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except for public liability, pet insurance is a scam. Someone convince me otherwise.(49 Posts)
Lifelong dog owner. never had insurance. Was stung with last dog who needed cruciate reconstruction which probably cost around £5k. She was an expensive dog who had multiple other health problems and probably cost me over £7k in vet fees. new puppy has arrived. Trying to find insurance, but it seems that by the time you have added the excess, and the exclusions you would be far better just putting money in a saving account and using it if you need it. Finally found a company (pet plan) that seemed to be reasonable, only to be told that the limit they pay out for cruciate recon is £700; this is the main reason we are insuring. If you take a 'reasonable' policy, @ around £50/month over the life time of a 12 year old dog you will pay £7200. there are few dogs that will need £7k of vet fees (that will be eligible under any insurance policy). Except PL, there seems no point.
Insurance is essential for people who don't have savings to pay for an accident or illness. If you've got savings, you don't need it (except for the PL bit as you say)
Each to their own.
I personally like the reassurance that when something happens to Battendog, cost is highly unlikely to be a factor when decided what is best for him. Him being ill is stressful enough withoung £ being a factor. Even dipping into the savings would add to this and I prefer for it not to take up any mental load at all.
He's 2 years old and has cost me about £600 in insurance premiums so far. We've claimed somewhere between £1500-2000 so we're winning at the minute...
That said, if cruciate surgery is a specific concern and you cannot find insurance to met what you need then you may understandably be tempted to look at othe rways to fund it (e.g. saving the premiums instead).
I agree insurance has got more expensive over the years and I do not feel that most people get their moneys worth.
Premiums are of course pushed up by people buying puppies with poor health and breeding and also the popular brachycephalic breed dogs. The fact that more complex surgery is also carried out on dogs than before.
I do insure my dogs but over the years have paid way more into insurance premiums than I have claimed back.
We had one cruciate op and then a meniscus release on one dog - cost around the £3500 mark at the time other than that minor issues where I have paid the excess and not made back the premium money
I have had over 16 dogs (not all together!) and they have all been insured. Working out the amount I have paid into insurance was eye watering and have not got the money back at all.
I also stop insuring when they reach a "certain" age again a gamble but this has paid off financially for us.
I still can't quite bring myself to not insure them though - I do usually have one oldie not insured at any one time. We could cover major surgery if necessary but .......
Had a friend whose dog was run over and treatment cost around 7k. The insurance initially said they would pay the first 2k and then changed their minds and he had to pay the whole amount and needed to take out a loan. He didn't have savings to cover it. He has since cancelled the policy as he sees it as worthless.
I put the equivalent of the premiums into an account each month (£50). The previous dog did not need anything significant in her 11 years so the money has rolled over and is sitting at several thousand and growing for the current dog plus I have other money I could use if needed. I would not be so complacent if I didn't have sufficient funds.
I also have a very realistic vet who will tell you if treatment/tests are really worth it. As she puts it, they don't age backwards.
If you can stump up an initial base fund and then start to grow it then I don't see insurance as vital. I few people who have been stung by them refusing to pay out. The issue comes in if you need ongoing expensive medication and can't afford it.
It seems a gamble either way to me.
I see it as paying £18/month for the peace of mind that should something awful happen to DDog I won't either be financially wiped out or making decisions based on money.
My dog is the most precious and irreplaceable thing in my life. As a result (other than insurance I legally have to have in connection with my business) pet insurance is the only form of insurance I have.
It's a gamble all the way down the line. I was once in the fortunate position of us being able to simply pay vet bills. Regardless. We also had an exceptionally healthy terrier whose only expense beyond vaccination was an eye infection at 5 and his final illness. In total, probably about £800 in 14 years. And that includes his cremation.
The happy days of not worrying about bills ended the minute I was widowed. Now I have pet insurance for the pup and while I recognise I may well pay far more out in premiums than I will in vet bills I literally cannot afford to take the chance. There's no way I want to be making decisions about treatment based on my potential ability to pay for it. So there's no one single answer to this. It has to come down to your own circumstances.
