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Pet Insurance(19 Posts)
We're coming to the end of our complimentary Kennel Club Insurance so I've been getting quotes from other insurers but my head is hurting thinking about all the variations and different types of policy.
What did you decide on for your dog? The price of some of the policies (£79 pcm!) makes me think I should just set aside a chunk of cash instead ... but then there's the Public Liability Insurance etc, etc.
I wouldn't do the set aside a chunk of money unless you have several thousand of pounds ready right now.
My dog cost many thousands in the first year. A bad case of D&V set us back over £2000 and that wasn't the only thing we claimed for that year.
I would get a life time policy for as much vet cover as you can afford. Look at the T&Cs closely as not all of them are the same. Do they cover dental which is often pricey and some won't cover it. Do they cover holiday cancellation (we had to cancel on holiday soon after our dog underwent emergency surgery), do they cover behavioural issues, complimentary treatments such as hydrotherapy.
I am with petplan and although it was expensive the price hadn't risen much despite all the claims. I cannot vouch for any other company as that is the only one I have used but if you look at past threads then you will see others recommended.
Thanks for your reply Bitey - wow, that's a huge vet bill in the first year.
How does the lifetime cover differ from other policies? Does it mean that any diagnosed condition is covered for life provided you renew with the same company? Surely they just bump up the premiums accordingly like they do with car/house insurance.
I have done both over the years, but lived to regret the putting money aside option when my dog developed cancer. Diagnostic tests wiped out the money we’d saved and we ended up paying out thousands on a credit card and still lost our girl.
More recently I had a dog develop a relatively rare auto-immune condition. Insurance claims for him exceeded £20,000 in under 18 months and we paid for a lot of out of pocket expenses relating to his health as well. One medication alone was £400 per fortnight. I have never been more relieved to have decent pet insurance with a high level of cover (PetPlan). Premiums did increase, but not massively and not as badly as they have done with other pet insurance companies in the past.
Lifetime cover means they continue to cover chronic/long-term conditions eg diabetes, arthritis etc from year to year. Without it, they will cover for the first year, then exclude that illness and anything related to it after the first year.
Personally, based on my own experiences, I would always go for a lifetime policy with the highest level of cover you can afford the premiums for.
As PP said lifetime cover means you still are covered year on year as long as you stick with them and the policy. If I tried to switch company now I would have a list as long as my arm of exclusions given we have claimed for stomach, legs, back/spine, paws etc. And we have had consults but not claims for eyes and ears which will still count as they all have to be declared.
At one time we were facing an operation which would have been around £5k but fortunately we didn't require it in the end and that was after a simple accident (bad landing) so vet cover is essential in my book.
I went with Petplan because at the time they advertised they didn't put up premiums after claims. They still go up but that's because of the age of the dog but they have been reasonable so far. And we are still quids in and he is 4 this year. Totalled around £5k so far.
Not sure about other companies but maybe others will post about their experience.
What kind of dog have you got and how many? I had a Rottweiler and they wanted an absurd amount to insure him. As much as family paid for several dogs that were also large. Apparently because they are a large breed but I'm certain it's their reputation.
I now have an Akita. A far more dangerous dog. Insurance is next to nothing and we got the top cover. I think it's lifetime but I went on go compare. Searched prices and it explains it all there. He can have an issue and they pay it year after to an unlimited amount.
It’s not just the dog’s size. Insurers take into consideration known health issues within the breed. Breeds with fewer known health issues or those that have issues that cost less to treat will be cheaper to insure. Some tiny dogs are relatively expensive to insure because of known issues with their breed.
I have insured lots of different breeds and types of dogs over the years, including cross and mixed breeds and insurance has been varied with each one, so not purely based on size, breed traits or reputation.
Bought by Many is normally quite reasonable and offers lifetime policies
Lifetime cover is a must; the premiums (and sometimes the excesses) will go up anyway with the age of the dog, claims or no claims. For what it's worth, my job is administrating pet insurance claims and all of mine are insured with Petplan.
