Changing pet insurer

(30 Posts)
TerpsichoreanMuse Fri 01-May-20 10:05:31

My rescue German Wirehaired Pointer cross has been insured with Animal Friends since we had him. In 2018 he swallowed a rubber toy (possibly child's teething ring) and needed an emergency operation on a Sunday costing £3K to remove it. In 2019 Animal Friends doubled our insurance to £833 a year. I tried arguing with them that this was ridiculously high given that now we knew this could happen we'd be taking a lot of care to prevent it happening again - but to no avail and I didn't have time to do more research at the time. Also my numerous emails saying that they weren't providing insurance, just a method of payment in arrears fell on totally deaf ears.

I've just had a email from them saying our next year's insurance will cost £1096 - this despite no vet trips claimed on the insurance since the op - all the dogs has had are routine vaccinations that we've paid for.

So, do you have any recommendations for a good insurer? Particularly one who would cover low chance of swallowing a rubber toys without a ridiculously inflated premium.

Their mail also says the following - what are they trying to say? They know they are overcharging?

"Thank you for trusting us with Musedog's insurance, it's great to have you in the Animal Friends family!

You have been with us for a number of years. You may be able to get the insurance cover you want at a better price if you shop around.

If you think we can be beaten on price for the same level of cover and service, ring our friendly UK call centre and see what we can do!

If you are considering moving away from Animal Friends, it may result in pre-existing conditions being excluded from your new policy by your new provider.

If you would like to change your cover, have any questions, or to update us on any changes please call us on xxxx xxxx"

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MissShapesMissStakes Fri 01-May-20 10:22:08

I think your best bet is to look around. Once you have quotes then phone them and select the option for 'thinking of leaving us' or however they term it. They may well knock money off.

Can't compare prices as you don't say what level of cover you have.

TerpsichoreanMuse Fri 01-May-20 12:31:26

I think that's true. Looking for insurers people like and ideally who are less grasping.

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MissShapesMissStakes Fri 01-May-20 12:58:16

Good luck with that!


LesleysChestnutBob Fri 01-May-20 13:02:01

The bit where they say you may be able to get a better price if you shop around and make sure you'd be covered for pre existing conditions is an FCA requirement, as is showing you last years premium. They wouldn't do it if they didn't have to!

I'm with bought by many but I've no idea how good they are, my vet recommended them to me!

ilovemydogandMrObama Fri 01-May-20 13:08:24

Tesco Pet Insurance was brilliant - golden retriever had a knee replacement when he was 8 years old. They even paid for hydrotherapy, well, at least one session.

DD (Dear Dog) was 15 when he had to be put down, but the knee replacement really gave him a great quality of life.

Not sure that a rubber toy would be classed as a, 'pre existing,' condition? hmm

Check with your vet as Pet Plan is favoured by some vets as they pay the vet directly.

ilovemydogandMrObama Fri 01-May-20 13:09:24

@LesleysChestnutBob - sorry, the pre existing comment was not directed at you.


Chirpychirpy3 Fri 01-May-20 13:15:01

You would not be covered by a different insurance company if he ate something else as it would be seen as a pre existing condition as he has done it before so just be aware of that before you change.

Scattyhattie Fri 01-May-20 15:07:18

Animal friends don't have a good reputation, so not surprised.

One thing to consider is if there's anything else on dogs vet notes that maybe excluded as preexisting condition as that's what they check it doesn't matter if claimed for treatment. You can always ask insurer to check & then decide if

Mine are with petplan which are more expensive early on but my oldies premiums are still affordable, whereas lot of people I know have had to cancel their dogs as premiums hiked up with claims & age. My vets & referral vets always been OK to claim direct. At moment she has £90 per month on meds.

When I joined PP Halifax/axa had not long dropped out of market leaving people over a barrel with company transferring cover to or uninsurable existing conditions, so long term security & not at mercy of changes of underwritters was important.

BBM seem good option but are fairly new to market so premiums/stability longer-term bit more unknown than some. They do pay up fairly quickly according to friend.

chocolatedrem Fri 01-May-20 15:33:31

Bought By Many every time. Our premium went down after claiming!

chocolatedrem Fri 01-May-20 15:34:18

They also cover preexisting conditions smile

animaniac Fri 01-May-20 15:36:54

@Chirpychirpy3 categorically untrue. “Dog might sometimes eat stuff he isn’t supposed to” isn’t a preexisting condition.