I just don't have thousands in savings to cover a big surgery.
If ddog needed it, I would want to know I had done everything I could.
I would hate to have her put down because I couldn't afford the alternative.
I would prefer not to have to claim as it would mean she was suffering so I'm happy to pay it and not draw on it.
I did research which companies were more likely to pay out though
Are you sure that’s right re £700 and per plan? Which policy is it you’ve looked at?
If you think it's a con then don't buy it.
Insurance is there for those big events. Mine has paid out almost £5000 and he isn't even three years old yet. We claimed around £2500 in the first year so for us it's a must have and has paid out far more than I have put into it.
Someone I know had a bill for over £10,000 and the insurance paid out with no issues.
Not all policies are equal so you do have to look at the fine print but that is the case with any type of insurance. I think that is where a lot of people come unstuck a few years down the line because they don't bother to read the paperwork and just look at the monthly cost.
I work in a veterinary practice administrating pet insurance claims - despite a generous staff discount, I still have all of my dogs insured. I've claimed much more than 7k each for the older dogs over their lifetimes.
Unless it's been introduced in the last 24hrs, Petplan do not have a £700 cap on cruciate repair!
Issues arise when people shop around every year despite pre-existing conditions, being unaware of the policy limits or excesses, not understanding 12 month vs lifetime etc.
I had never had pet insurance but I got a policy on my newest (and probably last) puppy, a Shih Tzu. The policy was $65 a year. She had two parvo vaccinations, but before the third one she caught parvo (probably in the vet waiting room as it was the only place she was around other dogs). The insurance policy paid $2000+ and I paid $400. Definitely worth it, as I do not have a separate pet savings account.
I think the key part of your OP is that you save the equivalent amount.
For what it is worth, I have always had cats and never had them insured.
I had one cat who was accident prone and I worked out how much I had spent and how much it would have been if the cat had been insured, and I had paid premiuns each month.
It came to pretty much the same amount.
BUT I have to say, I would often choose to PTS where others woulc choose long expensive courses of treatment I think.
We now have a rabbit, chickens, a cat and a dog.
The dog is insured, the others not.
Ours are insured.
My previous cats weren't and it was fine until it wasn't. They cost me £2000 in the space of two months. Obviously I paid but it stung - I've always had insurance since!
I can afford the little bills but I wouldn't be able to access thousands of pounds if my dog was hit by a car tomorrow or needed surgery or an MRI.
And it all well and good saying "I'll put the money in savings" but what if they get injured or sick within a week or two of having them? What if you can pay for one operation and it fails or they need specialist aftercare?
If you really have access to 10k at the touch of a button (multiplied by however many pets you have) then go for it. Plenty of people don't have that kind of money lying around though, and for those people insurance is a must.
“If you take a 'reasonable' policy, @ around £50/month over the life time of a 12 year old dog you will pay £7200. there are few dogs that will need £7k of vet fees”
My last dog went over his 7.5k limit one year and I had to pay another £600... over his lifetime of 6 years it was more like 25k of vets bills.
What you’re paying for with insurance is the back up if something expensive happens - so you get to decide on what treatment is best for the pet, not which one you can pay for then and there...
In case yours is the one that costs that much...
2 non life threatening acute illnesses for our dog over 11 years so far totalled about £16, 000 so it was worth it for us (included investigative specialist input, no surgery required). Monthly premiums are ridiculous now, but still not surpassed that cost.
Our dog has had both back legs operated on. Both had cruciate ligament repairs. And then a meniscus tear. All covered by pet plan.
DDog1 has required a tooth extraction, torn his cruciate ligament, had a tumour behind his eyeball which required extensive treatment/surgery, developed a skin complaint, and had other more run of the mill problems too.
He's been insured with Tesco since day one, and they've always paid out in full with no problems.
Even now at 13 if I saved what I paid every month (eye watering) there's no way in telling I'd raise enough to cover another big problem, which are only going to get worse as he gets older.
DDog2 has broken her foot, had numerous skin tumours investigated/removed, and other minor problems.
