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Dog Insurance

(47 Posts)
CharlottesComplicatedWeb Sat 22-Aug-20 18:28:52

Does everyone have it?

I’ve always had pet insurance for the cats and dog. The dog is 5. A golden retriever. She’s never been ill.

Last week she had haemorrhagic gastro-enteritis. The vet said she’d probably eaten “something” on one of her wild walks and it hadn’t agreed with her, big time. She stayed overnight at the vets and had IV antibiotics with an antacid. The bill came to £788. I was very relieved to have the insurance.

However, our dog insurance is expensive. £62 per month. I can’t afford it. It’s gone up from £544 to £788 in a year BEFORE this illness. God knows what it’ll be next year.

I wonder whether to do what my sister and neighbour do. They put the money aside each month. Does anyone else do this?

OP’s posts: |
JulesM73 Sat 22-Aug-20 18:40:45

We also have a GR and in the first 6 years the insurance must have paid out at least £15k due to numerous operations. When he got to 8 the premiums shot up to approximately £300 per month. We cancelled and put around a £100 per month away. However, he’s nearly 10 now and we know that if he needs more surgery it’s likely to be his legs and we have already decided we’re not going to put him through more surgery, the recovery time is too long and his other legs aren’t great either.
Do as you suggest do long as you put it away, and aren’t tempted to dip into it, but also be aware that if anything happens in the next year or so you may not have enough to cover it. What would you do then?

pigsDOfly Sat 22-Aug-20 19:19:53

That's the nature of insurance, you never know when you might be hit with a huge bill, some operations for dogs can be several thousands.

My insurance is now around £84 per month for my 9 year old dog.

I don't like having to pay it and have, like you, considered just putting money aside each month but unless I'm prepared to put a lot more aside than £84 each month it's going to take a hell of a long time to get enough of a pot to pay for anything major.

Tbh I doubt very much I've had as much back as I've paid out despite the fact that she's had quite a bit of treatment over the years but I accept that.

She recently had a stomach issue - pooing blood - which involved a stay in hospital. I suspect it was a reaction to Metacalm given for a relatively straight forward reaction to something she'd picked up in the park or somewhere but it was quite nasty and I ended with a payout of around £900 from my insurance company.

It very much depends on your financial set up I think.

Could you afford to pay for something big if you did stop the insurance? Would you want to be put in the position of perhaps wiping out a large chunk of your saving in one fell swoop, or having your dog pts if you couldn't afford treatment for something that, although not life threatening, was expensive?

The only person I know who doesn't have insurance for their dog has told me that if they were put in that position they would have to have the dog pts.

Not something I'd be prepared to do.

moosemama Sat 22-Aug-20 20:05:29

The problem with putting money aside every month is that you need a hefty chunk set aside to begin with and there’s always the chance that you won’t have enough to cover an emergency while you build up a decent sized pot.

My dog became seriously ill, was rushed to a specialist hospital for an emergency consult and then spent a week in their intensive care. The bill at the end of that week came to over £7,500. Over the next 18 months he then went on to need expensive veterinary care, which added up to over £20,000 plus all sorts of things that we paid for without claiming. I have never been so relieved to have decent insurance.

Years ago another one of our dogs developed osteosarcoma. At the time we had stopped our vet insurance, as we couldn’t afford the premiums and just the investigations to find out what was wrong cost a fortune, which we had to take out a 0% credit card for. The result of the tests were dire and we ended up without our girl, but with a massive credit card bill which took us almost a year to pay off.

If you can possibly manage to keep up the premiums, I would carry on as you are.

Scattyhattie Sat 22-Aug-20 20:05:59

Do you have savings as if you can't afford £62 a month even if put bill on a credit card it will take while to pay off & risk is that your dog may well have another expensive illness/injury to pay for especially as only 5 now.
You could try switching insurer, likely that all gut conditions will be excluded but maybe better than no cover. Who are you with now?