KitchenConfidential Fri 01-May-20 15:37:26

The only thing is DO NOT cancel until you have w different policy ready to go - I made that mistake once. Cancelled renewal as was very pissed off with the insanely high new price but then discovered that because she was over the age of 10, no one else would cover her!!

Littleone07 Fri 01-May-20 15:49:33

Use Go Compare or Compare the Market to get a quote. If you change remember to overlap your policies as its common practice for new providers to include a condition that says you can only claim for accidents not medical conditions in the first 14 days.

Chirpychirpy3 Fri 01-May-20 16:23:58

Having dealt with pet insurance through my job they will see it as a pre existing condition. A dog who has had eaten something is more likely to eat something again and insurance companies will use it as a reason not to pay out.

TerpsichoreanMuse Fri 01-May-20 16:30:24

@animaniac - that's why Animal Friends put it up. I must admit I think it's a bit much - he ate something once is very different to he has hip dysplasia for example. He's never eaten anything else he shouldn't have (except our cheese, ahem.) It could easily have been an accident or a one off, and of course we're not allowing any rubber toys in the house now just to be sure.

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animaniac Fri 01-May-20 16:30:49

@Chirpychirpy3 I can promise you it is not a pre existing condition. An insurer may use the information to underwrite the policy in any way they see fit (higher premiums, excesses maybe even additional or restricted terms or warranties), but eating toys is not an illness and will therefore not be classed as a “preexisting condition” in this context.

TerpsichoreanMuse Fri 01-May-20 16:32:28

I'll look at Bought By Many, thanks. I do like Pet Plan too, but they are saying they can't check preexisting conditions in times of COVID-19, so we'd have to wait until the vet is properly open again before changing. The only possible pre-condition the vet might mention is a slight allergy, probably to pollen. He got weepy eyes when we first had him, but doesn't really suffer now.

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Yorknees Fri 01-May-20 16:36:01

Bought By Many every time. Our premium went down after claiming!

Agree with this, we have had no issues at all.

animaniac Fri 01-May-20 16:40:39

@TerpsichoreanMuse yep the insurer is within their rights to amend their terms and pricing however they see fit based on the policy history, and you can shop around for an alternative provider, no question. I don’t agree that they are phrasing it correctly if they say they’re increasing the premium due to a pre existing condition.
But daft eating of toys isn’t an illness (at an absolute very far fetched push, I suppose an insurer could argue behaviour disorder, but highly unlikely to stand up given he has only done it once in the last 2 years).
What would probably be excluded though is if he suffers an injury/illness now that is directly related the swallowing of the toy in 2018.

TheGirlFromStoryville Fri 01-May-20 16:41:46

Bought by Many.
Our premiums for our Old English are £38 per month, we claimed almost 3k last year after DDog had a snout infection and gastroenteritis.
Premiums went up from 31 to 38.

Also great customer service and online claims really simple. Fast payout too. Highly recommended!

porridgeface Fri 01-May-20 16:43:07

My vets won't even deal with animal friends direct as their reputation is so bad for disputing claims and taking ages to pay. You have to pay yourself and then claim direct from them yourselves.
I'm with petrol plan and although maybe slightly higher they don't have dramatic increases and the level of cover is good.
I wouldn't have thought swallowing a toy counted as a pre-existing condition either.
Also... not sure if this is useful but I had a cat who got a scratched cornea as a kitten and required treatment. When I took out my petplan policy I declared it and they told me that any issues relating to that eye would not be covered for 2 years.

Chirpychirpy3 Fri 01-May-20 16:47:40

@animaniac No it’s not an illness but I have known of insurance companies not paying out for it after a dog did it again. They will use any excuse not to pay. I was just trying to be helpful and warn the op that they need to check this with any new insurer.

TerpsichoreanMuse Fri 01-May-20 16:48:38

Thanks all. To be honest it might be worth moving and taking the risk that anything to do with the toy eating isn't covered. I'm imagining we could save enough to self insure for that, as we think it's unlikely, at 1K pa.

Will look into all your suggestions on Monday, thanks.

And porridgeface, yes, we did have to stump up the 3K for his operation (well, the credit card did). To be fair to AF, we were reimbursed before the next payment was due.

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TerpsichoreanMuse Fri 01-May-20 16:58:49

I just checked the date of the op and it was 17th July 2018. Would it be worth me waiting until that is over 2 years ago before trying with Bought by many (who cover preexisting conditions if over 2 years ago), or if I took the insurance now, would they automatically start to cover it once we pass 17th July 2020?

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