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Mumsnet users share what they think of pet insurance providers

299 replies

EllieMumsnet · 23/08/2018 08:48

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We want to know what you think of all things pet insurance as well as pet insurance providers. Have you found the perfect plan for you? Is there something you wish providers would do more of? Perhaps you can share how you found the pet insurer you are currently with?

Whatever your thoughts and feelings are about pet insurance and the providers, please share them on the thread below to be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £100 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck!

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Mumsnet users share what they think of pet insurance providers
OP posts:
EsmesBees · 23/08/2018 09:48

I use a pcw to search for the cheapest deal each year. My cats are 10 years old now and I've never had to claim on it. So I tend to go for the cheapest on the market regardless of the provider.

Shireslass · 23/08/2018 10:33

I went for the deal that would give us the highest level of cover per year if our dog were to become ill.
It also helped that the company donates to animal charities.

GoodHeavensNoImAChicken · 23/08/2018 11:17

We chose the platinum petplan package because friends had recommended it- they paid out fairly, covered a lot and generally included a lot of things we didn’t expect. It was quite pricey but when our cat fell ill last year unexpectedly age 6 it was the best thing we ever paid for.

He ran up over £5000 worth of bills over about two weeks of care. We had no idea what was wrong for a week with him in organ failure and subsequently it became apparently he had pneumonia and needed stomach surgery. Everything and I mean everything was covered. We could never have afforded this without petplan. He unfortunately passed away a few months later and we were sent post that was thoughtfully worded and incredibly they even refunded the cost of the cat himself- something we never expected. They were helpful on the phone, didn’t mess us around and liaised directly with the vet surgery which was great.

We did laugh with one thing they didn’t cover though- (he was the worst patient ever at the vets, he bit, hissed, scratched and generally kicked up a huge fuss as soon as he was feeling better and refused to cooperate with anything!) - his pill crusher 😂 (obviously he was never going to take antibiotic tablets) so all in all he cost us £7.

Can’t thank petplan enough.

owlofathena · 23/08/2018 12:12

We were with same insurance provider for years and couldn't fault their services. In one year our dog was attacked and almost killed (needed 15 staples in his throat and neck) all of which was covered by insurer very quickly, we also had to claim for two over ight emergency vet appointments when he contracted stomach bugs. The insurance company was very quick to deal with and paid out, excluding the excess of course, very promptly. However we have had many years of not needing to claim and I found our premiums were increasing significantly to the extent that we were paying six hundred a year on insurance along. I now shop around for the best lifetime cover.

QueenOfPharts · 23/08/2018 12:12

We have two dogs and just couldnt afford pet insurance we put some money aside each month.

Amber0685 · 23/08/2018 12:24

Touchwood have never had to claim so far, but my dog is getting older now so that may change. It is strange to me as I used to live in Australia where pet insurance hardly exists.

ShotsFired · 23/08/2018 12:29

I have an older cat. Unless you have been insured continuously with the same provider from before they were 10, the premiums are just ridiculous.

As I only got her after thatage, I have self-insured (although tbf, I have done that with all my pets and its been ok so far). Why can't health records be "transferable", so you are not prevented from changing insurers for older animals? I can move my car insurance every year and that is only getting older and older...

There is also a lot of small print many are unaware of, like the difference between lifetime cover/annual cover/condition cover.

FreckledLeopard · 23/08/2018 12:41

I tend to go for platinum cover - I normally go with Marks and Spencer or John Lewis. Touch wood I've not had to make any claims. BUT, what does annoy me, is that there are discounts for new customers, but the discount isn't continued on renewal, so I invariably have to call up and get them to lower the premium, or change to another provider. I can't see why loyalty, where no claims have been made, can't be taken into account. It just seems so money-grabbing.

BristolMum96 · 23/08/2018 13:15

Never bothered with pet insurance. Feel like most of the time you keep paying and paying and rarely claim. I'd rather just try and keep some savings aside for the 'if' situation.

TreasureInMyTummy · 23/08/2018 14:21

I have a four year old cockapoo, when she was a puppy I got lifetime policy with more than. It was expensive at just over £300 but they told me it was because she was a puppy and problems/ illnessss can surface when puppy.