She's a bit younger, around 11ish, but I'm still happy to pay the money so I don't get stung next time something happens.
Each to their own. I never want to have to put my dogs down because I couldn't afford something that insurance would have covered
Agreed. We had to have my dog treated for things that the vet couldn't figure out the reason for. Months of blood tests, all the things started at the same time yet they charged us 3 separate excesses and claimed the couldn't prove they were all linked so we're treating them as individual conditions. When it was time for renewal, they sent a letter to say that none of the conditions that were treated the first time round would be covered by insurance if they should occur again. Fucking scammers. I ended up paying £300 pound excess on a bill with a total of £550 ponds, all the did was take blood tests, they give us creams and anti biotics that I had to pay for separately. They still don't know what was wrong with my dog and now no other insurance company will cover us for a decent price, no point having insurance.
Mine are cats, not dogs, but it's a similar thing. We've had cats for 36 years. We always had moggies, they went in and out as they pleased and after the initial vaccinations we didn't get them renewed. All our cats either got run over at some point, or they lasted well into their teens.
We bought 2 pedigree cats which had to stay indoors. Regular jabs, regular health checks. Cat 1 (we believe) poisoned herself from flea treatment, had seizures, 3 trips to vet and died. Insurance paid out for all treatment plus cost of replacement cat.
Bought 2 cross breed kittens, took out insurance. Had all jabs and kept indoors. Lost both to leukaemia (from mother, according to vet) before they were a year old. Insurance paid out for expensive treatment and PTS.
Cat 2 stopped eating, lost loads of weight. Insurance paid out, but not for subsequent £££ dental work which was not covered.
Replacement cat for cat 1 and kittens so far has been well. Insured. So far we have had ££££ more than we have paid out.
Insurance is because you don't know what will happen. You could pay out for years and never claim. But if you need to claim and you have no insurance can you pay the vet?
Meant to add, have you tried Bought By Many?
We self-insure. Cost us 1,000 in 2016 and 2,000 last year but no other costs apart from vaccinations (8 year old large breed dog)
Small print on insurance was no coverage for routine vaccinations or dental. Then £80 excess for every new thing. Then plan limits and not covering stuff from year to year. And coverage gets more restrictive as they get older.
Vet knows we are not insured. We have discussions like "if you were insured we'd send you for a 2K MRI just to be sure its not X low-proabability issue- but you're not so we'll observe for a few weeks and if its not better, then go for MRI)" Most times dog gets better.
Sort of a catch-22 - "I was insured and it cost me £12,000", was all that 100% necessary. I survive on NHS-level healthcare, why should my dog have private-level healthcare.
I put £30/month away. Think insurance would cost £80.
I do have access to money that would pay for most operations but I still get insurance because it is much easier to manage small amounts each month than suddenly have to stump up thousands of pounds that you have allocated for something else. I also don't want money to sway any clinical decision and if you are facing a bill of thousands and you don't have that then it undoubtably makes a difference.
Even if you have a 'healthy' dog they are only healthy until they aren't. Mine had an injury out walking that would have cost £5000 to correct if he had needed surgery. If you put your premiums away every month it is going to take a long time to get to that amount and vets want paying straight away (unless you are insured then they will deal direct if you are with one of the better companies). Accidents can happen at any age but more often when young when the running about. Obviously risk of a serious illness increases as you get older so there isn't a good time not to be insured imo.
Yeah just checked Petplan, wow £95/month, excess £95, max claim £3000, and nothing covered for more than a year. Crazy.
I always pay for pet insurance for the first year for a new puppy etc as you never know what genetic problems may arise. After that I do as you say and just put money away every month. It’s worked out well for me so far. My last dog was a shar pei, the most unhealthiest breed apart from English bulldogs. In the first year he needed treatment to a cut neck, 2 operations for eye antropia and ended up catching mange which was a nightmare to treat. It was costing me £60 a month for a gold package for that year, I claimed over 5k insurance. The next year it understandably went up to £90 a month and they offered me practically nothing for my money so I just put a bit away, luckily he’s needed nothing near that since