policy without a zillion exclusions.

rideawhiteswan Fri 17-May-19 12:39:35

You could probably get the gabapentin much cheaper online, you need to pay for a prescription every six months, I find the medication is usually half the price of the vet.
It's a hard decision though, I know.

Medievalist Fri 17-May-19 12:42:29

Thanks so much Biteyshark. That's exactly the sort of stuff I needed to hear. I think we'll just stick with it. The recent mri scan didn't result in any treatment but it was good to know what the problem was and that there was no tumour etc. I don't think we'll have her much longer to be honest ☹️

OP’s posts: |


Scattyhattie Fri 17-May-19 15:29:48

What cover do you get for that?

Is she currently doing anything like physio or hydrotherapy? Just wondered as its really beneficial for dogs with spinal, arthritis& general mobility issues & if you do decide to keep insurance may help feel like getting money's worth on claim.

Its a tough one, as I probably wouldn't put my oldie through some ops either but then hospitalisation/diagnostics & some meds can be really expensive. Vets will always try give alternatives in treatment plans to suit budget (can be insured but low cover).

I've a 13yr dog but thankfully not been put in that difficult position as petplan haven't hiked her premiums. With previous dogs insurer i felt the fear of premiums becoming unaffordable as it would increase with claims so it wasn't even worthwhile unless large bill, as it was they passed before the twilight years.

rideawhiteswan Fri 17-May-19 15:35:16

Interesting that OP and I are both with direct line. To be fair they pay out with no problem but they appear to raise their prices up considerably as the dog gets older.
I'll avoid with my next dog.

OverFedStanley Fri 17-May-19 17:43:47

I would not pay it personally - over £2000.00 a year even with the £50.00 a month medication you would still be saving over £1500.00 a year and I guess you would still have to pay excess on the medication too.

I always think about how fit my dog would be for surgery.

I have an oldie who is 14 and he would not be able benefit from major surgery and the recovery involved. The recovery for broken bones etc and the crate rest needed for an oldie would be longer than the period of time they had after the injury - if you get my sums!

His lifestyle is one that means car accidents and injury is unlikely.

Third party insurance is usually also on your house insurance so worth checking you are not paying for that twice.

I can afford to pay for medication for several years (tbh it would not be needed for that length of time) So his insurance has been stopped. With the oldies it is also the excess that is so big we would have to pay 20% plus high monthly premiums so really not worth it. However if we did have a big bill it would not bankrupt us or effect what treatment we would do.

junenotoffred Fri 17-May-19 18:15:41

I've just had a similar dilemma with my 13.5 year old spaniel. Last year, Having paid for 12 years non-stop I then needed to claim and due to very dodgy documentation by our (now former) vet the insurance wouldn't cover the claim. I'm actually glad with hindsight because the vets were suggesting all manner of investigations & treatment we now know were unnecessary, but that I would have gone along with if the insurance had covered the costs. But I took him for a second opinion & all drugs were stopped, investigations were put on hold to see how he was and 12 months later he's a very elderly but happy & healthy boy.

I know at his age I wouldn't want any heroics, I'm fortunate that I can afford treatment but what I'm doing is saving the £200 per month I'd have spent on the insurance into a separate account towards any costs ahead. I reason I'd be paying that anyway and (having been burned) would then have to find the money for the things the insurance didn't cover as well. And when the inevitable happens, next time I'll be seriously considering doing the same from the start.

threemilesupthreemilesdown Fri 17-May-19 18:18:10

rideawhiteswan, gabapentin has recently been reclassified as a controlled substance so the rules around repeat prescriptions have changed. OP would need a new prescription every 28 days which would possibly negate any cost savings.

rideawhiteswan Fri 17-May-19 19:34:49

@threemilesupthreemilesdown, thank you for pointing that out, obviously I didn't know that.

MattMagnolia Mon 20-May-19 20:01:26

I was with Direct Line with our last dogs and one big advantage was that you can insure only for vet fees, which is all I’ve ever needed. I’ve never heard of anyone using their 3rd party pet insurance.
With old age the premiums skyrocket but you know you won’t be paying it a great deal longer.
If you have a good relationship with your vets they will often let you pay a big bill in instalments.

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