Unfortunately for me every year around renewal I either had very busy moments in work, was moving house or heavily pregnant and renewal happened automatically without me being able to compare quotes.

I was horrified to find out last year it had gone up to £500 despite no claims at all.

This year the quote was £785 but I was ready .

A look on comparison site showed me same policy with more than just over £200 - I phoned up and explained to the call handler . I said it's terrible that customers who stay with more than have costs put up so much each year if they don't call.

She agreed it was extortionate and not right. She said comparison sites they normally offer 45% discount to get new customers . I said that offer was a lot more than 45% and did more than have any justification to the price they had quoted me.

She said they didn't and most she could do with my offer was take £70odd pound off!

I was flabbergasted and have of course cancelled the policy. If they had matches the online comparison site offer I would have stayed with them but the fact I have to leave and come back is so annoying. I'm going to go to jog. Lewis for cover instead.

I agree with anyone thinking I should have checked and phoned around each year to get most competitive price but life sometimes gets in the way and what if others who don't realise.

Also what would they have done to policy price is my dog had had any problems? I wouldn't have been able to move as other insurers would have excluded preexisting conditions so they could have put the quote up as much as they wanted and as long as below treatment cost I would have had to stay with them.

A bad practice which I think needs looking at

ButterflyOfFreedom · 23/08/2018 15:43

I hear most pet plans don't cover existing ailments (whatever those may be) which meant it was very limiting when choosing a provider. I can understand why this is the case but more choice of providers and/or options would be helpful.

TheWizardofWas · 23/08/2018 15:45

Sometimes I think I should have it, but I also know that when the cats are older our local vets treats them for free. I will probably leave it.

GobKnobbler · 23/08/2018 16:28

We are with Animal Friends, and they have been excellent. Our dog (3.5 years old) recently swallowed something he shouldn't and after refusing to drink at all was rushed into emergency surgery on a Sunday night (Vets Now covering for our normal vet, more expensive) and then had two nights in the hospital under our own vet's care on a drip as he was slow to start eating and drinking.

The vet warned us that AF were slow to pay, but we didn't find that - both payments (VetsNow and our own vet) were processed before the credit card that we'd paid on was due.

There was some excess and excluded items - the vet charged us for the claim for example - but we got the vast majority of £3500 back.

ScreamingValenta · 23/08/2018 16:49

I chose lifetime cover for my pet. I was horrified a few years ago when the company said they were withdrawing their pet insurance as a product and everyone's cover would cease - of course, I would not have been able to get cover for his pre-existing conditions by then. Fortunately, I wasn't alone and there was a 'class action' raised by policy-holders with the Financial Ombudsman, who made them reinstate the cover.

It is a lesson to save any documents provided when the cover is sold - in this case it was possible to demonstrate that the 'lifetime' aspect of the cover had been a major selling point of the policy. If you are taking (and paying extra for) lifetime cover, check that there isn't a 'get out' for the company choosing to stop offering pet insurance.

Sunflowersforever · 23/08/2018 17:46

I think they can be so variable in the service that is offered. If you have a dog or cat then you can get a decent enough coverage plan, but pets such as rats are impossible to cover.

dannydog1 · 23/08/2018 18:24

I think you get what you pay for with pet insurance. I use petplan who are expensive but fair and good at paying out claims. After all it is a gamble on whether you will claim or not. I’m fed up with people complaining about the amount vets charge- it is private medicine and if we had to pay for ourselves instead of NHS, we would soon realise how expensive medical tests, equipment etc is.

LotsToThinkOf · 23/08/2018 18:33

I organised insurance for our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with Petplan; I was happy with the cover and the excess to start with and for the first 2 years of our dog's life it seemed fine.

In year 3 the renewal quote came in at almost £20 per month more expensive despite our dog being healthy, having no previous claims and was registered with the KC with a full, clean bill of certified health. When I queried the increase I was told that the breed were know for a range of health problems that quickly become expensive and therefore the premium gets more expensive as they get older.

I continued with them for a further year until the premium per month increased by £50 and then had no option but to cancel. I then just saved the money I would have spent on the insurance into an account which I could then use to pay for veterinary care should the dog need it.