Ethelswith Sat 22-Aug-20 20:10:57

I have a friend who is a vet and dog owner. She insures her pets, even though she gets many treatments at cost/mates rates, because her view is that you need to have a minimum of £10k in liquid savings that you don't mind spending on the dog. Because yes, so many courses of treatment upwards of £7k

Samster45 Sat 22-Aug-20 20:20:52

Can you not shop around?
I have a poodle/ springer mix and we pay £18 with bought by many. For her and our Bengal cat (who is 8) I pay £35 a month. I was with petplan and it went up to £30 a month each which is why I swapped.
The dog has had 2 operations in recent years and the cat two as well. One needed a cut paw suturing, the other got a cat bite abscess. The dog had a digestive issue and needed to be kept in for a while and the cat ate a load of elastic bands and needed them removing (postman posted letters wrapped in them and she has a thing for elastic bands)

We usually stop the insurance when they get to around 13 as they really limit what you claim for anyway. I had two dogs pass away aged 15 of natural causes, one aged 12 of Cushings disease (although bought by many paid out for regular medication for him and he was stable for 3 years until he deteriorated due to the size of the brain tumour) and one passed away aged 18.

I wouldn’t risk not having insurance especially with
a breed prone to problems, or if they’re like mine and do ridiculously stupid things

CharlottesComplicatedWeb Sat 22-Aug-20 21:03:14

I couldn’t have her pts. And she’s young, at 5 and has never needed any treatment for anything.

I’ve had a look at other quotes which are around £27-3£32 so, kind of half price what I’m currently paying but... she now has a “condition” which will not be covered. Ever. I thought with it being “dog eats dead animal...D&V” there might be a two year exclusion but, it’s a lifetime ban.

I’ll have to stick with it, for now. I’m furloughed so, I’m watching each and every penny, at the minute,

OP’s posts: |
CharlottesComplicatedWeb Sat 22-Aug-20 21:07:10

Also, I’ll get in touch with The Kennel Club on Monday to ask why the premium jumped up so much, this renewal year, considering we’ve NEVER made a claim.

OP’s posts: |
OliveButler Sat 22-Aug-20 21:22:42

I posted on the puppy thread about my experience. My 4 month old puppy was admitted to the vet hospital on Tuesday with a stomach blockage. He had diagnostic bloods, 2 x-rays(@£500 each), an ultrasound and removal of the blockage by endoscope. The bill was £3200 and a bit. Without surgery. I had to put it on DH's credit card and I am claiming back from Waggel. I am in total shock at the cost and wonder what will happen to my premiums.
I have heard that PetPlan is good for not increasing premiums as your dog gets older so I'll have a look.
I am very grateful to the vet but I do wonder what stops them from just ramping up the costs.
The lesson for me is that you can have a massive bill at any time so putting money away is a bit of a gamble. It's a cost I didn't think about much until now.

CharlottesComplicatedWeb Sat 22-Aug-20 21:53:02

I was charged £26 (when I looked at the itemised bill) for paracetamol. It was the same paracetamol I buy from Aldi, for 28p.

Last year my can had an eye ulcer from a scratch. It didn’t respond to antibiotics so, the vet advised a corneal graft. He did tell me her vision would be lost in that eye and so I said “take it out. She’s old. She doesn’t need a huge operation” but he insisted in trying to “save” the eye. The bill came to £1800.00. Our PetPlan premium went sky high at renewal. Her eye has never been right and I really do think it would have been kinder to remove her eye.

A friend of ours (retired vet) said recently, that he is totally amazed at the hike in veterinary fees. He was a country vet who was out in all weathers and had a surgery that was basically a shed with an operating theatre on the side. I know we have to pay for progress but now, it seems like a licence to print money.

OP’s posts: |
CharlottesComplicatedWeb Sat 22-Aug-20 21:54:05

A cat.

OP’s posts: |
NannyPear Sat 22-Aug-20 22:38:08

Unfortunately OP in this day and age of high client expectations, complaints and sense of entitlement, a shed with a theatre attached doesn't cut it anymore. There also used to be a time a vet could see an animal, give it some injections then if it died overnight no one would be taking to social media to bash them. Clients want the same level of care as the NHS (only quicker) but don't want to pay appropriately for it. That's why vet prices have increased. It's certainly not funding an extravagant lifestyle I can assure you!