Hello it's more to do with their reputation for being diagnosed with some expensive conditions - bone cancers, splenic tumours, hip and elbow dysplasia etc.
We have the top level cover for our boy through the PDSA and they are brilliant. Never had an issue my boy needed emergency surgery only 2 months after taking it out costing nearly £3500 they paid out not a problem. And I pay £15pm
I also have a full breed KC registered dog. X
We set aside cash and have third party cover via other policies already.
We have BBM life time cover.
We recently had to claim with them and they paid out no problem at all.
Their policy is comparable to Petplan policy but slightly cheaper
Pet Plan is generally considered very good.
I'll tell you about my experiences with pet insurance and you can decide if it's worth having ....
Four years ago we had 3 dogs and 2 cats. Cats and 2 dogs insured with Direct Line. Premiums went up each year as pets for older. Got to a point where they wanted about £250 pcm for all 4 and I thought, this is just ridiculous. So I cancelled insurance for the cats (good call - never really claimed for anything, sadly neither no longer with us, but were costing about £90 pcm)
I kept insurance for our old Labrador as she had a few issues, and cancelled it for one of our dogs because he'd never had anything wrong with him .... I then took out insurance with Pet Plan for our newest and youngest dog (vet said at least take it for the first year as that's when a number of issues can present).
The dog that was left without any insurance promptly ruptured his cruciate ligament - £4K op. He's done the other one this year - less intrusive op costing £1.5k - but we don't think it's worked, so may require further surgery.
Oldest dog, for which we continued paying about £140 pcm, totted up over £6k on ear operations over 2 years and a further £3k on tests in her final weeks. Direct Line even insisted on refunding the £500 purchase price (we got her as a puppy) - even though I pointed out in several emails that this was a bit unnecessary (and not in line with the terms of my policy) as she was almost 13.
Although I used to be in the "put some money away" camp, I think on balance it's good not to have to give cost a second thought when your beloved pet is ill and vets are putting forward options which run into thousands. Even if you've got the money in the bank, it's still a bit of a heart stopping moment when they give you an estimate for emergency treatment which you have to agree to on the spot.
Just as an aside, if you just want public liability insurance, join the Dogs Trust (£20 pa) and you'll be covered, and have access to an advice line.
@moosemama @currahee yes completely agree. However, Akita's are far more prone to so many lifetime illnesses, yet they were the cheapest. Rottweilers don't have near as many. The family members dogs were GSD. All those dogs with similar hip/bone etc issues but on top of that Akita's have allergies, skin issues, attitudes and many, many stomach issues.
Our dog is with Pet Plan. They have been very good at paying out so far and she, unfortunately, has definitely had her money's worth. At least 2 admissions with D&V, cut paws, and a lifetime condition.
That is not my experience Hello - and taking Petplan as our example, Rottweilers are on their 'select breed' list and akitas are not, so the insurer's data must bear that out too.
@currahee interesting. What gets a dog on the "select list"?
Our rottie had two issues, one was an infected toe which was managed for a while and then finally cut off. That was 1k over around two months and later he developed bone cancer which was managed for three weeks and 6 days with painkillers. We didn't have insurance and kept a bit to the side.
Our Akita is insured although we haven't ever claimed but he has an array of issues. All common in the breed - all seen before he was diagnosed.
They describe it as "Just as some dogs cost more to feed, some also cost more in veterinary care. We call these 'Select Breeds’." From memory it's mostly short-lived giant breeds plus the expensive risks - bulldog, shar pei etc.
Thank you to everyone, your experiences and advice have been invaluable.
I have about 20 quotes in total so DH put them all in a spreadsheet (geek alert ) as he had the time on his hands, and I've been looking at all the subtle variations. i.e. total vet cover 8K vs 4k per condition etc.
At the moment Bought By Many is edging it because it is fairly reasonable with good levels of cover and lots of extras not included in other policies. If it helps anyone else, Pet Plan, PDSA and More Than Insurance also seemed good (although I take the point that this may vary according to breed). @mommymooo I'm jealous of £15 pcm as my quotes mostly range between £30-£40 with the highest at almost £80 pcm