At £75 excess I didn't make any claims, even when the dog did have visits to the vet. The cost of the visits always fell below £75 so it wasn't needed. I did explain that this negated their point about the dog becoming more expensive but they wouldn't reconsider their price.

On a different premium with the same insurer, a family member made a claim after the death of their young dog from an accident. The claim was difficult because Pet plan demanded a receipt for the dog, which was provided, but then they would only award a percentage of the original cost of the dog up to a maximum amount. The pay out for the loss of the dog was minimal.

My experience of pet insurance has been largely negative, I continue to pay into an account to cover any medical needs should they arise.

Cotswoldmama · 23/08/2018 18:52

I had pet insurance for about 10 years and it kept going up and up. So I stopped. Ive never had to claim and the money I’ve saved is probably more than any costs I might have

libra101 · 23/08/2018 18:56

We have a 7 year old dog, and have never purchased pet insurance for him. He is fit and healthy, is given a varied healthy diet and gets regular exercise, which keeps him fit. He also has annual booster vaccinations to protect from certain diseases.

The reasons I don't purchase insurance for him is that it seem that as the pet ages, the premiums increase in cost! The times when a pet is more likely to need aid from a vet.

I know that it's a risk not having my pet insured as costs of treatment can spiral rapidly. However, I feel that the money saved can contribute to any treatment he may need.

stereolovely · 23/08/2018 19:23

We have Protected for Life policies for all three of our cats with petplan. We've had to claim for our oldest when he needed an emergency amputation on his tail. Because he was taken to a vets now hospital which has a good relationship with petplan we only had to pay the excess and the rest, almost £1k was paid directly to the vet. We had some small follow up costs at our own practice which we paid and were recompensed within a fortnight.
The staff at petplan were lovely, professional and I couldn't thank them enough.
Sometimes bigger is better which is why I am willing to pay more for the service they provide.

SlipperySlipper · 23/08/2018 19:36

Our vet suggested Pet Plan when we took our new kitten for his first check-up.

Our kitten grew into a curmudgeonly cat who refused to go any further than our back garden. He didn't mix with other cats either, so was a low-risk for injuries and accidents. There were times when it felt like a waste of money.

When he was 4yrs-old he became ill very suddenly and had to be rushed to the vets. His first round of treatment and operations cost around £1.5k, and later he had a relapse which meant that he had to be transferred to a veterinary hospital to see a specialist. That bill came to another £1k.

Pet Plan were very good. They dealt directly with the vet (with our consent) and paid up straightaway. We were happy because we didn't have to phone up and make the claims ourselves, and it meant that the vet was paid much more quickly.

We wouldn't have been able to afford those costs without insurance. If I were to ever get a second pet I would absolutely make sure that they were insured too.

EddieVeddersfoxymop · 23/08/2018 19:58

I'm with Petplan. They're expensive and I'm stuck with them as my very elderly cat has health problems.
Saying that, they've paid out with no quibbles but I wish they covered veterinary diets (less the average costs of a cats meal as you'd have to pay that anyway). My cat has CKD and her food is phenomenally expensive.
My vet also doesn't deal direct (claiming that they can't wait for the money to come through) so I need to pay then claim for reimbursement.
I also find the hefty excess off putting, the insurance is hardly worth having now to be honest.


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bellinisurge · 23/08/2018 20:02

Petplan . Always. When my old lady cat was ill they were really prompt payers. When she sadly died they were brilliant.

VioletCharlotte · 23/08/2018 20:06

I've got lifetime cover with L&G. Ok so glad I took the advice I was given to get lifetime cover. 2 years ago my dog was diagnosed with a condition that means he had to have monthly injections and medication for the rest of his life. I was worried I wouldn't be covered, but I spoke to my provider who put my mind at rest. So relieved! Not sure what I would have done if I wasn't insured, as there's no way I would have been able to afford his treatment without it.

SneakyGremlins · 23/08/2018 21:07

I pay £15/month to petplan to insure my cat - I'd much rather pay that than £2500 for surgery costs that I simply don't have.

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