BiteyShark Sat 22-Aug-20 22:38:38

Pet insurance is for private medical bills. In the uk we are generally removed from the true cost of medical bills which make vet bills seem high.

Putting money aside rather than insurance is a gamble because if you really can't afford a few pounds per month you are probably unlikely to afford a bill of thousands up front. And it's not just illness as any dog can have an accident and after one we were looking at a possible operation of around £5k.

CharlottesComplicatedWeb Sun 23-Aug-20 10:36:16

Ok, @NannyPearI take your point. But honestly? £26 for 16 Paracetmol? That’s dreadful.

I do realise that we need to pay for the modern surgeries and I’m glad that my insurance covers the cost but, this happened years ago with human private health insurance. Now, insurance companies have gotten wise and there are so many restrictions on inpatient/outpatient care. I just think that in some cases, it’s a licence to print money. Definitely so in the case of my dear old cat.

Yesterday, I registered with a new vet having been with my previous surgery for 15 years. My choice. In the past couple of years I’ve heard many times of our vet being expensive. Now that I’m on the receiving end, I’m voting with my feet.

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CalledYouLastNightFromWaitrose Sun 23-Aug-20 15:35:18

I think Bought By Many do a policy that covers pre-existing conditions.

CharlottesComplicatedWeb Sun 23-Aug-20 17:56:53

Thanks @CalledYouLastNightFromWaitrose. I’ll have a look at that.

Problem with my dog is, she’ll eat anything. So far, she’s had an upset stomach for 24hrs then gets better. Whatever dead thing she’d eaten this time... had a very bad effect on her. She loves to swim so, is often finding dead things to present to me.

Love her though!

OP’s posts: |
maverickallthetime Sun 23-Aug-20 21:16:26

We need to insure our new dog, any recommendations as to who to go with? Thanks

CharlottesComplicatedWeb Sun 23-Aug-20 21:18:34

Not Agria (The Kennel Club)!

OP’s posts: |
Samster45 Sun 23-Aug-20 21:19:07

Yes bought by many does cover pre existing. It doesn’t cover the previous 24 months to you taking out the cover for pre existing if you go for the cheaper options.
My dog ate a load of socks that got stuck, which has her second op other than the cut paw, and that was 2 years ago now (we were with pet plan then) so she wasn’t covered for eating socks in the change over period but is now as it’s been over 24 months. (I doubt the claim would fail unless they ate the exact same thing though and it caused the exact same bug etc)

wetotter Mon 24-Aug-20 08:26:46

We need to insure our new dog, any recommendations as to who to go with? Thanks

Most recommended on MN are Petplan, with newcomers BoughtByMany getting an increasing number of shout-outs.

What you need to look for is level of cover (per condition? per year?), that cover is lifetime (premiums might rise, but they won't withdraw cover), whether there are any limits (per condition? dental? complementary therapies, behaviourist?), any excess

Most vets will deal directly with Petplan as they have an excellent reputation for paying out promptly. It can be a bit hit and miss with others, so you may find you have to pay and claim. IIRC vets are not allowed to recommend insurers, so you can't just ask

maverickallthetime Mon 24-Aug-20 10:30:50

We had petplan for our previous dog but we got him back in 2003 and there were very few options then! I think it's just they are so expensive but I think we need to bite the bullet.

Our old lab had ongoing conditions and I remember at the time that petplan was one of the only ones to cover this.

I'll investigate further

Juiceey Mon 24-Aug-20 10:39:24

BoughtByMany cover pre existing conditions after 2 years.

pinkbalconyrailing Mon 24-Aug-20 10:52:28

if you decide to cancel the (health) insurance for your dog please make sure that personal liability is covered in a way (sometimes included in home insurance).

CalledYouLastNightFromWaitrose Mon 24-Aug-20 11:38:47

Bought By many do a specific pre existing policy, 3 months exclusion period rather than 2 years. I have no experience of claiming with them nor have I taken this policy out

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